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Happy St George’s Day!

St George, born in Turkey and a Roman Soldier, never came to England. Apparently, a patron saint does not have to be from the country they were born in (some may say also true of sports!) - they just needed to embody the characteristics the country want to project to the outside world.

The legend of St George is that he slayed a dragon. The tale goes that a dragon made it’s nest in a lake in Libya. When people came to collect water, they inadvertently disturbed the dragon and so offered sheep as a distraction. After time, there were no sheep left to offer the dragon and so a maiden from the town was chosen by drawing lots. When the results were read, it was revealed that the princess was to be the dragon’s next victim. Despite the King’s protest, his daughter was offered to the dragon...At that moment of offering, St George appeared on a white stallion. He drew his sword, protecting himself with the sign of the cross, he slay the dragon and saved the princess.

So our patron saint never came to England and slayed a mythical creature hundreds of years after he died. Strikes me that we have no connection with St George.

In a similar way, we hear this lack of connection between our customers and their pensions. Last year, a gentleman called us up about his self-invested personal pension (SIPP). The assumption is that a SIPP is a product used by the more engaged customer. The customer was seeking validation that cashing in his pension was the right action. He cited the high SIPP fees and the poor interest rate on the bank account as the reason that he was going to cash in the pension, pay the tax and put the money in MY bank account. His language was interesting; he did not see the pension as his and he did not consider looking for a pension that was more suitable to him. I do wonder how many people who are calculating the value of their “assets” include their pensions. I suspect that they include the value of their house (hopefully having deducted their mortgage), their savings accounts, their ISAs and any shares that they have but not their pension pots.

On the basis that a patron saint does not have to be from the country they were born in but just needs to embody the right characteristics, how do we instil the same patronage for their pension and make it “MY pension”?

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