So I was at the Schroders Platform of the Year Awards last night, in which this sector of the industry proves each year that there really is no such thing as austerity. Good times. Anyway, it was a fun night, and the question I got asked most was ‘have you done tomorrow’s Update yet?’ and when I said I hadn’t the usual rejoinder was ‘ha, bet you don’t manage because of wine’. So suck on this, lightweights.

I have to do the Update this week anyway, because we’ve got a big new white paper out and I want to tell you a little bit about it. I say ‘we’, it’s really Origo’s white paper, but we did the legwork and a spot of other duties. We launched it yesterday and you can download it free and for no pounds from our website here or from Origo’s website here. If you prefer an online flipbook you can jump straight to that here:

That’s a cornucopia of reading options right there.

It’s called ‘A Disconnected World’ and it’s about the impact of systems not integrating properly on adviser businesses. We headed out into the field – not actually a field, you don’t find many adviser practices in fields – and spent a bunch of time with a load of firms, as well as surveying many more online.

What we found didn’t surprise us, necessarily, but it did confirm our worst expectations. The level of rekeying, make-work, paper-jockeying, spreadsheet-wrangling and general nonsense required for even quite basic processes is such that I can only conclude most of the money the sector has put into integrations has been wasted. Even where they exist they’re often not being used – they aren’t trusted and firms have concluded that it’s better simply to do the retyping because at least they know whose fault it is if stuff doesn’t match up. Where integrations do exist they are often patchy, incomplete (we saw examples of data integrations with phantom missing bits for no reason we could ascertain) and often take longer than they’re worth.

Here are a few key numbers…

Zero – the number of real-time two-way integrations firms could enjoy in our sample

Three – the typical number of times client details are rekeyed

Seven – the number of systems a firm typically uses to deliver planning, including two platforms

Eighteen – the number of individual point-to-point integrations it would take to sort this out using just one platform (23 with two)

85% – the proportion of firms we surveyed who said that they agreed or strongly agreed that lack of integration is a major pain in the Ronson

100% – the efficiency gain we think adviser back offices could enjoy if all this stuff just worked.

There’s tonnes in the report – go take a look. But before I move on, I want to take a moment to shout out to the admins in adviser offices. We met incredible individuals everywhere we went – and what really struck me is that they didn’t moan about rekeying, or everything taking forever. It was just what they did. What’s happening there is that the industry (as opposed to the adviser profession) is being given a free pass by these remarkable administrators, who are acting as a sort of filter between the industry and hard reality. Why spend millions sorting this out when Sarah or Dave, paid £25k a year, will do it for you in the adviser office?

It’s entirely within the industry’s gift to do this much, much better – from thinking about new ways of simplifying integrations, through to training firms on what’s already there. That needs to happen soon. For my part, when we do due diligence for firms on platforms or back offices, I’ll be encouraging them to think about what integrations they need, and selecting providers on that basis.


  • Congrats to Parmenion who won Platform of the Year last night, as part of a big night for the wider Standard Life Aberdeen group (have I got that right? I never can remember). A very popular winner.
  • I read somewhere that MiFID II disclosure adds 20 minutes to a typical client report. Those tasked with doing that may enjoy this piece about some poor schmuck from Brewin Dolphin having to sort out portfolio depreciation letters on Christmas Day. Oh, the lolz.
  • Good piece on value in asset management from Daniela Esnerova here. Happily, this is also the theme of our DeadX conference this year on 14 November in a crypt in London. Tix still on sale here, hurry hurry etc.
  • Last one from us – Saturday is our 20 mile catwalk in support of the Samaritans. So many of you have been so generous – thank you. We’re up to £6,500 which is over £7,500 with Gift Aid. If you can support us, please do so here. It all helps. And if you want to know more about who’s walking – and goodness only knows why you would – then please check in on Steve Nelson’s Twitter feed here. He’s profiling every walker, for reasons only he knows.
  • Finally, your music choice this week celebrates the fact that there will be A NEW NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS RECORD NEXT WEEK! Happy New Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds Record News Week to everyone. Have Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow in celebration. Look for Jason Donovan in the video. Magnificent.

See you next week when I’ll have news of how our walk went and of course it will be New Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds Record Week. Are you excited? I’m excited.