An end to opaque fees?  

Held on Tuesday, May 1, 2018


  • Chris Sier

  • Jeff Houston (Local Government Association)

  • Will Goodhart (CFA UK)

  • Norma Cohen (QMUL)



One thing that all investors should know by now is that the amount asset managers charge eats into their returns – and in a world of single-digit returns, that bite can be quite big. Under MiFID II and other new regulation, transparency of charges has become a watchword. But there are several elements to consider, from the ongoing management charge to transaction costs and payments for external research. 

The more variables there are, the more difficult it is for asset owners, such as pension funds, to compare products and providers. Even professional investors struggle when terms are poorly defined and information is not standardised. 

Following an Asset Management Market Study that did not spare the industry’s blushes, the FCA last year set up the Institutional Disclosure Working Group to agree disclosure templates for costs and fees. We are delighted that the independent chair of the IDWG, Chris Sier, has agreed to talk to us about the project’s progress. Chris is also MD of FiNexus, a professor at Newcastle University Business School and visiting professor at Leeds University, and FinTech Envoy for the Northern Powerhouse.

He is joined on the panel by one of his deputy chairs, Jeff Houston, head of pensions at the Local Government Association, who has over 30 years’ experience in public sector pensions. He also sits on the CIPFA pensions panel and the European Social Protection Taskforce.

But Chris and Jeff will not (I hope) have things all their own way. We are delighted to welcome Will Goodhart, chief executive of the CFA Society of the UK (CFA UK), which represents the interests of more than 12,000 members of the UK investment profession, and Norma Cohen, who spent twenty-five years at the FT, specialising in investments, pensions and demography, before beginning her PhD in economic history at Queen Mary University London.

If you (or a colleague) would like to join us for what I am sure will be a lively discussion, please let us know by emailing or phoning the Centre (0207 621 1056). As usual, there will be wine and sandwiches.

Many thanks,

Sincerely yours, 

Andrew Hilton