Lobbying by the European Federation of Financial Intermediaries and Financial Advisers (FECIF) reached new heights last year with the organisation participating in a combination of more than 40 major European consultations, conferences, meetings, hearings and studies.
FECIF has created a document highlighting last year’s areas of its activity in which, it said in statement outlining the main areas that it worked on to “promote and defend the interests of financial advisers and intermediaries”.
FECIF chief executive Paul Stanfield, pictured above, said that without the lobbying and advocacy work of FECIF, and other relevant trade associations, many of the EU regulations and directives would be “unworkable” and some would even be “detrimental to the consumers that they are supposed to protect”.
“A huge amount of time and effort goes into this, but the benefits and rewards are visible,” he said.
The federation was founded in 1999 and represents almost 250,000 advisers and intermediaries across Europe and over 600,000 individuals in total, when administrative and back-room staff are included.
Among the work that FECIF made formal submissions to, or was involved in, includes around a dozen consultations throughout last year where the organisation collated and compiled data, information and views from across its Europe-wide membership in order to “help shape regulations and their implementation,” according to FECIF chairman, Johannes Muschik.
“These encompassed specific regulatory aspects such as MiFID II, the IDD and PRIIPs, as well as more general matters such as automation in financial services, the pan-European personal pension framework, impediments to cross-border business, and occupational pension schemes,” said.
Stanfield added that FECIF’s work, alongside that of other trade bodies, consumer groups and industry stakeholders was “at least partly responsible” for, as reported, the review and delay of PRIIPs and “specifically the potential changes to the KID”.
“Otherwise the regulators would have charged ahead with an approach that could have led to greater confusion and less choice for consumers,” he said.
At the end of last year and into early January FECIF said that worked “long and hard”, alongside and in conjunction with bodies like AILO, to highlight the issues that ESMA (European Securities & Markets Authority) could potentially create in the area of Product Oversight and Governance.
At that time Muschik explained that: “Everyone needs a consistent approach which takes into account the existing variety of business models and their different characteristics. ESMA is assuming that there is always a direct relationship between manufacturers and distributors. However, this is not the case”.
FECIF believes that this representation is of “incredible importance” to its members, and also to consumers, in order to assist regulators in understanding the implications, and sometimes the unforeseen results, of their actions; thus protecting its sector and the consumers that they guide and advise.
Conferences, presentations, meetings
Members of FECIF’s Board and Advisory Committee regularly present at events, or are asked to sit on panels and working groups. “By informing our sector, the industry at large, consumers and any other stakeholders in this manner we look to ensure that all relevant parties are fully knowledgeable in all relevant areas, forewarned against inappropriate and detrimental issues that may arise down the line” Stanfield added.
In addition, FECIF launched a EU regulatory database and library in 2016 and commenced a matchless European Financial Advice Market Research Project, the final results of which are expected to be announced in the first quarter of this year.