On 21 September 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its Issues Statement in its Market Investigation into Investment Consultancy and Fiduciary Management Services. Interested parties have until 12 October to respond.
The Issues Statement comes only a week after the decision by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to refer the industry to the CMA, the first such referral by the FCA.
The Issues Statement sets out the scope of the investigation; it also outlines initial theories on what might be adversely affecting competition. These 'theories of harm' are:
- Demand side/informational issues - whether difficulties in pension trustees' ability to assess, compare and switch investment consultants mean that consultants face less pressure to compete;
- Conflicts of interest and how these might influence investment consultants;
- Barriers to new investment consultants entering the market or expanding.
The Issues Statement also sets out a long list of potential remedies, which the CMA stresses are 'purely hypothetical' at this stage. These are wide ranging, from informational remedies which are common in market investigations, to more interventionist remedies including divestiture/separation of business areas, price controls and mandatory tendering by pension schemes.
Interested parties should consider submitting a response to the Issues Statement. The CMA will be interested to hear not only from investment consultants, but also from other key stakeholders such as pension trustees, employers and asset managers.
You can read our full briefing here: http://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Financial_institutions/CMA_publishes_Issues_Statement_in_investment_consultancy_market_investigation
It is extremely important that the investment consultancy sector works effectively for its clients, which include many of the UK’s biggest pension funds, and we want to ensure we are looking at the right issues. That is why we are urging people to get in touch if they have any evidence to share or views about whether these are the correct areas for us to be investigating.