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Chris Sier launches data platform to analyse investment charges

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Chris Sier – who chaired a UK industry group tasked with building cost disclosure templates – has established a data platform to help investors assess the cost information the new templates will collect.

Sier led the Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG), an industry body supported by the UK financial regulator to construct templates for the full disclosure of investment costs. The group published its first templates this week.

The platform, called ClearGlass, was incorporated in September with Sier as chairman and Ritesh Singhania as CEO. Singhania worked with Sier at another venture, AgeWage, a pension dashboard tool for individual savers, and has also worked at technology firm Simplitium.

Consultancy giant Aon has provided startup funding for the company through its subsidiary McLagan, and will use the data collated by ClearGlass to provide “benchmarking analysis” for fees and performance to then offer to pension funds and asset managers.

In a press release, Sier said ClearGlass was designed to be a “utility-like service” for asset owners. It will initially charge £100 (€115) per mandate analysed, with the aim of reducing this cost over time.

Chris Sier

Chris Sier

“ClearGlass is aimed at removing the twin fears of complexity and cost that come with the IDWG templates,” Sier said. “We will collect and summarise cost data for schemes and provide an online tool that allows schemes to segment, analyse and compare their costs easily.

“By having a clearer understanding of the costs of using each asset manager, trustees will be able to make better decisions and will ultimately improve governance of the scheme. That will deliver a better outcome for scheme members.”

On Wednesday, the IDWG published its cost disclosure templates for listed equity, private equity, and real assets funds.

The templates will be managed by the Cost Transparency Initiative, a collaboration between the UK trade bodies for pension funds (PLSA) and asset managers (Investment Association) alongside the Local Government Pension Scheme Advisory Board.

Mel Duffield, pensions strategy executive at the Universities Superannuation Scheme, has been appointed as its first chair, while the Financial Conduct Authority has been invited to join the group as an observer.

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