Asset managers set out new conduct standards

Investment managers will be required to put clients’ interests ahead of their own following the publication of a new statement of principles by the Investment Association.

The Investment Association says its voluntary statement of principles sets out standards that go beyond the regulatory requirement of treating customers fairly.

The trade body will maintain a list of signatories on its website from 31 July 2015, a link to members’ descriptions of their approach from 1 January 2016 and a link to annual reports on the principles from 1 January 2017. Also in January 2017 the Investment Association will review the principles, considering uptake, impact and feedback from all stakeholders.

Signatories to the statement will describe publicly their approach to maintaining the principles and how they identify and deal with the key issues that could compromise their ability to maintain alignment. In addition, they will confirm annually that their processes for this are effective and that any issues identified as a result of their principles monitoring are being addressed. 

Investment Association chair Helena Morrissey says: “Investment managers recognise that they need to welcome scrutiny and to be held accountable.  They also need to demonstrate clearly that they have an obsession with high standards of integrity and competence. These principles go further than regulation to fulfil these requirements. Adherence to the principles will ensure that clients can be confident in their investment managers’ integrity and approach to delivering on the objectives they have agreed.”

Investment Association chief executive Daniel Godfrey says: “The Investment Association’s purpose is to work with our members to make investment better for clients, for companies and for the economy. This statement of Principles is a key step towards that goal.”

LCP partner Andy Cheseldine says: “This is a useful and good start, but it is very much a first step on what will be a long journey. The proof of the pudding will be the extent to which Investment Association members take on board these new principles.

“It does not appear to be mandatory but there will be a clear reputational risk for those managers who feel they can ignore the way in which best practice is developing.”