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Some of the UK’s largest asset managers have backed a new list of principles, vowing to put client interests ahead of their own.

The new statement of principles (SIP) drafted by the Investment Association has won the support of 25 large asset managers, including BlackRock, Vanguard Asset Management and AXA Investment Managers.

It will require signatories to reveal how the 10 principles are enforced across their organisations.

It comes after the industry body argued that fiduciary duties for pension trustees should not be legally defined but rather seen as a “moral code” when applied to the asset management industry.

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Daniel Godfrey, chief executive of the association, said he was “hugely encouraged” that the SIP had seen such a strong start, attracting managers worth £1.8trn (€2.56trn) and accounting for one-third of the UK market.

The principles ask managers to put client interests first at all times and ensure client money is as diligently managed as their own would be.

Asset managers should also foster a corporate culture that sustains these principles.

Helena Morrissey, the association’s chair, said the SIP was developed in the wake of recent changes to UK pension legislation that will see managers interact with pension fund savers directly.

“The industry is being asked to deliver lifelong financial well-being,” she said.

“We can only do that if clients can trust us to put their interests first and ahead of our own.

“The Investment Association Board approved these principles to make it easy for clients to see how their investment manager earns that trust.”

Godfrey has previously spoken of the need to allow fiduciary standards to be a moral code or form of conduct, despite the concept’s being defined under common law.

The discussion arose after the 2012 Kay Review emphasised the fiduciary responsibility of all members involved in the investment chain, not just those selecting managers.

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