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The London South East, Investing Matters Podcast - Episode 1 featuring Gavin Oldham OBE

Intro 00:01

You are listening to Investing Matters brought to you in association with London South East. This is the show that provides informative educational and entertaining content from the world of investing. We do not give advice, so please do your own research.

Peter Higgins 00:17

Hello, everyone. My name is Peter Higgins, you will know me from Twitter as @Conkers3, talking with you today with regards to a brand new podcast. It is called Investing matters. And it's going to be a podcast with the London South East Platform. And the reason behind this new podcast is because we have significant amounts of investors that use the platform. And there's a need for additional educational material. And I've got with me today Dave Mutton, COO of London South East, Dave, do want to say a bit more.

Dave Mutton 00:54

Hi Pete thanks very much. So at London South East, we believe in delivering free high quality information and tools for the integral investors. And the vast majority of our more than a million users are accessing the site completely free. They use the site to try to work out what to buy. And of course, the really important point when to buy. But it's also really critical to help investors understand how to invest. So what we want to do with this podcast is to learn from experienced investment professionals, the key strategies and techniques to really improve the quality of Investor Education.

Peter Higgins 01:37

My key points here are investing matters. And it can be done. When you're disciplined, and you've done really good research and long-term planning is essential, really, so enable each and every one of us to reach financial goals, freedom and resilience.

And for me, it's very important that we ensure that we all try and attempt to achieve our personal goals, and those of our families and our loved ones. Therefore, the purpose investing matters podcast for me, is to seek out the rich knowledge of those in the investment industry, the experts, as we call them, and to share those insights that they have.

And they've learned over many, many decades. And the wealth building investing strategies that they have, that they've learned from all around the world, we're going to try and get investors and investment industry peers on this podcast, not only from the UK, but from around the world.

For me, that enables us to then share those investing strategies with the global London South East audience, therefore to provide them with additional tools and resources with which to navigate the ever changing and uncertain world of long-term investing.

Dave Mutton 02:39

I think that's great. We obviously love the work that you do on Twitter, your group of fellow investors that you interact with on a regular basis.

It's very collaborative. It's very educational. It's very informative. And that's absolutely what we want to bring to this podcast. And I think a lot of the work that we do at the moment with London South East is very news driven.

It's a bounce, what's happening now in the markets, what's happening with specific companies. We want this to be different. We want it to be valuable, insightful, but timeless, it will be valuable. Now, if you're looking at investing today, or it could be valuable if someone's listening to this in a couple years’ time, it's about that process of investing, rather than invest in this now.

Peter Higgins 03:22

Indeed, Dave, I mean, my question would be, why should everyone or anyone consider listening to the Investing Matters Podcast?

Well, because whether you're a newer investor or a more experienced investor, you I'm sure have a desire to improve, you want to make less expensive mistakes, you want to become even more successful than you were previously.

You want to learn about more strategies that will enable you to learn how to identify great investment opportunities, when to buy stocks and funds, and more importantly, when to consider selling them. In the forthcoming investing matters, podcast, all the investing topics that matter to you, as an investor will be covered.

Dave Mutton 04:02

That sounds great. That's exactly what we're looking for. We want to provide a real valuable resource for the people that listened to the podcast, both existing London South East users and hopefully people that we're reaching out to for the first time.

You know, you can use our website, whether you're a brand new investor, or whether you've been investing for decades, it really doesn't matter. All the tools are there for free. And this is about building the educational process.

We all in life are always seeking improvement, incremental improvements in business is critical success. The same is true for investing. It's understanding why you're investing. What works for you may not work for somebody else.

It's understanding that the timing of the investments and using as much information as you can to do your own research and to make that important decision to buy or as you say, when is the right time to sell. So insights from people who've been there. We don't need to make the same mistakes. We can learn from the experts we can learn from highly experienced investors and add a lot of value.

Peter Higgins 05:07

Indeed, I think the important aspects of this podcast going forward is going to be about enabling all of us to compound our knowledge. And as we all know, from investing, if we can compound the knowledge, we're going to compound our gains, and in investing, for me, it's all about continual learning. And if we continue to learn, we can all improve and get better. And that's why for me investing matters.

Dave Mutton 05:29

At London South East We're really excited about this new project, investing matters, podcasts, and especially with the upcoming guests that you're going to be having on the program. So let's get on with the first guest. And over to you.

