In a bid to stoke competition in the asset management sector and improve retail investor returns, regulators in the U.K. are adopting their second series of reforms targeting fund managers.
The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published new rules and guidance Monday to further address regulatory concerns uncovered in a recent sector review. That review found, among other things, “evidence of weak price competition in many areas of the asset management industry.” The FCA notes that weak competition translates into lower returns for investors.
Last year, the regulator introduced an initial set of reforms to address these issues. The second set of measures unveiled Monday are intended to complement that first set of reforms by providing investors with more information about how their money is being managed, so they can improve their own decision making.
The FCA says its proposals are designed to address its concerns that “fund objectives are not sufficiently clear or specific, making it harder for investors to make the right choices… [and]… to improve transparency in cases when funds have limits in how far their holdings can differ from a particular benchmark or index.”
In particular, the new rules and guidance impose new requirements on fund managers regarding their use and disclosure of benchmarks; set out how fund managers should describe fund objectives and investment policies; and regulate the use and disclosure of performance fees.
The proposals “will make it easier for investors to choose the best fund for them and help them achieve their investment objectives. Our performance fee proposal will promote fairness in how these fees operate,” the FCA says.
“We expect to see clearer and more meaningful fund objectives and more consistent disclosure where benchmarks are used. In addition, given the continued importance we attach to the success and reform of the sector, we will undertake a check on the impact of the overall reforms as a whole in 12 and 24 months,” it says.
The FCA notes that it’s also continuing to work on further reforms to address its wide-ranging concerns about the sector.
“We’re working to make competition work better in the asset management market and protect those least able to actively engage with their investments. Today’s remedies build on those we’ve already introduced and will make it easier for investors to choose the best fund for them and help them achieve their investment objectives,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, in a statement.