Industry broadly supportive of CMA report recommendations

The recommendations detailed in the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) final report have broadly been met with support from industry members, who have encouraged others to implement the suggestions as soon as possible.

Commenting on the report, Aon head of investment for UK & Ireland, Tim Giles said: “We welcome the CMA’s final report on the investment consultant market.

“We firmly believe that these will ultimately improve outcomes for all pension scheme members.”

This sentiment was echoed by Willis Towers Watson head of investment, EMEA, Ed Francis: “We are pleased that the final recommendations have addressed many of the concerns that we raised; for example, the tendering regime now being put forward no longer requires a fully open process, which will ensure it is not excessively onerous and costly to pension schemes.”

It was also highlighted how the report helped give people a better understanding of the pensions industry, as Mercer UK CEO, Fiona Dunsire explained: “The CMA Market Investigation has been an exhaustive and comprehensive undertaking that has been helpful in dismissing myths and misconceptions about the industry.

“The CMA analysis has shown that these markets are not highly concentrated, that conflicts are well managed, that barriers to entry are not significant and that the vast majority of clients are satisfied with the service they receive.

“The CMA has recognised the important role that fiduciary management services can play in the evolving UK pensions landscape and the analysis shows that integrated providers can, and do, deliver demonstrable value to trustees.”

Cardano head of clients, Richard Dowell added: “We would encourage the industry to adopt the CMA’s recommendations as soon as possible - and not to wait until the end of 2019.”

However, some have expressed concern that the report has not addressed some of the issues affecting the industry.

JLT Employee Benefits head of investment solutions, Mark McNulty commented: “It is very disappointing that the CMA has provided no dispensations from the need for the tender requirements, even where the trustees are entirely satisfied with the current arrangements and have no intention of changing managers.

“This will result in wasted time and effort from all parties conducting tenders to comply without resulting in meaningful changes of provider.”

Despite this, the overall response to the CMA’s report was positive, as Francis concluded: “Overall the CMA has found an industry that is functioning well, does not have excessive concentration or high barriers to entry and where participants are seeking to serve their clients’ best interests.

“The very thorough process that the CMA has undertaken should give customers significant comfort that the industry is committed to high levels of transparency and well aligned to serve them effectively both now and in the future.”

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