Peter Higgins 05:49

Hello, and welcome to the new London South East podcast. This is the investing matters podcast with me, Peter Higgins. And today I have the great privilege of speaking with Gavin Oldham, OBE, and Gavin is a serial entrepreneur, and he's done significant work on the progress of investing for all and everyone and he's a force for good is one of ensuring that is equality for all. Gavin, how are you? How are you today?

Gavin Oldham 06:19

Thank you very well, and looking forward to have our conversation.

Peter Higgins 06:22

Thank you very much, Gavin. Gavin, you've been involved with Barclaycard, Share Radio, the Share Centre, the Synod, and many, many more.

Gavin Oldham 06:32

It was actually Barclayshare rather than Barclaycard, I should make that clear.

Peter Higgins 06:36

Part we share became Barclays after that the stockbrokers that Gavin, I wanted to go back a few years into your career to some of the earlier experiences. And one of the significant things I was looking at was a couple of years after leaving university, you worked at the Nansen International Children's Centre in Norway for three months.

What was it about this experience that impacted you and led you to this egalitarian approach to life and business?

Gavin Oldham 07:01

Well, it really was quite an eye-opener. In fact, I think it was the first time really that I'd been working, you know, trying to help disadvantaged young people.

And it gave me an immense understanding about the potential of every young person to do great things in their lives. And the way that they just need the opportunities to kind of get underway and get started. The other thing it started to build within me was a sense of a link between ownership and responsibility.

And it's something that we're all used to, when you see somebody who owns their own home, their journey, take a lot of care of it and mow the lawns and paint the walls and everything else. But when somebody rents very often, they leave it to the landlord, and they don't have the same degree of sort of care about the property.

And I think you know that, for us in the 1970s. At that time, it was really a very big issue, because there was a very strong feeling of us and them and society. And I felt that that really was not the way for society to progress.

There's a fellow called Sir Keith Joseph who spoke a lot about breaking the cycle of deprivation. And that also made quite a significant impact on me. And so all of these things really gathered together and started to form quite a philosophy of life.

Peter Higgins 08:13

So was that then go in was that initially when you say philosophy of life was that with regards to your views, and how you can improve matters for everybody else? Almost straightaway.

Gavin Oldham 08:23

Yeah. I mean, I think that when I went into the city, it was about 1976. And I went there, you know, had the opportunity to because it actually it was a family firm, which was involved in market making at that time.

But right from the very start, I joined up with the wider share ownership Council, which was underway at that time, and started to try and push for change.

You know, it was quite a bit before the Thatcher years. But nevertheless, you know, I felt there was an opportunity for going for change for the future. So that's when it all started early.

Peter Higgins 08:55

Okay, so was this pursuit of fairness and equality? Was it this that inspired you to start the Share Centre in 1990?

Gavin Oldham 09:03

Well, bear in mind that was quite a bit of a journey for me before then. Absolutely. The company I worked for which was called Wedd Durlacher Mordaunt was taken over by Barclays, and Barclays, huge retail bank, massive customer base. And I felt that here's a really good opportunity to bring the benefits of share ownership right through to all their customers.

So I said about this look, you know, what you've bought in De Zoette & Bevan, which was the private client broker that then bought to go alongside Wedd Durlacher Mordaunt, it's not a retail broker, you need a retail broker. And here's a plan for it.

It's called Barclayshare. They were great. They accepted that plan, and gave me the opportunity to get it underway.

And I learned a huge amount during that four or five years setting up and running Barclays share. Also worked alongside, you know, one or two people from Barclays, who really made a significant difference and helped me to, to sort of plan out the business concepts of it going forward.

So by the time I left Barclays, I’d learnt an awful lot. And by that stage they were very keen for, for me to sort of move off into other areas of financial services. But I wanted to stick with personal share ownership. And so that's why I started the share center in 1990.

Peter Higgins 10:15

Thank you, you touched on you learn a great amount from some of the people that you met whilst transitioning, Barclays share and working there and with some of the other colleagues, could you touch on some of the your greatest learnings during that early part of your career please?

Gavin Oldham 10:28

Well, funnily enough, probably one of the greatest was actually not in Barclays itself. I was introduced by colleague of mine who worked with me to adorn in Oxford University, and we went to go and talk to him, but the plans and what the whole thing was about, and he said to me, back, he said, what you're talking about, he said, is disintermediation, disintermediation.

And I've thought about that a great deal since then. And I still think about it a great deal today. Because you know, what we're, we're in a world where, you know, effectively, people's lives are controlled by very large financial institutions, and the elite and the powerful.

