investments: business as usual in Complacent City

It must be like a breath of fresh air working in the design department of a car manufacturer. You don’t have to jump through hoops or sell your soul to get an idea listened to.

You don’t have to justify innovation to a bunch of old farts, its part of the job description.

Its not as though in the other industries they work so efficiently your ideas are redundant, More like while the money’s flowing in, they just don’t care. They prefer the easy life.

The most obvious example of this is in financial services. You’d think the banking crash would have been a wake-up call. But no. Its business as usual in Complacent City.

Imagine buying a new car that was unsafe, wasn’t efficient had offered no cool features. Imagine it just not working right. Imagine financial services…

Where’s my money gone?

OK, I know I could bang on all day about dull websites, no social networking, no access to managers or the lack of email and contact details. But I’ve got one pet annoyance.

Getting at my money. They take it immediately, but if you want it back, you have to wait. Take selling shares, for example.

You can buy shares straight away and sell them in seconds, too. You can even sell and buy other shares instantly. So how come when I sell and want to put the money back into my bank account, I have to wait ten working days?

Electronic systems on a 40-hour week?

Let’s be honest. Share dealing has been a button-pushing operation for a long time now. The systems are all closely linked and what you do in Manchester is done in Manhattan. So someone please explain why they take so long and don’t work at weekends.

Now I’ve worked in financial systems architecture for a very long time and I can tell you, they sure don’t turn that stuff off with the lights.

When you sell shares online, its no longer 2010, you’re entering Morris Minor World, 1959. Here’s how it works.

Its life, Jim, but not as we know it

First you sell your shares. That’s fairly new so it happens instantly. The money drops into your share dealing account. But its only in a holding area you can’t get at. Unless you want to buy more shares, when it becomes real money again.

Next, you decide to take it out. That takes three working days. No weekends, remember. Once it appears “available for withdrawal”, you have to click a button – which you can’t do on day one, by the way. Don’t ask.

Next you wait again. Five more working days. Then, finally, it appears in your bank account. Like many people, I don’t keep much money in my current account. It’s no good there, I try to have what little I have free working for me. So when I need access to it, it’s usually needed pretty fast. And that’s why this delay is such a pain.

I can’t see why it is this way. But I could be wrong. I could have missed some vital element. But with no social networking and poor websites, I can’t find out.

You know what, I’m getting really tired of driving my Morris Minor.