After the suspension of Neil Woodford's flagship fund, pressure on Hargreaves Lansdown continued to increase. MPs and regulators reviewed the extent of the broker's relationship with the fund.
Chris Hill, Chief Executive of Hargreaves, has one week to answer a list of questions from the Treasury Select Committee. This urges you to know if the company has received any kind of hidden agreement fee from the Mr Woodford Equity Income Fund.
Hargreaves has strongly supported Mr. Woodford and included his investments in the list of favorite funds distributed to retail investors.
The interest of the selected committee follows that of the UK Financial Services Authority. Andrew Bailey, the head of the Financial Conduct Authority, said earlier Tuesday that the watchdog would examine whether Hargreaves and other platforms promoting specific funds were impartial enough.
Bailey said the FCA will re-examine fund supermarkets, including Hargreaves, to ensure that these principles are adhered to and that they are impartial, thorough and timely in creating best-buy lists.
The FCA has previously looked at best-buy lists, which are often used by clients to select funds to invest, but decided in March not to set any new rules.
Mr. Woodford's regulatory and political control has increased over the past week since the decision to freeze £ 3.7bn in investor funds in his Equity Income Fund. Mr Bailey and Nicky Morgan, Chair of the Selection Committee, again asked Mr Woodford on Tuesday to waive his management fees while investors could not access their funds.
The episode also raised questions about the nature of the relationship between Mr. Woodford and Hargreaves, who has been putting their funds on their best buy lists since 2014. The fund was only removed last week when the redemptions were suspended. At the end of March, Hargreaves' customers accounted for around £ 2 billion of Mr. Woodford's £ 10.6 billion.
The FCA itself is criticized for being too slow. The selected committee has already announced that it will review FCA's oversight of the Woodford Fund. Attention was drawn to Mr Bailey's comments in the Financial Times earlier this week, which showed that the rules for mutual funds might need to be revised.
The committee selected would like to know if Hargreaves has received fees to invest in the Fund and when it first expressed concerns about the number of unlisted or hard-to-sell assets of the Fund.
Ms. Morgan's letter to Mr. Hill listed nine items on which the selected committee sought answers, including the amount of the discount on fund fees negotiated with Woodford Investment Managers.
"Did Hargreaves Lansdown receive a commission (or other reward) for the organization and administration of investments or other activities related to the LF Woodford Equity Income Fund or any funds managed by Woodford Investment Management? If so, please state the appropriate amount per year, "the letter says.
Mr. Hill said he received the letter and will respond in due course. He declined to comment further.