Hello, it’s me back again and thanks to Steve for holding the fort last week while I was riddled with the pox. My confinement is finished, my tests show but one little line and that’s that done with. Except of course it isn’t; as so many others have experienced the fatigue hangover is quite something as is the total loss of smell and taste. There is an obvious joke that I’m surprised no-one has made so far about me not having any taste anyway, but that’s only because I haven’t seen my dad for a few weeks.

Anyway, this is nothing to do with anything, but if your strategy has involved Not Getting It and you’ve been successful, then I encourage you to keep your guard up. My experience of it was mild compared to many and still is right up there with that time I nearly castrated myself with a rusty handlebar end on slick Leith cobblestones. Not recommended.

You know what’s not short of breath and watching its pulse oximeter ratings dive down below 95? The platform sector, that’s what, and given that the platform sector’s health is largely a proxy for the health of the financial planning sector that’s a good thing.

Advised platform assets are now £562bn by our reckoning and if you include the assets that your platforms of choice look after through other channels that rises to £700bn. £1trn isn’t far away – actually it is but screw it, the joke in this paragraph depends on it – and after that we’re surely aboard the magic bus to a gajillion, a gazillion and a squazillion and then we can all retire. I guess there might be some things to sort out first.

Subscribers to our stuff – especially premium Platform Analyser subscribers – will be getting all the data, all the platform developments and loads more very shortly, but there are lots of stories we could pick out. I’ll highlight two briefly: first, four platforms put on more than £1bn of net new business in the quarter. That’s a huge performance from AJ Bell, Aviva, Transact and True Potential. Joking aside, when you’re playing up in the -illion words of net new business in a quarter you’re doing some damage. Abrdn (across Wrap and Elevate) and FundsNetwork weren’t far behind.

Brute force of these scale providers is one thing, but hearts and minds are something different and while the numbers are good, strength of franchise counts for something too. That’s a fiefdom ruled by the smaller specialist providers once again according to our service ratings, which were topped (no, not like that) by P1, TP, Fundment, Praemium and Parmenion once again. Apart from TP they may not have the scale, but they’re doing a lot of things right according to their users and their challenge is surely one of distribution.

There’s more corporate activity on the horizon with Praemium’s sale reaching the pointy end of the process and maybe some stuff on Hubwise. Maybe someone apart from TP and Transact will manage to do hearts and minds and scale at the same time. Maybe not. It doesn’t feel like moonbeams as much as it once did. But that could just be the brain-fog talking.

SELF-LINKIFICATION

  • Firebreathing stuff here from yer actual Tom Selby on the minimum pension age change. Well worth a read.
  • Actual LOL on this particular POS crypto nonsensecoin being banned from the Underground when all the other ones are apparently fine.
  • HomeGames this week is a big one with David Montgomery who is in charge of the biscuit tin at M&G Wealth. I’ll be trying to keep up. Come join at 12.30pm as ever, or on the YouTubes later. Oh, and next week we’ve got Patrick Mill who is the guardian of the posh espresso capsules at the newly combined Novia and Wealthtime business. You can register for that one here.
  • We haven’t done a public Platform Analyser demo for a while. We put that right tomorrow at 11am and you can register for it here. It’s time to stop mucking around and do platform due diligence properly, and we think we can help.
  • You know what music choice you want when you’ve got 10 days on your Jack Jones and you’re too ill to do anything fun with it? You want long-form wig-out prog epics, that’s what you want, and if you don’t think you do then you’re wrong. So here’s Neverland by Marillion live at the Albert Hall and I don’t even care what you think.

See you next week

Mark