Product governance obligations for distributors
DIRECTIVES COMMISSION DELEGATED DIRECTIVE (EU) 2017/593 of 7 April 2016
Supplementing Directive 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to safeguarding of financial instruments and funds belonging to clients, product governance obligations and the rules applicable to the provision or reception of fees, commissions or any monetary or non-monetary benefits.
- Member States shall require investment firms, when deciding the range of financial instruments issued by themselves or other firms and services they intend to offer or recommend to clients, to comply, in a way that is appropriate and proportionate, with the relevant requirements laid down in paragraphs 2 to 10, taking into account the nature of the financial instrument, the investment service and the target market for the product.
Member States shall ensure that investment firms also comply with the requirements of Directive 2014/65/EU when offering or recommending financial instruments manufactured by entities that are not subject to Directive 2014/65/EU. As part of this process, such investment firms shall have in place effective arrangements to ensure that they obtain sufficient information about these financial instruments from these manufacturers.
Investment firms shall determine the target market for the respective financial instrument, even if the target market was not defined by the manufacturer.
- Member States shall require investment firms to have in place adequate product governance arrangements to ensure that products and services they intend to offer or recommend are compatible with the needs, characteristics, and objectives of an identified target market and that the intended distribution strategy is consistent with the identified target market. Investment firms shall appropriately identify and assess the circumstances and needs of the clients they intend to focus on, so as to ensure that clients’ interests are not compromised as a result of commercial or funding pressures. As part of this process, firms shall identify any groups of clients for whose needs, characteristics and objectives the product or service is not compatible.
Member States shall ensure that investment firms obtain from manufactures that are subject to Directive 2014/65/EU information to gain the necessary understanding and knowledge of the products they intend to recommend or sell in order to ensure that these products will be distributed in accordance with the needs, characteristics and objectives of the identified target market.
Member States shall require investment firms to take all reasonable steps to ensure they also obtain adequate and reliable information from manufacturers not subject to Directive 2014/65/EU to ensure that products will be distributed in accordance with the characteristics, objectives and needs of the target market. Where relevant information is not publicly available, the distributor shall take all reasonable steps to obtain such relevant information from the manufacturer or its agent. Acceptable publicly available information is information which is clear, reliable and produced to meet regulatory requirements, such as disclosure requirements under Directive 2003/71/EC ( 1 ) or 2004/109/EC ( 2 ) of the European Parliament and of the Council. This obligation is relevant for products sold on primary and secondary markets and shall apply in a proportionate manner, depending on the degree to which publicly available information is obtainable and the complexity of the product.
Investment firms shall use the information obtained from manufacturers and information on their own clients to identify the target market and distribution strategy. When an investment firm acts both as a manufacturer and a distributor, only one target market assessment shall be required.
- Member States shall require investment firms, when deciding the range of financial instrument and services that they offer or recommend and the respective target markets, to maintain procedures and measures to ensure compliance with all applicable requirements under Directive 2014/65/EU including those relating to disclosure, assessment of suitability or appropriateness, inducements and proper management of conflicts of interest. In this context, particular care shall be taken when distributors intend to offer or recommend new products or there are variations to the services they provide.
- Member States shall require investment firms to periodically review and update their product governance arrangements in order to ensure that they remain robust and fit for their purpose, and take appropriate actions where necessary.
- Member States shall require investment firms to review the investment products they offer or recommend and the services they provide on a regular basis, taking into account any event that could materially affect the potential risk to the identified target market. Firms shall assess at least whether the product or service remains consistent with the needs, characteristics and objectives of the identified target market and whether the intended distribution strategy remains appropriate. Firms shall reconsider the target market and/or update the product governance arrangements if they become aware that they have wrongly identified the target market for a specific product or service or that the product or service no longer meets the circumstances of the identified target market, such as where the product becomes illiquid or very volatile due to market changes.
- Member States shall require investment firms to ensure their compliance function oversee the development and periodic review of product governance arrangements in order to detect any risk of failure to comply with the obligations set out in this Article.
- Member States shall require investment firms to ensure that relevant staff possess the necessary expertise to understand the characteristics and risks of the products that intend to offer or recommend and the services provided as well as the needs, characteristics and objectives of the identified target market.
- Member States shall require investment firms to ensure that the management body has effective control over the firm’s product governance process to determine the range of investment products that they offer or recommend and the services provided to the respective target markets. Investment firms shall ensure that the compliance reports to the management body systematically include information about the products they offer or recommend and the services provided. The compliance reports shall be made available to competent authorities on request.
- Member States shall ensure distributors provide manufacturers with information on sales and, where appropriate, information on the above reviews to support product reviews carried out by manufacturers.
- Where different firms work together in the distribution of a product or service, Member States shall ensure the investment firm with the direct client relationship has ultimate responsibility to meet the product governance obligations set out in this Article. However, intermediary investment firms shall:
(a) ensure that relevant product information is passed from the manufacturer to the final distributor in the chain.
(b) if the manufacturer requires information on product sales in order to comply with their own product governance obligations, enable them to obtain it.
(c) apply the product governance obligations for manufacturers, as relevant, in relation to the service they provide.
Reference: Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (2017). New rules set by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (the ‘KNF’) regarding persons that are allowed to provide activities in the territory of Poland. Retrieved from http://www.cysec.gov.cy/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?guid=3f08dccb-5dc3-4574-91b5-2f2fa1b932a9
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