FCA! Don’t flake on Independent Governance;- not now – not ever!

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Transparency – almost!

I’m in between meeting two IGCs to discuss the 2017 report and plans for the next 12 months. I’m really heartened not just by the improved understanding the IGC Chairs have of Vfm but by their willingness to speak with me- often an outspoken critic of what they’ve written.

All week people have been sending my a link to the FCA’s IGC page and asking me to comment, and like a fool I’ve been reading the top half of the page and missing this bit at the bottom..

Review of the effectiveness of IGCs

In our 2016/17 Business Plan we said we would be conducting a review of the effectiveness of IGCs. During 2016 we conducted, jointly with the Department for Work and Pensions, a review of industry progress against the Independent Project Board’s recommendations on workplace pensions. In December 2016, we published our findings report.

It was broadly supportive of the effectiveness of IGCs in implementing the Independent Project Board’s recommendations. Given this position we have decided to defer the full IGC review for the present to allow us to focus on other priorities. These priorities have been set out in our 2017/18 Business Plan.

Whooah! Apologies to Catherine Howarth and others who I’ve fobbed off. The FCA’s 2017/18 business plans doesn’t mention IGCs but it does mention investment management and it certainly focusses on consumer outcomes. If all the IGCs were there for was to implement the IPB’s recommendations and oversee recent legislation re exit penalties then game over – let’s pack the IGCs off to the island of misfit fiduciaries.

I’m of the view that the IGCs are at the start not the end of their journey and that if anything is to come of the asset management market study, the IGCs will be at the heart of it. The IGCs are critical to people’s engagement with workplace pensions and along with master trustees , they set the bar not just for UK but global DC pensions governance. The eyes of the world are on the success of auto-enrolment. This is no time to be downplaying IGCs.

Tomorrow I will be talking to groups of accountants about pension governance (come and see me at Accountex). I will explain to them that the IGC is the Government appointed body that keeps GPPs on the straight and narrow. I will be saying the same of Master Trustee’s (except they are not ordained by the FCA).

Between now and the end of the month I will be talking to the IGCs still talking to me (actually most of them – excluding those run by surf and turf) and I’ll be asking them for their plans for 2017 and how I can help. I’m not giving up on these guys!

On May 18th I’ll be visiting the mighty share action to discuss how we can get IGCs to engage with the investments providers are making and explain their philosophy to environmental, social and governance issues.

Then at the end of May I am off to see the FCA to make sure that the regime we’ve been promised so long – that ensures we know what we pay for our funds and whether they’re giving us value for money – will be in place in time for next year’s reporting.

Because I don’t just intend to report on the IGCs, I want to provide the benchmarking service that will allow IGCs, Trustees, Employers and Members of workplace pensions to work out just who is delivering and who isn’t (proper pension outcomes that is!).

So FCA, if you need some help on IGCs and haven’t got time to tell if they’re doing a decent job, here’s my report which does the job for you – and it’s free for you to use.

Now there’s value for money!

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Here’s the link to the poxy update to the IGC page on the FCA’s website – talk about veiled disclosure, the only way you’d spot the inserted paragraph is with insider knowledge.

https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/independent-governance-committees

Transparency

Almost

 

 

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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