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Better communications: Only smarties have the answer

I was interested to read the FCA’s discussion paper around smarter consumer communications, published yesterday here.

The Regulator has recognised the fact that the way the financial services industry communicates with its customers often leaves a lot to be desired.

Christopher Woolard, director of strategy and competition, said: “information itself does not necessarily empower the consumer… it can overwhelm, confuse, distract or even deter people from making effective choices if presented in a way people struggle to engage with.”

The discussion paper suggests moving away from “a box-ticking approach to communication design, or the perception that communications driven by regulation are the responsibility of compliance and legal staff” and “adopting innovative techniques to improve how key information about products is conveyed and delivered to consumers”, with video being highlighted as one option.

All this is great, but I think the way information is delivered is only half the battle. Yes, I like ‘information snacking’ as much as anyone, with my news delivered in 60 second bites or 140 characters; but I’m also capable of delving deeper and reading material that engages and informs.

And that’s the key with consumer communications. We need to deliver information in a way that engages and informs and that doesn’t make you want to rip your eyes out to make it stop. The problem is that currently, a lot of financial services communications is either really technical or too fluffy. Most of it is very dull and there are a lot of pictures of happy old people on a beach. Or looking into the sunset. Or on a beach looking into the sunset.

I recently opened a regular savings account for my daughter. Despite the fact that both she and I already have accounts with this well-known high street bank, I had to go into the branch for a 30 minute meeting to open the new account. The meeting involved information delivered verbally, on-screen, via a leaflet and through a short video. Having already chosen the account before I started, I’d frankly rather have applied online in three minutes (like Mike Barrett’s credit card experience), but at the very least we could have skipped the video, which really didn’t add anything except more time spent in a stuffy office.

So yes, let’s definitely do smarter consumer communications. Let’s cut through the jargon; make things simple without making them trivial; make things a bit less dull. Then it doesn’t matter if it’s a video, a brochure or a tweet – it’s whatever format is most effective to do the job.

On-brand heatmapping: Aviva goes D2C

On Friday past, the gaffer shared his thoughts on the difficulties facing new entrants to the already stacked D2C market. In it, he alluded to details of a new entrant emerging any day now. Well, today Aviva has launched its platform for consumers, cryptically named the Aviva Consumer Platform.

The platform is powered by FNZ and offers access to a dealing account, ISA and pension together with both fund and equity investment. Let’s look at the charges first and we’ll talk about other stuff in a bit;

  • Aviva have gone for a tiered ad-valorem (posh -> percentage) structure. First £50k costs 0.4%, next £200k at 0.35%, the following £250k at 0.25% and no charges above this.
  • In simple terms, this equates to a charging cap of £1,525 per year because arithmetic.
  • This applies across dealing account, SIPP and ISA with no further core wrapper charges or GYMBOA[1] costs
  • Fund switching is bundled in. Equity trading costs £7.50 a pop.
  • No exit fees at all for product closures or transferring out. That’s a fist pump in our book.

I’ve wiped the stoor from our D2C platform engine and programmed in the charging structure. Let’s see how this all translates to our heatmaps. Usual assumptions apply. We look at investment in funds, ongoing platform and wrapper charges (with the exception of the initial £200 fee to open an iWeb ISA – too large a fee to ignore) plus the cost of 5 switches (5 buys and 5 sells).

We have equivalent tables for equity investment – just drop us a note if you’d like them too.

SIPP first:

SIPP

And ISA/GIA:

ISA

So, from a charging perspective;

  • Your cost of entry if you have more modest funds is very competitive. 40bps stacks up well against those with fixed costs or those who charge extra for fund switching
  • Lack of SIPP wrapper costs in particular makes it an extremely attractive option for anything up to around £50k.
  • For pretty typical pot sizes (10-20k in ISA and 100k in SIPP), Aviva are a gloriously on-brand yellow hue. We hope this is deliberate.
  • We’ve not featured the equity tables here but the £7.50 trading charge is competitive compared to most peers who charge around the tenner mark. However, lots of these peers carry no core custody charges so the net effect is much of a muchness.

All in all, from a cost point of view there’s little to disagree with here. A relatively simple charging structure (although we’d prefer fewer tiers) with no extra costs for drawdown or transferring out gets a thumbs up.

We do find the fact that the entry charge for a D2C ISA with Aviva is 60% higher (25bp compared to 40bp) than that on its adviser platform a bit weird. A bit like Tilney BestInvest charging more for an ISA than SIPP, it’s just one of those things that doesn’t feel right.

