Hargreaves Lansdown is pushing MPs to allow a new form of guidance through an amendment to the EU MiFID regulations. Formulated by The Investing and Saving Alliance, it would allow firms to market tailored investments or products to clients without stepping into advice. Read the full story on Citywire here.
Fund Boards Council (FBC) corporate members who want to get a head start with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Sustainable Disclosure Requirements (SDR) consultation, and didn’t manage to make our live round table with the FCA’s Mark Manning last week, can view the full recording in the FBC Member Portal here. Hosted by FBC senior adviser Brandon Horwitz, he was also joined by Sandra Carlisle, Head of Sustainability at Jupiter and iNED Julie Patterson to address key questions around the consultation.
The Net Zero asset managers initiative (NZAM) has reiterated its alignment to the UN Race to Zero criteria despite its umbrella organisation, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (Gfanz), dropping the requirement for members. Read the full article in Ignites Europe here.
New research from the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) uncovers the continuing uptick of financial advisers and wealth managers recommending sustainable funds, though only 1% of respondents completely trust funds’ sustainability claims. Read the press release here and Ignites Europe article here.
Meanwhile, Andy Clark, EdenTree Asset Management’s chief executive discusses his views on his concerns for ESG labels, integrity and making sustainability a priority in an interview with Financial News here.
The FT reports here on the opaque pricing models of financial indices potentially leading to higher costs for investors. Consultancy Substantive Research found that asset managers are being charged up to 13 times as much for similar bundles of products and services. The FCA intends to launch a Wholesale Data market study in Nov 2022 to look at how competition works between benchmark administrators – read their Dear CEO letter from Sept 2022 which signposts this here and more details of their work on accessing and using wholesale data here.
According to the latest Pridham Report, Fidelity has again topped quarterly fund sales, pulling in £512.5m in the third quarter, around half that of Q2. Rathbones and Hargreaves Lansdown also entered the top 10. The bulk of this inflow was drawn in the early weeks of the quarter, when investors were optimistic about the UK’s prospects. Read Citywire’s take here.
Property funds are under pressure, with unusually high numbers of commercial assets coming to the market. Read more in the FT here.
BlackRock has been high on the news agenda, with the introduction of tiered fees to their range of UK products, in Ignites Europe here, CEO Larry Fink announcing plants to allow retail investors to vote in proxy battles – predicting a “revolution in shareholder democracy”, in the FT here, and its review, following underperformance, of its BlackRock and Gold General fund, in Ignites Europe here. In related items, it’s AoV report is out now, here, and FBC corporate members can access the bulk of the other reports via our AoV Report Bank, here.
FTSE company chairs speak out about declining investor relations and other risks to company growth in The State of Stewardship, a new report from PR and lobby group, Tulchan. Read the Financial Times (FT) report here, the FT’s Cat Rutter Polley’s commentary here and access to the full report here.
FBC Annual Conference, 2022
On the 29th of November, FBC corporate members and invited guests will convene our annual conference to explore key fund governance topics including Assessment of Value three years on, and the topic du jour of Consumer Duty.
FCA’s Nike Trost, Garry Murdoch and Michael Collins will be joined by two panels of subject matter experts, supported by FBC’s Philip Warland, Brandon Horwitz, and Simon Hynes.
The shareholders of AIM listed wealth manager Mattioli Woods voted on an executive renumeration package that could see its four top executives bonus’ climb to 200% of salary ‘payable on a purely discretionary basis’ – 19.5% of shareholders voted against. Read the full story in Citywire here.
Franklin’s way forward
In the US, Franklin Templeton is offering voluntary redundancy to some of its non-investment employees and pausing “non-essential” recruitment, alongside introducing additional operational efficiencies. CFO Matthew Nicholls is hopeful that this will enable the business to focus on investment amid the tough market conditions. Ignites Europe reports here. Franklin’s headcount review comes on the heels of a handful others investment managers making similar headcount adjustments.
Women at the top…or not!
Georgina Philippou, one of the highest-ranking women at the FCA has departed after more than 30 years of senior roles, fuelling speculation on the reason for a number of recent departures. Read more in the Financial News here.
Meanwhile, a recent report from EY and Cranfield University describes the lack of female executives at the UK’s FTSE 350 companies as “appalling” – while they are indeed bringing in women, it’s not into management positions. Read the summary of the report in the FT here. No huge surprise to FBC, with our own data on fund boards, available to FBC corporate members here, which showed strong female iNED representation, falling away when considering SMF9 (exec), and to a lesser extent SMF1, roles.
Bonham Carter departure
Edward Bonham Carter has announced he is leaving Jupiter at the end of the year, after almost three decades with the funds business. Citywire reports here.
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