UK - Trade unionists are threatening to take legal action against City fund managers if accusations that they have "bled pension fund clients dry" can be proved.
The accusations have been made in a high-profile campaign to launch Bedlam Asset Management – the “no gain, no fee” fund manager.
Bedlam hired people to picket City fund managers such as Schroder Investment Management, and Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.
The “pickets” wore sandwich boards with slogans aimed at the managers’ clients proclaiming “they’re bleeding you dry” and “you’re being fleeced”.
Now the general workers’ union, GMB, says it wants to meet Bedlam to discuss its further claims that City fund managers have been “duplicitous, greedy and deceitful”.
GMB senior official and Trades Union Congress general council member Paul Kenny said: “We want a conversation with Bedlam managing director Jonathan Compton about these serious allegations.
“Many of the individuals who managed the pension funds have got extremely wealthy in the process, while the funds themselves can no longer offer the pensions our members expected.
“If they used ‘deceit’ and were ‘duplicitous’ in the process of enriching themselves – and we can establish this – we will want to recover money from them as well as asking for ‘their collars’ to be felt by the fraud squad.”
Bedlam’s campaign follows its approval to trade from the FSA. Its stated business strategy is that it will not charge clients for managing assets unless it can produce positive returns.
However, Bedlam’s approach has been attacked by some established fund managers as “unworkable”.
Pension funds have also expressed doubts over whether they would feel confident in the hands of a firm with no track record.
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