Also strange is the fact that the platform is powered by a different underlying kit (FNZ) compared to its advised wrap (Bravura). I’d question how sustainable this is going forward? For example, how efficient can it be to have to respond to regulatory changes across 2 different pieces of kit? Will be interesting to see how that pans out.

We’d love to look at the proposition itself in a bit of detail but given that Aviva are soft-launching it’s difficult to go into any depth at present. Info is a bit on the light side and is a bit lost within the sheer scale of the Aviva website. We would hope and expect something a bit more flavoured and distinct to show up in the coming months.

At lang cat HQ we’re currently in the process of writing our annual (free) guide to D2C investment. Once the Aviva platform is launched properly, we’ll be opening an account and reviewing in one of the quarterly updates that follow.

Till then, I share the boss’ scepticism when it comes to a new entrant to the market gaining any immediate traction. We see lots of propositions, some of which genuinely well articulated, in this market struggle to gain meaningful AUA and I suspect Aviva will need more than just brand reputation and financial strength to succeed here.

[1] Get Your Money Back Out Again

Drowning in the D2C value pool

Another week, another D2C platform’s details start to emerge. No names, no pack drill in deference to the journalist who’s writing it up, but by our count that’s the 33rd contender vying for the self-directed market. We’ll see another couple by the end of the year.

Irrespective of the relative merits in terms of proposition, customer experience, brand or price, the question is whether there is enough market to sustain all these cool cats, especially when you factor in another 30 or so advised contenders.

This is one of those times when proposition teams get the big boys in to ‘size the market’, and what usually happens is that they get the equivalent of the glassy-eyed fixed-stare optimism of the schmucks on Dragon’s Den. In the Den it’s all “the global night-time leisure products market is worth £84 squadrillion, so if we can get just 0.1% of that market then we’ll be RICH, RICH I TELL YOU!” The fact that no-one, including the inventors’ Mums, wants the head-torch-cum-VD-testing-kit they’ve cleverly devised, doesn’t come into it, giving Duncan Bannatyne another excuse to be supercilious.

In our industry, it’s “the total UK investment market is £xxx trillion, and that’s without all the money languishing in rubbish savings accounts, so if we can get just 1% of that we’ll be THE NEXT HARGREAVES LANSDOWN!” This kind of value pool analysis is the bedrock of most business cases, and in a way we should be grateful it is, otherwise nothing would ever get built and we’d have to get proper jobs.

Value pool guesswork is fun for a pitch for investment from the board, but is of course utter bollocks. I thought I’d have a shot at what the proper equation should be:

  • Total investment market including short-term cash savings
  • minus
  • the amount people should have in short-term cash savings for emergencies
  • minus
  • the amount risk-averse people should keep in cash so they can sleep
  • minus
  • the amount advisers manage on behalf of their clients
  • minus
  • the amount held by people who’d rather die than give it to the investment industry
  • minus
  • the amount held by people who don’t trust the interwebs for finance
  • minus
  • about 88% of the assets held on platforms currently (platform business is sticky)
  • minus
  • the amount in pensions that should stay where it is
  • minus
  • the amount HL will get just cos it’s the biggest and quite good at what it does
  • divided by
  • 33
  • equals

what you might get, over a decade or so, if you really stick at it and build your presence

Who’s up for our version? Anyone? Anyone?

I wonder how many of the 33 really have the appetite to go the distance? The sheer, sustained focus and effort of gaining a client bank you can farm, as HL has done so well, for years and years takes – well, years and years. In a market where providers of capital want a quick payback, which most readily comes from easy-to-sell, price-sensitive insurances, it’s one thing to launch a slow-burn, marketing-led proposition; quite another to stick with it and invest relentlessly in the engagement work to make it, very slowly, fly.

Indebted to technology

One of the housekeeping points I chatted through recently with @theactualpolson was the matter of company expenses. As much as I left my old job on good terms I had to relinquish my beloved old company credit card, so I needed to apply for a new one to cater for the massive Lang Cat expense budget. I picked a high street bank (one who we all own a small stake in) who would also top up my air miles along the way. I applied online, telling them that I had only been in my current job for less than a month, and asked for £1k credit limit. Within a matter of seconds the website welcomed me as a customer, and gave me a credit limit of £7000. The whole process took me around 3 minutes, I didn’t need to sign anything, and 48 hours later the card arrived.

