The Age of Financial Empowerment

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We welcome James Coney money editor at The Times & Sunday Times to discuss his four pillars of personal finance as well as trends he has seen overtime in the investing/fund management space.

We discuss

James’ four pillars of personal finance:

  • Mortgage
  • Savings
  • Pensions
  • Investments

He aims to have regular conversations with readers week after week underpinned by the same core wisdoms.

The role of financial journalists generally includes campaigning to push the industry forward as well as representing the individual reader: the saver. It also involves giving people the right information as there is a responsibility to help readers look after their money and empowering them with information. Financial journalists restore the information balance that exists within the industry between savers and providers.

Campaigning is about ironing out bits of fairness that have been ingrained through time. Normal people at the heart of your stories highlights things that are unfair more powerfully than anything else.

Why did James change his view on equity release? If people are going to do something let’s help them do it right says James.

It's key to give people the information they need to make their investment decisions. Also to challenge the idea that financial advisers “own” the idea of advice. They can’t address an individual’s specific circumstances, but can still provide useful general tips.

Trends James has seen overtime in the investing / fund management space:

  • The language of financial services is finally changing to reflect more of a holistic lifestyle approach;
  • The empowerment of individuals through a move away from bank-dominated “bank assurance” type model of product sales to a wider platform model. This un-ravelled the infrastructure to give power back to the individuals, and the last 12 months has seen an acceleration of this - pension freedoms were a part of this and;
  • The direction of travel is toward openness, transparency and lower charges.

The balance between writing on long term structural trends that are important but don’t have immediate story hooks.

The Times doesn’t go for incremental daily breaking news items, but rather goes for the big longer, final view articles that gives a balanced view. (For example see report on DB pension decline).

Data is vital as a digital publisher. There is lots of data now and you are able to track the performance of each article among different types of subscriber demographic.

What mistakes does James think get made again and again in investing?

  •  Overtrading
  • Not starting early enough

There is progress on educating/informing consumers, but has this been made, is it possible? James is generally a pragmatic optimist so habits are key.

What would James change if he ran the industry?

  • Less fund managers;
  • Managers that are more accountable;
  • Make remit of fund managers clearer;
  • Managers being more transparent about decisions, particularly on ethical matters on how they are using your money and;
  • Fund managers remember that it’s other peoples’ money.

One thing for listeners to take away

Have faith in good habits when it comes to saving and investing – concentrate on the basics and don’t over complicate.

Most underappreciated thing

Income. Pensions freedoms has really shown that taking income from a fund without eroding too much capital has shown misunderstood benefits of income. It's key to remember the power of the dividend and what it can bring you.


There are many wider personal financial press, different publications all take slightly different stances and offer a good perspective:

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Each LCP investment uncut podcast is for information and marketing purposes only and does not constitute any form of investment or financial advice or a financial promotion (under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000). All views expressed by the podcast hosts and guests are purely their own opinions and do not represent those of LCP, its clients or affiliates. Our podcast listeners should always seek independent financial or legal advice before making any financial or investment decisions. Please refer to the Legal Notices section on the LCP website for further information.​

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