So it’s always good to open oneself to new experiences, as Brad and Janet found out. Just the other week, for example, Mark Locke spent a whole hour without a mobile phone to his ear, and he’s the happier for it. And it is in that spirit that we’re going to try something completely new in this week’s Update – a double feature. This is in the style of the 2004 Unholy Alliance double headline tour with Slipknot and Slayer, where as you all know they took turns for who would go on first.

The reason for this startling innovation is that this is one of those weeks where everything’s happening at once (see Updates passim on how full of earthly delights June is). It’s also a week where I’m going to use the Update to highlight some stuff we’re launching that I think you will find relevant. If you find this to be a FRIGHTFUL IMPOSITION on your VALUABLE TIME then you should stop reading now and just scroll straight to the music choice, which this week is a socially conscious stormer from defunct Glaswegian hip-hop outfit Hector Bizerk.

So what I’m going to do is turn the first part of the Update over to the delightful Mr Tom McPhail. Tom has been working ever so hard on a paper about housing equity forming part of retirement planning, and today sees its launch. It’s called House Rules, it’s produced with the support of Responsible Life and Royal London, and you can read it here. Over to Tom. I’ll be back in a bit.

We’re not the first to point out the equity release sector could up its game a bit, and for a while there, it certainly needed to. The point is, it kind of largely has now put its house in order and yet, relative to both the latent demand and the resources available, as a sector it’s still paddling in the shallow end.

On the one hand we’ve got a retired population of around 12.5 million people with an estimated annual retirement income shortfall of £48 billion a year; and they’ve got grandkids who can’t buy their own home because houses now cost the equivalent of their entire lifetime’s future earnings. Meanwhile over in the blue corner (or red, if you prefer) we have around £1.5 trillion of housing wealth owned by those same retired people and they’re mostly not using it. That housing wealth could be used to improve retirement living standards and/or give the kids a leg up in life.

No one owns this; and that’s the problem: wealth managers don’t need to advise on equity release, they’re doing nicely doing what they do, thank you very much; back-office systems mostly aren’t designed to accommodate houses in wealth management plans; the FCA has parked equity release in a silo within a silo, called it a mortgage and slammed the lid; and between them the politicians at the Treasury, DWP, DHS and DLUHC (look it up) have no coherent idea how property wealth should be used in later life, other than it’s definitely not what Theresa May suggested in 2017, because look what happened to her.

So to cut to the chase, we reckon everyone – industry, politicians and regulators – should get round the table and have a good argument about what to do about it. We’ve offered up some recommendations in our report, because that’s the helpful thing to do.

That was nice. Wasn’t that nice? I thought it was nice.

Also nice is this little sneaky peek. Tomorrow we’ll announce that we are out of beta testing and into a full release of the lang cat’s MPS Analyser. We’re live with 13 providers at the moment including biggies like Tatton, Brewin, Brooks Mac and AJ Bell, and other adviser favourites including Betafolio, LGT Wealth Management and more. That number will skyrocket over the weeks to come, but we do take our time to onboard each provider properly, especially given most of them have multiple ranges.

The idea of MPS Analyser is to shine a light on the outsourced MPS market. There are great tools out there for doing detailed investment analysis on performance attribution and so on once you know which portfolios you want to study. There are vanishingly few tools that take a suitability-first approach to getting you to that point.

So that’s our new thing and we’re very proud of it. Watch your inbox tomorrow for the full announcement (and a press release if you’re a hack).

Here’s the sell: Analyser in its entirety – so platforms and MPS is just £25pm plus the tax for adviser firms, and there’s a wee free trial. We don’t just spoil you. We ruin you.

And that’s it. Huge week for us; hope you didn’t mind us telling you about it.


  • Again it’s one of those all-lang-cat-all-the-time Updates, but we do have a HomeGames coming up and you should totally book on. It’s on ESG, and features amongst others oor ain Steve, Rebecca Kowalski of Overstory Finance, Steven Pyne from Holden & Partners and Al Ward from Aviva. Natalie chairs once again, thank goodness. Next Wednesday, 12.30pm.
  • What kind of business can grow its revenue by 70% and its losses by 28% and still be hailed a success? That’ll be the wacky world of robos, where Nutmeg has now democratised wealth management to the tune of £4.6bn AUA and lost over £100m cumulatively in the process. Ruby Hinchliffe has the story with her here.
  • Branding news: Tilney and Smith & Williamson are now called Evelyn. Supposedly this is after the street where S&W started, and I hope so because if it’s after my dad’s Auntie Evelyn then it’s not likely to go well; she smoked like a chimney for one thing and rarely stayed within her risk budgets.
  • And our music choice this week comes from the wonderful and much missed Hector Bizerk, Weedgie hip-hop pioneers and foul-mouthed social commentators. Please enjoy The Tree That Never Grew featuring RM Hubbert, and don’t worry about the start, it gets going at about 40 seconds in. A fitting song for this week I think.

See you next week