Now and again The Guardian posits something of interest. As far as I can tell, most recently that was in February 2004, a mere 18 years ago.
In an article that month, Guardian journalist Ben Hammersly coined the term ‘podcasting’, describing a burgeoning re-emergence of amateur radio spawned by the-then-gadget-du-jour MP3 players, coupled with low-budget and lower-fidelity home recording software.
A year later, iTunes 4.9 introduced native support for podcasts, and everything changed.
You don't need to be told this, especially if - like me - you use your phone primarily as a media device. I estimate my phone usage is around 80-90% listening to podcasts. At the gym (yes, really), on the walk to the shops, on a flight, in the car (commercial radio anyone? Over my dead body). Podcasts are a brilliant way to curate your own radio station. And obviously what the world needs is one more.
Does the world need another podcast?
There are numerous podcasts connected to the murky and quirky world of personal finance. But what defines ‘good’?
Podcasts that hit the optimum blend of informing and entertaining are those that resonate. Decent audio quality is a must.
Solo shows can work, but you have to be good, really good, to engage listeners for any meaningful period of time. Shows with multiple voices and differing points of view will hold the listener's engagement for longer.
Finally, if you want to reach the largest audience possible then YouTube is a must. More and more people are consuming podcast content via video. To ignore YouTube is to fight for audience share with one hand tied behind your back. Untie it and let people choose how and where they enjoy your productions.
What does The Real Adviser Podcast (TRAP) bring to the party?
There are lots of financial services-related podcasts, yes, but there aren’t any adviser-driven financial services podcast that are conversational, or offer a digest of events both current and evergreen. I know not of a single decent multi-participant podcast in our sector that is for and aimed by practitioners, created by practitioners.
There are certainly podcasts of this nature by people commenting from the outside looking in.
Money Marketing has one, for example, with three or four journalists each month giving listeners an update on the stories they have covered in recent weeks.
I may have mentioned elsewhere in my witterings that I cannot imagine there is another profession where the practitioners are lectured so constantly by non-practitioners.
With TRAP we are looking to address this problem (and it is a problem).
Who is TRAP?
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are me, Alan Smith, Andy Hart and Carl Widger.
We’re all practising financial advisers. We all own and run our businesses. We are relatively well-known within the profession. Being well-known doesn't always mean being well-liked and we can live with that.
We have independent views on a lot of stuff and, as business owners rather than employees, we have the latitude to express these views. We won't cause offence for offence's sake but neither will we fudge on issues.
Carl brings a diverse voice in that he can bring content to TRAP from an Irish perspective. As in many things (turning up at Rugby World Cups etc), the Irish are about 20 years behind us and nowhere more so than in financial services. Carl is among a very small band of Irish advisers who are fighting the status quo and looking to move the Irish model (still transactional, commission is the norm etc) forward.
Alan is known for his evangelising work around fees, how to express value, and the importance of storytelling in effective client communications.
In addition to running his own practice, Andy is the creator of the Humans Under Management brand and also has a well-deserved reputation as the leading source of Voyant cashflow software training and resources.
Me? I'm just a glorified groupie.
The TRAP format is straightforward
Every other week we’ll release an episode that will see us chew the fat over a couple of topical and/or evergreen issues. This is likely to be combative at times. We’ll then answer questions posed to us by our audience, the beloved ‘Trappists’. Finally, the show is wrapped us with each of us giving a brief summary of what we've enjoyed consuming recently, be it book, film, podcast, useful life hack (shoot me) or piece of tech/software.
Yes, the audio will be good enough. Yes, each podcast is on YouTube.
What are we looking to achieve?
We aim to make TRAP informative and entertaining. And we’re looking to redress the balance a little bit. I love listening to other financial advisers tell their stories, their successes and their failures.
Almost without fail, at events and conferences, the best bits are those moments between sessions when you can chew the fat with your peers.
But it can be damned hard to find this type of stuff online. With TRAP you get four advisers in one show opening up about what they have done well and not so well, successes and pratfalls.
From the advice dispensing side, financial services is now a profession.
It has come so far since RDR. Pride before a fall? I am proud to be a financial adviser/planner/call me what you want. We do great transformative work for our clients. Real financial advisers - immersed in full-fat financial planning without exception - deserve to be heard and given a damn good listening to. With TRAP we are aiming to do this.
It's a conversation between the four of us but more importantly, it's one between all the truly great advisers who are out there, doing wonderful work. The Spartans. They know who they are. TRAP is for you and will be shaped by you. Welcome aboard.
Subscribe here via your podcast catcher of choice.
Also ‘like’ and ‘subscribe’ via YouTube.
And if you've got a question you'd like the TRAP team to ponder on a future episode, have at it here.