UK – The Investment Management Association (IMA) and the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) have drawn up a pension fund disclosure code to be unveiled this week that will require fund managers to provide six-monthly reports on the way they invest UK pension scheme assets on stock markets.
The code is said to give trustees access for the first time to information concerning dealing costs, brokers’ commissions and government stamp duty on equities. The IMA, which represents fund managers with combined assets under management of more than £2,000bn (€3,252bn), says that the code is in response to the government’s call that the fund industry become more transparent.
A spokesman for the NAPF suggests that fund managers that refuse to comply with the code may lose business from pension funds. However, the news comes as a Financial Times survey of UK fund managers shows almost half of those polled refuse to stop using soft commissions in defiance of the government’s recommendation that it should not be used without good reason.
The poll finds that 18 of the 40 major UK-based fund management groups it surveyed says that they will continue to use soft commissions. A further nine says whilst they have stopped using the commissions for their UK pension funds, they continue the practice for UK retail investors and non-UK clients.
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership announced last month that it was dropping soft commissions and that it expected others to follow suit.
But the poll says some managers, particularly global players that operate in the US where soft commissions are common, are resisting the call to change. Ian Martin of Morgan Stanley told the FT that services provided by soft commissions give fund managers valuable assistance in the decision making process that ultimately benefits all their clients.
Other firms, the poll finds, such as Britannic Asset Management, claim that ending soft commissions could lead to fund managers imposing higher management fees on their pension fund clients.