It was great to welcome so many market leaders at our market-wide CEO breakfast briefing last Thursday morning. It was a great opportunity to talk directly to our community of customers.

Our Chairman Bronek Masojada summarised the achievements of the past eighteen months, reminding everyone that over 90% of market risks are now placed on the PPL platform and that there are over 380 member firms.

The delivery of Next Gen in 2022 will mark a step-change for the market, as we start the journey from electronic placement towards digital placement. Despite some bumps in the road this year, including a necessary change of delivery partner which caused a disappointing delay, we remain in a strong position to deliver Next Gen in 2022.

Our speakers echoed my own view that this change, whilst significant for users, is in fact a much smaller step than the ones we have already taken. As Bronek put it “we have done the hard yards” and transitioning to Next Gen will be much easier for everyone than the first time the market did this back in 2016.

Relationships remain key. Some placements are hugely technical and highly complicated, and that means that there will always be a need for conversation alongside the placement process. Next Gen won’t change the way we do business, but it will change and improve the flow of data through the end-to-end market process.

I was also pleased to be able to talk through the transition programme that is planned for the next nine months. I wanted to be able to say clearly, and to repeat it here, that communication between the market and PPL throughout this journey is going to be vital. The design and build of Next Gen is well underway, and of course, we will continue to work with our market SMEs and governance groups to understand what practitioners want, and how best to deliver it including the right time to cutover.

As always, preparation is key. I urge you all to engage with us on the journey, to understand what it means for your firm, to get to know the new functionality, and to think about how your firm can make use of the new features.

Over the next nine months PPL will be fully focused on helping you to put all this together and to create cutover plans for the move to Next Gen alongside all other user firms.

We know the appetite is there to test Next Gen sooner rather than later, so we plan to run testing in parallel to the build, giving you time to test it, play with it, get used to it and to become confident with it before the official launch.

The good news is that this time, all of us can draw on our previous experience. There is a lot to do, but electronic placing itself is no longer new.

Our relationship managers will soon be in contact to talk through the plan on an individual basis. If you haven’t heard from us already, you can expect an email very soon.