Herding cats


Herding cats

It’s November already and the pressure is on with our two quarterly publications, the Platform Report and the Distribution Report, due out in the next couple of weeks.  Not that the work hasn’t been ramping up already.  Last week I was up in cold, but sunny Edinburgh for Matrix Solutions’ annual Financial-Clarity conference, and yesterday the same seminar was held at the Shard in London, so prepping for both has taken some time. You can find a link to my presentation here.

We’re in the midst of data collection for the Platform Report. There are always one or two late submissions but the half-term holiday has thrown us off course a little.  We’re hoping that we can recover lost ground and publish the report as expected on 6th November, but it’s looking unlikely.

In the gaps between presentations and publications, I’ve also been preparing for TISA’s annual conference on 13th November, the theme of which is Improving the Consumer Experience (http://www.tisa.uk.com/other_event.html?event_id=268).  I’m chairing a panel on the same theme and trying to pin down my five panellists is a bit like herding cats — almost impossible.  I see myself very much as an ordinary consumer and investor so I’ve got some interesting questions lined up for them.

Platform news this week is the fact that the FCA issued a guidance consultation on bulk share-class conversions.  Over the last few months, platforms have been pinning their colours to the masts and either bulk converting investors to clean/standard share-classes or taking the we’ll-work-with-the-adviser approach. The FCA is essentially saying bulk transfers are good, and both options are fine, so long as the customer isn’t disadvantaged. Look out for the vox pop on this subject in the platform report next week.

Also newsworthy was the confirmation that Aberdeen is making a bid for SWIP, which is good news for both parties – SWIP has been desperate to find new parents and strong leadership. It’s been stuck in the doldrums for a while unable to make changes because the Lloyds group just wasn’t interested. For Aberdeen, there’s the Scottish connection (which should never be under-estimated), and the fact that not only does this bulk Aberdeen up,but  it also dilutes its emerging market focus. Once the deal has gone through, it will have quite a job on its hands bringing the SWIP organisation up to scratch… but if anyone can do it, Aberdeen can. If you were a SWIP employee, who would you rather work for?

Enjoy the weekend!