Hello again, welcome to your autumn but go easy on the heating. I have a couple of announcements this week, but the main one is that the Update is now denominated in dollars and so will cost you just a little more each month, but that’s a small price to pay for growth, amirite? Almost everyone agrees.
That wasn’t really one of my announcements, of which there really are two, or three if you count the non-announcement above, which you shouldn’t as it was a non-announcement and not one of the real announcements that follows now. I hope I’ve made myself clear there.
ON THE EDGE (NOT THE GUITARIST)
First up, I’m on the edge of the classic nervous breakdown because this is the last Update I’ll send before our latest #langcatlive event – HomeGame 2. I know I’ve punted this at you before, but I’m going to do so again now, and if you don’t want me to then skip down to the FCA bit below, except don’t.
Next Wednesday, 5 October is the date and the National Museum of Scotland is the venue, and we have a SIZZLING agenda which you can read here. You can chat away to your peers, shout at the FCA guy who has said he’s fine with it, listen to the Scottish Government have some fun with the events of the last few days, check out some awesome new fintech, hear some new research from us and dig into Consumer Duty. There will also be drinks. In-person attendees who are advice professionals get the chance to win a £700 bottle of malt, and everyone else can stare at the winner and contemplate bashing them over the head, nicking said malt and having it away on their toes.
If you work in advice or planning and can make it to Edinburgh, don’t hang about. I’ve got about 20 seats left and I really want this to be the biggest gathering of advisers in Scotland for many a long year. Tickets are free for you. Oh, and Scotrail have confirmed there is no train strike up here next Wednesday.
If you can’t get to Embra, please still do register before the day. There’s a ‘streaming’ option here and it’s free for everyone. You need to register in advance so our streaming platform (platforms, eh?) recognises you; you won’t get in otherwise. So don’t delay, reserve your streaming ticket for HomeGame today, and that’s GREAT MARKETING because it RHYMES. Some fool once said there’s no such thing as marketing, there’s just asking folk for stuff, but they must have been distracted at the time because liquid marketing like this shows just how wrong they were.
Whimsy aside, nothing we do means more to me than a big event in my home town – we’ve thrown everything into making it the best day we possibly can and I think you’ll have fun. Come along and find out.
ALSO ON THE EDGE (NOT THE GUITARIST)
Our second piece of edge-related behaviour (stop it) relates to a quite remarkable announcement from Sarah Pritchard of the FCA that they plan to extend their regulatory probe into the advice/guidance boundary and carry out a ‘holistic review’.
For those not involved, the boundary between advice and guidance is important because it’s what stops firms who aren’t authorised to give advice saying things like “you should totally invest in UK five year credit default swaps, they’ll be fine” without exams, CPD, authorisations and punitive professional and regulatory fees. Advisers tend to like the boundary because it stops at least some ne’er-do-wells cutting their grass. Direct providers, roboadvisers (no robots, no advice), some workplace pension providers and others don’t because the way the boundary is set at the moment makes it really hard to say anything useful at all.
So the regulator is going to have a look, and that’s interesting because for some time they’ve maintained that shifting the boundary is above their paygrade and a matter for policymakers, not regulators. What could possibly have changed in the last few weeks that has made them think that their paygrade might shift a bit? I guess we’ll never know.
We went through this, albeit in a milquetoast, half-a-loaf sort of way in the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) back in 2015, and the end result was a bit of nipping and tucking and nothing-to-see-here-guvving. But now, especially with new language like ‘holistic review’, this looks like an acknowledgement that something needs to change. Given that currently the only alternative to full-fat, high-responsibility regulated advice is skimmed milk guidance (and we all know how watery that tastes, don’t we?) watch this space to see if the review puts the option of semi-skimmed advice on the table. Or maybe robo-oatmilk. Can you milk robo-oats? Watch this space to find out.
WE GUIDE YOU TO THESE ADVISORY LANGCATLINKS
- If you haven’t had a read of A Fragmented World, our new study of the fragmentation of adviser technology and what we need to do about it, then you’re forgiven, but you can put that right by grabbing a free download here.
- Popular media celebrity Jack Gilbert from New Model Adviser wants your support to pressure the regulator to do more to stop scams. He’s been on telly you know.
- A proper moment as Andy Bell steps down from the company with his name above the door.
- And your music choice…well, I did Tom McRae last week before going to see him two nights running at the legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. I’ve never done this before, but it’s two weeks on the bounce for Tom as someone bootlegged one of the songs on Monday night and stuck it on YouTube. Not even my favourite one, but here’s Streetlight. I was about four feet away from the person filming this, having the most amazing time.
See you next week – hopefully at HomeGame 2.