So I have decided to write a blog (well the MD suggested I should and it’s a bit like when Vito Corleone asks you to do something and starts talking about your favourite horse (1) ). I hope it will give you a bit of light relief after you’ve opened the Monday morning mail and realised just how wonderful your week is going to be.

I have no doubt there will be many less than positive issues which I will have to cover over future weeks, but I would like to start by looking at 2 shiny examples of the best in our industry.

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The first is the PFS Festival which took place last week in Birmingham.

The event was huge. I mean HUGE. Once I’d got past the logistical issues of eleventy-billion advisers (2) trying to squeeze in through 3 starting gates, and clocked that the same number would be trying to get into all my preferred sessions it was FAB. There were so many great speakers and useful exhibitors I barely had time to catch up with the people I needed to see, let alone raid the (considerably reduced) freebies on the provider stands. I came away with a single pencil, free lip balm – plus lots of valuable information and business cards.

The point I’d like to make is that there were 2,500 advisers and financial professional gathered in one place with the primary aim of improving themselves and the service they could offer to clients. Yes the event was free but we all took 2 days out of our schedules which could have been spent doing other things and I consider it a very good use of my time.

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For those of you who are interested in such things I can now describe the implications of the Staveley case for IHT, and appreciate the big brother relationship between the Treasury and the DWP. More practically, I was delighted to see a substantial area devoted to Future Generations and to meet up with an Ab Fab group of ladies who proved it is perfectly possible to talk about shoes and put the world to rights at exactly the same time.

The second and more fundamentally positive thing I’d like to highlight is the quality of people we already have in the industry. No one epitomised this more than AJ Bell’s Mike Morrison who passed away this week.

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Mike was known to many as a true technical expert on pensions, but anyone who met him personally will also appreciate what a total gentleman he was. He was always generous with his knowledge and humour and worked tirelessly to improve rather than simply promote the industry. Much as I dreaded having to follow him on stage I am truly devastated that I no longer have the chance to do just that.

RIP Mike x


(1)  Just kidding, he’s a lovely man. And I don’t have a horse.

(2) A nod to my favourite blogger and inspiration Gill Sims. If you haven’t logged into Peter & Jane I recommend it. Especially if you have moppets.