IA backtracks over statement of principles timeline

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IA backtracks over statement of principles timeline

The timetable for signatories of the Investment Association’s (IA) statement of principles to declare how they would uphold these values has been pushed back indefinitely.

The IA unveiled the initiative this April, and in August announced 25 signatories who committed to publishing statements on their websites from January 1 2016 onwards explaining “how they would do their utmost to uphold the statement of principles”.

But the proposals proved to be a sticking point for a number of non-signatories, with two of the highest profile firms not to have signed the statement - Schroders and M&G - later revealed to be intent on resigning their memberships of the trade body.

In a statement published today (December 11), the IA said: “While members are clearly supportive of the principle of putting clients first, as well as all the other principles outlined, a number have expressed concern that the website-based reporting requirement aspect is adding an additional compliance burden, while the purpose of the project has always been to demonstrate to investors the values we hold as an industry.

“It is clear now to the IA that the reporting requirement aspect of the statement of principles needs further consideration and so the IA is extending the timetable to allow for additional discussion with the industry on these aspects.”

The IA added it would not maintain a list of signatories, nor enforce the requirement for member firms to publish statements on their websites, during the discussion period.

The ten-point principles include commitments to put clients’ interests first and ahead of fund groups’ own, and to make all costs and charges transparent and understandable.

The trade body’s statement today also noted ongoing initiatives such as the FCA’s market study of asset management, and discussions around regulation such as Mifid II and Priips, could also “change the industry landscape in the coming months” and influence how the project should be implemented.

The FCA’s asset management market study is not due to conclude until the end of 2016, though it will present interim findings next summer.

The unrest among members which surfaced following the split over the principles led to the departure of chief executive Daniel Godfrey in October, with Guy Sears replacing him on an interim basis.

The IA’s director of regulatory affairs Richard Metcalfe has since followed Mr Godfrey out of the organisation.