THE Society of Pension Consultants’ party at the Dorchester was no doubt a wild affair. But last night belonged to the Investment Management Association, which drew 1,200 fund managers to its annual dinner at the Grosvenor House hotel.
“No matter how glittering the alternative occasion, everyone is happy to give it up to come here,” said the IMA’s chief executive Richard Saunders on the money managers’ social fixture that has been running for 20 years.
“This party is the first thing people put in their calendar when they are planning their events budgets, no matter how tough times are,” added Quentin Smith of Royal London Asset Management. “If you are not here, you are conspicuous by your absence; people begin to question whether you are a viable proposition.”
By that yardstick of success, Artemis, Cazenove Capital, Ignis Asset Management and Invesco Perpetual – to name but a handful of the fund managers that bought the 128 tables at the dinner – are a going concern. “The falls in the market have hit the industry, but unlike banking it is not a leveraged industry,” Saunders told The Capitalist. “The majority of fund managers have stayed pretty healthy and profitable.”
In fact, said Saunders, the IMA members who voted for the evening’s awards for financial journalism manage £2.7 trillion – bigger than the global hedge fund industry and 20 times the size of the UK hedge fund industry.
The dinner was also “a large part of the plans” of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership’s Francis Ghiloni, down on business from the firm’s HQ in Edinburgh, who had spent the previous evening watching new Scottish Widows chief executive Toby Strauss presenting the Women in Pensions report at the House of Lords. “Women retire with far less in their pension than men,” warned Ghiloni. “We need to raise awareness of the importance of planning for the long term.”
Meanwhile, another fund manager mole offered The Capitalist his own entertaining analogy on the Greek referendum. “Like turkeys voting for Christmas,” he fumed.