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Fidelity reverses decision to bill investors for research

Fund group falls back into line with most of its rivals by agreeing to shoulder investment research costs.

 
Fidelity reverses decision to bill investors for research
 

Fidelity has backtracked on a decision announced last year to pass on the cost of external research to clients.

Joining an overwhelming majority of the funds industry, the firm said it will meet research costs from its own balance sheet.

According to a tally conducted by the Financial Times, just two major global fund houses, Carmignac and Deka, now intend to pass on costs. 

Fidelity said the U-turn followed 'extensive discussions' with clients.

Funds houses have been forced to wrestle with the question of how they pay for external research since payments-in-kind to brokers were banned under Mifid II rules.

Fidelity had announced the charging structure in October 2017, as it said it would move to charging variable fees across its fund range.

At the time, it justified charging investors for research by arguing the reduction in its baseline management fees as part of the move to the 'fulcrum' model would more the offset the cost.

Paras Anand, Fidelity’s chief investment officer for European equities, said that with the vast majority of rivals shouldering research costs, persisting with plans to charge investors would have led to 'disproportionate operational and reporting consequences'.

Online stock brokers welcomed the move. Tilney managing director Jason Hollands said Fidelity’s U-turn was a 'clear admission they had got it wrong' and that the move would 'heap pressure on remaining outlier firms'.

Architas investment director Adrian Lowcock said it was 'good to see' the industry reaching a consensus on the issue, which 'should make it easier and cheaper to access funds'.

But he added the long-term impact of absorbing research costs was 'still unknown and could result in unforeseen consequences.'

 

1 comment so far. Why not have your say?

FrankFrank

Feb 22, 2018 at 21:49

I always considered Fidelity the greediest of investment companies and avoided their funds.

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