Investments 

Fee transparency platform launches

Fee transparency platform launches

ClearGlass, a new costs data collection and analysis platform, has launched today (November 9) to offer UK pension schemes the ability to access better cost and performance information from their asset managers.

The launch follows the pilot introduction of cost transparency templates this week by new industry initiative the Cost Transparency Initiative.

The templates were drafted by the Financial Conduct Authority’s independent Institutional Disclosure Working Group, which was set up on the back of its Asset Management Market Study as part of its remedies package.

The FCA had said it wanted to see more consistent and standardised disclosure of charges to institutional investors and thought a standardised disclosure template should provide a clearer understanding of the cost for a given fund or mandate.

Using the templates, ClearGlass will collect data on costs including all the ongoing charges that might be applied to a fund either by an asset manager or another third party.

Aon, which has provided start-up funding for ClearGlass, will then receive access to the template data through its subsidiary McLagan, and provide benchmarking analysis of fee and performance data for pension funds and asset managers.

This service will be available to all participating pension funds through McLagan. Aon clients and non-Aon clients will receive access to the same data analysis, service and pricing. ClearGlass charges £100 per mandate.

Chris Sier, chairman of ClearGlass, said: "ClearGlass aims to be the low-cost data collection service for asset owners. It aims to be a utility-like service for the whole market, accessible and affordable for all.

"ClearGlass is aimed at removing the twin fears of complexity and cost that come with the IDWG templates. We will make the complex simple, and with a low cost model. We will collect and summarise cost data for schemes and provide an online tool that allows schemes to segment, analyse and compare their costs easily.

"By having a clearer understanding of the costs of using each asset manager, trustees will be able to make better decisions and will ultimately improve governance of the scheme. That will deliver a better outcome for scheme members."

Sharan Burrows, general secretary for the International Trade Union Confederation, said: "It is troubling to think that two workers in a similar industry with similar wages might find themselves in vastly different situations at retirement because of opacity around fees and the impact of fees on the net returns of their pension funds. This is why cost transparency matters and why a standardised cost collection template is necessary."

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