Westminster Business Forum

Retail investment - regulation, governance and improving returns

Morning, Thursday, 6th February 2020

Central London


This seminar will discuss retail investment in the UK, looking in particular at regulation, governance, and improving the performance of funds.  

The agenda focuses on:

  • The future for the retail investment market in the UK;
  • The performance of funds in capital markets and improving the function of the retail investment markets;
  • Governance, transparency and managing consumer expectations;
  • The changing market for financial advice - regulation, innovation, and addressing the advice gap; and
  • Next steps for the regulation of retail investments.

The impact of regulation, and addressing the advice gap

The seminar is timed as the FCA considers its response to feedback on its evaluation of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) and the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).

The evaluation is part of the FCA’s review of the financial advice market, which is considering:

  • what consumers want from the market and how it works to deliver this; and
  • how new market trends and developments might affect the future development of advice and guidance services.

The review comes following concerns that:

  • the RDR has led to an advice gap as consumers with less than £50,000 are often unable to access the advice services they need; and
  • robo-advisers have not had a significant enough impact on the market to close this gap - as initially suggested in FAMR.

Delegates will consider the impact of these reforms on the market and what the regulator should do to address the ‘advice gap’ and improve the affordability of financial advice. 

Innovation and the role of new investment platforms  

Further sessions look at the role innovation is playing in a changing market.

It follows the FCA’s policy statement in its Investment Platforms Market Study, which proposes remedies that aim to make it easier for consumers to move assets to new platforms without liquidating investments and a ban on exit fees.   

Sessions will consider how these proposals might best work - as well as:

  • the implications of robo-advisors and fintechs on competition and market share; and
  • the role that these new platforms can play in addressing the advice gap and improving outcomes for consumers.

Governance, transparency and managing consumer expectations

The conference also comes at a time of increasing scrutiny of governance, transparency, and the conduct of firms and advisers - as well as the role of regulators and consumer protection agencies.

As the regulator, government and the industry take forward a range of measures to improve governance and transparency, we expect discussion to reflect the expected publication by investment firms of their fund value for investment, a requirement of the market remedies set out following the FCA’s Asset Management Market Study.

Delegates will also assess progress on the development of the Pensions Dashboard, which aims to provide transparency and clarity for consumers.

It follows the Government’s response to its consultation which confirmed that firms will be compelled to provide data to the dashboard - and delegates will consider how best to ensure that the information provided as part of the Dashboard is accurate.

The agenda also looks at the broader context of wider governance reforms following the introduction of the updated Stewardship Code in late 2019 and the expected establishment of the new Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority.  

Discussion will consider:

  • the governance of funds;
  • transparency and disclosure of fees;
  • what more regulators, policymakers, and the industry could do to ensure that retail investors aren’t misled or receive confusing  advice; and
  • how best to ensure consumer expectations are aligned with the aims of the funds in which they are investing.    

Improving the performance of the retail investment market, latest trends in capital markets, and delivering value for money

The seminar comes at a time of reduced profits from the investment management sector, and follows the high-profile suspension of withdrawals from the Woodford Investment Fund.

Delegates will consider the outlook for retail investment markets and what more can be done to improve their performance and increase returns for firms and consumers.

They will also discuss the future performance of capital markets, looking at ways that new investment options, such as sustainable investment and patient capital, might deliver better returns as well as how the market can mitigate the risks posed by Brexit, climate change, potential economic slowdowns, geopolitical uncertainties, and cybercrime.

Keynote Speaker

Dr Jonathan Lipkin

Director, Policy, Strategy and Research, The Investment Association

Keynote Speaker

Dr Jonathan Lipkin

Director, Policy, Strategy and Research, The Investment Association


Mario Lupori

Chief Investments Officer, RateSetter

Simon Harrington

Senior Policy Adviser, PIMFA

James Suter

Divisional Director, London Economics

Paula Steele

Managing Partner, John Lamb

Alan Miller

Chief Investment Officer and Founding Partner, SCM Direct

Daniel Broby

Director, Centre for Financial Regulation and Innovation, Strathclyde Business School

Alistair McQueen

Head, Savings & Retirement, Aviva