Fiduciary management is undoubtedly a sound product - and can help many trustee boards speed up decision- making, bolster effectiveness and improve outcomes.
But the outcome isn't all that matters - it is also about how you get there, about how you select and implement your fiduciary strategy.
It is this issue that has been one of the key concerns for the Financial Conduct Authority in its asset management market study - the final report of which was published last week.
Among other things, the watchdog said firms which offer both advisory and fiduciary management services are perceived to have conflicts of interest.
Indeed, the FCA noted that, while a majority of schemes receive third-party advice, just 13% of funds ran a selection process when their investment consultant proposed using fiduciary management.
In order to head off regulatory action, the so-called ‘big three', Aon Hewitt, Mercer and Willis Towers Watson proposed a package of 'undertakings in lieu', offering commitments to disclose standardised charges and performance information, address conflicts of interest, and improve tendering processes.
It seems these undertakings have fallen on deaf ears - with the FCA now looking to both reject these undertakings in lieu and refer the market to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Aon Hewitt, Mercer and Willis Towers Watson maintain their undertakings would have eliminated the problems the FCA has identified but have pledged to work with both the regulator and the broader industry to reach a consensus.
Many in the broader industry say the market is already becoming more competitive and note a CMA referral is not warranted.
Indeed, PP understands efforts to get a broader industry consensus on a second version of these undertakings is currently underway.
Others, however, believe a "root and branch" CMA review is needed to restore the reputation of investment consultants and ensure the best interests of clients are served.
Whether or not this regulatory intervention will improve outcomes for pension schemes is another matter altogether.
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