And essentially, for ordinary people, they don't feel a sense of disintermediation at all. And we do need to move towards that situation. And I think that if we can achieve a more egalitarian form of capitalism in the future, the way it will be measured, the yardstick by which it will be measured, will be the degree of disintermediation within it, the degree to which it actually spreads that feeling of being in control of your own lives.

And you could feel that even you know, a couple of years ago, and election campaigns of Brexit campaigns and everything else, this whole ethos of taking back control, I know is an easy political slogan, but it meant something to people, because that's what people really want to feel that they're in control of their own lives. And that's what disintermediation is about. And that's one of the biggest learnings that I had in those market share days.

Peter Higgins 11:55

Brilliant, thank you. So when you then proceeded to launch and start and founded the Share Centre in 1990, was that about you trying to almost level the playing field for investors per se?

Gavin Oldham 12:06

Well, that was the underlying vision behind it. But of course, there's an awful lot of hard graft in setting up a small business, we started from literally a clean sheet of paper, a couple of people can join me, there was literally three or four of us actually, in there in an office in Tring in Hertfordshire, and we had to just get it all going by ourselves.

And so we had a lot to learn on the process on the way through. One of the interesting things about chair dealing is and I have to say that I'm much more interested in share ownership than I am in the dealing function in its own right, the ownership was the thing that really matters to me.

But one of the things that I did, you know, I was very much aware of from my Barclayshare days, was that all the share certificates being bought at the time through the big new issues, and therefore the certificate sales, which came with that, and that business really came in quite swiftly, it was almost like surrogate capital for us when we first started.

So it was really important stage that to actually build to identify where that source of revenue could come from.

Because, you know, it does take quite a lot of effort to get a small business underway. And it wasn't really for about five or six years that we really built it onto a fairly reliable steady footing on from there, by then we've done quite a lot of the big new issues too.

But we got involved with BT three, National Power and Powergen. You know, so. So really quite a few of those very big privatization issues we've been involved with, and they will help build a business as well.

Peter Higgins 13:37

You had some phenomenal success with the Share Centre, share PLC, because you grew the essential retail broking arm of the business and trading services to over 300,000 Personal investors, employees and shareholders right up until July 2020. What do you make of that success? Because that takes a lot of graph to take it from a blank sheet of paper, as you said,

Gavin Oldham 13:59

What is the step along the way to a more egalitarian form of capitalism, but I have to say that we got an awful lot further to go.

And what I'm concentrating on now is probably more of those broader picture concepts. I mean, that's if you like evidence that the commercial side of it can work.

But actually, we need to get some real academic rigor behind this. We need to get it much more embedded into the political environment, we need to take it very much further. Yes. So it's got a great deal further to go.

But I think certainly the Share Centre did actually really prove what you can do with retail share ownership.

One of the really exciting things about it was actually a slicing off a chunk of our capital in 2000 and giving it to our customers. And so we had a free share prospectus and all of a sudden we had 90,000 shares of the business. Now, you know, that really started to mean something because it actually built a sense of membership in the business from our customers, which wasn't really the sort of thing which an awful lot of businesses these days, they just see their customers as customers.

For me that aspect about drawing together, somebody being a customer and being a part owner of a business is as important as it is to get your employees owning shares in your business as well. And we were one of the very early movers in that, Gordon Brown came up with a scheme called the all employee share ownership plan.

It's now called the share incentive plan. And we were one of the first movers with getting that into operation. So employee share ownership, customer share ownership, that's what it's all about. And it all brings this sense of responsibility, and actually drawing things together under one head. So you don't have us them, you just have all of us working together for, you know, for a common purpose, which is the right way to society to be.

Peter Higgins 15:50

I completely agree with you, in that sense that over the 50 or so years that you've been involved in the markets, I suspect that you've been in contact with most of the prime ministers that we've had, over that time to try and make good some changes for all so equality can prosper.

Gavin Oldham 16:05

Well, I'm still swapping emails with Gordon Brown about the child Trust Fund, which I'm passionate to actually see the child Trust Fund really succeed and do exactly what he intended it to do. And one of his ministers, who is Ruth Kelly, she's actually a trustee of the Shoah Foundation, which is terrific. Y

es, indeed, I have also been discussing on one or two opportunities, egalitarianism, capitalism, or Boris, but it does need to go a lot further yet, I don't think he's quite understood that leveling up is more about individuals. And it is about just pouring money into certain areas of the country. So we've got quite a lot further to go.

