FECIF announced the completion and release of its “White Book”, the collated data from unique research it has conducted across Europe. It has now disclosed some of the information that it has amassed.
“We have found that, perhaps not unsurprisingly to some, insurance is the strongest product sector for financial advisers across Europe, with over 282,000 insurance brokers and more than 275,000 insurance agents in the 15 countries in our sample,” Jiri Sindelar stated. Sindelar is the Federation’s vice-chairman and was FECIF’s project manager for this research. “If we count all of the advisers and intermediaries operating in all product sectors (investments, banking products and insurance), we find a staggering number of a little over 695,000 professionals across those surveyed countries.”
The study also found many interesting comparisons between countries. For example, the German independent advice sector intermediated approximately just one-tenth of the amount of investments funds compared to their French counterparts. But they intermediated almost three times more life insurance.
“Overall,” Sindelar confirmed, “France and Germany were found to be competing as the strongest advice sector in Western Europe, when we exclude fund and insurance centres like Luxembourg and Ireland.
“In Eastern Europe the sales production in the advice sector was obviously lower, in line with relative economic development. Poland seems to have the strongest intermediary industry in absolute terms, but the Czech Republic and Slovakia have better developed sectors in relative terms. For example, in the Czech Republic the independent advice sector transacts two out of three of all new life insurance contracts.
“Regarding the contribution of intermediary sales to the GDP of respective countries, most member states in our sample oscillate around 1 to 2 %, and this is also similar with the sector’s contribution to employment. The main exceptions to this are seen in two of the largest countries – once again, France and Germany – where advisers‘ activity contributes 4.4 % and 6.5 % of GDP respectively. ”
Much of the research information was obtained with the help of FECIF’s members, in particular national trade associations across the EU, making this unique among contemporary studies.
As well as this input from its own national trade association members, FECIF also obtained, verified and collated data from official databases of public institutions and publicly available information that had never previously been collected and analysed in this manner.
“Financial advisers and intermediaries play a significant role in the distribution of insurance, investments, loans and pension schemes”, confirmed Paul Stanfield, FECIF’s Secretary General. “Our research has shown just how important. Our Pan-European Financial Advice Market Research Project addresses, for the first time, the information gap that existed in our sector, providing facts and figures on a country by country basis, along with indicative conclusions on the sector across the whole of Europe”.
FECIF confirmed last week that fifteen countries have been examined in specific detail, including major markets such as Germany, France, Italy and the UK.