Planning for Retirement
One of the biggest decisions that anyone will have to make is when they decide that the time has come for them to give up working.
When I was last in London I got a taxi at Paddington to go to a meeting in the City, and noticed quite quickly that the driver was a bit stressed to say the least. As we drove through the usual busy streets it became apparent that I was not in for a joyful ride full of "cheeky chappie" Cockney banter, but instead it was more like an audition for Robert De Niro's role in a remake of the seventies film Taxi Driver!
As we went on our demented way, with every badly parked van and red light increasing the level of his paranoia it became apparent that he was near breaking point. This unfortunately was reached when the taxi sputtered to a halt and he realised that he had run out of diesel. This led to him slumping over his wheel, bursting into tears and declaring that after 27 years he had had enough and that he was going to phone the garage to tell them where they could find the cab and he would post them the keys. Not quite knowing what the etiquette with regards to tipping is in a situation such as this, but being pretty sure this wasn't the best time to congratulate him on his retirement, I gladly left the cab and thankfully found another cab to take me the rest of the way.
The reason why I recount this tale of woe is that last week one of the country's leading fund managers, Anthony Bolton, made public his intentions to hand over the management reigns of the Fidelity Special Situations fund. This will involve the fund being split into two parts next year with Anthony managing both parts for twelve months then, in 2007, one of the halves being taken over by another manager (we don't know who at the moment), and in 2008 Anthony giving up the management of the other half, although he will remain as an adviser.
There has been much comment made of this decision, most of it critical, but in our opinion what is proposed is very reasonable. For the next eighteen months we know that Anthony will continue to manage the whole fund, and when the new manager is announced every investor can choose whether they wish to leave or not. It has been well known that Anthony would at some stage decide to retire, so what is so bad
about being given what is at least 18 months notice that this is going to happen? There is also no guarantee that the manager who replaces him will not be able to continue the outstanding performance as has been the case with the Fidelity European Fund which Tim McCarron took over from Anthony two years ago, and since then has continued to be an outstanding performer.
No, I much prefer having a bit of notice that someone is going to "jack in" their job, and if Anthony Bolton wants a change of career I know of a taxi firm with a vacancy.