It’s scary just how easy it is to get into debt, both in terms of the availability but also the ease of the user journey. I put in my details onto a website, and 48 hours later could have been £7k in debt. Easy. Worse still, it seems to me that financial services as an industry has put much more effort into the user journey for debt based products rather than savings. Much has been written about Wonga (and other such companies) yet despite the eye watering interest rates they charge they still get customers using them. Wonga’s own published stats show that over 2/3rds of their customers are under 35, 100% have mobile phones, and on average the money is sent within 5 minutes of the online acceptance. 86% of their customers rated the process as “very easy” or “easy”. The process is quick, easy, and it is tablet & mobile friendly. As @terry_huddart recently noted, a lot of platforms have an awful lot to do in this respect.

We have conducted some research into the user journeys for investing via a number of the leading D2C platforms, and we will be sharing our findings over the coming months. There are some good examples of clear, simple & easy to use websites, leading into decent well priced products & solutions, but others have much to do. As an industry we need to make it as easy to save & invest as it is to get into debt. Hopefully this is just a case of providers upping their game & building an easy to use end to end customer journey, but the cynic in me can’t help but wonder if their customer journey innovation will continue to be concentrate on debt products.

Elven safety at #langcatlive

So we’ve had Mr Polson’s version of the #langcatlive experience. A perspective largely from behind a camera which, after a little cross-London sprint and some highly educational narrative, was happily attached to a tripod. (There’s a lesson in there: checklists are great as long as you remember to put stuff on them.) We’ve also had some lovely feedback from people and it seems a good time was had by all. This makes us very happy indeed. We might even do it all again. We’ll see.

But there’s always the slightly less glamorous aspect to these things; requiring that you be up and alert(ish) at a time that should be illegal, quietly beavering away in the background to make the magic happen whilst trying to manage some of the more diva-esque demands.  Although I did manage to talk Mr Polson out of his request for a basket of kittens and a bottle of 50 year old Balvenie in his dressing room. And a dressing room.

I can’t even claim credit for very much of the beavering, that was all down to the indefatigable Shona McCowan who really did make the magic happen. The bulk of my efforts involved strenuous negotiations with some pull up banners. Doesn’t sound like much I grant you, but it was a battle, not a skirmish.

While Messrs Polson and Locke (a frustrated roadie at heart) ran the show at the front, I settled down at the back for some serious live-tweeting as proceedings unfolded. Quite apart from the quality of our line-up of speakers, I was impressed by the audience. It was something of a who’s who of financial services and it gave me a little warm feeling inside that so many people had taken time out to come along to our little event.

It was a curious feeling sitting alongside people in the room whilst reading their tweets. A modern phenomenon but one that gives a unique sense of how people are genuinely reacting to and engaging with what they’re watching. There were some robust debates going on in the room without a word ever being spoken. And how different points resonated with the various members of our audience was reflected in who was highlighting what to their followers. If you missed it and you ‘do’ Twitter, take ten minutes and read through the #langcatlive timeline, there’s a lot of good stuff there.

There’s also some good stuff in When the Levee Breaks: What Next for the UK Retirement Savings Market? (seamless, eh?) which formed the basis of the event. If you’ve missed it so far, we’ll forgive you and you can put things right by downloading it for free here.

It was our first event and we learned a lot. Mark has covered most of it but he did miss one thing. If you’re sending stuff home by courier (particularly if you’re flying home) take a roll of packing tape and a pair of scissors you don’t mind leaving behind. That’s a worker elf tip, by the way.

langcat_retirement_pages

Does anyone know a decent plumber?

Paul Lewis has hit a raw nerve with many in the financial services industry. His piece about the transparency of charging here (and let’s remember he’s not having a pop at advisers specifically) has caused much consternation below the line and on his twitter timeline.

I imagine Paul had never expected such a fierce reaction, yet I also suspect he’s quite pleased with himself too. As Money Marketing will be as they see the page impressions mount up (as an aside, they’d probably have substantially more impressions if they sorted out their new registration requirements – grrr).

On reading the article I thought it made some good points about the charging structures in our profession.

Yes – the analogy is a bit wide of the mark and a bit clumsy from a purist’s perspective.

Yes – the comparisons are unfair in places and may even be insulting to some (if you choose to take offence).

But one thing’s for certain. WE DO HAVE AN ISSUE IN THE WAY WE COMMUNICATE THE MYRIAD CHARGES at play across our sector. Have a bash at arguing everything is rosy if you want, but know you’re just plain wrong if you do.

