Mark Fawcett, CIO of the UK’s National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), is to chair an advisory board aiming to improve cost transparency across the asset management industry.
The new disclosure framework, which will focus on asset management costs not previously fully disclosed following calls from UK local authority funds and RPMI, is being drawn up in cooperation with the Investment Association (IA), the asset management industry body.
Fawcett, who will chair the 12-strong independent group, said the initiative had the potential to help the pension and investment industries to “take significant steps towards greater transparency” on all transaction costs.
“It’s vital that, as an industry, we’re able to create a consistent disclosure framework if we’re to make progress reaching this goal,” Fawcett added.
“I look forward to collaborating with a talented team to shape a comprehensive disclosure code.”
Jonathan Lipkin, director of public policy at the IA, said the industry group was taking a further step towards a new disclosure code with the launch of the advisory board.
“Now more than ever, it is vital that savers and those who make investment decisions on their behalf have full confidence in the pensions and investment management industries,” he said.
“All parts of the delivery chain need to be clear and transparent.”
Fawcett will be joined by representatives of the Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP) and the Transparency Task Force, two groups that have been campaigning for improved fee transparency from the asset management industry.
Additionally, a number of other pension fund representatives, including the chair of the Phoenix Life independent governance committee, David Hare; Jeff Houston, responsible for local authority fund policy at the Local Government Association; and Graham Vidler, director of external affairs at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), will join the board.
Chris Hitchen, chief executive at RPMI, and Thomas Mercier, the CIO of the Invensys Pension Scheme and a member of the PLSA’s DB council, will also work on the new proposals, as will PTL Trustees’ Richard Butcher.
The appointments of Hitchen, Andy Agathangelou of the Transparency Task Force and Tereza Fritz, representing the FSCP, are noteworthy, as all have been leading on work to improve fee transparency for pension funds.
Hitchen’s RPMI has worked on improving cost disclosure and seen its asset management fees rise from £70m (€83m) to £300m, by the chief executive’s own admission.
The FSCP, meanwhile, has previously called for the UK industry to copy the Dutch model of fee disclosure, in a report written by an academic and co-founder of the Transparency Task Force.