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Appropriate arrangements for the suitability assessment
Assessing suitability is an important MiFID investor protection requirement. Before providing investment advice or portfolio management services, investment firms must ensure that any investment product recommended is suitable for the client in question.
Therefore, investment firms must obtain the necessary information to be able to understand the essential facts about the client in order to assess the suitability of any investment for that client. This includes information about a client’s investment objectives, financial situation and knowledge and experience.
Based on the information collected, an investment firm must assess whether the specific transaction to be recommended or entered into in the course of providing portfolio management service is suitable.
ESMA found the following shortcomings in the implementation of the MiFID suitability requirements :
These new guidelines focus on the need for firms to have in place appropriate arrangements to enable them to meet the suitability requirements on an on-going and consistent basis for any client, and irrespective of the distribution channel used.
Responsibilities of the compliance function
MiFID requires investment firms to implement a series of systems and controls (appropriate to the nature, scale and complexity of their business) aimed at securing a robust governance framework, with a clear organisational structure and lines of responsibility, and effective risk management and compliance processes. This includes policies and procedures to ensure regulatory compliance and the establishment of a compliance function.
This second set of guidelines are focused on the responsibilities of the compliance function and are aimed at helping investment firms to increase the effectiveness, and importance, of the compliance function. They focus on :
Competent authorities to whom guidelines apply should comply by incorporating them into their supervisory practices, including where particular guidelines are directed primarily at financial market participants.
The guidelines will be translated into the official languages of the European Union (EU) and published on ESMA’s website. Competent authorities will have two months following the publication of the official translations to confirm their compliance or intention to comply, with reasons for non-compliance, to ESMA. The guidelines will then apply 60 days after the end of the reporting period for competent authorities.
Financial market participants are not required to report whether they comply with these guidelines.