Peter Higgins 16:40

Excellent. You keep on working. Gavin, can you tell me a bit more about the Children's Trust Fund plays?

Gavin Oldham 16:46

Yeah the thing is, when I first wrote to Margaret Thatcher in the late 80s, with a scheme which I described as popular inheritance, which was a way of slicing off a certain amount of inheritance tax, and actually making that available to young people coming through, she actually wrote me a long letter back, which is very kind of it, but she didn't bring anything in. When the government changed in 97, I wrote again, to Gordon Brown.

And what came out about three or four years later was the child Trust Fund, I don't know whether that was any part of it. But when it came out, I thought to myself, this is about as good as it gets, you know, in terms of started capital account for young people with a real focus on disadvantaged young people too, because if you were in a family and a receipt of Child Tax Credit, basically, you've got twice the level of initial government's description.

And so basically, when the scheme started, as applied to all young people born from the first of September 2002, and the average child will get 250 pounds to get started. Those in those families in receipt of child tax credit, they got 500.

And for the older ones, when they were age seven, they got the same contribution again. So actually, it's turned into an account, which typically is worth maybe 1500 pounds.

Now, it's actually quite a valuable thing. The problem is that for many, many of those disadvantaged families, they weren't familiar with investments at all. And they didn't know what to do. So when they hadn't taken action, within one year of birth, the HMRC opened an account for the child, but they didn't really connect it properly.

And so, you know, we find now that there's a very large number of 18 year olds who are turning 18, with child trust funds, who are not actually aware of them, and not claiming that money.

There's over 50% of child trust funds not being claimed by 18 year old. So there's a really big task to do to actually connect that and to make it come through.

But the job trust fund is not just about a startup capital account, it's about also financial education. And so, you know, financial awareness and building up life skills.

That's a really important part of it as well.

Peter Higgins 18:52

Yeah, I must agree with regard to the educational side of it. And this is part of the reason why London South East are doing these Investing Matters podcasts, I think the important thing that I think that you've done over the one of the many significant things that you've done over the years, is about this educational side and forcing the good for everyone to learn more, and to have a greater understanding of their financial responsibilities and opportunities that they may have as well, Gavin.

Gavin Oldham 19:17

Well, I mean, I think financial awareness is really important. And unfortunately, you know, in schools, it does tend to get rather sort of popped into a back corner.

That still a very strong feeling among ministers. But you know, the way to do financial education is on the back of maths, where you can learn a lot about compound interest in maths but you can't really learn about things like insurance and risk and all those sort of other things which would come along with it.

So actually, it is important, you know, to have a subject in its own right of financial awareness. I would like to see a GCSE, introduced in financial awareness. And I think there'd be hundreds of 1000s of young people who would take it each year.

You know, in fact, the LIBF, The London Institute of Banking & Finance, bought out a scheme, an exam which is fairly close to that, but it's not actually achieved that qualification as a GCSE, we do need to have that sort of thing in schools as well. So I mean, I think there's quite a lot to do on that I was on the board of something called the personal finance education group until it was absorbed into Young Money, you know, a few years ago, and we very much thought that we'd actually achieve getting it onto the curriculum by that stage.

But unfortunately, without an exam, it really will not get the push through that it needs in schools. So it's got further to go.

London South East 20:32

Investing Matters in association with London South east, one of the UK is leading share information websites for the private investor community, providing share prices, news and data straight to your desktop, tablet, and phone.

Peter Higgins 20:50

Some of the work that you've done was of interest to me, Gavin was in in 2011, you worked with the Share Centre’s large customer base to stop the EU Commission defining ordinary shares as complex instruments, and therefore out of reach of ordinary people. But please, can you give me an example of what this means? E.g. listed ordinary shares that private investors can now buy that they may not have been able to do without tyour victory Over the EU Commission?

Gavin Oldham 21:18

Well, yeah, I think really, that that just illustrates how far the the western democracies have got from what a true understanding about what individual capitalism really means. Because the thing is, it's not just in the EU, there have been civil servants in the treasury as well.

I remember one who said to me, once ordinary people don't belong in chairs. I mean, it was just the most outrageous comments. It's just really outrageous, you know, I mean, it is the heart, it is the complete heart of understanding what, you know, a democratic capitalist society should be when people can own a share in the businesses in which they work.

