Ah, siblings, it isn’t long until the summer solstice, when all right-thinking financial planners free themselves from the shackles of capacity for loss, centralised investment propositions, RMAR returns, PI excesses and primary platform relationships, strip down and go for a right old dance around the nearest set of megaliths. I think we’re all ready for that.


Now, I’m fully aware of the stereotypes many readers of the Update will ascribe to the Scots (for any newbies, the lang cat is based in the People’s Republic of Leith, just outside Edinburgh) – generally that we’re tight, or drunk, or drunk and tight, which is sort of doubly tight or tight squared depending on your definition of tight. Tight, it turns out, is one of those words that looks weird if you type it enough times. Try it now with me. Tight tight tight tight tight. See?

Anyway, you may be quietly satisfied to hear that at least one of these stereotypes has been proved true – since minimum alcohol unit pricing has come into play in Scotland (the first country in the world to have it on all alcohol sales; we’re so proud), alcohol consumption has reduced by 3%. We still got down nearly 40 bottles of vodka a head last year, but still. So it’s official – our miserliness trumps our thirst.


This is all by way of pointing out that sometimes a trope, or a stereotype, or received wisdom, has some truth at its root. I’ve been thinking about this as we deal with the fallout of the Woodford situation, which hit a new peak yesterday with Fidelity Personal Investing effectively soft closing the Woodford Income Focus fund for new subscriptions, just in case.

I’ve had calls with a couple of D2C platform clients over the last day or two; both really wanting to make hay at the expense of HL over the Wealth 50 issue, but conscious that their own house has to be completely in order before so doing. My main point to them was: who’s listening? Everyone who’s invested and cross is both invested and cross and can’t really do anything. Those who aren’t invested are saying ‘phew’ and aren’t likely to be swayed one way or t’other.

That leaves a third group, who really don’t want to hear what the industry/profession/band of rude mechanicals that is us lot want to tell them. This group will find reasons not to engage with investments; often preferring ‘my house is my pension’ and ‘cash is king’ to ‘a carefully selected and risk-modelled basket of collective investments which comply with all relevant ESMA directives’. It strikes me we’ve collectively just handed them a further reason not to engage with the sector for some time to come.

We’ve all read the surveys that say financial services is trusted a bit less than estate agents or whatever. It strikes me that we might have just reinforced that.


Still, worry not. As they say round your way: “Lovers and madmen have such seething brains /
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend / More than cool reason ever comprehends.”


  • If you’ve wondered what impact Invesco’s investment in Intelliflo might have, here’s the first one: a set of model portfolios at £1 per month and some new functionality to make them easier to run on an advisory basis (basically gathering consent for rebalances). This could make some waves. Very interesting – are we heading for flat fees for DFM models? That might not be a bad thing at all, but at £12 a year plus the tax per client it’s not looking all that much fun for the boys with the big wristwatches.
  • This is another big story – Foster DeNovo is live with its new platform. This is interesting because FdN isn’t using the usual suspects; it’s in bed with Host Capital who in turn are using Tercero as the underlying software – this is a system more commonly used by private banks. We’re seeing a real blurring in the space between retail and wealth now – Tercero with FdN, Multrees with Saltus, and so on. Watch Seccl and Hubwise in this space too.
  • The lang cat’s adviser platform directory has had a load of new updates across most of the platforms – go have a look if you haven’t already. Iss good. #marketing
  • A Facebook cryptocurrency? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  • And your music option this week celebrates that it’s festival season. Most of the lineups this year look horrific to me, so here’s Prisms by 65daysofstatic, one of the best bands I’ve ever seen at a festival (Sonisphere, 2014, if you’re interested). It’s far from metal, but 65dos had a metal crowd going absolutely tonto for this.

And that’s it for this week. Give me your hands if we be friends, and the lang cat will restore amends.

Take pains, be perfect, and see you next week