Whilst there is still a fair whack to go, it’s looking increasingly certain that 2020 won’t feature on many folk’s list of best years ever. The last few months have been tough (and for some, tragically so) but finally we are starting to see some small steps towards normality. Pubs are opening, cricket is back, and the boss has taken a few days off to enjoy the Scottish summer. Therefore, for this week, the TCWU update baton has been sent all the way to the Isle of Wight for me to do the honours.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this article from the Financial Times, published last week. It explores the story of Alex Kearns, who was using an online day trading service based in his home of the United States. On June 12th, believing he had lost nearly $750k as a result of an options bet, he took his own life. He was aged 20.

The FT article documents this terrible story in full, together with details of how the provider involved has reacted, which to be fair appears to be as positive a reaction as you could expect. The article is free to read and is well worth 5 minutes of your time.

Whilst the US provider involved is not currently trading in the UK, there are plenty of similar services who are. There is undoubtably a market for share trading services and apps, however it is questionable whether this market includes a typical retail investor. This is especially the case where these services facilitate access to CFDs, Cryptocurrencies and other leveraged instruments. FCA research shows that an estimated 2.6 million UK consumers have brought cryptoassets at some point, and whilst the amounts “invested” tend to be small, the potential for harm in what is an unregulated product with no FSCS protection is clear. A policy statement, prohibiting the sale to retail clients of investment products that reference cryptoassets is due at some point in the 2nd half of the year, once the FCA gets past the understandable cv19 firefighting.

Over recent weeks I’ve been involved in writing up some consumer research for one of our lang cat clients, looking at the subject of the advice gap. More to come on that towards the end of this month but suffice to say it’s a mixed bag. Individuals who use a financial adviser tend to value the advice and overall experience, not least since it almost certainly will steer them away from the above, however it remains a minority sport. The vast majority of the population will (for a number of reasons) never take advice.  The value of advice remains a hot topic (see below), and with many people facing a difficult financial future over the coming weeks and months, the more that can be done to protect people from using services that can potentially harm, and encouraging the right financial behaviours, the better for all concerned.


This week on #homegames we will be joined by Ben Peele, UK Managing Director for PortfolioMetrix. Ben & his colleagues have recently produced a paper looking at how advisers can assess and measure the value of their advice. Join us at 12:30 here, or if you missed it you can catch up on this and every #homegames via our youtube channel.



  • We check in on how you feel about platforms quarterly these days. Lots of you have already given us your assessment of how your platforms have dealt with you over the last quarter – thank you very much for that. If any of you would fancy helping us out and have 5 minutes free we’d be massively grateful. You can find the survey here.
  • Continuing last week’s theme of people moves, congrats to Emma Napier for her move to Bravura.
  • Lots of interesting stuff starting to happen in the disruptor platform space, not least with Fundment. Congrats to them for securing their latest funding.
  • Fellow lang cat Craig Rickman has decided to run a marathon. Obviously nuts, but it’s for a good cause. If you’ve got any spare pennies, please send them his way here.

And finally, whilst the boss is away, some drum & bass for your weekly musical treat. Check check check….

See you next time