Bell’s concern is what inexperienced investors can bet their money on, especially cryptocurrencies he fears novice savers may be drawn into. He says he’s told his four children to stay away from the market, although he’s not totally convinced they’re listening.
“I’m pretty sure one of them played around with that a bit,” he admits, while acknowledging that there is at least one bright spot in the crypto boom.
“I don’t want to sound like the old guy in the corner of the room – you can see some good points: these people are engaging with an investment app, thinking about Bitcoin’s movements, why Bitcoin is moving,” he said. “It creates a curious mind. If there is one bright spot and I’m really looking for some bright spots in crypto, maybe this is it.
Growing interest in Bitcoin and the market volatility created by the pandemic have made investing into a talk dinner in a way it never would have been five years ago, he adds. . The discussions are having repercussions on increasingly younger savers.
“I’ve never been the type to go to dinner parties, but if I did, I guess it wouldn’t be on the agenda. [five years ago]. I now feel that people are committed to investing. Maybe the legacy of crypto is that people think about making money, not just putting money in the bank, ”he says.
“I think what you want people to do is actually investing in long term money as a kid is probably the worst thing you can do. [financially]. Well spending it and blowing it up is the worst thing you can do, but protecting against inflation has to be on people’s minds. You are never going to do it by investing in money.
As investment talks spread to a new generation, rivals of AJ Bell are also rushing to tap into the younger market. Earlier this month, one of Britain’s biggest fund managers, Abrdn, agreed to take over investment platform Interactive Investor for £ 1.5 billion.
Bell believes this to be a “sensible strategic move” on the part of the FTSE 100 asset manager, but says there could be challenges ahead regarding IT integration. He is not interested in mergers and acquisitions himself but wishes his rivals good luck. “I want Abrdn to do well, I want Hargreaves [Lansdown] to do it right and I want us to do it right – there is no price for me in failing these guys, “he says.
“We are all competing for new business, but we need the market to be well thought out because platforms are now at the epicenter of financial services. We are where the excitement is.