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THE TOP CLASS WEDNESDAY UPDATE HAS BEEN HIJACKED

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Hello. This is a very different kind of Update to normal. We’ll eschew the usual industry news, whimsy, tittle and tattle, and instead I’m going to give this whole Update over to a new thing that we’re launching at the lang cat. It’s the biggest thing we’ve ever launched in the nine-and-a-half years or so since I started this business. I know you don’t come here to be sold to, so if you don’t want to read on then click away now – perhaps to this inspirational video of deadly cats.

If you’re still here, I hope you’ll allow me this extravagance – normal Update service resumes next week.

PLEASE WELCOME PLATFORM ANALYSER

Today marks the launch proper of our new Platform Analyser regtech system. This is the distillation of pretty much everything we know about platforms in one place. It is, I think, the most comprehensive, technically accurate and (crucially) commercially unbiased system to help you with platform selection in the UK. It’s also the only one designed since MiFID II and PROD, and is specifically built to help you draw clear lines of suitability between the needs of your target market groups and the platform or platforms you select on their behalf.

About 5,500 of you have a login to the lang cat’s free Platform Directory. About 3,000 of those are advisers (we think); the rest are providers, randoms or Russian spambots. Privet tovarishchi!

If you’re one of them (an adviser, not a spambot), you’ll know that the Directory lets you research platforms one by one. It doesn’t let you compare data, and it doesn’t produce any form of due diligence for you. Platform Analyser sorts all that out, and more besides.

“We’ve been long-term users of the lang cat’s research when helping our adviser clients select and review their platform partners. Platform Analyser takes this to a new level with all the material we previously had now available in an interactive format. This has already helped us with quick price and proposition comparisons and will make our due diligence process much more efficient. It doesn’t come for free but when I saw how much it costs, I didn’t think twice about signing up.”  Richard Allum, Managing Director of The Paraplanners

WHAT’S IN THE BOX (THERE IS NO BOX)

Platform Analyser, then, still has a free section with an updated and expanded Directory, just like the old one. If you just want that, it will be forever free, and regularly updated. (The old Directory is still there, but mothballed. You can log into it, but it will gradually get more and more out of date, and eventually we’ll remove it.)

The new Directory has more platforms and more data, and a new coat of paint, but works just the way you’re used to. Again, it’s yours – whoever you are – for no pounds. Our only rule with this new one is that you have to sign up with a proper business email address – no more Gmail or Hotmail addresses. Boo, hiss etc. Izvinite tovarishchi!

But it’s the new stuff – which I’m afraid isn’t free, but is certainly not expensive – that I hope will get your interest. I think there are three – count ‘em – big buckets of absolute platform-related filth that you will particularly enjoy.

  1. Quick comparisons – want to know who offers (say) 2-way real-time integration with your back office of choice, or who prefunds withdrawals? Yours in under 30 seconds. Pick as many things to compare across as many platforms as you like, as often as you like. Download the results to Excel and amaze your friends. Run a quick pricing check too, and marvel at the pretty colours.
  2. Due diligence – too much to go into here, but we’ve taken our approach to due diligence, developed across the literally billions of pounds of assets we’ve consulted on over the last five years or so, and built a journey that guides you through a defensible, structured, rigorous process. It can’t be gamed, or slanted, or hacked by a platform BDM to make them appear top. What it does do is start with the concept of client segments, and asks you to go through a process of defining what’s important in terms of functionality, business performance (profitability and whatnot), price and softer factors, and produces a shortlist for you on that basis. All the way through is space to narrate what your decisions to include or reject platforms are; and your work is saved and played back in a comprehensive report. You can template your preferences and re-run exercises for different segments, or over time. Early users tell us this could cut their platform assessment or DD work down from a week to a couple of hours; you can do a light touch exercise in about 20 minutes.
  3. An unbeatable insight hub – part of what you need to do is keep up to date with what’s going on in the market. The Analyser Insight Hub is the quickest way to do that. We will publish every free-to-air paper the lang cat produces in there, along with a quarterly exclusive Adviser Briefing on what’s happened in the platform market in the last quarter. That will include key figures on business performance, and also details of new functionality, deals, mergers and acquisitions and any key regulatory changes. At least one new paper a month; all included in your subscription.

