David versus Goliath: The battle of the high street name and the smaller provider

It’s a story as old as time (well almost) and yes I know it’s a terrible cliche, but we think that there are some obvious parallels for us here and indeed, some lessons to be learnt by the industry, from the battle of David and Goliath.  We, PSG, are the more diminutive protagonist with our own battle to convince Advisers and Clients alike that there is a safe, and honourable alternative to the larger, often clumsy and frequently complacent, pension provider and the blunt instrument schemes and services they offer.

We all know the fight scene form the story of little Dave and the giant philistine, but before the fight itself, David found himself on the receiving end of criticism, ridicule and even threats when looking to take on mighty Goliath.  Whilst others were convinced that he could not offer a different approach, he knew that what he was doing was right and so didn’t stop or waver, but took the challenge on.  His actions revealed a weakness in Goliath (never mind Saul!) and David was able to prove that those who doubted him were wrong and that actually, there was some method to his madness after all.

Now, we don’t want to be ‘King’ and we aren’t looking for a fight (and nor are we mad!), but you could say that an independent provider such as little old us, faces the same giant problem or seemingly impossible situation; Offering products with measurable, tangible advantages in a world full of big boys trotting out tired, uninspiring products, underpinned by – all mouth, no trousers – customer service.

The weakness David identified in his battle against Goliath is like the weakness we see time and time again when a popular high street name takes an increasingly less client centric approach to pension provision.  There’s no shortage of large providers generating lots of noise about why their product or their service is the best and only option and trying (but failing) to please the masses with the same bland – one size fits all – solution.

But big is seldom better, after all, that’s the whole point of the story (well let’s not get into a theological debate), a cautionary tale that in our times and in our industry should warn against brands void of any craftsmanship, character or integrity.  Providers who perhaps have stopped seeing their customers as individuals, with their own circumstances who have specific requirements they want their pension to meet.  A solution that is fit for purpose when that purpose is defined by the client, not the provider.

Similar to David’s attitude in the story, we have an unconventional view of what our best weapon is for this battle to win hearts and minds.  In addition to our call being taken up by Independent Financial Advisers who’ve experienced first-hand, the value we add, we simply stay resolved to do what’s right and stand up to mediocrity.  We know, and an increasing number of Advisers and Clients know, that there is in fact an alternative provider ready to listen and help them find a better solution for their retirement tomorrow, but also their business today.  That’s got to be worth a shot.


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