Mifid II  

Mark Polson: Make way for Mifid II

Mark Polson: Make way for Mifid II

How was your summer? No, mine neither. Actually, now you mention it, I’m not all that interested, no. Let’s crack on.

This post-holiday period is traditionally one of the busiest of the year in terms of new proposition developments kicking off. In development terms, if you don’t get it on the slates in September, you won’t be seeing it go live for at least a year. 

Therefore we’re used to proposition types getting pretty puffed up at this time of year, with a lot of ‘ooh, wait until you see what we are building. No one will be able to resist – we’ll be rich! Rich, I tell you!’ and all that. Sadly, though, this year we won’t be seeing quite as much of the fun stuff, as two big must-do projects are likely to be taking the lion’s share of attention and development.

A long time coming

First up is Mifid II, which is like Mifid, but with a thinner plotline and bigger special effects budget. There is much to concern advisers in its pages, but perhaps core to the technological end of things is how platforms, providers, asset managers and advisers communicate to clients. 

As you will have probably heard by now, one of the most fun parts of Mifid II is that clients have to be informed in writing if their portfolio drops by 10 per cent or more in a quarter. Now, for everyone’s best, well-drilled clients that won’t be an issue. But for everyone else, who fancies fielding phone calls the next time the markets get the collywobbles? 

Quite apart from the potential concern to clients, there’s the issue of who does the writing out to clients. Do you, as an adviser, want that administrative burden? Or do you want to trust it to the automated document production facilities of your chosen platform or platforms? Both of these routes have drawbacks.

The requirement to keep a formal record of client meetings is also being entertained. For a while, this looked like it was all going to be about audio recordings (which many firms do anyway), but now you will really only have to record calls that are about executing orders and make analogous notes about everything else. 

I can imagine how that might go:

Adviser: Hi, Mr Polson, how are you?

Me: Fine, thanks.

Adviser: How can I help you?

Me: Oh, I’m thinking of taking a few grand out of my pension.

Adviser: Oh, hang on, I’ve got to record this. A recording device is switched on. So what brings this on?

Me: Oh, I need to complete that deal. You know, the one we talked about when you mentioned that off-plan investment in Tierra Del Fuego (Argentina). I’m still not sure that …

Adviser: I don’t know you! Prank caller! Prank caller!