The event has already taken place, but you can scroll down to the bottom of the page to view slides

Many thanks to

For hosting:

"COSTS & CHARGES                       -  ARE WE THERE YET?"

If you haven't been to a Transparency Symposium before you can use the link below to read some testimonials:

When and where is the event?

Registration is at 10:30 for an 11:00 start; ending at 17:00* on Tuesday 6th Novemberat:


Dimensional Fund Advisors

20 Triton Street, London         NW1 3BF


*Note: The symposium itself ends at 17:00 but delegates can choose to enjoy drinks, nibbles and networking through to 18:30 if they wish to.

What has inspired this symposium?


It is widely accepted that investment costs and charges have a significant impact on net returns, particularly for long-term investors such as pension savers. Understanding total cost is vitally important in being able to seek and obtain value for money so it is not surprising that there has been extensive regulatory intervention into this space and that the bright light of scrutiny has been shone onto the subject by many academics, though-leaders and campaign groups, right round the world. 


In the UK there has been particular recent interest in the activities of the Institutional Disclosure Working Group, set up by the Financial Conduct Authority and led on their behalf by seasoned costs campaigner Dr. Chris Sier.


As well as the FCA there has also been extensive connected activity from: 

  • The Department for Work and Pensions
  • The Competition & Markets Authority
  • The Pensions Regulator 
  • The Work and Pensions Select Committee, which now has a live inquiry underway; focusing on Pension Costs and Transparency

In Europe there has of course been MiFID II and PRIIPS; which have been the subject of much heated discussion and debate in recent months. 


So, to say “there is a lot going on” in relation to costs and charges wouldn’t be an exaggeration. The picture is getting increasingly complex, with many different perspectives that can be taken.


We have therefore organised this special symposium to help bring all the strands together - to enable delegates, speakers, panellists and the press to get a fresh and comprehensive overview of where we have got to in the journey towards true costs transparency and what needs to happen next. 


On the basis that “progress begins with realism” we are expecting this to be a particularly lively symposium because we will be creating a forum for people to “say it as they see it.”


It must surely make sense to bring the really important issues to the surface so we can have the kind of open, honest, candid and constructively critical debate that must happen to enable consensus to be built and the whole discussion to move forward. 


If the topic of investment costs/charges is of interest to you then don’t miss this symposium. 


We’ll be considering all the key questions such as: 

  • Are  MiFID II and PRIIPS workable now as intended; or do they require re-engineering?
  • What has the great work of the IDWG led to; should use of their templates be voluntary or compulsory? 
  • Should the trade bodies and professional associations control the regulatory agenda moving forward?
  • How has Brexit been influencing the discussions going on behind the scenes? Are the Treasury so concerned by the potential adverse impact of Brexit on The City that they are minded to protect it from the scrutiny of consumers and those campaigning on their behalf by slowing up and watering down costs disclosure reform?
  • Is it safe to assume costs data disclosed is going to be accurate; or should there be independent data verification?
  • If there was to be independent data verification who should carry it out; and should that verification be on all data or through samples of spot-checks?
  • What will The Work and Pensions Committee make of what the FCA, TPR and DWP have been doing?
  • Are any organisations failing to comply with the rules that are already in place; if so, which ones?
  • What’s the best way to ensure users are not bamboozled by the new data being provided?
  • What impact has Automatic Enrolment had on the costs and charges debate; are charge caps the best way forward? 
  • What does the active/passive debate look like now; will active ever regain its lost ground?
  • Are Closet Trackers a reality or just the manifestation of the over-active imagination of campaigners?
  • Is it any easier now for pension scheme trustees to measure and manage costs than it was say five years ago?
  • Is the Ad Valorem fee model becoming obsolete; and if so, what might replace it?
  • What can be done to measure and manage the many costs outside asset management?
  • What role can technology play to take away the “heavy lifting” and make it easy for investors?
  • Do retail investors matter; if so why are they are getting such little attention from the regulators, as some believe?
  • Will the new Simplified Statement help pension scheme members get the cost information they want in a clear and consistent way?
  • Which organisations, if any, have utilities that would really help the market; are they themselves value for money?
  • Will we ever get to a “one single figure” to represent costs?
  • What are the agendas of the trade bodies and professional associations in this whole debate; where do their true loyalties lie and how are they impacting proceedings? 
  • Costs are not the only important factor – so too are performance and the risk taken to achieve that performance; so how can we contextualise costs alongside performance and risk; or is it a mistake to try to do so?
  • Is there a Master Plan being implemented by the regulators or is it all as disjointed as it sometimes seems?
  • Should the UK consumer be satisfied or disappointed by the regulatory reform achieved in the last ten years?
  • How do all the “moving parts” created by the various regulators connect; or don’t they?
  • Are we there yet?

