Ah yes, I’ve just remembered when all this happened before

At a conference this morning, inevitably about RDR (are there any conferences on any other topic these days?).

There were two IFA speakers on the agenda, one explaining why he’s chosen to remain independent post-RDR and the other why he’s decided to be restricted.

The independent one had an enjoyable if slightly baffling slide presentation, containing very few words, no numbers and images of a bunch of old masters (Leonardo, Botticelli, Titian etc.) He was a likeable if slightly disorganised bloke, a few pounds overweight and his hair a bit too long, explaining that basically he does what he does for the love of it.

The one who’s going to be restricted wore a grey suit. He had steely-grey hair and frameless glasses. His presentation contained no Old Masters, but it was laden with a vast number of, well, numbers – most of them amounts of money, and all adding up to demonstrate the far greater financial rewards of restricted status. It was a professional presentation, even a convincing one – but, you have to say, a kind of joyless one.

As I thought about this highly-contrasting pair afterwards, I knew they were reminding me of something. Long-haired and jolly versus short-haired and a bit grim….emotion versus reason….art versus science….

It’s the Civil War, isn’t it? Cavaliers versus Roundheads. Royalists versus Republicans. A romantic but deeply off-the-pace old guard against the Modern Men. That’s what it was all reminding me of.

Everyone knows the expression “History always repeats itself,” but I don’t suppose many people have clocked the fact that the English Civil War of the mid-seventeenth century is replaying itself in the world of financial advice early in the 21st.

I wonder if the outcome will be the same. I must say, I rather think it will. But, I suspect, without an equivalent to the restoration of the monarchy which took place in 1660. Or, I sincerely hope, an equivalent to the execution of Charles 1 thirteen years earlier.

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