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THE TOP CLASS WEDNESDAY UPDATE SAYS ‘NO DECORATIONS TILL DECEMBER’

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We live in bifurcated times, siblings. Families fight over Brexit. Friends feud over Russian interference in our elections. And colleagues carp over whether Mike really should still be in Strictly Come Dancing. Apparently.

What we need is something to heal us. A cause we can all get behind. That which unites us is greater than that which divides us and we need something to prove it. So I invite you to rush to the barricades in support of the lang cat’s ‘No Decorations Till December’ campaign. It’s got everything. Alliteration. A clear purpose. A great sub-headline for you to daub on a banner (‘We’re Not Festive But We Are Furious’). All we need is your support, and £10,000 on the crowdfunding website I’ve just set up…

…Ho, ho. But we do need to unite behind something. And I think we could find our cause in this piece from Money Marketing. If it’s true that fewer and fewer folk are searching for independent financial advice online, that’s a cause for concern. I can’t prove this, but I think the time lag between someone starting to think they should see an adviser and actually signing up to allow someone to set up camp on their portfolio is in the region of 6-9 months. So if we’re at an historic low for people starting that journey, it could be that the bonanza of new clients the advice profession has enjoyed over the last few years could be over.

BOOM BOOM

That would be a shame. As I’ve written before, the baby boomers in the UK lag the boomers in the States – our boomers won’t hit 60 for another 8 years. So we – all of us, industry and profession alike – have a great opportunity to help those who are still a ways away from retiring to start sorting their stuff out. Of course, many won’t retire until 65 or later; a 13 year time horizon is plenty to make a difference to your retirement outcome.

A lot of this is down to the well-worn saws of the advice profession washing its dirty linen in public with spats on social media, one-upmanship about how my way of calculating X is better than yours, and mud-slinging about large and popular restricted firms (this last one is quite good fun though). Stories about Woodford, LC&F, iffy DB transfers and so on don’t help either.

Some of it is down to many firms really still struggling to get their online presence sorted out. That’s understandable to an extent; if you’ve been finding it easy to get clients since pension freedoms came in, then why put the effort and expense in? On the other hand, it’s nearly 2020 and most IFA websites I visit are still, and this is a Scots technical marketing term, keech.

One thing that’s not causing a dip in adviser demand is people horsing it over to robo-advisers. I’ve said for a while that the first wave of robo / digital investing providers has broken on the shore and most are in a right old state. We looked at the financial performance and client acquisition rate of the robo market a few weeks ago for someone, and it would be funny if it wasn’t so unfunny. There will be a couple of survivors, mainly those who can look past the supposedly irresistible lure of a nice website and a carefully picked basket of ETFs based on Nobel Prize winning.;\jhkgafowip09[ia8ijzzz. Sorry, dozed off and my head hit the keyboard there. The rest are looking increasingly like a proposition in search of a market.

It’s a trope, but the only way for the adviser profession to rehabilitate is to band together; stop hammering each other publicly and start getting the good news out there. Some do it brilliantly already. Use the trade bodies, or do something else, but try to unite if you can. And don’t even think about reaching for the tinsel for another 25 days.

WHAT LINKS US TOGETHER

  • Please would you help us out? Our 2019 State of the Adviser Nation survey is live here and we need your views. It is a big ‘un and we know you’re busy. So every advice professional that fills it out will get a free copy of our 2019/20 Guide to Advised Platforms which will retail this year for £200 plus VAT. We’ll also give a free playback of the high-level results so you can compare your answers to your peers. This survey informs pretty much all our work, and in particular helps us try and drive providers to serve you in ways which suit you rather than them. Thanks so much in advance.
  • And one more from us – I now have just 10 tix left for our annual London DeadX Talks event next Thursday. Our subject is value in asset management. If you work for an asset manager in particular we’d love you to come along, and to make up for the kicking you will most likely get from the stage there will be free beers after. Find out more / buy tickets here.
  • Good to see everyone’s kicked the star fund manager habit…remarkable top selling fund stats just released by Interactive Investor.
  • More acquisition news – OpenMoney (formerly eVestor) takes Jargonfreebenefits. This is an interesting move; lots of workplace clients to try and access with online services and remote advice. If it works it’ll be a good proof point for others considering channel diversification.
  • And your tune for this week is also designed to unite us. For who among us doesn’t enjoy a slab of thundering British gothic metal from 1993? No-one, that’s who, and that’s why it’s such a pleasure to serve you up As I Die from the evergreen Paradise Lost.

See you next week
Mark

Posted in: #Top Class Wednesday Update  

About Mark Polson

lang cat founder and boss. Expert on all things platforms, pensions and investments. Prolific writer and public speaker, even when people ask him not to be. Knows more about Scandinavian black metal than you, and isn't afraid to prove it.