And they use day by day, you know, and they get to know and so on, it actually makes them part of that process and to be with it. And so when the EU came up with this rather outrageous suggestion, we actually contacted as many of our customers as we could in the Share Centre, and we found the name of the individual in Brussels, who was responsible for this piece of drafting. And we asked everybody to write to him with his email.

And one of the government ministers said to me at the time that it had really made an impression, because it was dropped pretty quickly after that. So that was very satisfactory. But I have to say that actually, the other thing is, he says, You have to pick and choose your your areas where you do push on the political front, because otherwise you'd spend all your time chatting about politics and not actually getting things done.

And it is important to get things done. But one of the things we have worked out over the years very hard. I actually I started right back in 87. I remember a conversation with John Redwood, when he was a minister in the DTI in the late 80s.

In Margaret Thatcher's government, about the enfranchisement of nominee shareholders. That's another very big issue for me. And it took 19 years to get the law changed on that. And the reason was because the share registrars, of course, they wanted to keep on giving these special rights to people who are on the register and have their share certificates.

But they didn't want a nominee, Share owners has to have the same rights. So they could sort of talk about nominee as a sort of second class means of ownership, which is complete nonsense. Because everybody knows about nominee share ownership, so much more convenient.

It's a much lower cost way of owning shares, you can hold your portfolio together, you can really understand what the whole thing is about. So actually, it was really important to get the law changed on that. And in 2006, we actually had a quite a campaign about nominee shareholders because we were seeing new companies that coming through, I don't if you know about companies actually only happen about once every 20 years. So you've got to use the opportunity when they're, you know, so when it's there.

And we write on the street with placards. We were campaigning hard. The main bit of the build was taken actually in the House of Lords. It wasn't at the conference at all, which was great, because actually, that's where there's much more of a mix, you know, that sort of government party line was support that share registrar's, but actually, you know, by talking with the opposition, I managed to persuade a few bishops to get behind it as well, and things like that.

And, you know, we finally overturned that particular part of the bill, I think 53 votes to 47 or something like that. It was really exciting moment. And since then, we've actually had the enfranchisement of nominee shareholders who are all have rights provided that the broker is prepared to actually provide them with that option. They have the rights to actually have the company report and to keep be kept informed and be part of the sharing structure of the business. So that's really important.

Peter Higgins 24:55

It's very important, I think with the growth of the DIY investor now it's even more important that they get all of the information sent to them. And a lot of the investors obviously are doing it in a DIY basis. So they're actually having on platforms, you know, a bit like interactive investor, which obviously purchased Share Centre and share PLC. So having that information is vital.

Gavin Oldham 25:17

Well I’d say, you know, interactive investor is particularly strong, basically, on shareholder rights. And in fact, they've just run what won an award for it, in fact, which is really good. It's good to know that we've merged the Share Centre in with a business which has that same objective of shareholder participation.

Peter Higgins 25:33

Yeah, because I was I was going to ask you, because obviously, now you're a minority shareholder, in interactive investor. And therefore, I was I was going to ask you, Are you pleased with the progress that instructive have made? And is there anything that you can see on the horizon that you would like, for all investors to be beneficial for, you know, enhanced services?

Gavin Oldham 25:53

Well, there is indeed a thing as I have a lot of respect for interactive investor, they have a real focus on their business, which is really important. And, you know, one of the things that I've very much observed about them, is that they don't allow themselves to be distracted and moving off in different directions, they keep very much focused on the job in hand.

And I think that's why they've been so successful from that point of view. So it is good to be part of that thing, although it is hugely different, being a minority shareholder from being a majority shareholder, because, you know, you don't call the shots anymore.

You know. So basically, you just have to be a colleague with others, you know, the board. And I understand that, and we have to get on with that, in terms of those wider feelings. But there are things about egalitarian capitalism, which I think are probably outside the remit of a firm like interactive investor at the moment, but actually, things where we really might want to move things forward substantially in the future.

I mean, you know, I personally feel that the technological revolution gives us a huge opportunity at the moment, to be able to really involve customers of tech firms throughout the world, in share ownership. And in particular, the thing that we do with tech firms is we actually endow them with huge amounts of data, we let them store our data, then we let them harvest our data.

And we know that they use it to beam back ads at us. So they know I think would be interest or whatever be. Well, the thing is, it seems to me that the right way to repay people for the use of their data is to issue shares in your business. And I'd like to see shares for data coming in right across the big tech firms.

