PLSA IC 19: Cost transparency templates to launch in Spring

A working industry group is hoping to deliver cost transparency templates across the pensions industry by the end of April or early May, it has revealed.

Speaking at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) Investment Conference yesterday, 7 March, Cost Transparency Initiative (CTI) chair, Mel Duffield, said that recent pilots of the template show they are “fit for purpose”, but still require some tweaking in terms of usability.

The group has been running pilot templates with a number of pension schemes, including RPMI Railpen, which it says have shown the template is almost ready for use.

CTI expects to have the template fully implemented by the end of 2019, in time for the reporting period, but said that it would need to see a quick take-up of the template to avoid intervention from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which would look to make the template mandatory.

Giving an update on the template, Duffield said: “We are tracking to launch these in the Spring … in the back end of April, early May and will make a formal announcement in the next few weeks, so we can manage expectations for when things go live.

“We will then be agreeing with the board a review period, because we will need to be able to explain what take up we are seeing and we need to think about measures. We will very much be focusing on the engagement piece, and the aim is this will be adopted within the 2019/20 year to align it with the reporting period.

“We’d expect for the December reporting period for asset managers to be working with these templates.”

The initiative, launched on the back of a report from the FCA’s Institutional Disclosure Working Group, is supported by the PLSA, the Investment Association and the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Advisory Board.

The LGPS has been using its own code of transparency over the past year, successfully signing up 100 asset managers, amounting to £180bn of assets under management, to the code.

LGPS said it will adopt the CTI template as soon as it is ready.

Following the release, CTI expects pension schemes to ask their providers to fill in the templates and will also look to work with consultants to ensure they are fully aware of the templates.

“I think if by the end of April 2020, we have not seen that take up then that is the point we need to start having a conversation with the FCA,” Duffield added.

The group, which met for the second time this year, highlighted the positive progress of the pilot, suggesting that the templates are “fit for purpose” with some improvements to be made in making the templates as easy to use as possible.

In an audience poll, 72 per cent said they would be looking to implement the templates “as soon as they are ready”.

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