EU retail investors need more protection

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BRUSSELS – The EU Commission hosted an open hearing on retail investment products in Brussels on July 15, 2008. The discussion related to the evolving market for investment products and whether the current fragmented regulatory framework provides a sound basis for ensuring investors receive the information and quality of service required to make appropriate investment decisions.

Internal markets commissioner Charlie McCreevy suggested a set of fundamental principles should be respected across the member states to ensure a high level of transparency on performance, costs and risks, responsible selling practices, effective management and disclosure of conflicts of interest, and fair marketing materials.

Other points dealt with during the open hearing included the development of retail investment markets and where risks to investors lie; industry views on the adequacy of existing rules and of self-regulatory initiatives; an account of the challenges faced by the Dutch financial regulator in this area and steps taken by the Netherlands to improve investor protection; and discussion by regulators as to whether EU level arrangements are fit for purpose or need improvement.

The results of the dialogue will be published soon.

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