Our overall purpose for the event is to shine a very bright light onto the important topic of costs/charges and the very latest regulatory developments; in keeping with TTF’s mission to help fix what’s wrong in financial services by harnessing the transformational power of transparency.

What's the format going to be?


To provide the maximum opportunity for all delegates to get fully involved we have structured the event around presentatons with Q&A and Power Panels; both of which will help create a useful forum for sharing thought leadership and exploring ideas to help improve the way costs and charges are going to be disclosed and reported moving forward. 

Here's the programme thus far:



Registration, refreshments & networking. 





  • Welcome to Dimensional Fund Advisors and the symposium; by Tim Brown, Head of UK Institutional and EMEA Consultant Relations. Dimensional are well known for their academically robust Evidence-Based approach to investing and have been highly supportive of the TTF. 


  • About the Transparency Task Force; by Andy Agathangelou, Founding Chair, Transparency Task Force; and setting the scene for today's symposium.



  • Discussion: What is the post IDWG era going to look like?*

We are now at a pivotal point in the journey towards costs disclosure transparency because very shortly the body that is taking over from the Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG) is going to be launched and the cost disclosure cost templates that have been worked on by many are going to be published.  


Here's a list of what some people think would be an ideal consumer-centric cost disclosure regime:


  • It would be run by regulators rather than trade bodies so that it could truly focus on the needs of the investor, not torn between doing that and caring for the commercial interests of the industry
  • It would be compulsory not voluntary so that we don’t end up with a mess of inconsistency that undermines a key purpose of costs disclosure - comparability
  • It would cover all types of pensions and investments products so there was a level playing field; how else can people know how to best invest their money think pensions v long term savings as an example
  • It would have an intelligent data verification system based on regulators making spot checks; inaccurate data would be severely penalised and consistent failure to report accurately would jeopardise a licence to operate  
  • It would contextualise cost in relation to performance and risk; cost analysis alone is insufficient and cheap definitely does not automatically mean good 
  • It would drive out a single figure assessment of value for money so that it is easy for investors to understand whether they should be pleased with or concerned by their investment
  • It would indicate the extent to which the investment outcomes being achieved have required harming the planet; amongst other things we really do need to have a sense of what I call “managed urgency” around the whole “1.5. to survive” agenda


How close to that wish-list will the new body (which may or may not be called the Consumer Transparency Initiative) take us?


Note: * If the new post-IDWG body has been launched by the time the symposium starts we’ll be running a session all about it; hopefully with participation of one or more representatives from it.


Either way this will be a very important part of the programme! 



  • Presentation by Dan Brocklebank, Head of UK, Orbis Investments. Dan will be putting the case for focusing on “value for money” not cost minimisation; and explaining why he believes assessing value for money prior to ‘purchase’ is impossible. He’ll call for a radical alternative.



  • Presentation by Charlotte Tyrwhitt Drake, Business Development Director, Kempen Capital Management  Charlotte is a key member of the UK fiduciary business and focuses on building relationships with UK pension funds. She will be talking about "Beyond Cost Transparency"



Presentation of the Transparency Trophy – who’ll be this symposium’s winner?



Lunch and networking break



  • Presentation by Alan Miller, Co-Founder of the True and Fair Campaign; a truly pioneering and highly impactful pro-transparency organisations; particularly focused on the retail market and renowned for tenaciously challenging the pace and quality of regulatory reform



  • Presentation and demonstration by Marcel Staub, CEO, Novarca Group and James Knowles, Managing Partner, Novarca UK. Novarca are true pioneers in granular cost identification and management. Marcel will be flying in from Switzerland for us, and together they will demonstrate a highly compelling tool to facilitate and enhance cost stewardship with a fee model that is aligned to achieving worthwhile savings for their clients.



The Market Participants Power Panel, featuring:


  • Ajeet Manjrekar, Co-Head, River and Mercantile Solutions; an organisation that has consistently championed high standards of transpareny and professionalism in the investment consulting and fiduciary management space for UK pension schemes and insurers


  • Mark Butterworth, Senior Trader, Dimensional Fund Advisors. Part of Mark's role includes working with his global peers to improve and enhance Dimensional’s trading systems and processes with a view to improving outcomes. He has valuable subject-matter expertise and a keen eye for cost optimisation 


  • Oliver Smith, Portfolio Manager, IG Smart Portfolios; known for using technology to engineer inherently transparent offerings to investors and thereby challenging old, legacy systems and approaches along the way


