Panacea top industry tweeters of 2016

social media update for Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

5 May 2016

Panacea top industry tweeters of 2016

We first ran the Top Industry Tweeter awards in 2014 as we were keen to demonstrate excellent examples of Tweeters that post regular, useful and informative tweets.

With almost 70 nominations and over 780 votes, the awards proved to be a success.

Congratulations to all of our winners and shortlisters.  All of those shortlisted demonstrated engagement with their audience by the number of nominations they received and the winners really are the best of breed.

So, if you are just starting out on Twitter then these are the ones to follow.


Most Prolific Adviser Tweeter

For the second year in a row, @martinbamford

Author, filmmaker, podcast host, Financial Planner ‪@InformedChoice, SOLLA Accredited Later Life Adviser & Open Water Swimmer.

Others shortlisted were:

@rhgherts (Richmond House Group)


@Cunningham_UK (Alistair Cunningham)



Most Interesting Provider Tweeter

For the second year in a row, @FundsNetwork

A leading investment platform, with a constantly improving range of services and choice – for UK investment professionals only

Others shortlisted were:

@Nucleuswrap (Nucleus)

@bondvigilantes (M&G)

@sl_adviser (Standard Life)


@Toby_n (Toby Nangle)


Most Valuable Paraplanner Tweeter

@AbrahamOnMoney (Abraham Okusanya)

Principal of ruthlessly independent and insanely brilliant platform, pension & investment research firm ‪@FinalytiQ | NOT known for kissing anyone’s bum!

Others shortlisted were:

@theparaplanner (Richard Alum)

@Thetimebank (Damian Davies)

@cathiparasols (Cathi Harrison)

@JoCHague (Joanna Hague)


Most Useful Intermediary Journalist Tweeter

@MoorgateMermaid (Simoney Kyriakou, FT Adviser)

Financial Reporter provides industry-relevant news to the financial services industry.

Others shortlisted were:

@Citizenlaura (Laura Miller, FT Adviser)

@Josephinecumbo (Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times)

@PensionsSam (Sam Brodbeck, Money Marketing)

@Justin_Cash_1 (Justin Cash, Citywire)

Most Insightful Support Service


Leading technology solutions for the Wealth Management, Financial Markets and Mortgage sectors. Fintech news and insight from IRESS – Twitter exclusives.

Others shortlisted were:

@Hulbert_Money (Richard Hulbert, Defaqto Wealth Analyst)

@theactualpolson (Mark Polson, The Lang Cat)

@threesixtySvcs (ThreeSixty Services)

@CatrionaBrand (Catriona Standingford, Brand Financial Training)

The Donald’s Got Yer Troosers

Panacea comment for Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

4 May 2016

The Donald’s Got Yer Troosers

I was in Florida in late January and early February this year, viewing with a certain fresh air of incredulity, the first of the ‘caucuses’ and primaries in what has proved to be a very unpleasant opening act for the November US presidential elections.

With news of the latest primary ‘outcomes’ for the ‘Donald’ and ‘Wicked Witch of the West Wing’ it is starting to look like matters electoral can only get more toxic in the remaining six months of the campaign.

What has really amazed me is that the many Americans with whom I had numerous discussions with on the subject of the ‘Donald’ just could not see what was so blatantly obvious to an outsider from the UK with memories still clear of UKIP’s cash poor traction during the 2015 UK election.

My view was that ’the Donald’ would take the nomination with ease and that he will go on to be the next President in a two horse race, Republican v Democrat. Their view, without exception, was that would never happen, and that view has been reflected this side of the pond by certain sections of the media…..until now.

It is worth noting that in the UK multi horse 2015 election race, the Tories got 11.3m votes and with it 329 seats. UKIP got one seat for 3.9m votes yet UKIP would have got 112 seats if they were winning constituencies at the same vote rate as the Tories.

‘The Donald’ is, to borrow a little from Andy Stewarts song “quite big” (at 6’2’) and definitely not “awful shy”.

The USA establishment politico-elite of left and right, rather like here in the UK, do not like maverick politicians, by that I mean those that can say the seemingly un-say-able enough times that it starts to blast it’s way through the fog of political correctness that has been created over many decades by the numerous, varied and powerful minority interest groups.

I think we have a few powerful minority interest groups of our own here in the UK, shouting loudly or proudly for matters social, diverse, religious, sexual, ethnic and of course the latest super-cause of gender.

It is said that the ‘Donald’ is a bully by his opponents on both side of the political divide.

