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Investment industry calls for input on improving fund trading and settlement

The investment industry is set to issue a call for input on a project aimed at significantly changing the way in which £874bn of UK-administered mutual funds are traded and settled.

The project, named as UK Fund Trading and Settlement (UK FTS), has been established by a group including more than 20 leading companies and representatives from the Investment Association, the Association of British Insurers, TISA, the Wealth Management Association and the UK Platform Group.

It reflects a widespread view that there are opportunities to improve the operational processes that sit between fund managers and distributors in respect of fund settlement in the UK.

UK FTS has been running for a number of months, and its next step will be to engage with suppliers who have the capability to help shape the future for UK fund distribution. The group plans to issue a Request for Information (RFI) which will be open to any potential supplier or suppliers, whether existing or new, who feels they may be able to help support this initiative.

The RFI is expected to be issued in early June.

With over 300 distributors and 200 fund managers operating in the UK, many of whom manage direct relationships with each other; this has created a complex and costly operating environment. Although much progress has been made in areas such as fund trading, there are still a myriad of different solutions, and high levels of manual processing. When comparing this to other markets, such as the UK equities, or the US fund distribution market, it leads the industry to believe there could be a radically different way of working. There is therefore a recognition that there may be opportunities to enhance processes, increase efficiency, reduce costs, improve overall client outcomes and/or retain competition.

UK FTS is open-minded about the potential outcome of the process, believing there are a range of different solutions that could be considered. This could lead to simple improvements to the inter-operability of the existing fund trading and settlement process, or could create a completely new service utilising emerging technology solutions such as blockchain.

The group is therefore interested in engaging with the fullest range of solutions – whether existing providers already in the UK, those who are based overseas, or those who may have technology platforms that could supply a potential service.

The group has appointed Ed Dymott, of Fidelity International, to Chair the review with Charles McCready as Programme Director. To support the initiative, consultancy firm EY and law firm Hogan Lovells International LLP have been instructed to ensure best practice is observed during the market-wide engagement process.

Responses to the RFI should be directed to Charles McCready at TISA, who can be reached at charles.mccready@tisa.uk.com.

Guy Sears, Interim Chief Executive of the Investment Association, said:

"The overall process for trading and settling fund holdings in the UK is disjointed and expensive, suffering from a lack of common industry standards and parts of the process are currently carried out manually.

"UK Fund Trading & Settlement includes representatives from all parties involved in fund trading and settlement including asset managers, insurers, wealth managers and platforms and this breadth of coverage and support for the initiative should help the project to succeed."

Ed Dymott, Head of Business Development at Fidelity International and Chair of UK Fund Trading and Settlement, said:

"A growing number of firms have been saying for some time there must be different ways in which the fund industry could operate more efficiently. We have now seen a growing consensus that now is the time to engage as an industry to look at what a possible vision for the future may look like.

"Looking at other markets, such as the US, parts of Europe and Asia, there are clearly solutions, which help fund managers reduce cost and risk whilst creating better client outcomes. These solutions need to be evaluated.

"However, we recognise that there is much good work already underway from providers in the UK – and there is the question around could these firms do more? We plan to undertake a full and transparent review where we want to work with any interested providers to help build the solution of the future."

ENDS

For further information please contact:

John Kenchington
Director of Communications
John.Kenchington@theia.org
T 020 7269 4629
M 07834 089 332

Alex Hogan
Press and Digital Media Officer
Alex.Hogan@theia.org
T 020 7269 4620
M 07508 724 066


Last updated 01/07/2016