IA chief exec and reformer Godfrey resigns amid membership furore

Investment Association chief executive Daniel Godfrey, who had forced a transparency agenda in his tenure in the post, is leaving the organisation according to reports.  

IA officials were unable to confirm to Corporate Adviser Godfrey’s status this afternoon, saying any questions as to whether he is still employed are being dealt with by the board. He is understood to have resigned.

A number of influential members of the IA – including Schroders and M&G – had threatened to leave the organisation, with Invesco Perpetual, Aberdeen Asset Management and Fidelity all rumoured to be unhappy at its direction.

Godfrey had attempted to implement a radical transparency agenda during his tenure. Godfrey had encouraged fund managers to pledge higher standards of oversight of customers’ money. In August 25 fund managers out of the Investment Association’s membership of 200 signed up to a pledge to put customers first that Godfrey had backed. The IA’s Statement of Principles required managers to make a public commitment always to put clients’ interests first and ahead of their own.

The Statement of Principles is designed to offer fund managers an industry wide route to demonstrating the transparency in the way they conduct business. It came come against a backdrop of rising concern amongst the FCA, politicians and advisers at perceived opacity in the way asset management transactions are conducted and  charges are reported as well as fears that customer and fund manager interests are not always aligned.

IA members are reported to have said he had given insufficient focus to other issues such as low pension saving.

In March the FCA and DWP launched a call for evidence on the disclosure of transaction cost information for workplace pension schemes that will examine implicit costs such as bid/ask spreads and market impact costs. 

The call for evidence is designed to assist independent governance committees (IGCs) and pension scheme trustees who will be required to report annually on the costs and charges involved in managing and investing the pension pots of scheme members.

Last November the Financial Services Consumer Panel published a hard-hitting report calling for an all-inclusive fee approach for fund managers in a bid to clamp down on under the bonnet fees. The damning report concludes that the full scale of hidden costs is simply not known, citing data from LCP that shows two thirds of fund managers are unable to provide information on transaction costs.

Responding to the news on Twitter, Justin Urquhart Stewart said: “Quite right to press for greater fund management transparency. its client £ not theirs”

The IA was not able to respond to Corporate Adviser’s request for a comment at time of publication.