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Regulatory round-up: May 2017

Suitability assessments reviewed ahead of MiFID II

· Regulatory update,Suitability,PRIIPS

The focus of this month's regulatory round-up is the FCA's recent Assessing Suitability Review, a major research report examining how suitability assessments are working in practice. (Suitability assessments, for those less familiar with them, are mandatory client checks undertaken prior to the provision of specific, personalised investment advice). The rules and requirements around suitability will soon be changing under MiFID II, but the report provides a useful snapshot of how well the system has functioned to date.

Broadly speaking, the findings reflect positively on the advisory sector. In the roughly 1000 cases surveyed, suitable advice was given on 93.1% of occasions - and the FCA has signalled its satisfaction with this result. More troubling, however, were the fairly consistent failings uncovered in the area of disclosure; in only 52.9% of cases were the regulator's disclosure requirements met. Initial disclosure (especially relating to how firm's provided information about their products, services, and charges) was a particular weak spot, and the FCA has said it will undertake a fresh education drive to clarify its expectations.

A little hazy on the current disclosure requirements, and the changes coming with MiFID II? Don't hesitate to get in touch with Gillian, Richard, or another member of the team. We'd love to help!

In other news this month, the FCA has highlighted its recent publication of PS17/6, which clarifies disclosure requirements in anticipation of PRIIPS. This will be of interest to all firms subject to the PRIIPS regime, and includes new rules ahead of implementation day on 1 January 2018. (See here for a general PRIIPS recap).

Finally, FinTech clients outside London might want to check out a recent speech by Christopher Woolard (the FCA's Exec Director for Strategy and Competition), in which he discusses the regulator's regional FinTech engagement, Project Innovate, and FinTech aspirations for Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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