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Brussels, 31 January 2006

Financial services: Commission appoints experts to investment fund groups

The European Commission has appointed the members of two expert groups that will look at how the EU framework for investment funds could be improved. The groups will meet on several occasions until June 2006, when they will produce reports on their findings, which will also be discussed with regulatory bodies and other stakeholders in order to test the implications of any recommendations from a broader public interest perspective. These reports and the reactions to them will feed into the Commission's White Paper on investments funds and related impact assessment work, scheduled for publication in October 2006. The groups were proposed by the Commission Green Paper on investment funds published in July 2005 (IP/05/927), and the Commission called on European trade associations to nominate candidates in December 2005 (IP/05/1531).

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "The Green Paper launched a very productive debate on future priorities for investment funds. Now is the time for action. The expert group on market efficiency will help to pave the way for sensible, cost-effective responses to some of the main obstacles to an efficient and competitive single market for investment funds, while the group on alternative investments will give us the chance to hear from this fast-growing business on their ambitions in the European context. Thanks to the support of European industry and other stakeholders, we have been able to appoint top-class experts to these groups. I am confident that they will make a decisive contribution to improving the regulatory environment for the European investment fund industry."

The Expert Group on Market Efficiency will provide hands-on commercial and technical perspective on a range of issues relating to the functioning of the single market framework for retail investment funds (UCITS). It will analyse a number of potential new single market freedoms in which many market participants have expressed an interest (e.g. authorisation/notification, management company passport, fund mergers, pooling). It will identify the main barriers to these, and explore legal or regulatory solutions which take account of supervisory or investor-related concerns.

The Expert Group on Alternative Investment Funds will analyse the current organisation of the alternative investments business. It will examine whether operators in these asset classes are confronted with significant difficulties in organising their activities in the European marketplace, and explore whether these issues warrant attention from EU policy-makers.

In compliance with the Commission decisions on the composition of these groups, experts have been selected on the basis of nominations received from 13 European-level associations. Consideration was also given to nominations from two national associations representing the interests of depositaries and fund order processors where no corresponding European-level body exists.

The Commission has also invited representatives from the retail investor community, institutional and public/semi-public investors and the corporate world as observers to the work of the groups. This will bring these important perspectives to the table and will help in the articulation of a considered response from these stakeholders to the final report of the experts groups.
The list of nominating associations and experts can be found at:

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