Well hello again, and I hope you are finding the bright side in a week where everything moved at warp speed from decidedly suboptimal to post-apocalyptic. If you’re finding that hard to do then you’re not alone, and we have some stuff for you.

This is another one of those Updates which isn’t to do with who’s buying who or the latest bit of regulation. It probably won’t be all that much fun, as opposed to normal Updates which are obviously hilarious.

My subject this week is mental health in our sector, and it’s on my mind because we’re joined on HomeGames this week by Paul Feeney, CEO and man in charge of the Nespresso capsules at Quilter to talk about that very subject. We’re giving the whole of HomeGames this week over to Paul and to our own Steve Nelson to talk about this topic. Both have had their own issues at one point or another, and are brilliantly placed to talk about this subject, as they have before with the groundbreaking Ollie Smith of Citywire. Ollie won the top PFS award for his coverage of this topic here (contains links to loads of good stuff).

In the session we’ll cover the impacts of lockdown, the anxiety some will be feeling about coming out of it, how big companies and small companies are different and the same, managing upwards (what do you do when you see your director is one step away from flaming out?) and balancing trying to do the right thing with commerciality.

So my first thing this week is to ask you please to take half an hour out to listen to HomeGames live this week. It’s on at 12.30pm – so in about 28 minutes – and lasts 30 minutes for the formal agenda; we then stay live for an unstructured chat for another 15 mins or so. The chat will be live; I’ll be moderating, but Paul will take questions in a way which I think very few CEOs would feel comfy with. It won’t be dry, and we’ll have fun, but normal mucking around is suspended for this week.

You can join the session here.  Hope you can make it. If not, you can watch it back later at the same link.


The idea of all this is that there is a taboo around mental health discussions in our sector (and lots of others, I’m sure, but I don’t know about them). No-one wants to lift the lid on this stuff really. I haven’t done the research, but I suspect 8 out of 10 financial cats would rather talk about diseases of the lower gastric system than depression, or anxiety, or the thousand other manifestations of what happens when the squidgy bit between our ears fires off the wrong chemicals.

If I’m honest, I don’t really know, as a bloke who runs a company, how to deal with it all. I do know that I flamed out impressively a few years ago, but for me it passed, and I was fortunate that I can control my own levels of stress, in charge as I am of the lang cat’s own set of Nespresso capsules (we don’t actually have those; they’re an extravagance). I know that it wasn’t much fun, and didn’t work well for anyone. So I’m keen that no-one else goes through that on my watch.

I also know from experience that a big source of workplace stress comes from being held accountable for things that you can’t control. In a small company like ours I think we do an imperfect but OK job at giving our felines control of what they’re doing, but sometimes workloads do get out of hand, or things pile up. And then there’s stuff that happens out of work but which you can’t help but carry in.

Over time I’ve learned to get better at spotting the signs of when something might be going wrong, and we’re trying to build a culture at the lang cat where it’s OK to not be OK, as the saying goes. I’m not sure if we’ve managed that yet, but I do know that having everyone healthy (for a given value of healthy; we do work in Leith) is in everyone’s interest.

So anyway, boo to taboos and hurray for doing stuff in a way which helps the folk you work with to be fully functional human beings (for a given value of functional; please see earlier point about Leith).

And once again, hope you can join us for HomeGames here.


  • More normal stuff (for a given value…etc) – you might like to catch Mike Barrett out of us and Nick Eatock out of Intelliflo talking sense on wealthtech here. Tomorrow at 2pm.
  • Also tomorrow, but at 11am, we’re doing a live demo of Platform Analyser and LITERALLY ANYONE can come. Terry might sing a song. Come join in here.
  • It’s a year since Woodford. Can you believe that? Mike can and he’s written about it here.
  • Wealthtime is cracking its knuckles and planning to do something with all that PE money. Be very interesting to watch.
  • And your music choice this week? Feels right to do Billie Holiday and this live version of Strange Fruit.

See you next week