(Financial News) -- Gina Miller, who shot to fame after taking the UK government to court over Brexit, has held talks with a number of law firms in order to sue the UK’s financial regulator over its handling of Europe's newly-implemented market rules.
Miller wants to bring legal action against the Financial Conduct Authority for creating what she calls an "anti-competitive market". The prominent campaigner and wealth manager believes the FCA is penalising a vast section of the investment universe by allowing many large asset managers to flout the new rules.
The EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, which came into force on January 3, requires asset managers to disclose all costs and charges to clients before they make an investment. Miller said funds that had already complied with the rules looked more expensive than those who have not yet taken action.
The 52-year-old said: “The FCA needs to put a hard date in the sand [for firms to comply] or start fining people.”
The FCA said in September it would not issue sanctions on firms failing to meet all Mifid II requirements after January 3 as long as there was evidence they had “taken sufficient steps to meet the new obligations”.
Miller said this has resulted in inaction and that some of the market’s biggest investment companies were misleading their clients over the fees they charge. “We’re finding huge companies that aren’t complying with the rules,” she said.
Miller, who is the co-founder of SCM Private, a London-based investment boutique, has launched an audit of rival fund and wealth managers to gauge the extent of the problem. Once the investigation is complete she will seek a meeting with the FCA in advance of launching any legal case, which could come before the spring.
The former marketing consultant also said she was also in talks with investor groups, including pension funds, about launching a possible class action against asset managers she believes have mis-sold investments based on misleading fee structures.
“This could be bigger than PPI,” she said in reference to the major mis-selling scandal in which banks sold payment protection insurance to customers without their knowledge.
“We want the FCA to assure us they will put into place a deadline for people to have a formula for reporting costs that means everyone is reporting in the same way,” Miller said.
The FCA declined to comment.