UK: Key Takeaways From The UK Financial Conduct Authority's Review Into The Asset Management Market

Last Updated: 10 July 2017
Article by Chris Ahern and John MacGarty

In Short

The Situation: On 28 June 2017, the UK Financial Conduct Authority published the final findings of its review into the UK mainstream asset management market and announced a package of reform proposals to address the concerns identified.

The Result: The FCA's final report highlights investor protection, competitive pressure and regulating intermediaries as areas of concern. The proposed new rules and guidance to address these concerns are subject to a relatively rapid consultation timetable.

Looking Ahead: Despite the stated focus of the report, it is expected that the FCA's findings and proposals will, to some extent, inform practice across the market, including for private equity and other alternative fund managers, who need to pay close attention to the future consultations.


On 28 June 2017, the UK Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") published its final report in relation to its review of the UK asset management market. The report sets out a package of reform proposals designed to address certain concerns identified in the report.

Background

The UK's asset management industry is the second largest in the world, managing approximately £6.9 trillion of assets. The FCA launched its market study in November 2015 to investigate how well the market works generally and whether the investment products consumers invest in offer value for money. The review was intended to focus on mainstream asset managers (i.e., not alternative asset managers), pooled investment funds, insurance-based investment products and segregated mandates.

Findings and Reform Proposals

The FCA's final report identifies three key areas of concern: (i) a lack of investor protection, (ii) a lack of competitive pressure and (iii) regulation of intermediaries.

Investor Protection. The FCA proposes to strengthen the duty on asset managers to act in the best interests of investors and to use the Senior Managers regime to bring individual focus and accountability. The proposals (which are subject to further consultation) include a requirement that asset managers appoint at least two independent directors to their boards, changes to make it simpler for managers to switch investors into cheaper share classes where applicable, a requirement for better disclosure of box management practices and a return of risk-free box profits to investors. The FCA will also chair a working group to focus on how to make fund objectives more useful, and it will consult on how benchmarks are used and performance reported.

Competitive Pressure. The FCA identified a lack of pricing competition among asset managers. To increase competitive pressure, the FCA proposes to introduce a requirement that managers disclose a single, all-in fee (including asset management fees and an estimate of transaction costs and any intermediary fees) to investors. In addition, the FCA supports calls for consistent and standardised disclosure of costs and charges to institutional investors and recommends that both industry and investor representatives agree on a standardised template of costs and charges. The FCA proposes to ask an independent person to convene a stakeholder group to develop these proposals further, for both mainstream and alternative asset classes.

Regulating Intermediaries. The FCA will seek views from interested parties on whether to ask the UK competition authority to investigate investment consultancy services. Subject to such a referral, the regulator recommends that the UK Treasury consider bringing investment consultants into the regulatory perimeter.

Private Equity and Alternative Funds

Whilst alternative asset managers were excluded from the focus of the FCA's review, there will be a question over whether the FCA's revised approach might be brought to bear on managers of private equity, hedge and other alternative asset funds in the future. Given that the FCA is a principles-based regulator, it is likely that the current proposals reflect the FCA's perception of best practice toward investors in any asset class.

Indeed, the FCA's director of competition is reported as having stated that: "The focus of the study has been on the mainstream asset management community. Broadly, do we think some of the same principles apply to hedge funds? Yes". The FCA has specifically indicated that it will include private equity and hedge fund managers in its transparency drive despite them not being a focus of the study. Although it is also reported that the FCA has no immediate plans to look at these firms, we would not rule out future action or impact.

Additionally, investors may seek to apply any changes in approach or policy that they adopt as a consequence of the FCA's findings and recommendations in relation to their mainstream investments to their alternative investments, particularly in respect of transparency issues, which could bring pressure on alternative asset managers to conform with any changes in practice.

Next Steps

Any new rules and guidance will be subject to a cost–benefit analysis and formal consultation. The FCA has published a consultation paper setting out its proposals in relation to fund governance, risk-free box profits and share-class switching. The closing date for responses is 28 September 2017.

The FCA expects to publish further consultation papers on most of the remaining reform proposals before December 2017.

Given the relative speed at which the FCA is acting, we will continue to monitor the proposals closely and continue to provide updates on the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape.


Three Key Takeaways

  1. The manner in which asset management firms are governed and communicate their objectives and charges to investors is likely to change in the near future.
  2. The FCA's findings and proposals are likely to affect private equity and other alternative funds as a matter of expected best practice and future regulatory action.
  3. All asset management firms should keep close track of the regulatory developments as the FCA looks set to move quickly.

Nikesh Pandit of the London Office assisted in the preparation of this Commentary.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.