Industry pays respects to ‘pensions legend’ Mike Morrison

Jenna Towler reports...

Mike Morrison

Friends and colleagues from across the financial services industry have paid tribute to pensions expert and all-round good bloke Mike Morrison after his sudden death aged 55.

Morrison, who was head of platform technical at AJ Bell, died at home on Monday. He leaves a wife and young daughter.

He was well known, liked and respected within the industry that he worked in for almost 30 years. Before AJ Bell he worked for Axa Wealth and Winterthur Life.

Pensions industry veteran and friend John Moret recruited Morrison to Provident Life in 1990. The firm later became Winterthur.

He said: “Mike and I go back a long way. I recruited Mike in 1990 when he was a relative unknown to join the technical team.

“We worked together for over ten years during which time my respect for him grew and grew.

“He was one of the most talented individuals that I have ever worked with – but more importantly he was a genuinely nice guy and brilliant company – particularly after a glass or two of wine. He always had a story to tell -and they weren’t all about pensions!”

Moret added: “Over the years we shared many industry platforms together and Mike was a key part of the growth of Winterthur’s Professional Adviser Division (which morphed into Axa Wealth) – with crucial input during the early days of SIPPs and income drawdown.

“He had an affinity with and genuine understanding of the issues facing financial advisers which they respected – that’s reflected in the many tributes already paid by financial advisers following his passing.

“We kept in touch and I was delighted that he obviously enjoyed his days at Axa Wealth and latterly AJ Bell where he was clearly totally at home.

“To lose someone of his intelligence, enthusiasm, and zest for life at such a young age is absolutely tragic -and of course for his wife Rita and daughter Sophie he is irreplaceable.”

AJ Bell chief executive Andy Bell also paid tribute, highlighting his love of presenting to advisers.

He said: “Mike was never more comfortable than when he was in a room full of financial advisers talking about complex pension topics in his unique, engaging and light-hearted way. He was one of the most popular pension commentators in the industry and leaves behind many friends and colleagues.

“Most importantly he was a dearly loved husband and father and our thoughts and support are with his family at this difficult time.  He will be sorely missed by everyone at AJ Bell.”

Camarco partner Louise Dolan described her friend as a “true gentleman, raconteur and a true inspiration”.

She said: “When you first start out in the pensions industry it can be quite daunting and over the years I have met some amazing people. Mike Morrison was one of them.

“He always had time for people, welcomed questions and his zest for life and the odd glass of wine, was infectious. He loved nothing more than a real debate and over issues that troubled him.”

She added: “I was fortunate to have been introduced to him many years ago and to also have him as a client. Press meetings were a riot, full of anecdotes and laughter. I remember once we were in a taxi between meetings and a car failed to stop and ploughed into the back of us. Being a true professional, he checked no-one was hurt, gave his number to the drivers and off we went on foot, yet another tale to tell.

“His love and pride for his wife and daughter exceeded his love of our industry and rightly so. Every time I asked about them, his eyes shone and I was entertained by tales of love and mischief.

“Mike, you will be sorely missed and the world is a bit darker without you, but if there is one thing I am sure of, you left a lasting impression on everyone you came into contact with. RIP and shine bright over us all.”

Twitter was also awash with kind words and fond memories of Morrison. Here are a small selection of tweets in memory of @AJBellMike.