Fund groups are reviewing their corporate hospitality policy for “big ticket” events such as Cowes Week in the wake of the Financial Conduct Authority’s inducements crackdown.
In January, the FCA issued final guidance on inducements and conflicts of interest, which banned advisers from extravagant hospitality.
Money Marketing understands fund managers are unclear how the guidance affects events such as Cowes Week, the Chelsea Flower Show and Wimbledon. Fund groups are using the Investment Management Association to mediate between themselves and the FCA on an anonymous basis in an attempt to gain clarity.
Fund managers are also understood to be considering meeting advisers and guests at events, instead of hosting them.
Aberdeen Asset Management says its sponsorship of Cowes Week is intended primarily for brand awareness, with stakeholder and adviser invitations deemed a “secondary aspect”.
It says it does not pay accommodation or travel expenses and has strict policies on annual entertainment limits.
An Aberdeen spokesman says: “We are reviewing the FCA guidelines to determine any impact on these activities.”
Artemis Fund Managers, which sponsors the Artemis Challenge at Cowes, says it is discussing the definition of “reasonable costs” set out in the regulator’s guidance.
Director of communications Ross Leckie says: “We are not exactly throwing vintage champagne at them; we are not flying them down, they take the train – and they pay for that.
“Cowes is a very important part of the relationships with our clients, our advisers, but we constantly keep it under review.”
An FCA spokesman says: “Our review made it clear there were certain practices that did not stand up to scrutiny. It is now for firms to make sure any payments, hospitality or gifts are legitimate and in consumers’ interest.”
Hart Greaves chartered financial planner Paul Greaves says: “Asset managers who have done more ostentatious things in the past may now choose not to do so in future, and rightly so.”