Earlier this week the lang cat and CWC Research launched Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width, a new, in-depth study of the outsourced centralised investment proposition (CIP) marketplace.

The report is made up of qualitative adviser and industry interviews by CWC Research, alongside quantitative analysis by the lang cat of a range of discretionary fund manager (DFM), multi-manager (MM) and multi-asset (MA) portfolios.

You can read the abbreviated version of the report yourself for free (see link below), but in a nutshell, it uncovered concerns over both due diligence, with no real sense of advisers using a definite rationale in portfolio selection, and demonstrating relative suitability of the various outsourcing options, with very little variation between MM/MAs and DFMs in terms of cost, outperformance and holdings.

But probably the most important point to come out of the whole exercise was the difficulty we had in getting any sort of comparable data at all. Although fund managers are arguably more transparent than DFMs, different ways of reporting information meant it took forever to wrangle the data to a stage where we could pin down consistent like-for-like comparisons. If itâ??s that difficult for us, what hope is there for an adviser, with all the other demands on their time?

It’s maybe not a surprise that advisers don’t display consistent usage patterns when they can’t access the data they need to make informed decisions. This is one area where providers of outsourced investment solutions really do need to step up.

At the launch, a couple of providers, quite sensibly, asked what they can do about it. The answer is obvious. Buy the report, which alongside the in-depth, detailed, no holds barred, data analysis sets out clear action points for fund managers, DFMs and platforms.

But apart from that, as an industry, clearly we all need to agree how we can disclose information in a consistent way before we are compelled to do so by the regulator. After all, making life easier for advisers isn’t a totally selfless activity for a provider, is it?

Full report is available here.