Well, it's been awfully nice writing for you and all that, but frankly I don't expect to be brighten...
Well, it's been awfully nice writing for you and all that, but frankly I don't expect to be brightening your lives come the New Year. It can only be a matter of days before the offers start pouring in from Hollywood for my latest film script and I confidently expect my latest bid for screenwriting stardom to emerge eventually as the must-see Christmas blockbuster of next year.
Allow me to give you a sneak preview of my heart-warming tale of Alan, the boss at financial company Henry's Life Savings, who gets a chance to see how the world would have turned out had he never existed. See if you can guess the working title.
The film opens with Alan, worn down by a succession of legal cases and complaints from unhappy policyholders, standing on a bridge rail, contemplating the abyss and wishing he had never been born. Suddenly a little man materialises beside him and, would you believe it?, he turns out to be... wait for it... a visitor from a small blue planet. What do you mean you were expecting an angel?
Anyway, using his special powers, the visitor reveals what would have happened in an Alan-less world, particularly had Henry's Life Savings never been founded. Sure, if that were the case, its policyholders would never had been messed around by its somewhat bizarre attempts to alter the terms of various agreements and would not have faced, or indeed be facing, years of financial uncertainty.
But here's the twist: Alan also discovers that if all that had never happened, there would be dozens of lawyers whose kids would be one Buzz Lightyear doll short this Christmas. There would be appeal court judges who would have had nothing to occupy them in their old age.
And there would be an entire industry of IFAs who wouldn't have had the opportunity to demonstrate that rather than being the swarm of marauding Apaches on the reward-path of popular myth, they were in fact the cavalry.
Well, Alan perks right up, climbs down from his bridge rail and heads for home where he finds hope of salvation in the arms of a girl called Pru. Sadly after a brief flirtation, she dumps him and this time he really does jump, not forgetting to collect £200,000 for passing "Got to Go".
Still, the film ends happily enough with a bunch of lawyers celebrating a traditional Christmas on a beach in Tahiti while a grateful Howard Davies, dressed as Santa Claus, congratulates the entire IFA sector for not spooking vulnerable policyholders.
Two global vehicles
'Further plug advice gap'
Must appoint separate CEOs and boards
Advisers do come out well
Will report to Mark Till