The European Federation of Financial Intermediaries and Financial Advisers has announced the completion of what it says has been an unprecedented study of the European financial advisory sector, which it says was undertaken with the ultimate aim of helping FECIF member firms to benefit from a better understanding of their industry.
The research findings are contained in what the federation (FECIF) is calling its “White Book 2017″, which it said it is providing at no additional charge to FECIF members.
The book and research findings are also being made available for purchase by non-FECIF members, a FECIF spokesperson said. Copies may be ordered from the FECIF website, by clicking here.
“Despite forming the backbone of European financial distribution in many retail industries, including insurance, investments and mortgages, the advisory sector is fragmented, and there is no consistent data reporting or aggregation,” FECIF chairman David Charlet said, explaining the reasons the organisation embarked on the research project.
“Most of the national associations collect some basic figures about their members, but these are not combined on a pan-European level, and often do not follow the same methodology.
“This creates a serious deficiency, compared to the information possessed by other European financial bodies, such as EFAMA [European Fund & Asset Management Association].
“Because reliable empirical data on the advisory market is missing, regulatory proposals made by the European Commission in this regard are often inappropriate, and cannot be qualified correctly.”
Jiri Sindelar, project manager for the White Book project and now FECIF’s vice chairman, pictured above, said that compiling the data was “no small feat”, because there was so little that was readily available.
“Much information was therefore obtained with the help of our members, in particular national trade associations across the EU – making this unique among contemporary studies.”
As well as gaining insight and information via its own national trade association members, FECIF also obtained, verified and collated data from official databases of public institutions, as well as sourcing publicly-available information that had never previously been collected and analysed in this manner.
Data collected included sales turnover, the value of contracts intermediated, and the total workforce employed in the sector. In total, the advisory industries of 15 EU countries were examined in detail, including those of such major retail markets as Germany, France, Italy and the UK.
Among the questions FECIF said its research answers include how strong the advisory workforce is in Europe generally, as well as in each of the individual member states; how many financial products (by number and value) are sold by advisers to individual customers, on a per-country basis, and also across Europe; what the volume of assets directly influenced by the advisory sector is; and finally, a measure of the contribution of the sector’s activity to national and European economies (eg, GDP, employment, financial market performance).
‘Until now, no internationally
comparable data collected’
Paul Stanfield, FECIF secretary-general, noted that although financial advisers and intermediaries unquestionably play a significant role in the distribution of insurance, investments, loans and pension schemes, “until now, there was no resilient, extensive and internationally comparable figures collected about this sector, on a European basis”.
“For the first time, our Pan-European Financial Advice Market Research Project addresses this information gap, by providing facts and figures on a country-by-country basis, along with indicative conclusions on the sector across the whole of Europe.”
He said FECIF hoped that its White Book could be updated “at least every two years” going forward, or even annually, but that it remained to be seen whether this would be workable.
Based in Brussels, FECIF is a non-profit organisation that was chartered in 1999, to support and promote financial advisers and intermediaries acrosss Europe. In recent years the organisation has added a second objective, the protection of retail investors and clients of financial services and products, to its agenda.
Today it represents more than 30 trade bodies and industry organisations, and through them, acts on behalf of more than 245,000 advisers and intermediaries in Europe, the organisation says.