Investment Association retreats on statement of principles timeline

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The Investment Association has pushed back indefinitely the deadline for fund managers to sign up to its statement of principles after members raised concerns about the additional compliance burden imposed by the project.

The trade body unveiled the initiative in April and in August it said 25 signatories were to publish statements on their websites from 1 January 2016 onwards.

Since then, two of its biggest members, Schroders and M&G, which have not taken part in the initiative, have threatened to leave the trade body. Daniel Godfrey was subsequently ousted as chief executive of the trade body.

The 10 key principles include outlined by Godfrey include encouraging investment managers to “always put clients’ interests first and ahead of their own” in the execution of their duties, as well as “ensure regular, timely and clear lines of communication with clients,” and “maintain a corporate culture that sustains these principles”.

In a statement published today, the IA says: “While members are clearly supportive of the principle of putting clients first, as well as all the other principles outlined, a number have expressed concern that the website-based reporting requirement aspect is adding an additional compliance burden, while the purpose of the project has always been to demonstrate to investors the values we hold as an industry.

“It is clear now to the Investment Association that the reporting requirement aspect of the statement of principles needs further consideration and so the Investment Association is extending the timetable to allow for additional discussion with the industry on these aspects.”

The trade body also says upcoming regulations may influence the way the statement of principles is implemented.

Th IA says during this discussion period it will not be maintaining a list of signatories and there will be no requirement for member firms to publish statements on their websites.

IA interim chief executive Guy Sears says: “The concerns members have raised have always been around the technical aspects of the project and nothing more and members are fully supportive of the values in the statement of principles.”