In general, financial services firms suck very badly at managing their message. That's a good thing as far as I'm concerned, as it keeps me and my chaps in a job, but there are some leading lights in the industry who we would never dare go near on saying the right thing to the right people at the right time.
Such a one is the mighty Bristolian Behemoth, Hargreaves Lansdown. Seemingly impervious to the kind of snafus which befall other providers of their size, HL is a news and marketing machine which rarely mis-steps.
The confidence they take from this might be why they floated something called a 'trial balloon' yesterday about their long-anticipated pricing strategy.
For those unfamiliar, a 'trial balloon' is generally used by companies or politicians to gauge public reaction to a controversial message.
Mark Polson assesses Hargreaves Lansdown's RDR pricing palaver
So, for example, a junior Tory minister or MP might be sent out front to say that all people called Tristram and Rupert will be getting a 10% tax cut to stimulate the British economy and get sales of red trousers really flying.
When the news goes down badly, said junior is removed from the scene, publicly admonished ('Julian was not speaking for the Government') and privately patted on the head and given a treat of some kind.
What we saw yesterday with an admission that Barclays' assessment of HL's charges (70bps tiering down) was a 'reasonable representation of how things might work' was just such a trial balloon.
There was also some guff about 'Waitrose-style' pricing, which doubtless sounded good in a meeting room but had no place outside the hollowed-out HL volcano.
Today Ian Gorham, HL's chief exec, has branded yesterday's news rammy as 'unfounded press speculation', which is exactly what you should do when a trial balloon bursts. Pop!
What does all this mean? For sure, HL will have watched the level of press interest in both the trades and nationals carefully.
70bps tiering down is twice what an adviser platform like Nucleus or Elevate charges. It's a lot more than the Share Centre, Alliance Trust Savings or Interactive Investor charges. Are these companies Aldi? Lidl? I don't think so and neither do their customers.
Ongoing superclean negotiations aside, I expect HL to come out with something a bit sharper than 70bps (or 63 plus trading costs, according to Barclays). Maybe 60bps tiering down, or a bit less. That won't be revenue neutral, but neither will it lead to a massive pricing-led exodus.
Sometimes we get to see the sausages being made. I reckon this was one of these times. Good fun to watch, and we wait with anticipation for the big announcement in the New Year.
Two global vehicles
'Further plug advice gap'
Must appoint separate CEOs and boards
Advisers do come out well
Will report to Mark Till