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Q & A with Karen Barrett – Money Management

Updated 22 December 2022

2min read

Nick Green
Financial Journalist

Karen Barrett, chief executive of adviser directory unbiased.co.uk, plans a tasty alternative career and says people’s love affair with houses is not over.

What was your first ever investment? An Aberdeen technology ISA, which was absolutely the worst decision anyone could have made as it was just before the dotcom bubble burst.

Where were you when Lehman’s collapsed? I was working at Unbiased and I remember looking at the news but it’s funny, it didn’t really sink in.

What will be the biggest change for your industry in the next 50 years? Product providers realising that they have to be fair to consumers. I would really like to see them thinking much more about what is reasonable and fair for the consumer to expect. Those firms that do will have a long term future and start to rebuild the trust in the industry.

If you were head of the FSA for a day, what would you do? Agree a substantial budget for a consumer campaign for financial services and consumers’ responsibilities.

How much do you think a house will cost in 50 years? £1,000,050, with the added £50 since it’s your anniversary! People’s love affair with housing isn’t over by a long shot. Property is very high, cost wise, at the moment but I don’t see that diminishing.

If I was not in financial services I would be… Running frozen yoghurt shops. I think it’s yummy and healthy.

I predict interest rates will move on… The first Thursday of May in 2014.

If I could put £50,000 into an investment now and only take it out in 50 years, I would put it… Where my adviser tells me to. I would go to a professional adviser who knows what they’re talking about, keeps an eye on my investments for me and hopefully I would make more money than if I decided myself.

Who has had the most impact on the industry over the past 50 years? The consumer. That will continue as the voice of the people becomes stronger and stronger.

Originally published in Money Management.

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About the author
Nick Green is a financial journalist writing for Unbiased.co.uk, the site that has helped over 10 million people find financial, business and legal advice. Nick has been writing professionally on money and business topics for over 15 years, and has previously written for leading accountancy firms PKF and BDO.