I think something like that might be what we need as the pace of major system change and re-platforming picks up. We’ll see more happening across platforms, lifecos and Sipp cos, with sunset being a driver. We can either try to get through this as providers move onto their strategic technology ‘stack’ for the next few years, or we can tear strips out of each other.
Here’s how it breaks down by participant:
Providers: don’t gild the lily. Your users (adviser and end) are your lifeblood; so don’t take them for fools. Be really open. Maybe consider weekly or monthly updates, or webinars, or anything that makes users feel involved. If the soft stuff hits the air distribution device, front up – not to the world, but to users. Nucleus had some big bumps along the way with its upgrade according to advisers we’ve talked to, but in the main the communication was pretty good which took a lot of the sting out of it.
Advisers: don’t overreact. No one wants to make your life harder. Bad service you may have had in the past has nothing to do, in the main, with what’s happening as a major tech refresh goes through. Don’t conflate the two. In the middle of a refresh is a very bad time to stalk out to a competitor. Like everything in life – this too shall pass. Push the provider to share detail on what’s going on. And if you really are cross, just make sure you run to something, not from something.
Competitors: there but for the grace of God go you. No crowing, please, if folk are having a tough time. You may have had your pain; you may have it to come. It’s a tough old world out there with no quarter asked or given, but try to keep the inelegant stuff to yourselves.
One of the great things about the platform market as it matures is that we can get into this sort of stuff in much more detail. We’re watching a multi-trillion pound industry gradually – far too gradually – remake itself from the inside out. That’s a privilege to witness.
It’s a time, then, for being constructive, for being measured, but most of all for being really open with the poor schmucks whose job it is to look after the poor schmucks who trust everyone in the chain with their hard-earned.
Mark Polson is principal of platforms and specialist consultancy at the lang cat