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Regulation is a hot topic today because of what happened in the financial meltdown. Globally there is a lot of discussion on how to prevent it from happening again.
There's a real need to reform the regulation of financial services. In an investment management space there’s been two main areas of focus. One is around the whole investor protection area and the other is around financial stability.
It is perceived that the regulators failed, so as a result they have motivation to create as much regulation as possible.
It is a reasonable conclusion to reach that the industry is under assault.
There's a relentless flow of new regulations, proposed regulations.
The amount and the volume that’s coming out is much quicker than it’s ever done before.
How do you cut through the complexity to make sense of it and work out what’s the optimum solution for you? Regulatory change and the regulatory agenda is very much at a board level now. And the reason why boards are concerned about it is because it really does go to the heart of the business.
As a result, the risk appetite has changed. Some of that has been the C-suite actually making a decision to look at risks differently. There's a positive competitive advantage that if I conform to the regulations it actually comes with a good housekeeping stamp of approval.
There's been a lot of focus in the investment management sector about retail investor protection. In the EU, the PRIPS directive is actually all about creating a level playing field for people who are selling to the retail investor. The other big area that will impact the industry is on the wholesale market side. Increasingly investment managers are big users of derivatives. We’ve seen this in USIT 3 products; we’ve seen this in the alternatives industry, hedge funds, real estate funds and private equity funds. These alternative investments are becoming more and more important for the investors that we work with.
Regulation, broadly speaking, will have an impact on the cost structure. Many managers will have to hire additional resources.
They're going to have to change their operations, they're going to have to change their distribution channels, they're going to have to change the way they go to market.
In Asia, one must appreciate that they're dealing with a large number of distinct countries, each with their own rules. They will have to put in the commitment and the effort to understand each of the countries they are thinking of entering.
When putting the current regulatory change into perspective, and the most significant change that I had seen in my lifetime was around Sarbanes Oxley, and that was about 200 pages, roughly 16 rules. When I compare that to Dodd-Frank, it’s 2300 pages and roughly 243 rules. What’s interesting is it actually has a timeline of three to five years, so the goal there is to not only understand and assist our clients as a point in time, but to think about over that five years and how they evolve their programme for change.
The consequences of regulatory failure are not only financial in terms of direct fines.
From a US perspective, if the SEC came and paid a visit in terms of conducting exam, what would be the ramifications?
The impact on a business’s reputation is what will really hurt. KPMG are at the forefront of thinking around what are the implications of these new regulations for our clients.
We always take an international view of how we solve regulatory challenges for our clients.
We’ve established three centres of excellence in New York, in London and in Hong Kong, and that way we we’re covering the globe with real expertise around the regulatory agenda.
We really work with the business to take their business model, apply those rules, creating a simple solution that includes governance and policies and procedures that are implemented.
We've helped our client look through the process from development all the way to distribution.
Regulation is actually more of an opportunity than a barrier, because the more you comply effectively with regulation, the more your investors are going to trust you with their money.
I think our clients understand that KPMG can help them to really cut through the complexity and really come up with solutions that are practical and meaningful for them.
Now CEOs really recognise the need to be on top of regulations before they become an issue.
You need to evaluate whether or not you're truly sticking to your core competencies. If you're an organisation that’s never had this before, we really need to sit down and have a longer conversation.
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