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Investment Association announces it will consult with members

Written by: Adam Lewis
The chair of the Investment Association Helena Morrissey has announced the fund industry’s trade body will consult members on its priorities following a week which has seen members threaten to quit and its chief executive resign.

Following a three year tenure Daniel Godfrey stepped down as his role as chief executive on Tuesday after it was revealed that five of the IA’s members – M&G, Schroders, Fidelity, Aberdeen and Invesco – were set to quit the trade body. Guy Sears, the director of risk, compliance and legal, has since has been appointed interim chief executive, and Morrissey has now confirmed a full member consultation.

In a statement she said: “The Association’s members have always been conscious of their responsibilities in looking after other people’s money and recent events should not put that in doubt. Nothing has changed our collective commitment to putting customers first and, as part of that, to effective, transparent and competitive delivery to the millions of savers who depend upon the services we provide. The Board reaffirms its commitment to supporting positive change in the interest of members’ clients. In particular, it will continue the work already done to ensure that consumers receive clear comparable information on which they can make good investment decisions.

“The issues some members have voiced have been about the scope of the Association’s agenda and the style and approach of engagement with members in recent years. Whilst our overall remit and focus remains on highlighting the important role that asset managers play in terms of addressing the pensions and savings needs of individuals, supporting the growth of companies and contributing to the UK economy; there is a need to consult on how the Association prioritises against a packed agenda for the industry.”

Once appointed she said that the results from the consultation will guide the new CEO, and added that in the meantime it will be “business as usual” for the existing management team.

She added: “The board and the industry remain committed to the values captured in the Statement of Principles but we are listening to members with regard to how it is implemented. There is no intention to make any changes to the ongoing executive pay project.”

Interim chief executive Sears added: “We understand that recent news has been unsettling, but the Investment Association remains focused on its ongoing work. As a membership organisation, differing views come with the territory but we have a long history of working together and building consensus for the better and we will return to that approach.”

In the short-term Sears said he will be focused on the opportunities and responsibilities resulting from the new pensions freedoms and the impending competition review from the FCA.

He said: “This is a time of change and opportunity for the industry and the key now is to move forward collectively but there should be no doubt that the Investment Association and its members continue to be united by the belief that the success of our industry is completely aligned to the quality of the service we provide to clients large and small.”

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