Investment Association launches review as members threaten to quit

The Investment Association is launching a consultation on how it engages with its members after several groups suggested they will not be renewing their membership with the trade body.

Earlier this week M&G, Schroders, Fidelity Investments, Aberdeen and Invesco Perpetual said they will consider quitting the association, prompting former chief executive Daniel Godfrey to leave the IA “by mutual agreement”. Guy Sears, the director of risk, compliance and legal, has been appointed interim chief executive.

Helena Morrissey, chair of the IA, restated the trade body’s commitment to working towards greater transparency in the industry but said she recognised the need for a review into member engagement.

“The association’s members have always been conscious of their responsibilities in looking after other people’s money and recent events should not put that in doubt,” Morrissey says. “The board reaffirms its commitment to supporting positive change in the interest of members’ clients. In particular, it will continue the work already done to ensure that consumers receive clear comparable information on which they can make good investment decisions.”

She continues: “The issues some members have voiced have been about the scope of the association’s agenda and the style and approach of engagement with members in recent years. Whilst our overall remit and focus remains on highlighting the important role that asset managers play in terms of addressing the pensions and savings needs of individuals, supporting the growth of companies and contributing to the UK economy; there is a need to consult on how the association prioritises against a packed agenda for the industry.”

The outcome of the consultation will influence the direction the new chief executive takes, Morrissey says, adding that in the meantime it is “business as usual”.

Sears says: “We understand that recent news has been unsettling, but the Investment Association remains focused on its ongoing work. As a membership organisation, differing views comes with the territory but we have a long history of working together and building consensus for the better and we will return to that approach.”

The pension freedoms and the impending competition review from the FCA will be areas the IA focuses on, Sears says, as well as ensuring “capital markets are not only free from abuse but positively work well for investors.”

“This is a time of change and opportunity for the industry and the key now is to move forward collectively but there should be no doubt that the Investment Association and its members continue to be united by the belief that the success of our industry is completely aligned to the quality of the service we provide to clients large and small.”