Gee: Why this fund manager is wrong about the cost of advice

Philippa Gee 160 byline

I had the subject of this week’s blog all sorted and then I read the headline that Gervais Williams (a fund manager whose progress I follow – but not a recommendation) has allegedly come out with the interesting fact that he doesn’t use an IFA.

Now this statement on its own might seem harmless enough. However, the reasons he then gives for this approach are more worrying; he cites the paperwork produced and the adviser charges being expensive as the explanation why he doesn’t take advice.

Whilst I sympathise with the paperwork (45 pages for some KFDs is frankly ridiculous) I take more serious offence at the issue of the cost of advice. Let’s be clear, Gervais has plenty of experience and pedigree in the investment world and if he can’t manage his own portfolios, then it’s a pretty poor job. Indeed, I would expect him to be invested in either the fund or investment trust that he manages himself. But the underlying investments are just one part of the process, for example what about the planning and product implications? I don’t need to tell you about the added value a good financial planner can give, but for someone with enough understanding of the market and choice of adviser and how they are remunerated, Gervais’s alleged response surprised me.

Now it could be that all of this has been taken so out of context when the original piece was followed up, that Gervais is actually the innocent party and if this is the case then I apologise. However, if it is true that a fund manager has deliberately poured scorn in a national newspaper on the industry on which he relies to build assets under management in his portfolios, then he might need to sit down and rethink his strategy.

Risk management isn’t just a portfolio term, it could also be applied to more general business acumen and the threats posed to business models.

Risky times, Gervais, risky times.

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Philippa Gee is managing director at Philippa Gee Wealth Management.