Conservative MP lobbies FCA on fee transparency

Tom Tugendhat 620x430Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat has met with the FCA to discuss fee transparency in the asset management industry and will also be meeting with City minister Harriet Baldwin.

“This is not going away. You don’t need to look too far to see everything is more open, from hotels and restaurants to indeed political expenses,” he says.

Auto-enrolment and the popularity of Isas were only making the issue more relevant to investors who may have previously not taken an interest in the issue, Tugendhat says.

The politician, who has personal experience of being “fleeced” by his investment manager, says he wants asset managers to have a legal duty to act transparently and in the interests of their clients.

Tugendhat is also seeking standardisation of charges, presented as an invoice to clients and explaining the percentage cost on investments.

Last month, the Conservative MP raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions, to which David Cameron responded the government was committed to working with the FCA during this parliament to require more fees and charges to be published.

In the period since, Tugendhat has received unanimous support from investors and the industry, he says.

However, he believes opponents to his work will find a way to oppose it, such as saying that explaining fee transparency is “too complicated or too difficult”.

“In 1980, if you were asked to present complex figures over a year or two year period, I can understand it would have taken a while. Today you can press a button,” Tugendhat says.

He adds that it’s in the best interests of the industry’s honest operators to support more transparency.

“There are a lot of people who will advertise very clearly what they’re going to charge,” he says. “They’re competing with someone who doesn’t tell you the full cost. So when you compare them it looks like the honest guy is more expensive than the dishonest guy.”