It’s always nice when someone says well done and thanks. When it comes from your peers it’s unusual and so a bit special.

It happened to me last Thursday evening in The Mansion House in Dublin when more than 500 financial advisors gathered at the annual awards ceremony to pay tribute to firms and individuals who they felt were doing their best to improve their quality of service to their customers. The IBA decided to give me the lifetime achievement award.

The Mansion House is a very historic building that was built in 1710 by Joshua Dawson. Dawson Street was named in his honour. The house is the permanent residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin and was the building where the first Dail (Irish Parliament) assembled on 21st of January 1919 to proclaim the “Irish Declaration of Independence”.

I was asked to say a few words at the end of the ceremony and it was with alacrity and real pleasure that I accepted as it isn’t often an opportunity to speak in such a venue comes my way.

Just in case you were unable to attend this is what I said;

“Thank you President Brendan Spring for your kinds words about my work over the years and my thanks to the IBA for deciding that my advancing years and receding hairline qualified me for this Lifetime Achievement award. I very much appreciate the honour.

There have been many changes in our industry over my time in it but it is also true that the more things change the more they stay the same.

When I started almost 50 years ago my work was about helping young people to start saving some money to buy a home and then if they had a family, my job was to encourage them to put some money away each month to fund future college fees. The next step was to protect the young couple with some life insurance and illness insurance just in case they died too early or were unable to continue to work as a result of illness and were unable to fulfil their financial dreams.

My job if either event happened was to provide the money needed. The final stage was to help them to plan and save for their retirement so that when they got to that time in life, they would have sufficient income so that they could decide whether they wanted to continue to work or not.

So as you can see really nothing much has changed!

What does trouble me however at this time is that a recent survey in Ireland informed us that over 50% of people working have no pension planning in place.  As an industry we need to make this problem a priority and what I would say to this government and any future government we might have in the future is “stop tax targeting the soft option of people’s savings and retirement funding unless you are prepared to guarantee that the old age pension will be there for them when they reach retiring age!”

On every life insurance and savings policy and indeed on every single premium policy investment in this country a 1% tax is charged. On savings plans for college fees or house purchase and lump sum investments, in addition to the 1% tax there are further taxes of 41% on any profits made.

But probably the most disgraceful tax that I have ever seen, which in a previous blog I called “Daylight Robbery” was the annual pensions levy introduced on peoples accumulating pension funds. Thankfully the Minister for Finance who introduced that awful tax has confirmed it is coming to an end this year. Not before its time Minister!

The amount of tax that life insurance companies are forced to deduct every year from the life insurance policies and the savings and pension funds of our customers both on funds accumulating and the pensions being paid out through Approved Retirement Funds is of vital importance to the tax revenues of this country. I don’t know what the actually figure that is that is being taken from our customers funds but I would suggest that our industry has played a major part in our improving budget deficit.

I hope that over the next few years as Ireland’s economy improves that the taxes and levies being charged to our customers will be reduced smartly to encourage our young people to save and protect themselves and their families.

Thanks you again Brendan and all the great people at IBA who put so much work into arranging this event in what is a truly wonderful and historic venue. A sincere thank you also to the sponsors who made the event possible. I am delighted to accept this award and would like to thank my colleagues at City Life for their help and support over the years. I would also like to thank Mary and my daughter Nora who made the trip to Dublin with me this evening to keep an eye on me.”

As you can see TV personality Des Scahill our MC for the night was totally fascinated by my few words!

Ted Dwyer Family Business

March 2015