The asset management industry needs to take proactive steps to reconnect with investors and to build reputation and trust says Investment Management Association chairman Douglas Ferrans.
Speaking at an IMA event at Mansions House last night, Ferrans said asset managers needed to do more to keep consumers’ interests front-of-mind if trust in the industry is to be restored, citing the organisation’s development of a simple pounds-and-pence measure of investment funds’ historic costs alongside actual performance as an example of how this can be achieved.
Ferrans said: “The first step is to reconnect with those investors and understand what they need and how best to serve those needs. The second is to demonstrate why we deserve their trust and confidence.”
“We need to ensure that when we spend our clients’ money, we do so with real skill and diligence. We must ensure that when we face issues that give rise to potential conflicts of interest, we are able to think independently and put our clients’ interests first.”
Ferrans also criticised the ‘mixed approach’ to effective engagement with the companies in which asset managers invest.
Ferrans said: “There is a very mixed approach in this area among investment management firms. The challenges in effective engagement are well-known and I have in the past defended the right of our firms and clients to decide how far down this path they individually go. However, as an industry, this is an area that cannot and should not be ignored.”