I heard Chris Cummings(CC) CEO of the Investment Association on the BBC Radio 4 this morning launching their new naughty register.
The interview went something like this:
BBC Interviewer: “Would you have done it if the Government has not led this initiative?”
CC did not say YES.
CC said: “This was an industry led initiative.”
BBC: “Yes, but would you have done it if the Government has not pushed it?”
CC again declined to say YES.
I surmise IA was led kicking and screaming into this by the Government.
I doubt the IA is the best place to locate this register. I doubt they will probe behind the reasons. John Hunter UKSA Chair tweeted it succintly! Investment Association to keep register of baddies. Let’s appoint foxes to keep a register of poor chicken coop builders.
I worry about the conflicts of interest that the Investment Association is riddled with. These will lead it not to pursue the problems in a sufficiently robust manner. They will be lenient and superficial in their approach. Why would they seek to deal with the root cause of problems when they themselves are part of the problem? The natural next steps of probing deeper into the issues might be to look at these questions below and I remain unconvinced that the Investment Association will.
- Where was the IA league table of low cost funds with best performance?
- Where is the league table of fund managers pay and their pay ratios?
- Where is the league table of fund managers who let clients? direct votes?
- Where is the IA league table of SRI or ESG funds?
- Why was AVIVA the only DC funds house whose IGC report mentioned ESG last year?
- Where is the league table of IA red tops vs pay revolts?
- Where is the league table of fund managers who don’t employ very many women?
- Where is the league table of fund managers who have <30% women on their boards?
- Why has the Investment Association blocked the market for electronic shareholder voting?
- Why exactly did the Investment Association fire Daniel Godfrey when he was Chief Executive?
- Can we see a league table of fund manager votes on those AGMs where rebellions didn’t happen but should have?
- Can we see how LGIM or BlackRock voted on every pay vote since 2012?
- Where is the public league table of the Investment Association members’ voting?
The Investment Association have not actively picked up the challenge to pursue the above questions and are unlikely to do so with any vigour in the near future. The obvious point to make is that if they wanted to sort these issues they would have already done so. Indeed, the pattern seems to be that the Investment Association seems to make progress if and only when it is forced to; it responds ‘kicking and screaming’ into what can best be described as defensive manoeuvers from time to time but only when made to. But is it not naïve to think they would do anything different? – They are the trade body of the UK’s asset management industry.