plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

October 22, 2007

are you swayed by marketing?

Filed under: investment — plonkee @ 12:00 pm

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m interested in switching my relatively poorly performing Virgin stakeholder pension to a cheaper fund in a better wrapper from Hargreaves Lansdown (H-L). To this end, I thoroughly investigated the offerings at H-L, emailed them to check that I understood the fee structure and established that I need to have £5k in the pension fund that I want to move to be able to transfer it. At some point, in this process, I’ve inadvertently signed up to receive mail shots from H-L which advertise their funds (I got the last one, shortly before the start of the postal strikes).

The mail shots they send aren’t actually that professional, and remind me somehow of adverts for stair lifts, sun awnings, and Readers Digest. They have things like “Thanks for your great funds Mrs G. Tunbridge Wells” and so on. I’m guessing they aren’t trying very hard to appeal to the Gen X / Gen Y market and are instead going for the late baby boomers and the retired. I’m not sure that approach makes too much sense, but each to their own.

H-L acts as a funds supermarket through which you can buy a huge array of investments, in almost any sector of the market you can imagine and yet they advertise through mail shots a relatively small changing selection of them to their potential customers. Why do they do this? Do people really look through such mail shots and pick their investments based on them? Or are they more to prime an interest in the company and investing in general?

If the advertising were targeted more at people like me, before I started being more aware of investing, I would have thought about investing through them. What about you? If you’re really honest with yourselves, would you or are you swayed by marketing on investments?

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