  • Mark Northway, Investment Manager at Sparrows Capital and Chair of ShareSoc. Mark will share his insights on the cost/charges debate and the many issues that still need to be wrestled with before we have the efficient, open market that is necessary for optimised investment outcomes


Our Power Panels are highly interactive and allow ample delegate participation; do be sure to take the opportunity to share your thoughts



Refreshment and networking break



The Academics, Campaigners, and Policymakers Power Panel, featuring:


  • Chris Sier, former Chair, Institutional Disclosure Working Group. Chris has been hugely influential in campaigning for better costs disclosure for over ten years and if it wasn’t for Chris’ passion for the topic the Transparency Task Force might not even exist


  • Henry Tapper; Founder, Pension PlayPen and Director, First Actuarial and AgeWage. Pretty much everybody knows Henry, so pretty much everybody knows he “says it as he sees it” consistently and compellingly campaigning for consumers to get a fair deal


  • Neil Esslemont, Head of Industry Liaison, The Pensions Regulator. TPR are focused on workplace pension schemes delivering good outcomes to members and are therefore very interested in factors that are relevent to driving value for money, including of course costs and charges


Our Power Panels are highly interactive and allow ample delegate participation; do be sure to take the opportunity to share your thoughts



Key conclusions, wrap-up and close to the formal proceedings



Optional drinks, nibbles and networking



Final close 


Note: the Programme will continuously evolve and is therefore subject to change without notice.

Bios of the Key Participants

Marcel Staub,

Founding Partner and CEO, Novarca Group


Prior to co-founding Novarca, Marcel was at UBS, responsible for e-banking projects and the optimisation of core processes for all divisions of the Bank.


His focus was the systematic assessment and analysis of return-generating processes within the Bank (ROA projects).


Marcel studied law at the university of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and holds the Swiss banking diploma.


He sits on the board of various companies in the fields of FinTech, RegTech and Artificial Intelligence.

Charlotte Tyrwhitt Drake,

Business Development Director,

Kempen Capital Management


Charlotte is a key member of the UK fiduciary business and focuses on building relationships with UK pension funds.


Charlotte has a wealth of sales, marketing and investment knowledge built across investment strategies and asset classes, including specific experience with alternative investments.


She has worked at asset management firms, such as Pictet and Investec, and more recently Cambridge Associates where she played a significant role in developing and selling bespoke investment solutions to defined benefit pension schemes.


Charlotte is a keen advocate of best practice governance, transparency and Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) investing. She is an advocate for cost and service transparency to achieve value for money and has been involved with a number of ESG and social impact research-related projects.


Charlotte has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology with Human Biology, an MSc in Forensic Psychology and is IMC qualified.


Charlotte is also completing a trustee leadership programme.

James Knowles,

Managing Partner,

Novarca United Kingdom


James is based in the UK and has worked with institutional asset owners for more than 30 years in investment banking, hedge funds, and activist fund management.


His previous experience includes advising on portfolio construction and governance best practice.


He is a finance graduate of Queen’s University, Canada, and is a trustee of the university’s UK campus.

Mark Northway, 

Investment Manager,

Sparrows Capital


Mark is an evidence-based investment manager for Sparrows Capital.

He has wide ranging managerial and governance experience across credit, fixed income, equity and treasury markets.


His career spans multiple disciplines including marketing, trading, investment and the management of complex financial and regulatory risk.


He has previously worked for LBBW, Rabobank and Standard Chartered Bank, and chairs ShareSoc (The UK Individual Shareholders Society).

Ajeet Manjrekar, 


River and Mercantile Solutions


Ajeet is the Co-Head of River and Mercantile Solutions, and is part of the senior management team with responsibility for the quality, transparency and evolution of our client-driven services within the investment consulting and fiduciary management business.


He works with a broad range of institutional clients to understand their specific investment and governance needs, designing innovative investment solutions to achieve their funding objectives.


Ajeet is a qualified actuary with extensive experience in both investment consulting and asset management. He re-joined River and Mercantile Solutions 2016 after having spent several years in Deutsche Bank’s asset management businesses.

Dan Brocklebank, 

Director, UK,



Dan Brocklebank, Master of Arts (Honours) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (Brasenose College, University of Oxford), Chartered Accountant, Chartered Financial Analyst.


Dan joined Orbis Investments in 2002 as part of the investment team, focussing primarily on global industrial and energy companies.  From 2006-16, he was responsible for building out and leading the global sector investment team in London.


In 2016 he was appointed to lead Orbis' 160 staff and 2 UK offices as well as oversee Orbis’ client efforts in the UK.    

Sunil Chadda, 

Advisory Board Member,

Association of Professional Fund Investors


Sunil is an Advisory Board member and Special Adviser to the Association of Professional Fund Investors (APFI).


