Before we dive in this week – can I bring two Big Things to your attention? These are too good for the links…
- State of the Adviser Nation is live for 2023/24. This is our biggest research exercise of the year and, we think, the biggest independent advice professional research exercise in the UK. It might not be, but we think it is. Anyway, nice things happen when you fill it out and it’s incredibly useful to lots of people. No sponsors, no placed questions, no nonsense. Please could you take a little time and help us out? You can find it here please and thank you. Steve tells me he’s on the lookout for more paraplanner, admin and compliance participants this time round and this is the only time of year I listen to him.
- Are you in London and free next Thursday? If so, why not come for breakfast with us and Financial Software Ltd (the people who make the CGIX capital gains tax tool)? We’re going to get our geek on and discuss excess reportable income on offshore funds. You only think you don’t care about this, but it’s techy and important and fun and we’re going to have nice food and get our geek on for an hour and a half and try to find a way through it. I know you like breakfast, and I know you like a bit of techying out from time to time – why not combine the two? Book on here, all free of charge.
Back to it.
So OK, I changed the quote in the title a bit to make it fit this week’s themes which are twofold: Intelligence and Confidence. But you should still get it if you’re Properly Versed in films. The traditional imaginary tube of Rolos to the first 10 people to work out where it’s from and tell me on social media through the power of GIFs only, no words. It’s this kind of communal endeavour that makes life at the sharp end of late-stage capitalism so rewarding, don’t you think?
No Rolos are available for working out that I’ve been reading about Space Karen’s plans for financial services. This has led to a flood of Content from folk who enjoy writing about this sort of thing, mainly doomsaying about how we’re all dooooooomed – which to be fair I suppose is what you’d naturally be looking to get across if you’re doomsaying.
Allied to this is Rishi’s intensely weird interview at his AI summit with Space Karen, which at best was an execrable job pitch from a guy who won’t even have the option of a tent to doss down in in a year or so’s time and at worst left one wondering who decided this was the right time to make the work experience guy wear the Rishi flesh suit that day. I couldn’t watch it all as I’d run out of sharp objects to stick into my eyes by minute 20, but as far as I could tell the main conclusion was going to be, “Robots, right?” “Yeah, bro!”
And off our sector went with more Content about AI doing all the things and how we’d all be out of jobs soon and all that kind of thing. Which may well be true – and I for one welcome our new dematerialised meta-overlords and yearn for the sweet, sweet release of decommissioning and a chance to recombine my fleshy carbon atoms with the earth at this point – but dear Lord was there ever a group of highly intelligent, absolutely crucial-in-people’s-lives professionals who lack so much confidence and are so down on themselves?
No-one knows how it all ends, except it’ll probably be with a whimper, not a bang, and it will be we who scorched the sky. I think my point is that we might as well have a decent time along the way, no? And if the sector has located most of its value in human connection and financial planning, and then underneath the things that make those plans happen (and those’ll be the first to be automated) then that’s all to the good. No sector outside of medicine has this big an impact. The client without the confidence to know she can retire gets the news she can from someone she trusts. And her life changes. The terminally ill client knows his planner has fought tooth and nail to get his affairs in order so he can die in peace. And what little is left of his life changes.
HAL or VIKI won’t be doing this any time soon. I suppose Ultron might, but I’m not trusting anyone that sounds like Paul Bettany.
I thought this article on Jaco Cebula – a man so frighteningly intelligent that twenty minutes with him makes me want to slam my head in a drawer repeatedly for being such a rubbish, rubbish head – was great on this stuff. If you’re using Excel, you’re using AI already, and it helps take the drudgery away. So cheer up. You’re fine. For now.
I don’t have space to do it justice, but you should also cheer up about intergenerational wealth transfer and get on with offering to advise whole families whether or not they individually make sense commercially. I really like the Scottish Widows annual survey – game recognises game – and I’m not questioning the results for a moment. But 91% of advisers worried about losing assets? When 75% have a strategy for intergenerational advice? You know what that says to me? 66% of advisers have a strategy they think is rubbish and won’t work.
Quite apart from whether the Great Wealth Transfer is actually a thing or just made up by evil marketers like me to try and get people to do Things that suit my Nefarious Ends, I’m pretty sure all this can be sorted by planners just talking to families and doing the right things for an appropriate amount of recompense, and the rest will take care of itself. Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.
All this leads me naturally to the issue of confidence, which is absolutely something advice professionals should have and which seems to be lacking. Maybe this is one of those planning vs advice things, and if so it’s mirrored in the Nucleus Retirement Planning Confidence Index we published yesterday. It’s a proper piece of work this, and you should have a read. If you do you’ll find something fascinating – advice doesn’t make people more confident that they’ll have a financially properly structured retirement, but planning does. We’re calling it – when it comes to retirement advice it’s not the Advice Gap so much any more: it’s the Planning Gap.
But I wonder if the lack of confidence we see in that Scottish Widows report from firms is leaking over into client confidence that we see in the Nucleus report. It’s not beyond the realms of the imaginable. Maybe we should train Skynet to spot the patterns.
That’s enough. I’ve got to go. The Amazon AI is recommending me some new wax for my Barbour jacket. This is because I just bought…some wax for my Barbour jacket*. We’ve got a ways to go and at this point I’m not sure…I see any intelligence at all…sir.
Links are below and your music choice this week is a) cheerful and b) for those who just get on with it and steal their own piece of sky. Floppy indie dancing please for The Wonderstuff and Piece of Sky.
See you next week, unless the machines have taken over.
*Yes I do have one. It’s blue and I like it. What of it?