FBC Insight – A Quarterly Newsletter for Investment Governance

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Q4 2021

Features & Analysis

It’s all about the client

Fund boards and Responsible Investment

In November we tackled some of the key issues of fund boards and Responsible Investing (RI) currently confronting fund board chairs, CEOs, iNEDs and their executive colleagues. Our speakers, Ed Catton, Chief Risk Officer of Liontrust, HSBC Asset Management’s Head of Sustainability Erin Leonard’s and Nick Hunt, the Director of Strategy & Proposition at St James’s Place (SJP), introduced a lively discussion touching on topics within the ESG/RI space such as culture and value, evidence to fund boards and the AoV process.

Read the write up here and watch our speakers’ introductions here.

Want more information on how Fund Boards Council can help you and your fund board navigate this hugely complex issue? Get in touch at contact@fundboards.org, and we would be delighted to help.

High performance 

FBC launches Fund Board Effectiveness Programme

With an ambitious programme of works lined up for 2022, Fund Boards Council will be supporting fund boards in answering questions such as what are the key indicators that a fund board is performing well? Conversely, what warning signs should fund board directors be looking out for that that may not be well in and outside the boardroom?

Read the full article here

Investment Governance

Framing the agenda: In Conversation with the FCA at FBC’s iNED Council meeting

As part of FBC’s regular engagement with the regulator, FBC member chairs, CEOs and iNEDs spent an hour with the Financial Conduct Authority discussing the year that has been, and what authorised fund managers and their fund boards can expect from the FCA in 2022.

Click here for the full write up.

Fund board governance in 2021

The year that was

2021 was an action-packed year for fund board directors and FBC was right there with its members working closely with them to help them navigate the evolving governance landscape. This timeline summarises the main industry events, FBC meetings and initiatives to which its corporate members have full access.

For more information about any of the initiatives below or how Fund Boards Council can support your fund board, please contact us.

To view an interactive version of the timeline, with links to all the information and insight, please click here.


SPOTLIGHT

How FBC Consultancy is Helping Fund Boards

Recently FBC has responded to an increased need for dedicated expert services focused on governance of authorised fund managers. This has included a range of critical consulting work such as providing assurance on Assessment of Value, workshopping product governance and mapping director skills on fund boards. In order to support other boards through these and other vital issues, we have launched FBC Consulting, a service dedicated to providing the right expert led support, at the right time and in the preferred format, to entire fund boards.

Of course, FBC members already have access to speaking with one of our experts on ad hoc topics whenever needed, so do feel free to contact us for advice or to discuss your consultancy needs.

FBC Consulting services are available to both FBC corporate members and non-members.

PROFILE

In Conversation with Laura Weatherup & Rebecca Bridger

Laura Weatherup 

Co-Head of Global Operations, Columbia Threadneedle Investments

We are all aligned to a common purpose – that we are here as the voice of the client and we all have a laser-sharp focus on that.

Recently named among Financial News’ 100 Most Influential Women in European Finance, Laura Weatherup, CEO of the ACD board at Columbia Threadneedle Investments and co-head of Global Operations and Investor Services is navigating through a particularly busy period at Columbia Threadneedle Investments as the firm integrates the recently-acquired EMEA asset management business of Bank of Montreal (BMO GAM EMEA) and establishes its new OEIC boards. Hot on the heels of the closure of the BMO GAM (EMEA) deal in late November 2021, FBC caught up with Laura to talk about a range of fund board-related topics including the governance considerations of integrating two sizeable fund businesses, what makes a fund board effective, and her efforts to build the talent pipeline of future board directors.

Read the entire profile here.

Rebecca Bridger

CEO, State Street Unit Trust Management Ltd

Do not be shy. You can’t be shy if you want to be on a board or on one of these committees. You have got to be able to challenge….

Rebecca Bridger, the youngest CEO of a fund board at global investment manager State Street Global Advisors, represents the changing face of what investment governance  in the UK is starting to represent. Over two virtual meetings, Ms. Bridger sat down with FBC to explore subjects ranging from product governance and board effectiveness to board culture, and yes, also what it feels like being a role model to other mid-career executives who may not have even considered a board role, yet.

Read more here.

BOARD BUSINESS

The Latest Fund Governance News You Can Use

TOP FIVE MOST READ

Our lead news story from our fortnightly blog last week accounted for four of the top five most read articles, and, unsurprisingly, all go to the recent FCA announcements. In case you need to catch up with the crowd, here are the relevant excerpts:

Consumer Duty: TCF redux?

The FCA continues to be concerned that the financial services industry is not doing a good enough job to ensure a fair deal for consumers, and rolled out a new consultation on Consumer Duty. Sound familiar? Well, in 2015 it wanted the industry to do a better job of treating customers fairly. Read the full Consumer Duty consultation from the FCA here. Refresh your memory on what Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) was all about here, and read Money Marketing’s take on the new Consumer Duty here.

Do fund boards and their directors need to worry about Consumer Duty? It does, after all, feel like something much more targeted at the banks and the insurers who are very much at the coal face of dealing with end customers. Well, think again, because as Garry Murdoch from the FCA said to FBC corporate members earlier in December, it is absolutely something authorised fund managers and their boards need be au fait with. Asset managers feature in the consultation, with a repeat of the FCA’s Feb 2021 feedback of product governance shortcomings and messages on addressing poor value (i.e. Assessment of Value requirements). The second lead in our quarterly newsletter has a summary of the meeting ‘In Conversation with the FCA’, available on playback for FBC corporate members.

Streamlining decision-making

Transformation has been a big agenda item for the FCA, and as part of that process it has sought to streamline the way it makes critical regulatory decisions in a bid to be more effective and efficient in stopping harm to consumers and markets. Read Investment Week’s summary of these proposed changes here, and should you wish to reacquaint yourself with the consulting paper (CP 21/25) issued in July which led to the changes, you can do so here.

And since our blog last week, here are another couple of rising news points…..

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE & DIVERSITY

More progress needed

Recruiter Spencer Stuart’s Board Index, which reviews governance practice across the top 150 FTSE companies reveals women account for the majority of non-execs, but delve a little deeper and there is much work yet to be done on establishing any sort of gender parity. Almost 9 in 10 executive directors executive directors are male, as reported by the Financial Times here.

Making gender visible to investors

In an opinion piece in Portfolio Adviser, available hereGeeta Aiyer from Boston Common Asset Management, a female-led, female-owned impact investing asset manager argues that gender has so far been largely absent from conversations on global investor action, and that must change.

Read our full blog on the latest news you can use and with FBC commentary here

SAVE THE DATES

The January-March 2022 Calendar

January/February

Board Effectiveness Series

Our new Fund Board Effectiveness series continues with a podcast on ‘The Board and the Impact of Mindfulness’ and our second member-only event, will be among other activity focusing on creating and maintaining a high-performance board. Look out for the dates early in the new year!

7th March 2021 – 2 to 3pm

What next for AFMs and Responsible Investment

This event builds on our 16 November round table where we considered what AFMs should be doing about Responsible Investment today, extending the discussion into how AFMs can get on the front-foot to be ready for the future.

Register your interest to attend this event here.

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