At the time of its initial announcement, the CMA investigation was met, perhaps unsurprisingly, with a degree of concern by consultants with Mercer, Aon Hewitt and Willis Towers Watson all arguing publicly (and jointly) about some of the mooted changes in consultancy and fiduciary management arrangements.

Fast forward nine months, and the CMA’s preliminary findings are upon us, with its report recommending:

  • Mandatory tendering when pension trustees purchase fiduciary management; or the need run a competitive tender within five years if the fiduciary mandate was awarded without a competitive tender
  • The Pensions Regulator provide greater support to customers in the running of investment consultancy and fiduciary management tenders
  • Investment consultants and fiduciary managers be required to report investment performance based on a common set of standards
  • Fiduciary managers be required to disaggregate fees for prospective customers and provide greater clarity on costs to existing customers (including those for exiting that service)
  • Pension trustees set objectives when hiring an investment consultant in order to judge quality of service
  • Investment consultancy and fiduciary managers are brought under the purview of the FCA


So, did we see any surprises? To be frank, no – the CMA’s plans were widely expected, albeit perhaps slightly more forthright than anticipated. This has certainly been reflected by initial media coverage of the report, with commentators seemingly welcoming the CMA findings as being “pragmatic and realistic”. And while those businesses offering both advisory and fiduciary management services will be subject to greater regulation and mandatory tendering, they have avoided the critical blow (not that this was expected) of being forced to break up their businesses.

We of course will need to wait for the CMA’s final analysis, due to be published in March 2019, before any firm conclusions are reached. At this stage though, it is probably a mixed result – no major disruption but still the potential for some shifts in dynamics (particularly via mandatory tendering and prospective FCA oversight) in the way investment consultants and fiduciary managers operate towards, and communicate with, their clients.