All of this and more is wrapped into a system that is clean, easy to use, and full of lang cat platform knowhow. That, as you know, is the best kind of platform knowhow. And this is only version 1.0: we have lots of developments planned, including bespoke pricing where you can put in the deals you’ve negotiated and feel really good about yourself.

FOR THE LOVE OF THE WEE MAN, MARK, HOW MUCH IS IT?

Glad you asked. This cat basket full of useful stuff is yours for £300 a year, or £25 a month plus the tax. If you take the annual subscription you get a free copy of the 2020 lang cat advised platform guide (normally £200 + VAT) straight away; if you’ve bought the Guide already you’ll get your £200 back with no fuss. If you go monthly then you get the Guide at the end of the year; if you’ve bought it already then I’m afraid you don’t get your purchase price back. Life’s a toughie. However, monthly commitments have no contract at all and you can cancel any time. Whichever route you go, you get 7 days’ free trial before we lift any bunce from you so you can see if you like it.

I mentioned earlier that this is commercially unbiased, and I want to take a moment to expand on that. Providers don’t pay us to be on Platform Analyser; we have no premium listings, no ad space, no supported promotion, no little ratings with five-figure price tags if you want to use the logo or anything like that. We also check their data and do our best to make sure that the more extreme bending of the truth that goes on doesn’t make it into the system. We can only do this because we know our stuff.

WHAT DO I DO NOW?

You sign up, that’s what you do, either for the free one or the not-free one.

Underneath the music choice below you’ll find sign-up instructions – it’s easy. And we are available on chat or by phoning the catphone on 0131 202 5999.

OK, that’s it from me. This is a huge day for us, and particularly for Terry, Chris, Rebecca, Gus and the other cats who have worked so hard on this system for so long. We owe a huge debt of thanks to them, to our software partners Bad Dinosaur (cool name), and also to the advisers and paraplanners who have worked with us to refine the system into something which is genuinely useful. We hope you love it.

There is only time to leave you with a music choice – and it has to be a special one. Platform Analyser changes things for the lang cat, and we hope it will change things for you too. So please enjoy one of the finest songs ever – A Change Is Gonna Come. So many great versions of this, but here’s Sam Cooke’s original.

Thanks for your patience. Back to normal next week.

Mark

HOW TO SIGN UP TO PLATFORM ANALYSER

OK. I know this is going on a bit. But it’s the best way I have of communicating with you, and I’m assuming that if you don’t like the sound of this then you tuned out long ago.

  • IF YOU ARE AN EXISTING PLATFORM DIRECTORY USER

You need to create an account in Platform Analyser. If we recognise your email address from our old system, we’ll tell you so. But you still need a new password – we’ve made the requirements a bit more secure. Don’t worry, it’s quick. If you used a generic email address before (Gmail / Hotmail etc) then we won’t have carried that over: you need a business email address to sign up and in to the new system.

  • IF YOU ARE COMPLETELY NEW

You also need to create an account in Platform Analyser. If you’re an advice professional you can choose whether to just access the free Directory or whether to go premium up to the full Analyser system. If you work for a provider, or are a Russian spambot, you can only access the Directory and can’t upgrade. We check several times a day and will respectfully reject subscriptions from providers and spambots, so don’t try. Again, generic email addresses like Gmail won’t wash.

  • HOW TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT
  1. Go to ‘sign up’ at the bottom of the home page.
  2. Tell it your name, business email address and choose a new password; if you had a password for the old Directory this won’t work here.
  3. If you’re an advice professional, decide if you want to join our adviser research panel (only if you’re not already on it – if you are, we know it).
  4. We’ll send an email to confirm your password – note this will probably go to your junk mail folder. This catches people out sometimes.
  5. Confirm the password via the email (which might be in your junk folder). This will take you back to the home page. At this point choose ‘log in’ (using the username and password you’ve just created) and choose your package.
  6. If you choose the free one, you’re into the new free platform directory, which looks lovely.
  7. To go premium, select which package you’d like to take and follow the instructions – you know how to do this stuff, you’ve done it on a million websites before.
  8. If you choose to go for the full Analyser package, select from monthly or annual payment options.
  9. Bask in the warm glow of unrivalled platform analysis goodness.

TERRY’S TOP TIP

Don’t forget the confirmation email. If you try to complete your signup, be it right away or later, without validating your email address, things will progress in a suboptimal manner and that will make you sad. Look for the email in your junk folder and go from there

Posted in: #little things to make your life better   #regulation   #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.

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