Trade associations in London are preparing to meet with the Financial Services Authority following a discussion paper it issued regarding sales to retail investors. The U.K. regulator issued the paper to address the different responsibilities of firms structuring retail investment products for sale to distributors and those firms that distribute them to the end investor. This was in response to regulatory concern investors are not receiving adequate education regarding an investment product because the distributor views this as the product provider's responsibility and vice versa.
Associations that include the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and the International Capital Market Association have filed a response to the paper and are now preparing to send a delegation to meet with the FSA. The group explains the reason for this in their response, noting, "The issues...are many and complicated and in our view require very careful analysis." The FSA has indicated it would prefer to see an industry-led solution to the problem, but that if this is not forthcoming it will step in and regulate, explained a lawyer at a City firm. He added, however, he expects the delegation will be successful because the European firms have been making a push to address distributor and end-investor education for some time. For example, an informal gathering known as the Retail Structured Products Forum has already come up with a series of guidelines for firms selling investment products to retail investors via third-party distributors (DW, 4/21/06), he noted.
Details about the delegation, such as when it will meet with the FSA, had not been decided by press time.