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End misleading fund fees says industry association head

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Pensioners and ISA holders are losing out because "nobody understands" how much is removed through hidden charges (and how often), according to Daniel Godfrey, chief executive of the Investment Association.

In a blog post yesterday, Godfrey, who represents fund managers that control £835 billion, stated that past fee calculations were “misleading”, and based on “spurious assumptions”. He ordered the investment industry to end “twenty years” of hidden fees, and to inform customers in plain English – and transparent, simple figures – how much would be removed from their funds annually.

“Our objective is to provide a complete picture of all costs involved in the investment process expressed in terms that users can actually understand,” he asserted.

Historically, savers have been told that around 1.5 per cent of their money is spent on fees each year. However, recent research suggests the true level of charges incurred by savers would be more than double the official figure – 3.2 per cent – if hidden fees were included.

Godfrey posted his remarks only days after the Government passed its cap on pension charges, which could save some workers £100,000 over the course of their careers.

Godfrey has endorsed the Financial Conduct Authority’s proposals to require all public discussion and marketing materials referring to fund charges to use the ongoing charges figure rather than the better known annual management charge. However, industry commentators have criticised the proposals for not going far enough.

“These proposals will be about as useful as an umbrella in a hurricane,” said Gina Miller, founder of charges campaign group True & Fair. “Ordinary investors will be given data that is incomprehensible and incomplete.”

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