The European fund management industry has undergone profound changes since the 1985 Directive on Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS). Today, there are about 32,000 UCITS products, representing over €6 trillion of assets under management. These facts point to the success of the UCITS brand as one that is operational and reliable, all the while securing a high degree of investor protection. Nevertheless, despite its successes, the UCITS framework has shown signs of weakness: the very concept of UCITS might have to be revised, as the brand struggles to keep pace with the evolution and the pace of innovation in the marketplace. At the heart of the current debate is whether, going forward, the UCITS framework can provide the sort of flexibility that is conducive to developing a competitive and efficient market for fund management across the EU without damaging UCITS’ reputation as a hallmark of investor protection.
This report gives a broad overview of the European asset management markets and discusses the structure of the industry. It analyses the ongoing review of the UCITS Directive and assesses the impact that MiFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) will have on the industry. It starts with a series of recommendations to policy-makers and to the industry on how to adapt to changing market circumstances.