How are we all this week? I suspect the answer is ‘mixed’. A good friend of mine was telling me that Monday of this week was the first time he had really felt scunnered. I said I reckoned that if he had survived three weeks and this was his first scunner he’d done very well indeed.

Scunnered’ is a great Scots word, and you should use it more in both your personal and business lives. It’s highly versatile: one can be scunnered or one can be ‘oan a scunner’. Something or somebody that can cause you to be scunnered can be a scunner in their own right. ‘Yon COVID-19 is a total scunner, by the way.’  And of course, the best known scunner ever was Supergran’s nemesis, Scunner Campbell.

Why not see if you can work it into your next client report?

That’s your CPD for this week sorted, anyway. All part of the service here at The Lang Cat House Of Demotics.


Feeling scunnered this week: fund managers, at least a few of whom have seen some pretty zesty outflows. Jupiter and Merian hit the headlines today with £5bn net outflows between them. Particularly nasty was the outflow from Merian’s GEAR absolute return fund, which isn’t alone in not delivering absolute returns over the last 1, 3 or 5 years – neither has the whole sector – but that doesn’t help it much.

Happily for shareholders, the projected profit margin for the combined business has only dropped to 40% (from 50%-60%) as a result of the Current Unpleasantness, so that’s nice.

At some point through all this we’ll get a proper view of whether various different styles of investment have held up. I listened to a podcast with Robin Powell talking to Justin Cash at Money Marketing earlier; Robin has a firm view on all this kind of thing and, as ever, put it across with impact. The death of actives and the death of DFMs, and possibly the death of some other things is how he sees it all, and maybe this time he’s right. For sure there is a flight to passive happening at the moment – as Calastone’s Fund Flow Index shows.

I’m not quite so sure – there are lots of shades of grey in the world and not everyone uses actives or DFMs to avoid market drawdowns. But for those who do, what we are in now is a perfect live fire lab exercise on the ability of smart people with impressive wristwatches to protect clients from unpleasantness. They’ll be pitched against algorithms, some of which seem to be holding up rather well at the moment.

This is a ‘come back with your shield or on it’ moment – will the sector resemble Chief Vitalstatistix atop his shield, or a bunch of legionnaires after meeting a bunch of Gauls ripped to the gills on magic potion? I think we might keep an eye on this one. I fear that those hoping for downside protection may be on a frightful scunner for a while.


  • Please please could we ask you to help us out and rate how your platforms are holding up in the Current Unpleasantness? It doesn’t take a moment and will be dead useful. We’ll publish results on a HomeGames webinar soon. The survey is here.
  • This is fun from the FCA’s Board Minutes – someone’s for the high jump. SM&CR in action. Check paragraph 10.1(b) and place your bets…
  • Please do join us at 12.30 for our fourth free HomeGames webinar. Over 300 registered so far. Cathi Harrison of The Verve Group is our guest star this week.
  • And your music choice this week is a result of a great thing I watched last night, organised by The Royal Albert Hall. It’s got a bunch of musicians to record half hour sessions from their own living rooms. The first was from Roddy Woomble of Idlewild, and it was lovely. The session is here, but your music choice is the transcendent full version of Waverley Steps.

See you next week