Our immediate goals
I was very pleased to be elected as the new Secretary General of FECIF at our last Board meeting, it is very much an honour to represent a body that supports and promotes the adviser and intermediary sector across Europe.
Following that election a meeting took place in Paris - the key attendees were the new FECIF Chairman, David Charlet, the Deputy Chairman Johannes Muschik, and me – and one of the most important items on the agenda was to set the objectives for the Federation over the next 12 months and beyond. The major goals were agreed as follows:
1. Lobbying/political activity – FECIF has always been active in this area and this will continue, particularly focused on ESMA, EIOPA and the EU Commission as they set the guidelines for the transposition of EU legislation into national statutes. This will be particularly relevant with regards to MiFID2 but also re the European Pensions Directive, PRIIPS and IMD2.
2. The identification of key MEPs and EU officials/officers following the elections – it is of course important that contact is made with these individuals as quickly as possible in the new term. We have already commenced this process.
3. Collation of data – we feel that it would be highly beneficial if FECIF ensured that it has the most in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of the true breakdown of its membership and the sector in general, perhaps to a greater degree than ever before. In particular it is important for us to be clear on the amount of providers, independent advisers and tied (and multi-tied) agents within each of the investment, banking and insurance sectors. The industry/sector has changed quite dramatically over recent years and this is highly important information of course. We have also commenced this activity.
4. Membership – we are keen to encourage our existing members, and specifically the members of the Board and Consultative Committee, to actively promote FECIF to other bodies and relevant entities. We already represent a huge proportion of the sector but it can only assist us, and be beneficial for the adviser and intermediary community in general, if we are assisting as many of them as possible – and obtaining feedback and views from the widest possible audience.
Since FECIF was chartered in 1999 it has worked with regulators, politicians and all relevant stakeholders to try and ensure that regulations and working environments provide appropriate protection for consumers whilst avoiding the stifling of entrepreneurial skills and social benefits that our sector provides. We are thus very keen to work with and assist the new MEPs and EU regulators in any relevant manner. We are willing and able to provide any information and market knowledge that may be of assistance.
The global financial crisis has opened all of our eyes to the need for better regulation (rather than necessarily more regulation) but it is also important to ensure that such developments truly benefit the consumer – particularly as all European governments need to avoid alienating those consumers from taking personal responsibility for their financial affairs; increasingly governments need to engage their populaces in saving for the future and protecting themselves financially in the meantime. Our sector is a key component in achieving a successful conclusion to this goal.
We will look to work with the regulators to this end, as well as continuing our co-operation with other European professional bodies (especially AILO, EFAMA, and the consumers’ group BetterFinance) in order to agree on joint lobbying activities and to represent and protect the interests of our membership.