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Investment value reports ‘not up to scratch’

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Investors are being let down by ‘assessment of value’ statements which are not “meeting the spirit” of what they are supposed to do, a new study from CFA UK has found.

Rules introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) require fund houses to produce an ‘assessment of value’ statement for each of their funds, which should outline a range of information about the fund in question.

The FCA set out seven criteria for what these reports should detail, including fund costs, quality of service, comparable market rates and share classes.

However an investigation by CFA UK, looking at reports from 145 different investment firms, found that the standard of reports “varies substantially” with many simply not up to scratch. Almost one in four (24%) do not clearly outline their investment objectives, while more than two in five (42%) fail to state the ongoing charges figure (OCF) for individual funds, which CFA described as “one of the most basic features that ought to be available to retail investors”.

What’s more, the majority of reports were found to be failing to provide information which investors would value. For example three quarters don’t mention the green credentials of a fund, while almost two thirds (62%) make no mention of the risk involved while 87% do not comment on the liquidity of the fund.

Not only were the reports below standard, they also weren’t easy to find. The firm found that they were only able to locate 75% of the target reports, despite multiple efforts by phone and email to the investment businesses in question.

Andrew Burton, professionalism adviser at CFA UK, noted that while the group found some strong examples of value of assessment reports, many that are being produced are failing to meet the basic requirements set out by the regulator.

He added: “The rationale behind making these reports obligatory was to increase transparency about fund performance and value for investors. Many of the reports being published, however, fail to provide the quality and completeness of information needed to advance investor appreciation of their current and potential fund investments.”

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