Hello, hello, it’s Wednesday again, which means you get an Update of the Top Class variety. I think we can all agree that that’s the very best kind of Update. You wouldn’t want a mediocre one, or even a standard class one. It would be too crowded, you wouldn’t be able to pretend to get work done, and no-one would bring you gin. *shudders*
So last week we had the Investment Platforms Market Study (IPMS) – if you haven’t read it then please deduct 3 house points, and go immediately to Mike Barrett’s magisterial blog on the matter.
Lots of people had high hopes for the IPMS, with predictions varying wildly from a new break for suitability requirements on platform to platform transfers, to regulation of underlying tech providers, to the IPMS making you smarter, taller, whitening your teeth and really sculpting those abs. We didn’t expect all that much, and even we, in our Eeyoreish way, were disappointed. At least Eeyore got an empty honey pot he could put his burst balloon into, and take it out, and put it in, and take it out, and…you get the idea.
BUT MU-UMMM, IT’S SO UNFAIR
I think what we saw in the IPMS, especially on exit fees, was the result of some very successful lobbying by, cough, larger providers who argue that unless everyone has to go in for tea at the same time then it’s not fair that they have to leave the game and listen to the others still playing outside. To be clear(er), an argument that platforms shouldn’t be restricted from levying exit charges because some old lifeco products have them is one which inexplicably has found some traction.
This, to my thinking at least, is Not OK. I don’t think the FCA could just have banned all exit fees in a blaze of glory last Thursday – it would be too price sensitive for listed companies. But it could certainly have said ‘right lads, you’re going first and you’ve got 12 months to prepare, and then we’re coming after the rest of you, so get ready.’ The fact that we’re asking people who levy exit fees – again – what they think about banning them seems to me to be the worst kind of kicking the can down the road. Well, maybe not the worst. I can think of others. Anyway, as the title of the Update says, we’re not angry. We’re disappointed. (If you’re a subscriber to our insight packages, we’re running a webinar on Friday on all this, get in touch if you want to join).
I’m also waiting for someone to call out the fact that although platform to platform transfers are, like, totally hard and that, it all seems to get much much easier when you’ve been acquired by a vertically integrated consolidator. Maybe we should all take a lesson from those guys who seem to have no problems at all. Amazing what some proper old-fashioned motivation will do.
- Much LOLing and ROFLing on George Street this week as AberStandard wins its tribunal thing against Lloyds on the £109bn investment mandate scuffle. All the news that’s fit to print is here from the evergreen Justin Cash at Money Marketing. Apparently the two tribes are going to ‘talk’ about what now, which I think will be a bit like Marsellus Wallace talking to Butch Coolidge in Pulp Fiction after The Incident. How much would you pay to be at that meeting?
- Less LOLing sadly for the poor schmucks who went for the heroic rates from failed minibond provider London Capital & Finance. In a masterpiece of post-horse-bolting-stable-door-closure the politicians now want the regulator to investigate itself. I think we all have a role to play in calling toxic stuff like this out when we see it. Hannah Godfrey’s piece in PA is good on this.
- Talking of this kind of thing, DJ Mikey B (@langcatmike) found this list of the ‘top rated financial services companies’ on Trustpilot. Heavy on the crypto and the minibonds, not so much on the financial planning and strategic asset allocation, Goes to show.
- A bump for our free ISA guides – please do distribute to anyone you think might like them. We got a nice bump from appearing on Moneybox at the weekend, but we are INSATIABLE.
- Just time for a musical dip to ease you into your Wednesday afternoon. Amidst the turmoil of all that’s going on, I think Mount The Air by The Unthanks is a piece of essential listening to take you somewhere else. Listen all the way through. 7 minutes of total bliss.