In 2015 the FCA conducted a thematic review about benefits provided and received by firms that:
- carry out MiFID business;
- carry out regulated activities in relation to a retail investment product.
This followed concerns that some business practices were likely to create conflicts of interest and result in firms not acting in their customers’ best interests.
Firms were reminded to ensure that any benefit or payment (made or received) is designed to enhance the quality of the service to the client.
The FCA have not published a full thematic report as this topic will be incorporated into further work being done in connection with the delayed MIFID II. However, the key findings have been published, alongside a reminder of the regulator’s expectations* of firms.
* see Action section below.
- Hospitality did not always appear to be designed to enhance the quality of service to the client, e.g. sporting or social events;
- Hospitality that did not enhance the quality of service to the client, was offered alongside other benefits that do meet the requirements, e.g. golf or dinner after a training event;
- Hospitality logs did not always contain full details or record how the benefit was designed to enhance the quality of service;
- Adviser firms incurring costs, e.g. in connection with training by a provider, were being reimbursed in excess of the costs involved;
- Firms were not providing clients with an indication of the value of any allowable benefits received.