I'm talking of Amazon, and Apple, and Microsoft, and so on, and, you know, really spread share ownership in the billions of people who own those shares, right throughout the world.

Now, that will mean some major changes going forward. And it'll mean major changes about the way in which share ownership works too, because at the moment, it tends to be regulated and administer administered on a national basis.

And we need to move that onto an international basis, we need more convergence between things like the American system and the British system, you know, and, therefore, have a situation with if you're a customer of a large international company, or if you work for large international company, it shouldn't make any difference, whether you live in one part of the world or the other, you should be able to be a stakeholder in that company share owner in that company, and to feel that sense of ownership.

And that's what I'd really like to move towards. Now, that's a much bigger dimension. And I know it will require a bit of academic rigor behind it.

So I am doing some work at the moment with Cambridge University, who are just introducing a research fellowship into the actual academic basis for this sort of change. And I hope over the next three or four years that we'll see some of that coming through, and really starting to lay the framework for having a completely revolutionary move forward in individual capitalism.

Peter Higgins 29:05

That, to me sounds absolutely brilliant, because what concerns me and obviously, we roll using tech for a variety of different reasons, we're using a platform today to enable us to record this podcast.

And as everyone else has been saying, for some time, now, the new oil is data, you know, it's been fed everywhere and being used everywhere. And a lot of these companies know far more about us individually than our own partners and our and our families.

So you're able to, to ensure that everybody benefits from that and not just the big tech is, I think will be a massive initiative if you can actually get that to to get everyone to around the table to discuss it fully and initiate that giving.

Gavin Oldham 29:43

You see, I mean, it'll have various other benefits too. I mean, at the moment, you have a situation where, you know, Mr. Bezos bless his cotton socks uses revenue, which is earned from millions of his customers go and shoot a rocket up into space and enjoy waving at us from somewhere up in the upper atmosphere.

Well, you know, that's very nice. But actually, what he's doing is hoovering up cash from all over the world, and actually putting it into a particular sort of personal thing of his own aspect there. And I know he is he's actually achieved a huge amount within Amazon.

And, you know, he no doubt deserves to be able to enjoy that. But the fact is that, you know, we can't have a system whereby, you know, the tech firms, effectively hoover up the circulation of cash around the world. And, you know, use it in that kind of way, what we need to do is to make sure that it's recirculated so that gradually, wages will turn into dividends.

And people will be able to actually live off the fruits of technology wherever they are, and whatever their circumstances. And if you do shares for data, we can start moving in that direction. So this is not just about an egalitarian form of capitalism.

It's a new form of economics, which will actually allow the whole human race to take the benefit of technology going forward, and not just one or two extremely rich people. And I think that's really, really important. One of the reasons I believe that we have rock bottom interest rates at the moment, rock bottom inflation, is because technology strips all the guts out of the inflation research within society.

Effectively demonetizes demand introduces huge scalability and supply. And the impact is to flatten interest rates. But the point is, you can't just keep on hoovering up money all the time, and deal with us in that way, you've got to keep it circulating.

And the way to keep it circulating if people can't work in quite the same way is to do with dividends. And so I'd like to see the dividends flowing off those shares, and starting to give people a standard of living going forward, and not just having to rely on universal basic income. Sorry, I that's a little bit of an economics subject, I do understand that. 

Peter Higgins 31:56

But, you know, that is very, very good. And very important. I think also, the point that you're touching on there is that are slightly touching on is the fact that the largest behemoth companies pay very little in the way of tax.

So they're hoovering up a lot of money and not distributing it accordingly. So that's quite important going forward as well to address that side of it.

Gavin Oldham 32:14

But that is true. And you know, I think really that it's extremely difficult to get that balance, right. If you just rely on tax, you actually have to look at things like distributed chairmanship to do it as well. I think that is important.

Peter Higgins 32:27

Yeah, that Gavin, I wanted to touch on your time when you invested and created and nurtured the Share Radio, the digital radio station, and I want you to just get a feel for, you know, what was your inspiration behind that? Was it about being an educational platform to enhance the learning for all regarding investing? Or was it more to do with actually becoming a global entity, in a sense of inspiring others around the world, not just in the UK?

Gavin Oldham 32:55

I think it really was about that communication, and education front me. And then I'd always sort of been thinking to myself for about 10 or 15 years prior to that, that actually a radio station would be a very good way to get the focus on sharing ideas about money, which was, you know, the strap line which we used in Share Radio, I think in terms of that wider in with it's, it's actually providing that avenue an opportunity to communicate in a way which you don't get as an ordinary citizen.

