ESBG has recently shared its comments with the European Commission on new package of measures to increase consumer participation in capital markets. The upcoming MiFID II Review provides the opportunity to contribute to this goal and in this regard, ESBG highlighted several key priorities that should be addressed as part of the Review:

Keeping the choice between commission-based and fee-based model: no ban on inducements. The current legal framework on inducements is appropriate to protect clients against potential conflicts of interest. A ban on inducements – that would leave room only for the fee-based model – will inevitably lead to an advice gap for retail clients and only a small number of wealthier investors would continue to invest in capital markets whereas the vast majority of retail investors would refrain from it. However, we believe that some adjustment may need to be done in order to achieve a common understanding across Member States on what an inducement is and to avoid different interpretation by National Competent Authorities that undermine the level playing field.

Reducing information overload: The flood of information introduced under MiFID II overwhelms clients. The vast majority of clients would like to have the option to waive some of the mandatory information. (opt-out), which they do not perceive as helpful.

Harmonisation of different investor protection requirements: When providing investment advice or selling financial instruments, investment firms have to comply with several different requirements (MiFID II, PRIIPs, 2 SFDR, etc.) Many of these requirements are not harmonized and it’s a huge problem for both advisors and investors.

Packaged retail investment and insurance products (PRIIPs): ESBG is aligned with the ESAs advice on the review of the PRIIPs Regulation and we call the EC to take into account in order to include these points in the Retail Investor Strategy. The scope should not be extended to new products, at least until it is possible to introduce a more differentiated approach between products under the PRIIPs Regulation and it is necessary to maintain the exemption from the scope of PRIIPs for pension products.

Suitability and Appropriateness assessment: We don’t see any weaknesses in the present suitability and appropriateness regime. Currently, the suitability and appropriateness regimes find themselves to be under extensive development, considering both the requirements from the new ESMA Guidelines on Appropriateness and Execution only as well as the requirements from the implementation of ESG-considerations into the suitability regime.

related