Monday 28 October 2013

UK: Law Commission consultation on the fiduciary duties of investment intermediaries

The Law Commission of England and Wales, as part of its project on the fiduciary duties of investment intermediaries, has published a consultation paper in which it seeks views on 22 questions: see here (pdf). A summary of the consultation paper is available here (pdf). The Commission has concluded that the law of fiduciary duties which applies to pension trustees is satisfactory but it has concerns with the way in which such duties apply to contract-based pension providers. The Commission rejects general reform of the law of fiduciary duties in order to introduce more certain duties, noting that:

... fiduciary duties are difficult to define and inherently flexible. We think that this is one of their essential characteristics: they form the background to other more definite duties, allowing the courts to intervene where the interests of justice require it ... If there is a need for greater clarity in some areas, we think it would be better to enact specific duties rather than attempt to codify an area of law which has always depended on the facts of the case." (paras. 14.62 and 14.64).

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