It is a truth universally acknowledged that I know absolutely hee-haw about football. Not only don’t I know anything about it, such is my fear of hypermasculine conversations about it that I’ve been known to offer to go to the bar when the subject comes up. Which is odd, as the game I really follow allows, or really encourages, you to stamp on other people with studs.

So I don’t know what the impact of Bury’s expulsion from the English league will be, or Bolton either. But in the interests of being ready to nod sagely, I have been reading a bit, and it doesn’t sound fun.

What particularly strikes me – and don’t worry, we’ll get to the financey bit in a minute – is that the social medias and the comments sections are full of people who have suddenly discovered a love of these teams but who have never set foot in Gigg Lane or the Reebok (I had to look the first of those up; my old boss was a Bolton fan so I not only heard about the Reebok but was forced to put on events there, although I believe it’s now the Macron or maybe something else). Meanwhile the real Bury fans were cleaning the ground in case things improved.

And yes, there’s Big Finance involved, and anyone from Edinburgh knows what that’s all about – just say the word Romanov – and the picture is complex.

But it takes a crisis, sometimes, for people to understand what they really hold dear; what they value. The average gate for a Bury match in 2018/19 was just over 4,000, in a stadium that holds 11,840. MK Dons manages 8,000. Lincoln City manages 9,000.

In other words, the football-loving public of the North West of England decided some time ago that £20 a skull was too much to pay, and redirected their leisure pounds to other Northern pursuits which may or may not involve barmcakes.


I am reminded that the fund management sector has about a month and two days to start publishing its own annual assessment of value, as directed by the asset management market study from last year. As the sand which is by the seashore innumerable will be the interpretations of this new requirement. And loud will be the weeping and gnashing of teeth of those who have to try and wade through them (hello, several lang cats).

The funny thing about all this is that the fund managers will of course pick a way of doing all this which shows that they are delivering what they believe is value year in, year out. “Thank *insert bad word here* that’s over” they’ll think. But the door has been opened, and we’ll learn interesting things about each firm, not only from what they publish but also from what they don’t.

There will follow an almighty pagger between those who think active management is a swizz, and those who don’t, and it will be played out in full view of the investing public. And that’s important, because it’s the investor that gets to decide what value is; not the supplier of the service. As I’ve said at least eleventy billion times, you can’t add value as a supplier. You can do a good job, and be clear on what you’ve done and why you think it’s worth the price you’ve charged for it. Then you have to sit down, shut up and let the purchaser of the service decide.

There are Cassandra-like predictions of crises in asset management all over the place. I wonder if we’ll see the real fans of it cleaning up the triple-height marble-lined lobbies in future as others shake their heads sadly on the internet.

(The thing about Cassandra, incidentally, was that she was right).


A request from me, if you’ll allow. Here at the lang cat, we’re known for collecting all sorts of data on platforms and sharing it out in a way we hope you find helpful. What we’ve never done is collect adviser sentiment on platforms, and it’s time we put that right.

So if you work in an adviser firm or a paraplanning firm we would really love to hear from you as part of our 2019 Adviser Sentiment Survey (I’ve just clocked the acronym, should probably work on that). It should take you no more than 2-3 minutes per platform, and no salesman will call (we ask a little about your firm, but no personal details including email). It’s a nice chance to show what it is you value about the platform you use (see, it all links. This stuff doesn’t happen by accident, you know.)

Providers reading this – we’d love you to encourage your users to rate you. But don’t be tempted to pop on and fill it out yourselves – we have COUNTERMEASURES which we are not scared to DEPLOY. They mainly involve us getting humpy and publicly shaming you on social media, but still.

Thank you in advance. Here’s the link once again.


  • A reminder, if you needed one, that setting up new big things with platforms is hard, even if you’ve got one that works well already. Schroders and Benchmark felt it a bit this week.
  • A hearty punt for our DeadX Talks event in London on 14 November. Our entire ticket price is roughly the discount you can get from other conferences; to put that another way you could go to three DeadX Talkses and still spend less than you would elsewhere. Our theme is – what else – value. And you get beer. Come a’ye.
  • We’ve been doing a bit of work on integrations lately; this will launch next month. In that vein, nice to see this integration between IO and Prestwood.
  • And your music choice this week has to be from the North West, so let’s head to Bolton and please enjoy this slice of brilliance from Buzzcocks.


See you next week