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The Role of Asset Owners in the Market for Investment Research: Where Are the Fiduciary Capitalists?

Fiduciary capitalists, such as leading pension plans and endowments, can be influential in aligning the interests of asset management firms with their clients. In the market connecting investment professionals with the information they need to meet client goals, we identify numerous conflicts of interest, but find little action has been taken by asset owners. Interest in the obscure practices surrounding the use of dealing commissions for research has heightened since 2014 due to regulatory scrutiny in the U.K. and the impending implementation of the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) in Europe. The authors make recommendations to guide asset managers and asset owners through a complex information market during this time of dramatic change.