Today is the second anniversary of me joining the lang cat so it feels as good a time as any to salute the relentless regularity of the Gregorian calendar and share some views on my time in the world of consultancy thus far.

I’m going to take a break from my typical existential-level crisis over the perfect blog structure and just steam ahead with some thoughts as they come to me. So, in no particular order:

  • I’ve been in the industry 12 years now and in that time I’ve worked through A-Day, RDR, Auto-Enrolment, PS13/1 and pension freedom changes. Lots of great stuff in all of that but it would be good if the industry was given time to breathe for a while. Less mandatory spend on regulatory change might free up some cash to sort out simple things like web optimisation or more complex issues such as:
  • Jargon and more specifically the way we speak to our customers. I lose count of the number of times I read that a product is flexible (is it bendy?) or revolutionary (are you overthrowing a government?) or see the same old tired clich’s like pictures of elderly folk strolling on a beach. Speak to your customers. This is well worth a read.
  • Twitter has really calmed down over the past wee while. When I started, it seemed like there was a public spat every now and again. Truthfully, I miss those days.
  • The lang cat has definitely grown up. When I joined it was just Polson, Sam and I but Mark has developed the habit of hiring extremely talented people and I feel less competent by the day. There’s Jenette and Shona with their mad PR and organisational skills respectively. Linda with her off-the scale ability to write and co-ordinate our publications. There’s nothing Terry or Mike couldn’t tell you about the platform market. And Mark Locke knows the words to literally every song in the world. It’s intimidating.
  • Fund data has been the single, biggest pain in my backside over the past couple of years. As someone who takes pleasure in analysing big chunks of data, it’s most definitely not cool to have to wade through reams of different share classes (with naming conventions that mean nothing to the customer) and do a massive cleansing exercise every time you want to have a look at some funds. Like I said, not cool.
  • On a balmy summer afternoon in August 2013 I looked at Mark’s pricing tables and said it might be an idea to put them in a slightly different format. The #heatmap was born that afternoon and if you’d told me then the depth of coverage they’d receive across the industry and into the mainstream press, I’d have thought you were mad. On the one hand this is all self-congratulatory bollocks, but on the other I think it highlights that there is a need in this industry to take complex stuff and communicate it in a very simple way.

Time to get back to some proper work. I was going to end this blog with a pithy joke about putting up with Mark for 2 years but I won’t. It’s been a pleasure.

As you were.