Report from FundForum Berlin: Efama board to discuss Esma Opinion coming week

Efama’s president Alexander Schindler and director general Peter De Proft have confirmed that the Opinion put out by Esma, warning EU member states and their financial regulators not to engage in regulatory arbitrage to attract asset managers post-Brexit, will be a key agenda item at the upcoming Efama board meeting taking place next week.

The Opinion (  has attracted criticism already from City law firms (eg, ) as to the possible consistency with existing EU law.

However, the region’s umbrella body representing local asset management industry associations – including those that are in jurisdictions outside the EU, such as Norway, Switzerland and Turkey – is yet to formally respond on behalf of its members.

De Proft confirmed that a Brexit Task Force will be set up as part of the ongoing response by the Association to be able to manage industry reactions as the negotiations between the UK and the EU start, and the current uncertainty around future regulations and law become replaced by proposals from the negotiating parties during the negotiating period.

The response to both Brexit and Esma’s Opinion take place in context of the development of CMU (Capital Markets Union). This is another key focus for Efama ongoing Schindler (pictured) and De Proft confirmed, because it is inextricably linked to proposals from Brussels, supported by Efama, for a pan-European pension plan (Pepp). Further details on the plan are expected from the European Commission by the end of June, which are expected to underline the importance of pensions developments as a key facet of CMU, they added.

Efama responded to Eiopa’s consultation document on a pan-European pension back in 2015 ( ) and reiterated its detailed proposals and support in May 2017 ( )

De Proft said in 2015 that: “The Pepp can be the solution to the problems which hinder the proper functioning market for personal pensions in Europe, in particular the high level of cost, the limited product choice and the lack of portability between member states.  The political importance of the project is immense.  The Pepp can be one of the most tangible initiatives that the Juncker Commission can take to reconcile the young generation of European savers with the European project.”

Other key considerations for the upcoming board meeting include continued efforts to remove distribution barriers across Europe, and the issue of Mifid II, including the research unbundling that this piece of legislation will implement.

Responsible investments are another area where there is ongoing work behind the scenes. De Proft confirmed that an Efama working group is seeking to develop standardised definitions that that can be applied in this area.

Jonathan Boyd
Editorial Director of Open Door Media Publishing Ltd, and Editor of InvestmentEurope. Jonathan has over two decades of media experience in Japan, Australia, Canada and the UK. Over the past 17 years he has been based in London writing about funds and investments. From editing the newsletter of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Japan in the 1990s he now focuses on Nordic markets for InvestmentEurope. Jonathan was awarded Editor of the Year at the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Independent Publisher Awards 2017. Shortlisted for the same in 2016, he was also shortlisted in 2017 and 2015 for the broader PPA Awards category Editor of the Year (Business Media).

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