Well some staff feedback I had following a short stay at the Trump Turnberry last year paints a very different story.

This very old, iconic hotel along with the famous ‘Ailsa course’ was acquired by ‘the Donald’ in 2014 and is being ‘Trumped up’ at a cost of some £200m, the unveiling of this massive spend is expected to be in June this year.

The staff at the hotel, many who have been there for years, tell of a very different man.

Their first observations were that he did not drink, had no security nearby, did not seem to sleep very much, made a point of getting to know every member of staff by name and role, making clear what he expected from them, asked them what they would like to do to make the ‘Turnberry’ great again and made sure that no staff fuss at all was made of him or preference made over the paying guests.

In other words, he showed a human side and above all that he cared about them as well as the hotel.

So the thing with the bully is not all that it may first appear.

But in the USA, if he is seen as a bully, it is ticking all the right boxes with the voters who he is attracting. Many have a strong ‘blue collar’ background, the very antithesis of the intellectual left and the entitled right and if he is a bully, the bully is on their side.

They say that when America sneezes, we get a cold. Well, when the ‘Donald’ gets sworn in, the UK political elite had better get the ‘Night nurse’ in, a flu jab and a big box of tissues.

All will be needed to ensure that vast slices of humble pie can be swallowed, especially by the UK parliament (who had a vote to try and ban him from visiting the UK) the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews who decided that Turnberry would be on the host roster of ‘the Open’. Oh and let’s not forget that oh so influential ‘being offended on the part of someone else’ lobby that has grown so greatly in the UK in recent years.

That cold will turn to political pneumonia that will see the death of the establishment, career politician with no life experience who says everything and does nothing while happily spending everyone else’s money replacing it with the rise of a new order where common sense, a restoration of values and straight talking becomes the order of the day.

Just a thought!


Panacea comment for Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

26 Apr 2016


Financial advisers that accept invitations to sporting events, concerts or social events from product providers may be breaking conflict of interest rules, the FCA has warned.

It reckons that those accepting invitations to golf days, concerts, a day at the races or other hospitality events that “did not appear capable of enhancing the quality of service to clients” would be in trouble as such ‘largesse’ was “not conducive to business discussions” and that any dialogue with advisers “could better take place without these activities”.

COBS guidance on inducements states, amongst many things, that there is an “ obligation of a firm to act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of its clients”.

Although I have not been an adviser for over 10 years, there are a number of factors that trouble me with this latest ‘guidance’.

  • I find it inconceivable that any adviser, especially in a post RDR world would be influenced by a ‘day at the races’. To suggest otherwise is grossly maligning the professional, ethical status of advisers.
  • Financial services companies put vast amounts of money into sport. They do it for many reasons, brand awareness mostly, without the sums involved many sports would not survive and as a result the participants and the fans would suffer.
  • If, as part of that ‘sponsorship’, those firms wish to ask some advisers along as a way of demonstrating appreciation of a business relationship, what is so toxic about that?
  • Firms like Standard Life (Ryder Cup) AEGON (LTA tennis) Aberdeen (Cowes Week- expired 2015) Investec (the Derby & Test Cricket) Vitality (athletics) Royal London (Cricket) LV= (Cricket) Aviva (athletics) M&G (Chelsea Flower Show) have generously supported these events. To do so, they have to commit for many years and some very large sums of money are involved. If these rules mean that the very people who ‘distribute’ their products can no longer attend, part of that sponsorship value has been diluted yet the sponsorship money paid cannot be refunded to reflect that fact.

If hospitality is considered a no-go area for advisers, it may be of interest to know something of the hospitality and gifts that has been lavished upon- and accepted, by the Chairman and Executive Members of the FCA’s Board.

In the interest of fairness, FCA rules at January 2016 state that any gift with a value of £30 or more must be declared and surrendered so that it can be used within the FCA or charitably disposed of.

FCA records from April 2013 onwards show gift and hospitality summaries, all strangely without an exact cost. We cannot see any information relating to the FSA, pre April 2013.

Gifts include £450 worth of Aspinall Black Leather document case in June 2013 given to Martin Wheatley, a dinner and private viewing of an exhibition (courtesy of Ernst & Young) for Lesley Titcombe, 6 bottles of Bollinger given to Tracey ‘make mine Bolly’ McDermott by Slaughter & May on the 26th November 2014.

I have no doubt that all FCA staff “act honestly, fairly and professionally but why would such gifts be given let alone accepted when they clearly cannot or should not be for personal consumption?

