Victory for transparency campaigners as IA takes down Loch Ness report

The Investment Association (IA) has responded to pressure from transparency groups by taking down its controversial ‘Loch Ness Monster’ report from its website a day after declining to do so.

The row over the IA’s release – Hidden fund fees, the Loch Ness Monster of Investments? – reignited last week when IA chief executive Chris Cummings’ admitted in a BBC Radio 4 In Business programme ‘The Transparency Detectives’ that the language used was ‘regrettable’.

Yesterday Corporate Adviser asked the IA whether it would respond to calls for the release, which transparency campaigners said was deeply misleading, to be removed from its website. The IA initially declined the opportunity to respond to campaigners concerned, saying it was making good progress on transparency through initiatives involving the FCA and campaigner Chris Sier. But today it has removed the release from its website.

Transparency Task Force founder Andy Agathangelou commended the move, saying it was an important first step, but has written to the IA urging it to introduce enforceable codes of conduct for all  members ‘that insist on the highest standard of professional behavior, including properly looking after the interests of the investor’.

An IA spokesperson says: “The Investment Association is now under new leadership and is wholly focused on delivering on the issues that consumers and our industry care about, such as providing full transparency on costs and charges. A successful example of our work in this area to date includes developing a new cost disclosure template with the Local Government Pension Scheme Advisory Board as part its Code of Transparency, which was successfully implemented last year.

“We are also working closely and productively with transparency campaigner Chris Sier as part of his role as chair of the FCA independent working group, to design a new template on cost disclosure which will be rolled out later this year. The group has made excellent progress on this initiative so far and the results will be consulted upon soon.”