The Financial Conduct Authority has just finished their investigation into the Asset Management Industry and their findings are staggering (though not a surprise). Remarkably, more than 20 million people in Britain are investors in either pensions or stock & shares ISAs but there has been very little coverage from the press on this matter.
The key takeaways from the report are summarised below, highlighting well-known issues around high fees and lack of transparency:
- There is evidence of lack of competition in the industry especially in the case of retail funds, where prices are clustered in the same price range and remain static suggesting a high level of profitability rather than competition.
- You don’t always get what you pay for - there is no clear relationship between charges and the gross performance of retail active funds in the UK.
- It is not the case that passive funds are preferable to active funds which was the perception from an earlier report however investors should be aware that they should have a clear understanding of their funds’ objectives and any additional associated costs.
- Investor’s awareness and focus on charges is mixed and often poor, therefore the industry has a duty to provide clarity - all-in charges would go a long way to solve this.
We obviously welcome the findings and proposed intervention by the FCA. It will help the industry to align with players like Netwealth who are disrupting the traditional market by charging less and adopting the right ‘all-in fee’ approach.
Furthermore, the FCA continues to review the online market. Netwealth has and will continue to actively engage with them to align its model with their expectations from the industry; to act in the client’s best interests and to offer lower transparent charges through an online model which empowers our clients to make better investment decisions.