Sunil has 32 years’ experience in the asset management sector and is regarded as a UK leader on the subject of investment costs and charges and the impact of regulation thereon.


Sunil is passionate about cost transparency and seeks better social and financial outcomes for consumers of financial services. An asset management subject matter expert with 32 years’ experience in the asset management sector here in the UK, and abroad.


Sunil has spent the last 17 years or so consulting at numerous asset management firms and was an Associate Principle, Investment Costs & Charges, at Grant Thornton.

Neil Esslemont, 

Head of Industy Liaison,

The Pensions Regulator


Neil and his team are responsible for engaging with employers, pension providers, payroll providers and other suppliers of pension related products, services and advice.  Our aim is to help them fully understand the rules around workplace pensions, including their own or their client’s duty to automatically enrol eligible workers into a pension scheme - and the duties of pension scheme managers / trustees, in both public and private sector.


Neil has over 30 years’ experience in dealing with large companies in the private and public sectors. 


Neil has previously worked as a client director for BT and Siemens, and as a management consultant for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.


Neil has a technology background in computer software engineering, gained after graduating from Exeter University with a Maths & Physics BSc.

Dr Christopher Sier, FRSA

Former Chair,

FCA's Institutional Disclosure Working Group


Dr Christopher Sier recently Chaired the UK Financial Conduct Authority's panel investigating costs, fees and transparency in institutional investment, and has worked with the World Bank, EIOPA, the Committee on Workers Capital and institutional investors around the world on the same subject.


He is also Fintech Envoy for England for the UK Treasury and Chairman of Fintech North, the innovation community for the North of England. Combining these two worlds he is now Chairman of two fintechs, each looking at different aspects of the pensions market: ClearGlass sits between asset managers and pension funds and operates a near-zero price model for the collection and analysis of pension fund cost data; and AgeWage tackles the problem of orphan pension pots.


In addition, Chris is Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds and in the distant past he was a police officer in Edinburgh.

Mark Butterworth,

Senior Trader,

Dimensional Fund Advisors


Mark Butterworth is a senior trader with the Global Equity Trading team in London and joined Dimensional in 2012. As well as day-to-day trading, Mark’s responsibilities include talking to Dimensional’s clients, helping to manage Dimensional’s external relationships, and working with his global peers to improve and enhance Dimensional’s trading systems and processes.


Prior to joining Dimensional, Mark was a director on the equity trading team at BlackRock, specializing in trading for its scientific-active funds and hedge-funds. During his 12 years with BlackRock (formerly Barclays Global Investors), Mark traded for a diverse group of departments from transitions to index and iShares. Mark started his career in London in 1998 working for a small hedge fund, initially in IT and later trading.


He joined BGI in 2000 and spent 12 years on the trading desk, where his responsibilities included electronic-trading development, electronic broker relationships, and trading strategy and development.

Oliver Smith, Portfolio Manager IG Smart Portfolios


Oliver Smith is Portfolio Manager for IG Smart Portfolios, the online wealth manager and a spokesman for Share Dealing.


He joined IG in July 2016, from Julius Baer where he led the UK Portfolio Construction team and  was a member of the Portfolio Management Committee.  Prior to Julius Baer, Oliver spent five years at Sarasin & Partners managing Emerging Markets funds. He started his career as a Fund Analyst at Forsyth Partners, a fund ratings business. Oliver is a CFA Charter holder.

Tim Brown,

Vice President, Head of UK Institutional and EMEA Consultant Relations,

Dimensional Fund Advisors


Vice President Tim Brown is Head of UK Institutional and EMEA Consultant Relations within Dimensional's Institutional Services group.


Having joined the firm in May 2011, Tim is based in London and is responsible for institutional client and investment consulting relationships across the Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution, and wealth management market segments in the UK. 

Andy Agathangelou FRSA,

Founding Chair,

Transparency Task Force


Andy will be Chairing the Symposium. His overall objective is to galvanise support for the idea that greater transparency in financial services can drive positive, transformational change for the benefit of all.



Andy formed the Transparency Task Force following a meeting he led at Senate House, University of London on 6th May 2015. The meeting was the about the trust deficit that is impacting financial services and how harnessing the transformational power of transparency can drive the change that is needed.


That meeting set off a chain of events that led directly to the creation of our collaborative, campaigning community which is built on the idea that 'Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant'. 


