Waterford-based investment and financial advisers recently met at the Granville Hotel to discuss the implications of the ongoing credit crunch for what organisers described as urgent talks.

The wide-ranging talks, backed by Hibernian Life & Pensions, included how best consumer investments could be protected amidst the ongoing turmoil on the markets.

Hibernian’s Michael Gordon said that deep public concern had prompted the holding of such a meeting, which drew over 50 local financial experts to the Granville.

“By gathering [these] experts together, we gained a greater appreciation of the issues being faced by investors from Waterford and also the potential investment options to help those consumers achieve long-term peace of mind and financial security,” he said.

The use of deposit-based pension investment funds, designed, so the experts say, for “cautious investors” who want a pension’s tax benefits without investing in a stock market fund just yet, was among the topics discussed.

“Waterford consumers are nervous about investing at the moment because of this [financial] turmoil,” added Mr Gordon.

“Some are even considering freezing their plans to invest in a pension. However those who freeze their retirement planning are more likely to do more damage to their finances than good, as it will actually cost more to top up your fund in the future than you will save in the short term.”

Meanwhile, Hibernian consumer research has revealed that 61 per cent of those surveyed in Munster have worries about retirement while 29 per cent were “not financially prepared to deal with the recession”.

But, believe it or not, the research unearthed some good news from a local perspective.

From the nationwide survey of 1,000 people, it’s been revealed that Waterford people “are now actively saving for retirement and more focused on learning how to maximise their retirement lifestyle”.

Consumers, it would appear, are no longer ‘splashing the cash’ and have turned their focus on planning towards a brighter financial future despite ongoing market uncertainty. By 2021, it is estimated that there will be 84,000 people of pensionable age in the south east.

“Despite the global market meltdown…Ireland’s investors are among the shrewdest internationally with almost half of consumers in Ireland seeing the value of investing for the future despite the turmoil in financial markets,” said Michael Gordon.

“Fifty-five per cent of consumers have also said they are now much happier to invest for the future rather than spend for today. Investors in Ireland join their peers in the US and Canada at the top of the table for seeing the value in investing for the long term with Dutch, Polish and Lithuanian investors bringing up the rear guard.”