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On behalf of UNISON I attended the FCA's 'Institutional Disclosure Working Group's first public consultation on the progress being made for the cost reporting template. I tweeted at the event “Is history being made as @TheFCA consults on the cost collection template for pension funds?

We are here at the Museum of the Docklands why isn’t it compulsory for fund managers to fill it out? And further to that “No deadline set for the publication for the user template @TheFCA how long will this go on for? We will be consulted forever?”

In the Netherlands and Australia there is a statutory duty to collect and report on pension funds. This is the model we require, the government refuses to act on behalf of DB members, DC reporting is limited to Mifid data. So here they rely on ironically the EU. Trustees of DC schemes face fines of up to £50,000 for failing to publish cost data, and yet it has been widely reported that fund managers are not complying with the requirements and reporting 0 costs in some cases.

It remains a scandal of historic proportions that asset managers can continue to operate without providing cost data in full to our pension funds; in no other sphere of consumer purchase would this be allowed. Imagine trying to buy something when the price information is inaccurate and misleading, one you would walk away and secondly you could take action under Consumer Protection legislation.

So far it seems that the FCA has incorporated the campaign for cost transparency and has slowed the process down. The FCA is paid for by the finance sector on a subscription basis and its board is made up of members of it.

In our view there needs to be an end date for consultation and completion of the spread sheets and then legislation to compel asset managers to fill them out and then legislation to compel all workplace pension schemes to report. In the mean time UNISON will push through our work in the LGPS to set the benchmark for all others.

We have nothing but admiration for Chris Sier’s work in pulling together the members of the IDWG, Chris has worked closely with us, Jeff Houston and the LGPS Advisory Board to ensure the LGPS funds costs are collected and analysed.

However, we remain deeply sceptical that the FCA and its members will deliver and of course we have no faith is this government to deliver for working people. Actions are needed now not in 5 years time. Delay through consultation is an age old trick by the establishment.

We know a Labour government would act now and legislate for compulsory reporting by all asset managers and custodian banks, while ensuring trustees reported to scheme members on those costs. Once we have that data we can start to improve efficiency and deliver better investment returns.

Colin Meech

National Officer