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It has been a torrid year for Santa and his dealings with the financial services industry.
The problems initially came to light when both he and his wife thought they had taken out their Isas at the new £20,000 limit. However, when 20,000 cans of de-icer turned up, it came to light that his virtual Amazon Alexa assistant had seriously failed him.
Later in the year, he organised an overhaul of the all-important sleigh. The ageing equipment had — not unsurprisingly with all the winter weather — been seriously suffering from rust and metal erosion. In fact, -the whole base platform of the vehicle would have to be replaced.
Such sleigh platforms require some specific design. However, Santa’s elves accidentally ordered a multi-currency platform with full order management, automatic reconciliation and dealing facilities. Santa feared this was not going to be of much use for delivering presents.
Later in the year, Santa was notified he was going to have to introduce auto-enrolment for all staff. Due to the nature of the holders, elven pensions are ultra long-term, and usually invested in sustainable portfolios. Thus, a new category of pension, the Sustainable Long-term Investment Private Pension (or the Slipp) has been developed at significant extra cost.
By the end of the year, Santa feared the distinctly frosty Brexit negotiations were very likely to have an impact on the rules concerning free movement of presents. A pan-European issue, this could result in Ulster presents being delayed 24 hours owing to potential border restrictions at Newry.
Further headaches arose from EU airspace controls being restructured under new security issues, banning drones and flying sleighs from passing within five miles of any big airport.
It was enough to make Santa weep. As an alternative cryptocurrency, elf gold had become seriously popular with investors, dangerously inflating Santa’s wage bill. Yet there was dissent among his workforce, who feared harsher immigration controls could result in most elves being sent home. Alternative UK workers had not been forthcoming, owing to their reluctance to wear green tights and small pointed hats of a similar colour with bells attached. And present volumes were falling every year, as the Brits were blowing all their money on Black Friday deals in November instead.
As his organisation stared bankruptcy in the face, Santa’s last-ditch appeal to the FCA (Fabulous Christmas Association) also came to naught.
But all need not be lost. If you’ve had a stressful year like Santa — and even if you haven’t — the end of one year and the start of a new one is the perfect excuse to get your financial affairs in order.
Start financial planning now — not just for you, but also for the family. And if you’re an employer, be a good one. If you haven’t already, get your workers’ pensions sorted (and check on yours).
As for family, we may not be living as long as the elves, but we all need to plan to be around for a lot longer than the generation before. Good news — but it does mean we need to be saving harder and for longer. My tip? Use a bit of your coins, and not a bitcoin and start investing for the longer term.
Justin Urquhart Stewart is the co-founder and head of corporate development at Seven Investment Management (7IM). The views expressed are personal.