Transparency Task Force slams IA cost code

Transparency Task Force slams IA cost code

The Transparency Task Force has hit back at attempts by the Investment Association (IA) to provide a new code for cost disclosure.

The group said that the Investment Association was the wrong place to decide on this code for how fund managers should spell out costs, because it claimed it is focused on the interests of its members.

“They are too conflicted to be responsible for the development of a costs disclosure code,” the taskforce, headed by Andy Agathangelou, said.

The IA launched a a public consultation into the code earlier this year.

The consultation, which closes today, (19 May) is about the standardisation of disclosure for charges and transaction costs and provides a blueprint for the reporting of charges and transaction costs using a consistent approach across the market and in line with regulatory requirements.

Jonathan Lipkin, director of public policy at the IA, the new code “provides for the first time a common framework for enhanced disclosure across investment products and services. It is a major opportunity to consistently define and provide data on charges and transaction costs.

"The IA would like to work with the FCA to seek regulatory recognition for the new Code in the FCA’s Conduct of Business Sourcebook. “

However, the Transparency Task Force said the code “falls short of the mark in so many ways”.

These included: no effective quality control over the cost data being gathered, no open scrutiny of the development of the code and the fact that the code is voluntary.

A spokesman for the IA  said: “The technical consultation deadline is today.  All responses will be analysed  and we will publish the outcome in due course."

The IA is set to deliver a final set of proposals in the third quarter of 2017.

The Transparency Task Force is a a campaigning organisation focused making financial services markets fairer, safer, more efficient and likely to deliver better value for money.

It was launched in July 2015, with the founder saying that it was aimed at “increasing trust in the industry”.

Brian Hill, independent adviser at Jones Hill IFA in Bradford upon Avon, said: “Providers have a long way to go before we see the transparency that customers expect.

"Despite the best efforts of the FCA I’ve yet to see a customer who understands what they are being charged before they come to us. It is complex.

"If anyone is to give guidelines on this it should be an independent body, with the interest of consumers in mind.”