Author: David Dodson


ATLANTA, Ga. — Martin Flanagan, president and CEO of AMVESCAP, one of the world's largest investment management firms with its global headquarters in Atlanta, spoke January 18 at the Terry Third Thursday executive speaker series. He discussed investment trends in the United States and in some of the emerging markets of the world where AMVESCAP's investment units like Invesco and Atlantic Trust are major players.

Flanagan said the societal shift in the United States toward self-funded retirement plans like 401k's and IRAs and away from employer-funded pension plans has created "an opportunity for money managers and a challenge for individual investors." The challenge for households, he said, results from individual investors having less time to think about financial decisions but "an excessive amount" of financial information to choose from.

"I get pretty scared about that," he said. "That's a bad formula. You can make some pretty bad decisions pretty quickly."

Flanagan said when he meets with legislators and policymakers he stresses simplifying the rules and requirements for people to make decisions about their retirement savings because the current complexity is paralyzing the consumer.

"For instance, it's more complex to put money in IRAs (now than it used to be). What do people do when it gets complicated to make a decision? We don't do anything," he said, illustrated in his example by the dramatic drop in deductible contributions to traditional IRAs since 1986.

"When we talk about retirement savings, it gets political very, very quickly. We really can't start (with the politics). We really have to start with the problem and just have some facts in front of people so we can be thoughtful about how to meet the needs of individual investors in the United States. It's a competitive requirement for us in the United States. We just need to spend time on it," he said.

Terry Third Thursday is a monthly breakfast speaker series for the Atlanta business community, hosted by the Terry College of Business' Office of Development and Alumni Relations at the Executive Education Center in Atlanta. The speaker series is co-sponsored by Bank of North Georgia, Deloitte, Public Broadcasting Atlanta and the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

To view the webcast of the January 18 presentation, as well as those of other Terry Third Thursday speakers, go to