It strikes me that everyone is angry this week. Much of it has to do with milkshakes, and whatever the rights and wrongs of all that, the bloke who chucked a Five Guys shake must have been really committed. I don’t let my kids have them because they’re five quid a pop. It wasn’t all that long ago that Vincent Vega was horrified by the prospect of a five dollar shake, and so what I think we can draw safely from all this is an important lesson about the time value of money.


Here’s an interesting fact – the average age of an advised platform client is 59. Isn’t that interesting? I think it’s interesting. I might have thought it would be older than that. But I know better now. I also know that the Pensions Policy Institute (legendary ravers) estimate that over 90% of today’s retirees accept the gold watch with at least some preserved DB entitlement. And I know that drawdown sales are double those of annuities.

The reason I know all these things is because I’ve been reading our very own Steve Nelson’s new paper on retirement functionality in the platform market. It’s called ‘A Game Of Life And Retirement Income Functionality’ and is a rerun with new extra bits of a piece we did 2 years ago looking at the same thing. We are grateful to Zurich for sponsoring it again as, frankly, these things take ages to do and we’d be mithering you all for cash otherwise.

It’s quite a chunky monkey of a paper and gets into a huge amount of depth about income functionality, cash, portfolio management and so on – we think you won’t find a more in-depth exploration of all this stuff anywhere. If you’re interested in clients getting their money back off platforms then it’s worth a read. You can get it here from us or here from the Zurich boys and girls.

The short read? There is still massive variability in the way platforms treat clients who want to get their money back off again.

Income (however structured, stop arguing please) is a great test of the holistic nature of platforms: a multi-wrapper, holistic income strategy touches a high percentage of what it is that platforms do. So it’s not a surprise that different shops do different things in different ways – but it is a surprise that only four platforms can manage a single consolidated income payment (Elevate, SL Wrap, Embark and Zurich (yes, yes, we know)) and that most platforms, with a few exceptions have a horrible morass of wet signatures required to make it all happen.

It all feels a bit 2009 still. But it’s OK. Those clients are still only 59 so we’ve got a year or few till they want their money back off again. That should be plenty…


Sad news that Alasdair Buchanan, erstwhile PR and communications guru of Scottish Life where I cut my teeth as a n00b marketeer has died. Those of you who knew him will remember what a gentleman he was. What I will remember was his generosity of spirit. He let me start getting my hands dirty writing stuff for the trade press, stood in front of me when I made some very public mistakes, and gave me (and many others) countless opportunities to build up our confidence. He also spent time with pretty much every young reporter at all the trades to make sure they got the hang of pensions (I’m not saying they enjoyed this, but it was good for them).

I was with Alasdair in London on the 7th July 2005, stuck in a City bar with no way home. Some of you will know that Alasdair was directly affected by the events of that day in a way I won’t go into here. When that news reached him, he obviously dropped everything to run out. But not before he made sure that me and the journos with me were OK and had the means to pay for our coffees.


  • Interesting interview with Mike Hogg, Aviva’s new head of platform, on its progress. We’ve started hearing some much more encouraging noises (one firm I spoke to said they thought it was a “f***ing great system” but I know experience is still mixed). The long slow road to recovery is, er, long and slow, but worth it, I think.
  • Last ever call for the lang cat Home Game – next Thursday. Last few tickets left. Get ‘em or, well, don’t. Those are your options.
  • Investment pathways for drawdown – there’s something we can really argue about. Quite a poky comment in this piece from Mattioli Woods – worth a read.
  • And your music choice this week is not Kelis, but someone who’s even angrier than you. Here’s Rage Against The Machine at Finsbury Park with Bulls On Parade. Turn it up.

See you next week