In a speech last month, FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey admitted to having concerns about the requirements of the PRIIPs legislation.
What is PRIIPs?
The packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs) regulations came into force on 1 January this year.
You can read more here about what PRIIPs is and how to comply.
The regulation applies to a wide range of firms including banks, insurers, and investment managers; its aim is to extend the standards of consumer protection introduced by MiFID II to insurance-based investment products.
One of its core requirements is the need for investment companies to produce a Key Information Document (KID) if they want to sell to retail investors.
Via the KID, fund managers have to provide details on how they expect funds to perform in various market conditions. The document has a highly-prescriptive format; its aim is to make it easier for investors to compare the features, risks and rewards of products, and as a result make more informed decisions.
What are the problems with the PRIIPs and KID requirements?
Andrew Bailey is far from the first or only person to flag some of the issues with PRIIPs.
Perivan Technology highlighted in February – a month after the new legislation came into effect – that concerns about PRIIPs and the KID requirements were continuing to make headlines.
We’ve also identified some of the pitfalls you face when preparing your PRIIPs communications, and how to avoid them.
In his speech, Bailey said that he is concerned about the impact of the new rules on the European funds industry.
He believes the problems are:
- A risk that the legislation carries ‘a risk that it is leading to literally accurate disclosure which is not providing useful context’
- The withdrawal from Europe of funds domiciled elsewhere – the US, for example – to avoid the burden imposed by the regulation
- Concerns about the performance projections included
The FCA issued a statement in January that aimed to clarify expectations on KIDs. Bailey’s speech, however, suggest that more may need to be done to address firms’ and the regulator’s concerns.
What will the FCA do to tackle PRIIPs concerns?
In his speech, Bailey said that: ‘We will continue to engage with firms and their trade associations to consider how their concerns may be resolved so that investors get the full benefit of the regulation. We will also continue to work with the European Supervisory Authorities, and contribute to the European Commission’s post-implementation review of the PRIIPs regulation.’
What can you do to make sure your communications comply?
While the regulator and others continue to raise concerns about the feasibility, effectiveness and accuracy of KIDs and the PRIIPs legislation, Marketing and Compliance teams have to ensure their communications meet the current requirements.
You can do this by:
- Making sure they meet the regulator’s requirements on suitability and disclosure
- Only including accurate, up-to-date content. You might look at creating a searchable library of pre-Compliance-approved wording, data and other content to make it quicker to produce documents and secure Compliance approval
- Ensuring you follow FCA rules on prominence in terms of risk warnings, disclaimers and disclosures
- Familiarising yourself with the FCA’s objectives around desired consumer outcomes and making sure your documents achieve them
Following the FCA’s long-standing guidance on Treating Customers Fairly will give you a head start when it comes to preparing user-friendly, compliant client documents.