So there you are, not much to do really, edging forward towards the centre circle to see if you can get in shot and improve the value of your image rights, when all of a sudden bad things happen, you’re all tangled up in the net and you’re the subject of remorseless memes like this one and this one and these ones. Life is cruel sometimes.

In between pretending to know or care about football and trying to book a seat to watch Andrew Lloyd Webber get arrested, I’ve been working away on a thing that looks a little more deeply at a topic we covered in our Lockdown Papers last year – that of advisers’ and planners’ ability to remake the industry in the way that they see fit.

That’ll be ready in a few weeks, but I thought I’d share a wee stat from it that interested me and might interest you. Or it might not, but I can’t control that.

Amongst a bunch of other things, we asked respondents – about 180 of them – to tell us how responsive platforms were to requests for new or altered functionality to fit their business processes. Just under 22% were good boys and girls and were happy with their wash. Only 6% said that they’d asked and so had they received in a swift and timely fashion. 35% had asked for stuff and got it ‘eventually’ and just under another 35% had asked and had not received in any way, shape or form. The rest appeared to have taken the wrong survey and had just typed in “OWNING THE WOKERATI GO WOKE GO BROKE WAKE UP SHEEPLE” in any box they could find whilst phoning in to GB News on the other.

So what? Users of systems ask for things all the time. For example, I’ve long been keen to have a search function on Outlook that doesn’t make me want to claw my eyes out on a regular basis.

But taken with a bunch of other things that we asked, we think we can hear a rising tide of dissatisfaction. This isn’t the same as flouncing out to something else – only 15% of our respondents planned to change platform in the next year – but it’s the beginning of something and I think that something is firms recognising that they have more power than they thought they did.

Now isn’t a bad time to think about stuff like this; platforms who, a year ago, were grumpily accepting things online on a temporary and limited basis have now accepted – as they were always going to have to – things aren’t going back to how they were. But just taking paper processes and planking them online with a bunch of PDFs to e-sign isn’t the answer either. Asking for scans doesn’t make you a hero of the digital economy; it just requires people to interact with scanners which we all know are the Devil’s technology.

So much of the last few years has been about the platform sector striving for stability as it came out of an intense period of regulatory change, and then a huge wave of M&A. We’re not there yet, but the next thing after stability will be responsiveness. Big shops will have to be able to find ways of allowing firms to find their own way through their systems – or the nimbler, more flexible upstarts will.

LINKS ARE COMING HOME, AS IS SCOTLAND

  • Huge numbers of updates on Platform Analyser at the moment including some cool bits, as well as updated details for all the platforms you care about. Come see here, and perhaps pick up a premium license while you’re at it….#marketing.
  • #HomeGames this week is going to be a properly informative one, as our own Natalie Holt takes on Intelligent Pensions’ Fiona Tait. Fi has an unparalleled ability to make you learn things without you knowing you’re being learned; something I have always hated as I prefer to go through life happily uninformed. Assuming you’re a better human being than me, come join Natalie and Fiona here at 12.30pm or later on the
  • It’s the last few days for those of you who might want a job at the lang cat. Read, consider, apply. It all ends on Friday…
  • Talking of platforms, it’s the end of an era for On My Way! and the start of the Quilter era.
  • And speaking of stability, here’s AJ Bell continuing its contract with GBST – an example of where a provider uses outsourced tech but builds their own stuff alongside.
  • It’s a very platformy week – check out Praemium integrating with Moneyinfo and Aviva wanting to be a leading platform, or maybe ‘the’ leading platform. That said, I’m yet to hear someone say they want to be a ‘following’ platform.
  • And your music choice this week is in honour of David Marshall. Here’s a great live version of Bad Day by R.E.M.

See you next week

Mark