Perception is king. And generally, people who engage with our profession, whether through advice or direct perceive us to be a bunch of shysters out to fleece them of their hard earned. Poor us. Life’s just so unfair eh!

Now, you know that’s not true as much as I do. Our profession exists to ensure people make the most of their money; to protect them and to look after them financially throughout their lives. But it doesn’t matter what we think. What matters is what people paying for the products and services think. All that Paul was doing was holding a consumer mirror up to our faces and forcing us to take a good hard look. And what we saw wasn’t pretty.

And that’s where the reaction to Paul’s article could be more dangerous than the piece itself. Consumers – y’know the people who buy our stuff – will read Paul’s piece (likely nodding profusely as they do) and then wander down to the comments. Their negative perceptions will then be reinforced by the comments they read. They’ll see a bunch of industry folk defending current practices and attacking Paul’s ‘lack of knowledge’ and calling his journalistic integrity into question.  Put yourself in the shoes of someone outside the industry for a moment and read the comments from their perspective. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see how counterproductive they are. They do nothing to convince the casual reader that we recognise problems exist within our little village and that we work our socks off, day-in day-out, to help people understand the issues.

Surely a better approach would be to point out that Paul has a general point about the opaque nature of charges? Recognise there are some flawed and clumsy analogies. But also recognise that many potential customers have similar views.

After all: knowing the barriers to engagement is vital in overcoming them.

Henry Tapper is right in his reaction piece here.

Paul is actually doing us a favour.

 

What I learned at #langcatlive

Well, that was a blast. Our first ever solo event went pretty damn well, we exceeded our expectations on numbers, all the speakers were ace and Henry Cobbe of Birthstar stole the show with a blow-up doll joke. I say consider that day seized.

As much for my remembrance as anyone else’s, here are a few things I worked out…

  • Bars in Shoreditch are really expensive. Thanks to Rob from GBST for helping with that (and sponsoring the whole thing).
  • Having a ‘fast and furious’ pace is good but folk still need a break, and are too polite just to go and take one, even when encouraged so to do.
  • Don’t be afraid to recolour speakers’ presentations if they use, for example, blue on blue (naming no names, Tom)
  • Batteries
  • Jumping between Prezi and PowerPoint is a disaster.
  • Periscope is ace.
  • Pay your AV guy well, and early. Thanks to Abraham Okusanya of Finalytiq for hooking us up with the mighty Fred.
  • Batteries
  • Carry a conference kit at all times. This is basically a big bag of money which you use to ease your way through the situations you encounter.
  • People love something a little different, and a touch of informality and unstuffiness can go a long way.
  • Gaffer tape. And batteries.
  • The success of your event is directly correlated to the quality of your speakers first, second and third. We were blessed with ours.
  • Remember to bring your tripod quick-release plate unless you fancy a trip to Oxford Street to buy a new one.

And subject matter stuff I learned:

  • Political reality trumps pension industry rhetoric
  • The Aussie system is more problematic than folk think
  • But they can consolidate their pensions with a few clicks, which is cool
  • Everyone wants more clarity and simplicity for customers. But no-one seems to want to go first.
  • More than half of HL’s drawdown customers have less than a year’s income as a buffer
  • Pension death benefits are perhaps too good to be true
  • Webchat is awesome for engaging with people
  • Pensions advice leads to IHT and broader advice more times than not
  • Most clients want to know ‘how much do I need?’ not ‘how do I cash in?’
  • A common language around pensions that folk can actually understand would be nirvana

There are more – add your own below the line.

Our thanks to everyone who made our first gig such as a success. We honestly didn’t know if it would work, if folk would turn up, or if they would rather we just got back in our box. Turns out we can just chuck the box away.

Expect more.

#langcatlive

event logo orange

 

Statutory redundancy secured: 2 years at the lang cat

Today is the second anniversary of me joining the lang cat so it feels as good a time as any to salute the relentless regularity of the Gregorian calendar and share some views on my time in the world of consultancy thus far.

