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European Parliament formalises position on Retail Investment Strategy

There were 352 votes in favour, with 250 against and 21 abstentions


Pete Carvill

EFAMA has commended the European Parliament’s formalisation of its position on the Retail Investment Strategy as an improvement on earlier plans.

The trade body said the new strategy package “significantly” improved on the original proposal put forward by the European Commission. For its part, Renew Europe noted the package was aiming to empower retail investors by giving them “clearer and more transparent information, as well as better financial advice, while giving further tools to supervisors to act more efficiently”.

The European Commission indicated last year that eight measures were being proposed, including modernising disclosure rules, developing new benchmarks and addressing potential conflicts of interest by banning inducements for ‘execution-only’ sales. EFAMA responded in November by listing what it saw as a number of “positive elements”, along with ones it said needed to be reconsidered.

This week, MEP Stéphanie Yon-Courtin told Renew Europe: “This strategy is a major step forward to complete our Capital Markets Union, especially given the massive investment gap to finance EU priorities. These new rules will enable citizens to better navigate financial markets, build on new digital financial trends, give additional tools to supervisors to act more efficiently and preserve the competitiveness of our companies, especially SMEs.”

Yon-Courtin, who is a member of the Resistance party in France, added: “I fully regret the obstructionist attitude of our left-wing colleagues in this House who are already in election mode, as they decided to walk away from the negotiating table, putting at risk the adoption of such relevant legislation.”

Agency reports indicate MEPs approved the revisions to help strengthen the protection of smaller investors while stimulating investment in the real economy. There were 352 votes in favour, with 250 against and 21 abstentions.

‘Positive step’

Kimon Argyropoulos, regulatory policy adviser for EFAMA, said: “The parliament’s vote is certainly a positive step in achieving a more coherent regulatory framework for retail investors. Moving forward, it will be essential for EU policymakers to ensure that all different elements of the Retail Investment Strategy work well together. Only then can we expect to create an environment that will encourage EU savers to invest.”

Nevertheless, EFAMA went on to argue there were still elements that could be improved upon, including the fact the European Parliament currently proposes both internal peer reviews and supervisor benchmarks. EFAMA said it remained sceptical about how these separate and competing frameworks can co-exist.