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Cult in the Community: Pension Fund Update

Trustee of the Month Column: Reprinted from Hot City Boys Magazine, April 2020

It is an honour for me to represent the interests of the thousands of Cult of Ffynche savers enrolled in the CoFfyn Scheme. And it's wonderful to have our new 'website' to let you know how your money is invested.

Alderman E. Throbwhistle

Many of you may be contributing to other schemes on whose boards I also sit, such as the Freshwell Panglossian Fund, the Three Counties Dipping Scheme, and the Puppy Slush Fund. 

 

After a lifetime of public service, I am often approached by Fund Managers to put my name forward as a trustee for your money and I consider it my civic duty to accept.

Investment governance meetings are held once a quarter, but I'm now a trust board member on so many schemes that I'm often hard at it several afternoons and evenings a week. 

 

We usually toil throughout the day at famous golf courses, college high tables and prestigious hotels, before retiring for informal discussion at private members clubs, where typically we might be entertained by accomplished performers in the art of burlesque, for example.

The formal meetings are extremely challenging of course- with analysis of alpha and beta strategies, endless graphs, balances, stock pricing and share forecasting. Much of this difficult work is thrashed through in the morning assembly before we accept the generosity of our hosts in the form of a long working lunch - often several courses. The postprandial sessions tend to be more relaxed, thoughtful and contemplative.

Our informal interactions can be very educational. I was lucky enough last week to spend some time chatting with Toby 'Snorter' Fastbuck, senior adviser to several regional funds, and partner with The Exceedingly Hard Type of Rock Asset Management Company.

How was it, I asked, that his firm was able to justify such lavish expenditure on accommodation, cuisine and entertainment for lowly fund representatives such as myself?

The answer was simple, he explained. 'It’s a fundamental principle of all financial institutions that administrators are rewarded handsomely for their endeavour, regardless of their ability or returns on investment. Paid on a fixed fee basis- based on the current market valuation of assets held by the fund- it’s an arrangement commonly used by conveyancing and probate solicitors, as well as estate agents.

The percentage taken in fees seems small to the casual eye, somewhere between 1% - 2% of fund valuation, every year, regardless of current economic difficulties and whether or not the fund is losing money'. Toby went on 'Without this fundamental principle of reward, we would lose all the financial expertise that has guided us so diligently for the past 50 years or so.

'You can look at this another way' he said. 'Suppose you're nearing retirement and have paid into a fund for 45 years. In each of those years, an additional 1% has gone in fees to a company such as my own. This system works remarkably well for all concerned'

I'm sure it's as reassuring to you as it is to me that your savings are in the hands of people with such good business sense.

Editor’s note: We have recently received several complaints by savers regarding potential criminality by Mr Throbwhistle in his role as trustee. Those concerned about their pension savings investments might wish to visit ShareAction.org

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