Part of the benefit of doing it is that you can actually expand on these ideas and take them forward. And when we produce our weekly commentary at the moment, we concentrate very much on these issues of egalitarian form of capitalism.

I mean, this week, for example, the commentary is headed capitalism in the doghouse. Because, you know, there was a major report done in July, by the IEA, which was called Left turn ahead, which really shows that young people are not connecting with capitalism at all the moment. And you need to be able to talk about these things in a way which people can hear the thing that I didn't get the opportunity with radio, which I had with retail stock broking. When I started retail stock broking.

I had five years working for Barclays beforehand, and I learned what to do and what not to do. That's hugely important. I didn't have that same learning curve with radio. So I very much just went into it and started from scratch on that I soon began to realize that radio has its own dynamic, and it's a very difficult dynamic, because for small radio stations, it's extremely difficult earning revenue, advertisers don't really want to advertise on radio that much, you know, they can now use digital sources.

If you're running a speech station costs can be quite high. I had a great delight of working with Donald Leggatt who is absolutely terrific to be alongside.

And he taught me a great deal. But I have learned over these four or five years and I've been doing it that actually, you have to take advantage of that technology again in this area.

And I've now discovered that you can almost run a radio station of single handed. Obviously that's good for the future. but it's a hard learned a lesson over the last three or four years. You know, as an entrepreneur, I'd say, I wouldn't say that Share Radio has been one of my starting successes in terms of earnings from that point of view.

Peter Higgins 35:11

Yeah. But I mean, I'll go back, firstly, to Donald, he speaks very, very highly of you, by the way. And he enjoyed his time working with you and is hoping to work with you again, going forward. I know that much.

Gavin Oldham 35:21

I so much enjoy what he does. He's a great character, and he's got so much wisdom tucked away up there.

Peter Higgins 35:26

Yes, he has indeed. And now you've got the Share Radio now purely online, and it's reaching, you know, across numerous countries. And, you know, all of that is, I think, for you is that thread all the time is educational, and learning, and so on, so forth.

So we get to 2018 Gavin, and you were awarded the OBE in respects of services to children and young people. And you're also a trustee for the personal finance educational group as well.

So there's a lot of themes there regarding young people education, but the thing that you've not touched on very much at the moment is your faith. And I want to touch on that because I think that's a fundamental component of what makes Gavin Oldham Gavin Oldham going to touch on that for me.

Gavin Oldham 36:08

Yeah, I mean, really, my faith is extremely simple, really, the Christian faith has these two great commandments says, for which hang all the law and the prophets as it is. And the first is love your God. And the second is love your neighbor as yourself.

And the interesting thing is that if you read deeper into it, it actually says, For as much as you did, whatever you did for other people, you did it for God.

And so actually, what Jesus actually said is that it is by loving your neighbor, and providing care for those who whoever they are, whatever their circumstances, that's how you actually, you know, you do the first commandment too.

And it's really important to understand that fully, I think, because, you know, I think a lot of religious people, you know, they think main part of it is the bit that you do in services and, and the worship and all the rest of it, actually, it's the people who do the food banks, it's the people who do street pastors, they are doing the real work, you know, which Jesus actually set out from that point of view.

And the interesting thing about young people, is that there's another dimension there, which is really important. And this is empowering the next generation and giving them the same opportunities. For many young people.

They come from very difficult backgrounds, where they haven't had the same easy start as many other young people. And I feel that it's incumbent on us to actually give them the opportunities give them that empowerment going forward.

In fact, in my faith, I actually believe that there's three roles to do. One is to love God and others to love your neighbor.

But the other is to be the vehicle, which carries the Christian faith from generation to generation. And that's really important too. And really, the church is doing it very badly at the moment, there's only a tiny proportion of teenagers who actually set foot anywhere near a church at the moment.

And I think that that is not something to be very proud of, within the Church of England at present. However, the thing is that, you know, there's a huge secular dimension to this as well. And that's why I set up the Share Foundation, when the Child Trust Fund first came in, I actually started it by making additional contributions into the child trust funds of those young people, from families, you know, where somebody had gone into care, we actually did that for about five or six years until the government changed.

We then campaigned with Action for Children and Barnardos to bring in a similar scheme under the new Junior ISA environment, we then pitched for running that scheme, and the Department of Education accepted us. And we've been running that part of the scheme for the DfE.

