The industry has welcomed the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA's) working paper on the information available to trustees on the fees and quality of investment consultants and fiduciary managers.
The watchdog's report - released yesterday - said the evidence it had reviewed so far indicated that "competitive processes are not providing customers with the necessary information to judge the value for money of investment consultants and fiduciary managers".
The CMA said there were potential competition concerns with this - noting customers were not well-equipped to choose, and subsequently monitor the performance of, their provider and in turn to drive competition between investment consultants, and between fiduciary managers.
Commenting on the CMA's working paper, Cardano co-head of clients Richard Dowell said: "The CMA working paper gives an indication that things are moving in the right direction. Finally it seems that we are on the cusp of seeing the changes that are so sorely needed in our industry.
"The current system is still far too opaque and we need to have greater transparency. Without this much needed transparency it is impossible for trustees to assess if they are getting value for money. Only when trustees are able to compare apples with apples will we see a truly competitive marketplace emerge. The industry needs to do away with the smoke and mirrors that too many operators have relied on for far too long."
Willis Towers Watson EMEA head of investment Ed Francis agreed. He said "We are encouraged by the proposals put forward in the first working paper and believe that, with some refinement, the remedies will lead to improved transparency and consistency.
"Standards for cost disclosure - in particular for the investment arrangements embedded in fiduciary mandates - will ensure that competition can take place with transparency of the fiduciary manager's fees and that of the agents they employ on their clients' behalf. We have held ourselves to high standards in these areas and welcome the opportunity to have those standards enforced across the whole industry."
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) also welcomed the report. Its policy lead for investment and defined benefit Caroline Escott said: "As good quality investment advice on areas such as asset allocation and manager selection can have a significant impact on both investment returns and the value of savers' capital, it is vital that this market works effectively.
"Transparency is a cornerstone of any well-functioning market and we therefore welcome the CMA's decision to focus on the quality of the fee and performance information provided to trustees. Trustees need to have access to data which is consistent, timely and comparable so they are better able to assess the quality and value for money they receive from their investment advisers."
Tim Shepherd and Beth Brown look at the legal implications of working from home and how pension professionals can mitigate the risks.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has substantially increased the usage of its powers against trustees – posting a sharp rise in the use of formal information gathering powers and High Court production orders during the three months to the end of September....
The Pension Schemes Bill has completed its third reading, crossing its latest hurdle in the House of Commons.
An amendment to the Pensions Schemes Bill which would have seen people given a pre-booked Pension Wise appointment ahead of accessing their retirement savings has been defeated.
A proposal to ensure savers receive a Pension Wise appointment prior to accessing their retirement pot has received cross-party support in parliament, while Labour seeks net-zero pensions by 2050.