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FCA fund panel chair denies bias and apologises to Schroders and the IA

FCA fund panel chair denies bias and apologises to Schroders and the IA

Chris Sier, the chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) institutional disclosure working group (IDWG), has apologised to the Investment Association (IA) for a perceived slur on the trade body in a newspaper interview.

He also denied he is ‘biased against the investment management industry’ and denied accusing Schroders and the IA of not being ‘wholly engaged’ in the regulator’s asset management market study.

In an open letter to both FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey and IA boss Chris Cumming, Sier was responding to allegations following the publication of an interview he did with The Times.

He was at pains to make clear that the views expressed were his own and not the FCA’s, apologising for ‘any ambiguity on this point’.

‘In the article certain statements were also made about the Investment Association (IA) and member firms including Schroders. I would like to make clear that I did not discuss individual institutions or pass comment on them. I apologise to the IA that the article gave the impression that they were not wholly engaged, and want to take this opportunity to set the record straight,’ he wrote.

‘I am not biased against the investment management industry in my stance, and the many industry members of the IDWG have been exemplary in their positive contribution. We have made considerable progress in the short time the IDWG has been operating, and we expect to publish an update shortly.’

He added that he apologises for any offence caused to the IA or any of its members, saying: ‘I do this with an easy conscience because I know that the IA’s participation in the process to date has been substantial and crucial, and will be going forward.

‘I hope this letter conveys to you the seriousness in which I hold this issue, as for our work to succeed we need full and active participation from the industry and the IA.’

The IDWG was set up in September following the asset management market study final report, with a view to devising a template for the disclosure of costs and charges to institutional investors.

Sier is professor of practice at Newcastle University Business School and is an expert in pension scheme costs and charges who worked closely with the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in developing their template for institutional disclosure.

He is also the government’s fintech envoy for the north of England.

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