Since 6th May 2015 he has recruited, organised and mobilised over 300 volunteers around the world into 13 Teams: 


 - The Banking Team

 - The Foreign Exchange Team

 - The Market Integrity Team

 - The Costs & Charges Team

 - The Scams & Scandals Team

 - Team PAM (Progressive Asset Managers)

 - Team PISCES (Purpose; Impact Investing; Sustainability; Corporate Social Responsibility; Environment, Social & Governance; Socially-Responsible Investing)

 - The Financial Stability Team

 - Team APAC

 - Team EMEA

 - Team Americas

 - Team GTI (Global Transparency Index)

 - The AE Team 


Our 13 Teams are the 'engine room' of the Transparency Task Force's work. Each Team is focused on a particular set of opacity-related challenges whereby subject-matter experts work together on a completely voluntary basis to develop and implement strategies to overcome those challenges.


 Andy is also:

  • Founding Chair, the Technology Task Force
  • Chair, the Interoperability Steering Group
  • Governor, Pensions Policy Institute
  • Fellow, the RSA
  • Chair, Pensions BIB,
  • Member, Investment Association Advisory Board on Cost Disclosure
  • Former Founding Chair, Friends of Auto Enrolment
  • Former Founding Chair, Friends of the Association of Member Nominated Trustees

Please click on the PDF icon below to download the slides that were used at the event.

Slides used at: "Time for Transparency - Costs & Charges - Are we there yet?"
TS London 6th November.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [2.6 MB]

The Great Divide

You can read the speech by  Andrew G. Haldane, FAcSS (the Bank of England's Chief Economist and Executive Director of Monetary Analysis and Statistics) that he gave on 18th May 2016 at the New City Agenda Annual dinner.


The speech is entitled The Great Divide and it is a first class explanation of why the trust deficit really matters and why it makes sense to try to do something about it.


Please click on the green button to access it; if you're not convinced of its relevance to our initiative, here's part of it:


..."The most important and compelling message the Bank received at the Open Forum came in the first session. The Bank had conducted some polling of perceptions of the financial sector – for example, by asking people what one word best described the future of financial markets. Among the Bank’s usual contacts, including those in the financial sector, the most used word was “regulated”. Many of us will have heard that message from financial insiders concerned about the perils of over-zealous regulators.


For me, the more revealing responses came from the general public, from the customers, rather than the producers, of financial services. The word most used by them when describing financial markets was a rather different one: it was “corrupt”. Not far behind were words like “manipulated”, “self-serving”, “destructive” and “greedy”. I am sure many of you have heard those messages too. They are certainly ones I have encountered frequently on my visits around the country."...


Please click the green button  below to access the full speech. If you need to read another piece first, here it is:


..."At least until recently many economists like me, when faced with this evidence, might have shrugged our shoulders. Social capital had no real role in our models of economic growth, unlike physical capital and human capital. Trust did not butter our parsnips and nor did it enter our production functions.


Recently, however, that orthodoxy has changed and the importance of trust has become clearer.


Evidence has emerged, both micro and macro, to suggest trust may play a crucial role in value creation. At the micro level, there is now ample evidence the degree of trust or social capital within a company contributes positively to its value creation capacity. 


At the macro level, there is now a strong body of evidence, looking across a large range of countries and over long periods of time, that high levels of trust and co-operation are associated with higher economic growth.


Put differently, a lack of trust jeopardises one of finance’s key societal functions – higher growth.


Those social capital effects appear to be particularly potent when it comes to financial decisions. Evidence suggests that a lack of trust leads people to retreat from the stock market and banks and to move towards cash holdings and informal sources of credit, such as payday lenders and loan sharks. That jeopardises the second key benefit of finance to society – improved risk-sharing by households and companies.


So a lack of trust in finance potentially hobbles both economic growth and financial stability.


That lack of trust is the mirror-image of the perception gap between the financial sector and wider society, the Great Divide.


The Great Divide matters because it signals a pronounced and protracted erosion of social capital. It puts finance on notice for losing its social licence. And, unaddressed, that jeopardises future wealth and well-being."...


Please click on the green button to access the full speech. If you're not yet convinced you should, here's a final snippet:


..." As a survey in 2013 of financial professionals found, rather remarkably, that over half believed their competitors engaged in illegal or unethical behaviour.  A smaller, but still high, fraction of 24% believed their own company engaged in such practices. Similar percentages believed their industry did not fulfil its fiduciary function of putting clients’ interests first.

The significance of these findings is not the precise percentages, as striking as these are.


More fundamentally, it is because of what they reveal about finance’s perception of itself, the mirror it holds to the social identity of finance."...


Click onto the button below to access the full speech; you'll be glad you did, it's profoundly thought-provoking for anybody interested in the future of the financial services industry:

If you are not already on the right page and want to read about our major international project to help rebuild trustworthiness and confidence in financial services, click on the orange button below:

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