The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has welcomed the announcement by the Cost Transparency Initiative (CTI) officially launching finalised and industry-ready templates for the disclosure of costs and charges to institutional investors. The new templates can now be used by institutional investors to access and assess critical information on costs. This gives investors clear expectations for standardised disclosure and should allow comparison of charges between providers.
Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA commented:
‘This was a key remedy of the FCA’s asset management market study and is a positive final step completing the work of the Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG). Institutional investors are now provided with the tools to give them a clearer and more detailed understanding of the charges of their investments. It is good to see investors working with industry to design a framework that can be a success for all.
‘We are keen to see the positive momentum on greater transparency continue. We will be watching to see asset manager and service provider uptake which should ultimately lead to better investor outcomes. We are also pleased with the CTI’s ambition and welcome their intention to extend the standards into asset classes and service types not yet tackled. We would like to thank all of those who have participated in the Initiative to get it to the point of launch.’
The FCA continues in its role as an observer on the CTI Board. They will reconsider the issue of disclosure to institutional investors in the future if they have any reason to be concerned about the effectiveness of the CTI.
On 7 November 2018, the Cost Transparency Initiative was launched. The CTI is an independent group working to improve cost transparency for institutional investors with the responsibility for progressing the work already undertaken by the IDWG. The CTI is supported by Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), Investment Association (IA) and Local Government Pension Scheme Advisory Board (LGPS SAB) and was recommended as part of the IDWG’s report to the FCA on 15 June 2018. The IDWG was set up to support consistent and standardised disclosure of costs and charges to institutional investors.
The main focus of this Initiative been on the provision of helpful information to assist institutional investors by detailing what costs they are paying. It has not focused specifically on creating a method of delivering compliance with MiFID and other requirements. However, the standards have been designed to be aligned with relevant disclosure obligations where appropriate. So, while firms must continue to ensure that they individually meet all relevant regulatory requirements, if templates are completed in a comprehensive and accurate way, including all costs and associated charges, the information in the templates should assist firms in meeting those requirements.