Now, for the last nine years. And in 2017, we also took on the child Trust Fund work, which until that point had been done by the official solicitor. Well, I think that gives us a huge opportunity, not so much from a faith dimension, although one of the objectives of the show Foundation does talk about Christian principles.

But it's much more about actually giving that next generation the opportunity to take the most out of life. Because everyone starts with exactly the same potential. We're all born the same on this earth. What we need is to have that chance to come through and going right back to my initial days, and you asked me earlier, but my experience in the Lansing Children's Centre.

One of the other books I came across at that time was a book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who is an author who actually died in the Second World World War, he was French. And in the epilogue of his book, there is the most extraordinary story of you know how he sees a child sitting between two farmworkers who have been migrating across Europe and they're absolutely exhausted.

They're worn out by the exertions, and he looks at this child slumbering away and he says, you know, imagine what this child could be.

It could be a Mozart, it could be a great scientist could be all sorts of things. But actually its circumstances will actually bring it into the same problems of same difficulties that his parents have been.

And so that story said a huge amount to me about the potential of people and what can be achieved. And that stayed with me right throughout the years over the last 50 years. And I think it will always remain with me.

And it's the thing, which really says to me more than anything else, you know, we have to give young people the opportunities going forwards.

Peter Higgins 40:30

I have to agree with the governor, and I've done my previous career was working with young looked after young people.

And a lot of them just need a cohort of people that believe in them and given them opportunities going forward. And to enable them to have some chances, because they start from such a disadvantaged point, sometimes when they become in the looked after services, teams and local authorities. So that is a massive piece of work that still needs doing.

So the more that you can do on that front, and I know you're doing work with the church urban fund, as well, is for the empowerment of everybody because they need to be given so much more chances in life, because they get written off at a very early age and don't get opportunities. Unfortunately.

Gavin Oldham 41:11

Yes, I’m afraid one of the features of young people in care is that the thing they suffer for most is insecurity. And the feeling of being pushed around from pillar to post from school to school to foster care and foster care, you know, and really, you know, you can understand how difficult it must be turning adult after that kind of experience during your teens.

And you're quite right. It's that feeling that somebody believes in you, somebody will actually give the opportunities to make the most of your potential. And so I hope we can provide a bit of that, although, you know, if we can ever do the same as somebody who's works, you know, directly with young people, and we have 10 staff in the Share Foundation, and we work right across the United Kingdom.

So we have to work through all the routes available to us. But we are reaching very, very large numbers of young people. I think so far, we've benefited something like nearly 200,000 young people. So it has helped quite a bit.

Peter Higgins 42:08

That's brilliant. Yeah. And investing. Sincerely does matter. Now, Gavin, I'm going ask you a final question, please, if I may. And you've achieved so much during your time as an entrepreneur, CEO, leader, ambassador, advocate for young people, and within your work for the Church of England, what goals and ambitions do you still have that you wish to achieve? And you've touched on some of them already.

Gavin Oldham 42:29

But I think it's really to, to take this concept of a more egalitarian form of capitalism, and to get it embedded into the way the world works.

Because, you know, what we have is two systems which battle it out with each other, and one's communism with sort of slightly more democratic socialism. And the other is capitalism, which is incredibly driven by large institutions, and elite and so on. And both systems are so heavily intermediated.

It is absolutely unbelievable. And those are the two choices, which people are presented with, when the IEA gave young people their choices in July, they just gave the most choice, they didn't give them a more egalitarian form of capitalism would have been interesting to see what would happen if they had.

Now what I would like to do is to with the work in Cambridge, you need academic rigor behind this, with the evidence which we build up in the Share Foundation of what we're doing for the child trust fund, and what we've done in that area, and by international connections, to gradually get this new understanding about the way economics can work, a disintermediated form of individual capitalism, which works on a much more egalitarian basis throughout the world.

And using things like the tech revolution, actually make that change. Those are the things I really want to achieve and if a good Lord gives me another 10-15 years, hopefully, I may be able to make some of the change. But I'm quite sure we need people beyond me. But if we can start moving in that direction, it will be good thing.

Peter Higgins 44:08

Oh, that's wonderful. Gavin, thank you ever so much for sharing your your insights on the investing matters podcast Gavin. That was Gavin Oldham OBE pursuing, egalitarian change for all. Thank you ever so much, Gavin, take care and god bless you.

Outro 44:31

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