Now for the dinners, again no value disclosed. The sheer number involved  would seriously reduce weekly grocery and wine bills for many, possibly excepting Mr. Creosote.

John Griffith-Jones comes out the clear winner. In fact I would be quite surprised if John Griffith Jones has any need for a kitchen given the massive roster of lunch and dinner engagements he has fitted in over the years. Still as they say, somebody has to do it.

I am particularly amused by the notation attaching to a gift declaration given to Mr Griffith-Jones on the 29th May 2014 by the Indonesian Financial Services Authority simply stating, “Glass box containing a silver ship (1 sail damaged)”. 

I can only assume it must still be worth over £30 even in scrap value.

Perhaps any vital dialogue with any of the above “could better take place without these activities”.

Hospitality is not a dirty word yet the FCA seems intent on making it one when it apples to those they regulate. It is in their eyes a temptation rather than applying some adult thinking around personal responsibilities and the  obligation of that firm to “act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of its clients”.

While acknowledging that there will always be times when accusatory fingers can and will be pointed (rather like mine is above) some element of what many would consider normal commercial practices should be encouraged.

If the FCA pursue this route, where will it end in the interest of fairness? Will we see ALL corporate entertainment be declared illegal by parliamentary statute?

Perhaps the FCA should ‘relax’ a bit and borrow some corporate entertainment inspiration and encouragement from the late Victoria Wood for its rulebook on the subject:

“Go do it, let’s do it,

Do it while the mood is right

I’m feeling appealing,

I’ve really got an appetite 

Businesses have been given three months to comply with the new guidance.

The cost of freedom, £900m

The cost of freedom, £900m

In July 2015 it became clear that for one major provider, 70% of savers exercising their new ‘pension freedoms’ withdrew the lot in the first 6 weeks of the so called pension revolution coming into force.

Yet only 3% of those savers who contacted the firm had spoken to Pension Wise!

Panacea predicted that the ‘harvest outcome’ from pension freedoms would be “the next PPI scandal”.

The Government has been giving retirees the freedom to do what they want with their ‘hard-earned’ and those pension reforms and freedoms.

Their road can now be seen as fraught with some very clear dangers and many that are hidden.

Regulation and legislation needs to catch up with the retirement superhighway quickly as I suspect that those retirees who did their Lamborghini based ‘risk assessments’ may expect, but not get, public sympathy after doing something stupid.

Warnings were ignored and the rogues devising cunning plans to no doubt deny many the retirement they have saved for will not care at all about the damage and stress caused by their selfish, boorish, poorly regulated behaviour.

But perhaps the biggest cunning plan has come from HM Treasury who have, we hear, netted £900m in pension freedom tax. This is a third more that anticipated.

They say that wherever there is blame there’s a claim…….

Treasury banks on UK numeracy levels to win the Brexit vote

Treasury banks on UK numeracy levels to win the Brexit vote

Algebra was never my strong point at school.

I have just about managed to lift my jaw from the floor after attempting to understand and draw succour from the impressive equation issued by George Osborne’s  “HM Treasury analysis: the long term economic impact of EU membership and the alternatives”.

With a population of some 64m, voters will certainly want to digest those fearsome stats that have been manufactured at great expense.

But wait, before they do that we should look at some stats ourselves.

Firstly on voter turnout numbers from 1945 to 2015.

  • Voters numbers in 1950 were the highest with 83.9% of the population voting
  • 2001 was the lowest number with 59.4% voting
  • The 2015 election saw an increase to 66.1%

Now with these numbers firmly in our mind we need to consider the intelligence of the voting population by way of numeracy.

According to National Numeracy, an independent charity, all is not well in the nation.

Times tables and spelling bees are not working it seems. Our schools are turning out a staggering 80% of adults into the UK workplace with a low level of numeracy. These statistics have seen very little improvement since 2003.

So if only 60% of the population actually bother to vote, just over 7.5m will actually be in a position to ‘possibly’ understand/believe the ‘math’, or in this case the ‘algebra’.

So the big questions for George Osborne are this.

  • How many does he expect will read this?
  • Of those, who on earth is going to understand this, or even try to?
  • Are HMT aware of the very low numeracy levels in the UK?
  • How much did this cost to prepare?
  • Can George Osborne explain the calculation in simple terms to the nation himself?
  • Have HM Treasury got nothing much to do?
  • Is there life on Mars?