I’m going to take a break from my typical existential-level crisis over the perfect blog structure and just steam ahead with some thoughts as they come to me. So, in no particular order:

  • I’ve been in the industry 12 years now and in that time I’ve worked through A-Day, RDR, Auto-Enrolment, PS13/1 and pension freedom changes. Lots of great stuff in all of that but it would be good if the industry was given time to breathe for a while. Less mandatory spend on regulatory change might free up some cash to sort out simple things like web optimisation or more complex issues such as…
  • …jargon and more specifically the way we speak to our customers. I lose count of the number of times I read that a product is flexible (is it bendy?) or revolutionary (are you overthrowing a government?) or see the same old tired clichés like pictures of elderly folk strolling on a beach. Speak to your customers. This is well worth a read.
  • Twitter has really calmed down over the past wee while. When I started, it seemed like there was a public spat every now and again. Truthfully, I miss those days.
  • The lang cat has definitely grown up. When I joined it was just Polson, Sam and I but Mark has developed the habit of hiring extremely talented people and I feel less competent by the day. There’s Jenette and Shona with their mad PR and organisational skills respectively. Linda with her off-the scale ability to write and co-ordinate our publications. There’s nothing Terry or Mike couldn’t tell you about the platform market. And Mark Locke knows the words to literally every song in the world. It’s intimidating.
  • Fund data has been the single, biggest pain in my backside over the past couple of years. As someone who takes pleasure in analysing big chunks of data, it’s most definitely not cool to have to wade through reams of different share classes (with naming conventions that mean nothing to the customer) and do a massive cleansing exercise every time you want to have a look at some funds. Like I said, not cool.
  • On a balmy summer afternoon in August 2013 I looked at Mark’s pricing tables and said it might be an idea to put them in a slightly different format. The #heatmap was born that afternoon and if you’d told me then the depth of coverage they’d receive across the industry and into the mainstream press, I’d have thought you were mad. On the one hand this is all self-congratulatory bollocks, but on the other I think it highlights that there is a need in this industry to take complex stuff and communicate it in a very simple way.

Time to get back to some proper work. I was going to end this blog with a pithy joke about putting up with Mark for 2 years but I won’t. It’s been a pleasure.

As you were.

Steve

Why? An inaugural blog from Mike Barrett

Sorry if I’ve mislead you with the blog title, but this blog is about me and nothing to do with Annie Lennox’s 1992 smash (no. 5) hit.

Everyone knows you should never start a presentation with an apology, although curiously some of the best presenters I’ve seen do. On that basis it must be even worse to start a new job with an apology, so…sorry. Again.

You still here? Good. Let’s crack on.

So. It’s all about me. It’s my third day so if ever I’m going to get away with being pretentious & self-obsessed today is the day.

Over the last few months I’ve had a bit of time to be able to think. I’ve only ever had one proper job (unless you count supermarket baker or part-time DJ) so it was a big decision for me to join Leith’s leading independent platforms, pensions & investments consultancy.1 Toss in the fact that the lang cat HQ is around 480 miles away from my home in Cowes and the natural question I was asked by a lot of people was “why?”

I believe the question of “why” is a critical one for financial services firms to be able to answer. What do you stand for, but more importantly, why do you believe it matters? Most providers are hilariously bad at answering this, normally trotting out lines about how they passionately believe in great customer outcomes, as if anyone would say the opposite.

If you can’t articulate what you do, why you think its important and why it matters then your business, whether that’s advice, provider, asset manager or leading investment consultancy is a commodity. Your customers will feel the same loyalty and engagement with you as they do when putting petrol in their car.

A few months ago, Paul Resnik from FinaMetrica tweeted the 20 industry changes that, in his view, make this time the most challenging time he has ever experienced. I view these changes as exciting, rather than simply challenging. And I would add 3 others to his list.

  1. The current system of saving and investing desperately needs to change. The recent (excellent) research from True Potential “Tackling the savings gap” shows 54% of Britons are saving nothing for retirement. Of those who are, the average amount was £1640 over the 3-month period in question. Not a bad amount, until you consider that on average £1849 of new debt was taken on during the same time. Oops.
  2. Moving to my favourite subject of platforms, it feels like this market is about to experience a whole heap of change all of its own. Firstly, generally speaking, platform technology is old and in some cases in desperate need of updating. Most providers are going through this process over the next few years, and the one thing you can guarantee is a bumpy landing. The associated costs are significant and advisers will need to closely interrogate platform technology upgrade plans to ensure their businesses and their clients are not adversely impacted.
  3. Linked to the above will be the imminent thematic review into adviser due diligence, potentially covering investment solutions, DFMs and platforms. This will be the first time some advisers will have seriously looked at platform due diligence since the RDR and, realistically, sunset clause too. How will platform selections pan out in a new world, with a new set of regulatory good practices, adviser revenue less reliant on trail commission, and easy (in theory) re-registration of assets available? Any provider who can’t demonstrate why they deserve to be trusted with a client’s savings might find the next few years very challenging indeed.

