CITY commentator Justin Urquhart-Stewart had an audience laughing at the unlikely subject of financial planning when he gave a seminar in Bournemouth.

Mr Urquhart-Stewart is well-known as a financial pundit on TV and radio, in his regular attire of shirtsleeves and red braces.

He spoke at a seminar held by Coy Pond company Blue Sky Financial Planning at Bournemouth’s West Hants Club.

He said it was important for people to know what they wanted in their financial future and to plan to get there.

And he said TV and radio reports about the Stock Exchange figures gave people the wrong idea of investment. “That’s the financial version of the 2.30 at Newbury.

“We’re telling people the wrong message,” said Mr Urquhart-Stewart, director of Seven Investment Management.

“The FTSE going up and down like a yo-yo isn’t the important thing.

“All that does is frighten people so they think ‘I’ll put my money in the bank’.”

He acknowledged that the industry had played a part in putting people off professional advice.

“People are frightened by it because they fear the industry and are not confident,” he said.

He joked that consumers had experienced “pompous gits in red braces telling you what to do” as well as “IFAs (independent financial advisers) not providing you with what they should be doing and banks not exactly helping either”.

He stressed the importance of good financial advice and of working out as early as possible what income you would need in later life.

“If it’s too late for you, then look at the family and look at the assets and you’ll find you can be more comfortable than you would otherwise,” he said.

He said he visits schools regularly in an attempt to promote financial literacy.

“Most of us have learned from osmosis. I wish somebody had told me this when I was 20,” he added.

Gary Neild, managing director of Blue Sky Financial Planning, said: “My job is to understand or encourage people to live the life they want but so many people are on the treadmill, they don’t have time to stop and reflect.”

“It was important to have an investment strategy, rather than to let “inertia rule”, he said.

He added: “Our working with West Hants makes a lot of sense, marrying health and wealth.

“Hopefully by being fit and healthy you’ll have a long life but you need to make sure your money lasts.

“You need to plan to make sure you can spend with confidence.”