Organiser: European Commission
On Tuesday 3 July 2012, the European Commission will present a three-part legislative package dedicated to rebuilding consumer trust in financial markets. It includes a proposal for a regulation on transparency in packaged retail investment products (PRIPS), a revision of the Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD), and a proposal for an amendment to the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) Directive. The main elements of the package's components are:
PRIPS: Sales of investment products should be accompanied by a key information document (KID) which provides retail investors with short, clear and comparable information written in accordance with a common standard; this will allow them to better understand the risk and costs associated with an investment decision and compare different investment products.
Revision of IMD: The sale of insurance products should be accompanied, when necessary, by honest and professional advice, along with information about the status of the insurance product seller and the remuneration the seller receives. This level of protection should apply whether consumers buy insurance directly from an insurance undertaking or indirectly from an intermediary. Sales of insurance investment products should be subject to enhanced standards including the assessment of suitability and appropriateness of the product for the consumer.
UCITS V: New rules on the tasks and liability of depositaries, remuneration of fund managers, and sanctions. If assets held by a depositary are lost, they should normally be replaced as soon as possible with assets of the same type or value; management companies should follow remuneration policies which do not lead to excessive risk-taking.
The financial crisis has emphasised the importance of reinstating consumer confidence in the financial sector – the sector that consumers currently trust the least, according to a recent survey. Across the EU, a wide range of investment and insurance products are available for purchase. Many of these products are quite complex, and consumers often have trouble comparing them and/or understanding the risks involved before deciding which one to buy. Different standards on transparency and distribution across Member States contribute to consumers unknowingly purchasing risky products and losing confidence in the financial sector.
Events during the financial crisis, such as the Madoff fraud, have shown that the existing requirements on the depositary and its liability towards investors when things go wrong have been interpreted in different ways across Europe, so that investors do not always have the same standards of protection.
3 July at 15.30 in Strasbourg: Press conference by Commissioner Barnier.
2 July at 12.30 in Brussels: Technical briefing off the record by senior Commission officials.
Press release and memos with frequently asked questions will be available on the day.