Alan Steel, financial adviser, dies after losing Covid battle
Contrarian: Alan Steel fought against ‘experts’ he believed to be wrong
Alan Steel, the Scottish veteran financial adviser, has died after a month-long battle with Covid-19.
Mr Steel, who was also a regular contributor to Daily Business as well as a generous donor, was being treated in Forth Valley Hospital and while there tweeted that he was going into intensive care.
His death, at the age of 74, was confirmed today in an announcement from his Linlithgow-based company.
Over the decades he built a loyal following, not just for the company’s financial management but also for his “contrarian” views on the world of investment, regularly challenging the perceived wisdom of “experts”.
He was held in high esteem across the financial services sector and beyond and counted the global investor Jim Mellon among his many well-placed friends.
He helped expose the Equitable Life scandal back in 1997, which saw more than a million policyholders lose billions of pounds of their savings. He was also asked to help the UK’s Treasury Select Committee tackle a number of other issues such as the meltdown in split capital investment trusts.
His business, which he established in 1975, handled the financial affairs of a number of high profile personalities including former Scotland footballer and manager Gordon Strachan and the golfer Stephen Gallacher.
In August he told his followers on Twitter that he had been quiet online after fighting a ‘losing battle’ with Covid-19. He said he was due to be moved to an intensive care unit and was on oxygen.
Steven Forbes, the firm’s managing director, said in a statement today: “It is with deep sadness that I have to inform you that the company’s founder and figurehead Alan Steel has passed away.
“As you know a few weeks ago he caught the horrible virus that has dominated our lives for the last eighteen months, and despite his battles against huge institutions such as Equitable Life, the regulator and those that gave our industry a bad reputation, his last, against an invisible foe, was one that even he could not win.
“I suspect he was aware this may be his final fight as before he went in to the ICU he wanted me to let you know that he started work at Scottish Widows the day after man landed on the moon, and he hoped he had been able to bring a ‘Sea of Tranquillity’ to your finances in that time.
“There is a pall of sadness hanging over the company just now, but as you would expect Alan made sure it would be business as usual when he was no longer around and the 41 of us in this branch of his family will continue his legacy and maintain the five key components of the business he loved; Knowledge, Integrity, Innovation, Fairness and Fun.
“I make no bones about the fact the last will be the hardest to do initially, but Alan would want us smiling so we will try our best.
“He is now with his beloved, and wise, Grannie McKay and will have a new audience for his multitude of jokes and stories. I also know the hole that exists in our lives just now as a result of his passing will be filled with joyous memories in time.”