Alright you lot, it’s Steve here subbing in for the right honourable Mr Polson, who is off work navigating a nasty bout of the East-of-Scotland-despite-being-double-jabbed-covid. He’s at home with the family consuming a ferocious volume of Lucozade and Netflix and we wish him our very, very best as he gets over the shivers, dizziness and associated unpleasantness.

M&A ACTIVITY, MAKING US SPIN

Speaking of being dizzy (toot toot all aboard the seamless link train) it seems barely a day goes by without more BREAKING NEWS of corporate changes. Over the last few days we’ve had reports of a potential Hubwise acquisition by SS&C, Interactive Investor being snapped up by Abrdn, and Succession up for sale. We’ll see how many of these rumoured deals actually complete, but there’s no sign of corporate activity like this slowing any time soon. Speaking of things showing no sign of slowing down, the next person to make a hilarious joke about Interactive Investor, missing vowels and Abrdn then it’s a paddling for you sunshine.

FELLAS, HANGIN’ ROUND ME ALL THE TIME

Corporate dealings aside, the thing that’s really spinning me out this week goes back to a conversation I had with two of my mates on Sunday there. One was in the process of buying a new car and was saying with almost nervous incredulity how easy it was to take on a five-figure sum of debt. He reckoned the end-to-end process from application to credit check to funds in his account could have been no more than five minutes.

A wee while later it transpired that the other mate has a reasonably tidy sum of Bitcoin tucked away. We got chatting about things like Revolut and Coinbase and how easy it is to invest in crypto. I decided to check it out myself the other night and measure how long it took to invest. Turns out including sign-up, identity verification and most importantly of all, the patented Nelson crypto selection algorithm of picking something completely at random, the whole process took nine minutes.

GOIN’ AROUND IN CIRCLES

So, that’s 5 minutes to take on a five-figure sum of debt and 9 minutes to invest in something completely random that would no doubt be wholly unsuitable for me were I to invest a decent whack. I contrast this to my last experience of trying to sign up for a stocks and shares ISA from one of the leading D2C platforms and waiting for a password to arrive in the post. Or by smoke signal, I can’t remember.

And then I contrast it to our own corner of the sector and all the conversations I have with brilliant advice professionals who are driven up the wall by transfer times, data irregularities, hold times on service desks and whatnot.

I bet if you were to draw a graph (I’m not going to draw a graph) using mean average elapsed times of things like taking on debt, following ex-footballer trading strategy adverts on YouTube (where the fine print in plain sight tells you that most folk lose money!), crypto et al and then contrast it to all the safe, secure and suitable stuff that we all talk about in our corner then it would make for potentially uncomfortable viewing.

Another way of looking at this is that were you to design all of this back up again from scratch would you get to this outcome? Probably not. My wish is that a decent portion of all the corporate money flooding through the sector right now gets ring-fenced and put towards making our part of the sector easier for the folk that use it.

(PS I now own a tenner’s worth of Perpetual Protocol so if one of you could put in a word with Elon and get him to tweet it into the stratosphere, that would be cool).

LINKS TO MAKE YOUR HEART MELT

    • Final call for Home Games attendance and it’s a good un’ where Anthony Morrow, co-founder of OpenMoney will be talking through fresh Advice Gap research
    • If you too are dizzy with all the recent M&A activity then Citywire did a great long-read that summarises a tonne of it
    • The fine people at the AIC carried out some great, practical research on consumer EEE ESS GEE views and you can read a summary here in the FTs (paywall alert)
    • If you have an aching gap in your soul next Thursday (18th) at 11am that only a demo of the lang cat’s Platform Analyser tool can fill then you’re in luck. Sign up here and hear about the latest developments and plans, of which there are many.
    • You’re smart people, you already know what the song is this week. Here’s the definitive version of Dizzy by Vic Reeves & the Wonderstuff including what surely has to be the best use of washing machines (whirlpool geddit!?) in a music video.

Steve