Hello hello, welcome to the middle of your January and I’m glad to have something a bit more bracing than the constant mild damp of December. Mild dampness is no good at all; we want our weather gods to commit one way or the other. Give me a total soaking or give me death, that’s what I say. Or better, a proper winter like what we used to have when I were a lad.
Talking of committing, it’s one of those times when I do a bit of punting at the top of the Update because it’s only a couple of weeks until our 2024 London event on 8 February. This year it’s called Regenerate, and it’s all about, er, regeneration. Rumours that Steve and I will be turning up as Timelords are all-too easily dismissed and I won’t be drawn any further on that.
The actual regeneration we’re going to be talking about is how we deal with the forces that are shaping our industry – from pension reform to changing tax regimes to Consumer Duty to AI to the march upmarket of planners and more – and driving its regeneration as we get ourselves fit for the next decade. It’s a positive sort of day, not a moaning session, and I think it’ll be fun. We have some big names talking, one of the biggest of which has literally 19 characters in her name, and you don’t get much bigger than that. We’ll announce more on that in the coming days, but for now you can get your tickets here.
It’s free for advisers, planners, paraplanners and admins in advice firms, and attractively priced for everyone else. If you can’t make it to London on 8 February you can stream it free, but you have to register in advance. Either way, go here.
Right. Let’s talk about 2024 a bit now we’ve got our eye in.
All the indicators are that there’s going to be a lot going on this year. Initiatives that were hatched a while back but got banjaxed by the big Consumer Duty rush and some of the pandemic hangover in 2022/23 will hit the streets. We’ve already seen a couple of launches this year, and I think it’ll be the busiest on that front for ages. For example, we can expect to see the Nucleus / James Hay new platform go live and the Intelliflo / SS&C Wealthlink offer start taking assets in earnest. There will be tonnes more.
Amongst all the shiny-spinny new stuff, we still have some fundamentals to fix. You can build new-generation platforms, you can put in industrial-grade automation for bulk processing, you can do all sorts of things – but if the whole industry has to go at the pace of the slowest then we don’t get anywhere very much.
This was the thrust of the Letters of Authority paper we put out with Origo last year – grab a free download of it here. The TL/DR if you need it – this is a stupid issue largely caused by antediluvian shellbacks (no, you’re prolix) desperately trying to hang onto assets they have no right to. The paper was sort of fun, it’s had a few thousand downloads and lots of people had a wee shout about LoA. Those on the wrong side of the issue stayed vewy vewy quiet and hoped everyone would get distracted by, I don’t know, a Netflix thing, or fish for tea, or whether there’s a name for the bit in between your eyebrows where you have smooth skin and the Gallagher brothers have more eyebrow (there is; it’s the glabella. You may now win pub quizzes).
And guess what? Everyone sort of did. Good work, antediluvian shellbacks!
So collectively we need to have another go. The Pension Lab has stuck its hand up to go first, and is encouraging you all to use its website to “log your LoA pain” which just sounds (huh huh) a bit odd to me but I guess we all know what they mean. The idea is that if enough folk do it, they’ll be able to size the issue for the industry, stick a monetary figure on it and that will help with business cases to fix it.
I don’t know The Pension Lab very well, but a quick squizz reveals it has a product dog in the LoA fight the same way Origo does. That’s not a problem I don’t think. At this point it feels unlikely one solution will fix everything for everyone, and a bit of competition is good. So if you’re minded to, you can go and help them out by logging your pain; I had a go and it doesn’t take long.
I personally may set up a site called ‘Log Your Existential Pain’ which will offer firms the chance to howl at the unflinching cruelty of the universe, but not until I’ve found the proper name for the back of your knee.
Nonsense aside, this remains one of the big ones to get fixed. I have zero confidence 2024 will be the year that we make significant progress; I think a Dear CEO letter of the sort we had on cash interest will be necessary to get movement. But if better numbers around the issue help then let’s get that done too. Every step is a good one.
Oh, and the back of your knee is the popliteal fossa. Thank me later.
You’ll find this week’s #langcatlinks below and it’s time to get some heft back into the music choice. You know what you need? French progressive metal, that’s what you need. No official video for this so some fanboy has made a lyric one which will do. Uplifting stuff from Gojira; please do enjoy of Our Time Is Now. I think that’s true, don’t you?