No, indeed you do not, for the Update is practically perfect in every way and shines out in the darkness like…I dunno, a big shiny thing, but one which kind of has its own light rather than reflecting other light, or maybe both. That sort of shiny. Not this sort of shiny. I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.

Anyway, it’s well known that both the outgoing and incoming denizens of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW are massive fans of the Update, and quite right too. My tip for Grandpa Joe, then, is to always have a bag of Werthers Originals about his person, in case he meets someone from a younger demographic, because they totally love that and it’s great art for the supermarket tabloids. Oh, and check behind the towels in the third bathroom on the right because I’m pretty sure Melania hid some prawns in there. And Donny, next time you visit your Aberdeenshire golf course, make sure to say in a cheery voice to everyone you meet, “Fit like ya fiel gype, yer pus is like a skelpit erse! Rowies are mingin!” They’ll welcome you with open arms.

Back to business, and it’s FCA-data-dump time, which is one of my favourite times of year. Justin Cash has done a fine job of writing it all up so I’ll just send you over to him, but a few things are worthy of dwelling on here.

First, for all the constant news about consolidators and restricted advice, you’re still more likely to meet an IFA than a RFA, which is an acronym that no-one uses. At end 2019 there were around 18,400 IFAs and about 11,700 restricted folks. On the basis that independent firms tend on average to be smaller than restricted (a few huge firms skew the stats) then independence totally owns the playing field.

And while no-one would say an IFA’s life is wine and roses, it turns out that not many firms are jacking it in. The first three months of 2020 saw 67 firms turn up their toes and cancel their permissions, compared to 57 in 2019. With a supply of thousands of firms, that’s not too bad. As I’ve said here before, whatever side of this sector we work in, there is a lot to be grateful for and while there’s also a lot to moan about, it’s moaning being done from a comfy chair in a well-lit, warm office.

EXTRA SPECIAL GOOD

We’ve got a new paper coming out next week. It’s our take on the ESG space, and in a meta sort of way we try to tackle the proliferation of overmanufacturing and noise and bandwagon-jumping going on. It will not escape your attention that we’re also jumping on that bandwagon in so doing, but that’s post-modernism for you.

Anyway, it’s called Crossing The ESG Event Horizon: An Adviser’s Guide, and we’re running a launch event next Thursday in a pub! Where we can all sit next to each other and talk about ESG over a pint! No, that’s just a fever dream. We’re actually running an online launch round-table because that’s all we can do. You’ll meet the author of the report, Steve Nelson from the lang cat, Stephen Mitchell from FE, Sheila Nicoll OBE, head of public policy from Schroders and a couple of other fine folk. Both the report and the event are free thanks to the support of Schroders and we’d love you to join us here. 28th January, 10am – 10.45am.

LINKAUGURATION

  • HomeGames is back! This time with a new, vastly improved presenter in the form of the lang cat’s marketing director, Rebecca Christensen. Rebecca will be talking to financial planner, extreme athlete and steely-eyed motivational Terminator (just kidding, he’s nice) Derek Stewart of Strategic Asset Managers in Uddingston which is a mythical place just outside Glasgow that only rises from the mists once every 237 years. Happily 2021 is one of those. Come join us at 12.30pm and support Rebecca on her first HomeGames here.
  • It’s that time again – would you please tell us how your platforms are doing? Only takes a few minutes and we’ve even shortened the survey to get rid of the Covid bit because it’s business as usual now. This stuff really matters and makes its way into lots of places, so a few minutes of your time is very very much appreciated. You can let us know how it’s all going here.
  • And a last event-type thing from us – sorry-not-sorry it’s all us in the links this week. If the new year has made you think about checking the ongoing suitability of the platforms you’re using, then you might like to check out a free demo we’re doing of Platform Analyser tomorrow at 2pm. All welcome. Well, nearly all.
  • And I can’t put it off any more. You all need a good dose of some Finnish death metal to blow your hair back and wake you up from your January torpor. Please have the aptly titled A Day For Redemption from the mighty Mors Principium Est, daft skellingtons and all, and then be on your way.

See you next week. Joe, I wasn’t kidding about the prawns.

Mark