So, why did I join the team at the lang cat? I don’t for one minute think we are going to change the world and solve all of the above, but there is more than enough change happening to keep us entertained. The good news is the team love all this detail and can see the absurdity in a lot of what the financial services industry does. Better still, we really love decoding all of this detail into plain language that people will actually be able to read without wanting to weep.

So if you need help understanding more about these 20, sorry, 23 significant changes that are currently taking place, and building your own answer to the “why” question, then get in touch.

1 – probably…

Sparryheid and the Internet of Things

It’s summer 2010. The first investment platforms have just turned 10 years old. The digital revolution is in full swing. There is no One Direction.

In a (sort of) alternate reality called THE PLATFORM WORLD a keen young development analyst (we will call her Janice) has, whilst on annual leave in that free thinking state of mind, come up with an idea. Sitting on the hotel balcony downloading a news app to her new smartphone, it hit her. Suddenly. Smack bang in the pus.

Janice thought ‘hmm, we should have one of these for THE PLATFORM. It would be, like really useful for clients, this is the way the world is going ’.

Three weeks later. The monthly development meeting. Janice has got her idea on the agenda (item three). She has issued a one pager setting out the rationale for, and main functionality of, THE PLATFORM MOBILE APP. The change manager announces item three.

Enter Sparryheid, a senior manager. Sparryheid hasn’t quite found the time yet to log on to THE PLATFORM itself, but that’s O.K cos he can talk pretty convincingly about what a DFM and a model portfolio is. He also knows all about these app things and has even downloaded one to his work Blackberry. Not only that, Sparryheid can see the bigger picture.

He clears his breath and wipes his beak: ‘I’m not sure we know enough yet, Janice, to put any effort into developing web applications (sic). It’s not something advisers will value and people won’t ever actually use mobile phones in connection with more complex financial matters. Most importantly, it’s not really got any commercial value. Let’s keep this on the back burner and concentrate on getting our ducks in a row so we can pick some low hanging fruit, O.K? Thanks Janice’. A few apparatchiks nod. They all move on to the next agenda point.

 Back in the real world

Now, to be fair to the entirely fictional Sparryheid, launching a mobile app would have been a bit ahead of the game in 2010 and he was under pressure to get the basic trading functionality back working. The problem is though that big organisations take a lot longer to develop things than anyone ever thinks. Now that most adviser platforms are aged between 9 – 15 years old, how are they keeping up with the mobile internet era? The days of using anything fixed to a desk as the first port of call to either browse and do stuff on the internet are already over (for example, it’s just been announced that 3/4 of Facebook’s advertising revenue is from mobile ads). Just for the fun of it, and because I like tables and things, I’ve scouted around the 13 leading adviser platforms looking at whether they offer a mobile app for the platform itself, or, if at least their corporate website is configured for mobile use. Guess what?

Leading 13 adviser platforms, May 2015
    Mobile app for the platform 2 out of 13
    Main website mobile configured 2 out of 13

Now. In recent years platforms have been variously in the throes of upgrading, or replacing, the core software and or getting things right for the RDR (and the sun is still setting on that one). Modern technology stuff has been less of a focus and that’s understandable. It’s fair to say that these big distractions have not helped our flag bearers keep up with other sectors on the technology front.

Although us office-based fuddy duddies of today still use on-desk plugged in things to do the majority of our work, mobile devices are unequivocally the first (and increasingly only) port of call for getting information from the web.

The average advised platform client is currently aged north of 58, so on balance has probably been less inclined to shout for mobile accessible to the platform itself. But this won’t last forever – the digital revolution is now in a mobile internet phase, things are moving at an incredible pace, etc. What’s really surprising is the lack of mobile configuration on websites.

This would be the case anyway but, as of April this year, Google changed its algorithm to include mobile friendliness as a ranking criterion, so the message on that one is: better get your mobile experience addressed!

So whether it’s playing catch up with today’s technology, or getting It right for the future (Internet of Things anyone?) I think now is the time for Sparryheid to get ‘modern stuff’ further up the development list.

All characters in this blog are fictional and any similarity to anyone living or dead is entirely unintended and coincidental, but quite funny if it happens.

With apologies to Irvine Welsh for nicking Sparryheid from ‘Wayne Foster’ in The Acid House. Buy his original here.