Gina Miller joins criticism of IA disclosure code

Miller Gina SCM

Gina Miller has added to criticism that the Investment Association has a conflict of interest in its publication of a Disclosure Code, arguing the trade body is “heavily conflicted, self interested” and “anti consumer”.

The IA launched an industry code for the standardisation of disclosure for charges and transaction costs in March, for which feedback was sought with the consultation period ending on 19 May.

Last week the Transparency Taskforce said the IA was “too conflicted” to produce a fee disclosure code because it acts in the commercial interests of large asset managers.

In a submission on the code, SCM Direct, the wealth manager founded by Miller and her husband Alan, says the IA’s publication on hidden fees released last year is evidence of the association’s “bias and amateurism”.

The IA is currently reviewing feedback and will publish a final set of proposals in Q3 this year.

It is seeking regulatory recognition for the code in the FCA’s Conduct of Business Sourcebook, but Miller argues this work should be completed in-house at the regulator.

An IA spokeswoman says the code is an industry-led initiative with the Association of British Insurers, the Local Government Association, and Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association among others that contributed to the draft publication as part of an independent advisory body, which also included consumer bodies.

In addition to raising questions over the IA’s conflict, the SCM Direct submission also criticises the templates for failing to present aggregated costs and charges, the cumulative effect of costs on return and disclosure on a generic basis.

It argues the code fails to meet the requirements of Mifid II and bypasses “both the wording and the spirit of the text through its code”.

However, the IA disputes that claim. “The code will enable asset managers to be fully compliant with both UK and EU regulation including MifID disclosures,” a spokeswoman says.