Well, the good news is I’ve been allowed access to the TCWU keyboard again to write another one of these, so I must have done something right last time – I even had a paw full of (loosely based) fan mail supporting my music choice! And some more good news (for me at least, hopefully not for everyone), is that I’ll be gone again by the time you get this as I’m off to the land of pizza and Limoncello and cappuccinos, but not getting too close to that there volcano just in case.
Putting European travel (and the associated passport queues) aside for one moment, I’d like to add to Mark’s self-bigging up of our HomeGame 3 event last week. I’ve now experienced lang cat events from both sides of the fence (oldshopnewshop) and can see even more why they are so popular. And that’s just cos of the content; not the stunning venues or legendary after parties or getting to mingle with your favourite cats. #marketing
So, having recovered from the comedown / surprisingly only slightly sore head of said event, focus has turned to our 2024 calendar (it’s gonna be good, more on in the links below), which actually starts this year with…
COMING SOON: State of the Adviser Nation – Wave 6 (oooh, fancy)
We’re tantalisingly close to releasing the sixth iteration of what we think is the broadest and deepest omnibus survey of the advice profession. We’ll revisit some topics of previous versions, as well as the impacts of the cost of living, trends in adviser fees and the total cost of ownership, and the early ramifications of Consumer Duty. #topical
What’s also new this year, and you hopefully heard Rich and Steve chatting about this at HomeGame 3, is that we’re redesigning the survey to be easier to complete but also to be geared to different roles within the profession. So, if you’re an adviser completing the survey, you’ll have a different experience to a paraplanner completing it, or a business owner etc. The survey will be out next week and all the advice professionals that complete it will get a copy of the findings. We know from speaking to so many of you how highly you rate peer review, so please do share with your peers of different roles. We want to hear from all of you.
So, that’s it from me, not much to write about as it’s been very quiet on the news front. Oh no, wait, hang on to your lightsabers…
CONSUMER DUTY STRIKES BACK
The thing that was most in the headlines at the end of last week was SJP’s share price, or rather lack of it. Down 20% this month and very almost 40% year to date (as of market close 17th October), I imagine quite a few people, not least Mark FitzPatrick as he starts his new role (tough first month, eh?), were keeping a very close eye on things on Friday 13th. Coincidence??
And then yesterday, in plenty of time to write it up fully here so thank you, they made pretty big headlines by announcing the cutting of both initial product charges and remaining exit fees (ISAs and GIAs already ‘benefitted’ from this). But it’s applicable to new business only, which means it will be at least the middle of 2031 before exit charges are removed completely – feels a bit unequitable, right? Hargreaves Lansdown ditched exit fees a fair while back, driven by Investment Platforms Market Study outcomes, and many rightly wondered at the time why SJP didn’t do the same. It’s taken SJP this long and a significant push from the regulator (some would argue this should be followed up with a sharp jab in the ribs) to make them realise they need to focus on value for money a bit more and make a change. But at least it’s happening now, even if it’s going to cost them almost as much as a 6-month SpaceX mission to the International Space Station to implement. I’ve been wanting to get that cost comparison into something for a while, so let’s hope it makes the edit.
In a BBC impartiality rules ‘other wealth managers are available’ moment, it’s not just the behemoth firms which need to have a serious think about making changes; although if you’re that big then you have to expect to get some attention and not just when it comes to what the end client is paying. Other key things include digitalisation and service levels, which we talk about a lot…and I mean all the time, because they’re mega-important and we just should. Getting stuff done in general is often so much more painful than it needs to be: just look at transfers or the oft dreaded LOA process, the latter covered expertly in last week’s whitepaper launch hosted by our own Rich Mayor (watch the replay here).
Talking of becoming more efficient, the FCA are taking a spoonful of their own medicine and having a shot at automating processes as part of their own operational transformation. Dusting off his white tie and tails on Monday night, Nikhil Rathi took the opportunity at his speech at the Mansion House to remind us why the FCA thinks We Must All Embrace A Growth Mindset. If you’re a regulator, apparently this includes ramping up the efficiency of the authorisations process, having a bolder appetite for risk, and using technology better. As well as emphasising there is no place for ‘egregious non-financial misconduct’, and quite right too.
And lastly, I was going to mention the ongoing state pension triple lock shenanigans, but SJP’s news pipped my interest, and we operate to a very strict word count, so I’ve run out of…
Links below and your music selection is something good mood poppy this week, already seconded by Hammond Jr: a nice little number from George Ezra with a special guest star. You shall not pass…unless you click on the link, of course.
Mark might be back next week, might be Steve; but it won’t be Mike, maybe. No idea, as I’m in holiday mode now.