MiFID a ‘threat to market and consumer rights’

Ramesh Sharma

February 11, 2006

Industry concern has arisen that plans to change the provision of legislation to an EU-based approach will dissolve many powers and take away UK market discretions.

Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at John Charcol, was sure the MiFID directive would harm the UK market by forcing it to match the markets of fellow EU nations. He said: “This is a classic example of when one size does not fit all. The market will have a lot less discretion about rulings and much will be stipulated by EU directives that may not fit in with the UK model.”

He argued the UK financial market is the most sophisticated in Europe and many plans put forward as a result of MiFID might not benefit the market, or indeed have any impact.

“All we can do is fight a rearguard action to make sure there are only minimal changes to the market,” he said.

John Howard, chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP), also raised concerns over the implementation of MiFID, arguing it will take away many consumer rights.

In a letter to Charlie McCreevy, commissioner of internal market and services in the European Commission, Howard argued that ‘an attempt to set out a comprehensive European regulatory regime in measures that are based on only a partial consideration of existing requirements will fail to deliver an adequate degree of consumer protection.’

Howard added: ‘We must make sure that, in the laudible aim of making it easier for consumers to assess financial services in a single market across Europe, we do not lose all of the consumer protection that has been built up in the UK hand that consumers have come to rely on.’

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