PLSA Welcomes New CMA Working Paper On Trustee Engagement

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) today (Thursday) commented on the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) latest working paper on trustee engagement.

Responding to the working paper, Caroline Escott, Policy Lead: Investment and DB, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, commented:

“We welcome the CMA’s publication of a paper on trustee engagement in the investment consultancy sector. For the institutional investment advice sector to work well, it is vital that trustees actively engage in the process of appointing, monitoring and scrutinising their investment consultants and fiduciary managers. A key requirement in order to do so is a transparent and well-functioning market.

“The CMA’s emerging findings echo the analysis both of the PLSA (in our Good Governance report) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) regarding the variation of governance standards across UK schemes.  It is important that schemes have the governance capacity and investment understanding necessary to engage effectively on what can be very complex issues and decisions. This is why we have supported initiatives, such as TPR’s 21st Century Trustee programme, to boost governance standards.

“The CMA’s work is also in line with findings from the PLSA and the FCA’s Asset Management Market Study that showed that smaller schemes can struggle to leverage economies of scale and attract the quality of skills needed to operate and invest efficiently. This means such schemes can also find it harder to navigate the highly intermediated nature of the UK investment market.

“We look forward to working with our members to engage further with the CMA on its analysis and potential remedies but would urge the CMA to think carefully about how any further regulation or guidance for trustees is designed. The guidance space is currently crowded and the increasing compliance burden runs the risk of potentially leading to a more risk-averse and compliance-led trustee approach which could in turn impact upon trustees’ capacity for in-depth assessment of the value they receive from their service providers.”