It’s been getting on for 4.5 years since I joined the lang cat and still I get caught out by some of the differences between England and Scotland. Not the obvious things, like weather or length of tenure in major sporting events, but smaller details like holidays. So, while England is head down hard at work, the boss man is enjoying the delights of half term, meaning it’s down to me to deliver your weekly update.


Today is launch day for our annual State of the Adviser Nation survey. If you are an adviser, paraplanner, administrator, or anything to do with an advisory firm, we want to hear your views. We like to get deep into the detail at the lang cat, so it’s a lengthy survey. As well as being hugely grateful for your time, anyone who participates will get a free copy of our Annual Guide to Advised Platforms. This is due to be published next month and will retail in all good bookshops at £200+VAT. Click here for more details, and thanks in advance for your time.


The sorry tale of #thatfund rumbles on. Several million words have already been written on this subject, so I won’t add too much here, however there is no getting away from the fact that this is the biggest story around.

First up, it now appears that Woodford Investment Management is being wound up. Whilst the impact to the end investor should never be forgotten, the impact of this move for the c35 staff he employs will also be huge. We wish them well.

It will remain to be seen exactly what the impact for the end investors will be. Now is the time for clear and timely communication to these investors. On the one hand they now have some certainty about what is going to happen; however it appears that the losses they will incur could be considerable.

For the wider industry I think we’ll be talking about this for a long while. My spidey-senses are tingling, wondering if there is worse to come. I hope I’m wrong. I also wonder how bad the collateral damage will be, especially if people perceive that this is just financial services letting people down again. As a nation we need to get more people taking control of their financial futures, and over the long-term investing is the best way to achieve this. The sort of headlines we are seeing at the moment can’t be helping.


On many occasions over these last 4 years Mark has remarked just how many ex-Skandia colleagues we encounter. The “ex-Skandia Mafia” as he calls it turn up everywhere – providers, asset managers, advisory firms. Barely a week goes by where I don’t have the pleasure of speaking with an ex-colleague at some point. There were (and still are) some great people in that business.

However, over the last week the conversations have been far from happy. Last Thursday we lost a hugely loved colleague to cancer. Alison Henderson (nee. Everett) was Head of eBusiness Marketing when she left Skandia, following a lengthy and successful career. During that time, I reported to her for around 3 years. She gave me a job in Marketing, promoted me, but far more importantly, taught me that it is possible to have a decent career whilst also having fun.

I’ve spoken with a number of the “Skandia Mafia” since the news broke, and I was actually with a few on Friday morning when we heard the news. It goes without saying, but we are all deeply shocked that someone so vibrant can be taken away so quickly.


  • Alan Smith of Capital Asset Management puts this far better than I can: this is what the profession we all work in or serve should be about.
  • Just Halloween and Fireworks Night to go until the lang cat’s 2019 DEADx talks in London on 14 November. The excitement. The sugar. The whiff of treason in the air. We are down to the final tickets so get yours here before they sell out.
  • And your musical treat this week….Marvin Gaye, stripped back to just the vocals. Enjoy.