Mifid II 

Mifid causes fee headache for advisers

Mifid causes fee headache for advisers

Concerns have been raised over providers' ability to disclose costs in line with Mifid II requirements, due to poorly performing investment markets and botched platform migrations. 

The requirements under Mifid II came into effect in January 2018 but it is only now that advisers must disclose actual costs and charges associated with the investments they recommended to clients rather than estimates. 

Martin Bamford, managing director at Informed Choice Ltd, said the disclosure of actual costs incurred from this month onwards has placed an extra administrative burden on his team.

He said: "We have disclosed fees to our clients in a robust fashion for many years, well before the Retail Distribution Review came into force, but it is the prescribed format of Mifid II cost disclosures which make it problematic.

"Trying to get this information out of wrap platforms, at a time when many are struggling to smoothly migrate to new platforms, will be a cause of frustration."

Mr Bamford suggested Mifid II should have focussed on value rather than actual cost, with a "real danger" investors will panic and make impulsive decisions that damage their long-term wealth. 

He said: "A year on, Mifid II feels like an expensive and burdensome piece of bureaucracy, with little value for the end investor.

"Recent market volatility has prompted advisers with discretionary permissions to warn clients of 10 per cent quarterly portfolio drops, which is a negative message to send to long-term investors." 

He added: "It’s important for investors to understand what they are paying for the different elements of financial planning and wealth management; it’s far more important they recognise the value they are receiving in return for their fees.

"This is where a considered programme of communication and investor education will make the difference." 

Ricky Chan, director at IFS Wealth & Pensions, said advisers who have positioned their business and added value purely based on “investment management” will struggle after a year of market falls. 

He said: "So, I think it is important for advisers to demonstrate their added value in financial planning and communicating the benefits received by the client in having engaged with a professional adviser.

"Also, it is important to re-assure clients in times when markets have dipped and remind them of their longer-term objectives, and how these investments play a part in that." 

Mr Chan anticipates sending his first letters to clients between February and April, but warned fee disclosures under Mifid II will be new territory for all advisers - not just those new to the industry.

He said: "There may be a slight advantage for more experienced advisers in terms of the clients' trust, but it’s quite marginal as clients with previous investment experience would have experienced similar volatility and so would be better positioned to understand it.

"I imagine the ex-post (actual costs incurred) fee disclosures required by Mifid II would be unchartered territory for the majority of advisers or firms though, so everyone’s effectively on the same boat."