guidelines and regulations binders

Asset managers and dealers must improve their disclosure of investment costs and charges to retail investors, says the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

In a pair of reports published today, the FCA spells out the results of its compliance reviews with new cost disclosure requirements by both asset management firms and dealers, such as wealth managers. In both sectors, the regulator finds room for improvement.

The FCA is particularly tough on asset management firms, saying, “We conclude that asset managers may be communicating with their customers in a manner that is unfair, unclear or misleading and as such, investors can be confused and misled as to how much they are being charged.”

For the dealers, the regulator reports that most firms are trying to comply with their disclosure requirements, but that their interpretation of the rules is often inconsistent, which makes it difficult for investors to comparison shop.

“They were better at disclosing the costs of their own services than at disclosing relevant third-party costs and charges,” it says. “We found evidence that firms were not sharing their costs and charges with each other to meet their obligations to provide aggregated figures to clients.”

The FCA’s reviews follow the implementation of new disclosure requirements on costs and charges that took effect in January 2018 due to the introduction of reforms known as MiFID II and PRIIPs.

“MiFID II and PRIIPs brought enormous change to how firms operate and the information they are required to give their customers. While awareness of the rules appears good, we found that firms take inconsistent approaches, risking confusion for customers, who may be misled about how much they are being charged,” said Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA.

“We are aware that many firms are finding aspects of the calculations difficult or are making inaccurate calculations. We will work with firms to help them ensure their reporting is accurate,” he added.

Additionally, the FCA published a consultation today that sets out proposed rules that would establish cost disclosure requirements for pension governance committees.