Well, we made it through to halfway. Halfway through a year which, if it were an album, would absolutely be one of the Machine Head records where they bleached their hair, went all nu-metal and destroyed every bit of credibility they’d ever built up. Trust me, it’s been that bad.

But we’re here. The druids have re-communed with nature by dancing around the cobalt in their Guangzhou-province-assembled tablets. It’s week 26 and that means there’s only 26 to go. Stay strong. We can do this.


Before we dive into the meat of the Update – or the hydrolysed pea protein of the Update if that’s more your thing – I want to pay tribute to the folks at NextGen Planners for their NextGen20 extravaganza. I was part of the year-in-a-day CPD-a-thon yesterday, which was fun but one of the lesser elements of an astonishing week of activities. I’m pretty sure that Rohan, Adam and the rest will all be wibbling quietly in a corner by the end of it, but my goodness they put something amazing together. Congratulations to all involved – and if this is the energy the next generation of business leaders brings to things, then, well, I’ll need to go for a lie down. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.


So I wrote a thing last week for Money Marketing which divided opinion a bit – some folk hated it and some folk really hated it. It was a bit of an extension of what I covered a fortnight ago here, but minus some of the DB stuff. The central point was about the FCA’s clear statement that it sees ongoing adviser charges as a potential conflict of interest. Yes, the statement was in a DB paper, but the FCA is perfectly well aware of how people read its pronouncements and it chose to set fire to this particular bit of heather.

Cue the usual reflexive stuff about ‘so we can’t charge anything ever again, price of everything value of nothing, blah blah’. That’s not the game here. The underlying debate point – and that’s all it is just now – is about whether ongoing adviser charging from a regulated product is the right way for firms to be paid for services they provide which extend beyond the product itself. To put it another way, if 80% of the value is from an unregulated activity – financial planning – and only 20% is from picking the right regulated kit and getting sums correct, why is it that only a tiny percentage of firms charge clients directly for planning? Why aren’t there two sets of charges – one recovered through the product and one not – with the relative weighting demonstrating exactly where the value of the service lies? It would help clients be absolutely clear on what firms are doing for them each year and how much it costs.

I have no idea how all this will play out, and I know that any insertion of the regulatory proboscis further into the way firms get paid will be as popular as the aforementioned nu-metal phase of Machine Head, but it feels like something’s going to move here in the foreseeable.


    • A wee bit more from Citywire on last week’s VAT story – interesting stuff. All the cool kids are totally clear that VAT on MPS is, like, soooooo lame.
    • If you’d like to come and have a no-strings attached webinar demo of Platform Analyser you could do that tomorrow if you like. 11am, 45 mins or so. Rebecca and Terry will be your tour guides. All welcome.
    • HomeGames this week is proud to present Mr Chris Budd. Author, guitarist, proponent of Eternal Businesses and the man behind the Initiative for Financial Wellbeing. It’s going to be top quartile stuff, maybe top decile or even better. Come find out just how good here. I’ve also had a new infusion of metal t-shirts.
    • The lang cat’s own Craig Rickman is suffering for money to benefit the Samaritans this month – please consider chucking a couple of quid his way.
    • And your music choice this week – well, you can’t tee an Update up with Machine Head, refer to Machine Head again halfway down and then not deliver some Machine Head. So here’s some Machine Head. Get some Davidian in you and thank me later.

I won’t see you next week as I’m having a wee bit of time off, but Steve or Mike will Update you in my stead. Be good, and if you can’t be good be careful.