The regulatory changes known as the MIFID II may be harsh for the fund industry not only in terms of additional reporting burden. The side effect of the new rules, focusing among others on potential banning trailer fees to distributors, can be leaving end customers on their own while talking investment strategy decisions.
While MIFID II is a welcome directive, which rightly seeks to protect investors, the potential ban on inducements will likely hit everyone in the industry hard and may lead to increased costs for investors.
The trend has already begun. As reported by Ignites Europe, in the UK consumers with less than £50,000 (€64,000) to invest are increasingly lacking access to financial advice, with advisers said to be focusing on wealthier clients. A study from Cass Consulting last year showed that adviser numbers had fallen by almost a quarter in 18 months.
The paradox is that the less well-off investors actually need more advise than the HNWI (High Net Worth Individuals). Now they might not get it anymore as they will not be able to afford it. End investors will be left in two caps: HWNI will still be able to pay for advice, and will get even better guidance, while the rest will get no advice at all, hence will run the risk of buying wrong products.
Read more: Regulation is not a scapegoat: MiFID II by Fund Channel’s Managing Director
Under the mattress
Another possible outcome of the planned regulatory changes is a decrease in the demand for investment funds. Because retail investors might be left without advice, they might shift and simply leave their savings in cash or buy more less complicated products as they are much easier to understand.
We can only hope that regulators will understand the threats in time; some changes have already been proposed. We still need to wait for final decisions, though.