A huge pension fund hired an investigator to work out where it was getting screwed

Big short 2YouTube/Paramount PicturesSteve Carrell in The Big Short.

Trust between people who have money and those that manage it has sunk to a low since the 2008 financial crisis.

The issue of fees and the percentage points charged by hedge funds and investment managers on the money they manage is part of it.

The traditional 2% charged on the total pot, and 20% on profits generated, is under threat as hedge funds struggle to make make decent yield for their investors in a world of near zero interest rates.

This changing relationship was described by Chris Hitchen, CEO of the Railway Pension Trustee Company, which manages more than 500,000 pensions from railway employees.

Hitchen saved the company saved more than £100 million a year on fees, after doing a deep dive on where the costs were accruing.

He’s even hired someone full time “to dig into the accounts of limited partnerships to see what’s done in our name,” Hitchen said at the London Business School Asset Management conference in London on Friday.

“The City is quite good at coming up with structures that aren’t necessarily transparent. But we are keen to partner with people that can and want to add value.”

But it often comes down to a trade-off — investors may need to spend money on fees to get the best minds in the business.

Suchad Chiaranussati, founder of SC Capital Partners which has made about 25% a year for the past 12 years, said: “Fees are only a problem if you don’t make money and if you don’t have transparency.”

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