Asset management regulation keeps on expanding – can the customer pick out what is essential information?

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  • Customers are generally satisfied with the asset management services of financial sector companies, as reported by a survey commissioned by Finance Finland (FFI) and carried out by the Hanken School of Economics.
  • Law requires service providers to heap a massive amount of documentation on customers, which sometimes makes it difficult for them to pick out the essential information.

Regulation of asset management advice has become stricter and more complex in recent years. It is mainly governed by the MiFID and IDD directives. MiFID II regulates the functioning of financial markets and the provision of investment services, and the Commission is currently working on reforming it. The IDD Directive harmonises national rules on the provision of insurance and reinsurance services in the EU. Regulation affects, among other things, the duration of customer meetings and the documents provided.

A study commissioned by FFI shows that asset management customers value personal investment advice and face-to-face meetings and are generally satisfied with the service they receive. However, they also reported receiving extremely large amounts of investment-related documentation, from which they sometimes found it difficult to find the essential details.

“Regulation aims to improve investor protection, but it may have gone too far if important facts are buried under information overload”, says Satu Wennberg, head of consumer protection at FFI.

Ever-increasing regulation has also made it more difficult for new businesses to enter the sector. Lowering the barriers for saving and investing would be in the interest of all Finns.

The study, conducted by Hanken School of Economics, investigated the effects of regulation on customer experiences. The coronavirus pandemic did not dramatically transform asset management customer service, because online meetings were common in this business already before the pandemic.

Key findings of the survey

  • Customers feel that the legally required due diligence processes take a lot of time, especially if the customer wants to compare service providers and request quotes from several of them.
  • Asset management customers value personal investment advice and face-to-face appointments and are generally satisfied with the service they receive.
  • According to employees, the time spent per customer meeting has increased significantly, as has the time spent on documentation and follow-up work.
  • Remote meetings have eased the workload on employees.
  • Customers, especially less experienced ones, find that they receive such large amounts of investment-related documentation that it is sometimes difficult to pick out the essential information.
  • Not all customers trusted the figures provided in the key information documents.