Hargreaves asks FCA to help lower fund fees

Hargreaves asks FCA to help lower fund fees

Hargreaves Lansdown is to tell the Financial Conduct Authority that platforms should be given greater scope to drive down fund manager fees by guiding client decision making.

According to the financial services firm it has already used its scale and influence to achieve a £17m in fee savings for the £21bn in investments it channels through its platform. 

Hargreaves Lansdown's response to the FCA's recent Asset Management Market Review will focus on the ability of platforms to drive down fees and to deliver on the Financial Advice Market Review - which seeks to give access to advice to more people.

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It proposes achieving this by giving platforms greater scope to engage with their clients, to guide their decision-making and to exert pressure on fund groups.

Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the redefining of advice in accordance with MiFID will also help.

"Organisations like Hargreaves Lansdown and IFAs have a really important role to play in acting of agents of competition for consumers," he said. 

"We can highlight poor performance and keep fund managers on their toes by presenting them with the risk that if they do not deliver the money will move."

He said that Hargreaves Lansdown already exerts some influence over fund flows by recommending funds to clients, but that currently for most retail customers past performance was the key element in purchasing a fund rather than price.

However, Barry Fromson, a consultant at Ascot Lloyd, said that he was beginning to see more awareness from customers of the ability of IFAs to reduce fees. 

"The days of fund managers trying to mask the cost due to fine performance are over. Its not a factor now, it is more about what is the true cost," he said.

He is interested in greater scope for larger purchasers of fund management to get fee reduction, so a £10m purchase would pay a lower proportion of fees than an IFA group that only buys £1m.

Mr Fromson also called on the FCA to help. "The FCA should lean more on the fund management groups. I do not think the regulator is using their influence as much as they could do," he said.