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PACKAGED RETAIL INVESTMENT PRODUCTS : EP VOTE ON PRIPS REGULATION: BERES SPEAKS OF "BETRAYAL".

Pervenche Beres (S&D, France) has failed to win a mandate to begin negotiations with the Council on the draft regulation on key information documents (KIDs) for packaged retail investment products (PRIPs). On 21 October, members of the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) opposed this by three votes, only voting in favour of the draft report. Beres has proposed a fresh compromise on the sensitive question of the field of application of the regulation in order to re-unite the EPP group and obtain her mandate.

"This is not fair play, I have never seen such a betrayal during a negotiation in this Parliament," she said after the vote. Meanwhile, Europolitics understands that certain members of the EPP group will not be completely satisfied with some aspects of the draft report, and will seek modifications in plenary.

It will therefore be during Parliament's plenary session in November that MEPs will grant Beres her long-awaited mandate. They will not vote on the text in first reading at that time, but once the negotiations with the Council are wrapped up, explained a source.

"It is now essential that everyone assumes their responsibilities," continued Beres, since adopting this regulation under the current legislature - which ends in May 2014 - means that the EP and Council only have a few months left (according to the co-decision procedure).

Proposed by the Commission in July 2012, the text foresees that a key information document will accompany all PRIPs for which the return on one or more assets or reference values is determined by financial market fluctuations. Currently, small investors struggle to compare and evaluate the risks of these products, which are in fact highly risky, as well as complex and sometimes opaque.

COMPROMISE

Beres has always fiercely defended the inclusion of other investment products besides PRIPs in the field of application of the regulation, such as shares and bonds. This proposal was firmly rejected by the ECR group, and has always created controversy within the EPP group (see Europolitics 4715).

"I have understood that for one group in particular the very ambitious definition of the field of application could raise a number of issues, and that this very wide concept of the field of application could eventually lead this group to decide against granting a mandate to the negotiating team," said Beres. "I have made a compromise proposal, particularly to our friends in the EPP group," she said before the vote, adding that she hoped for "an exchange [...] and to have the support of the greatest number," particularly regarding other sensitive aspects of the text.

This verbal compromise, which restricts the list of products targeted by the regulation, has therefore been adopted - as well as the draft report. However, Beres has not received the qualified majority required to obtain a negotiating mandate.

The compromise is supported by a large majority of members of the EPP group but other aspects remain sensitive, a source said. In that case, why not reject the draft report? The dossier will return to the ECON committee, Europolitics has heard. Therefore, it is the plenary session that will address it, and the EPP group could well seek to vote through several amendments.

The text as adopted provides that the regulation will apply to the production and sale of all investment products except non-structured deposits, shares, bonds and simple insurance products.

Also, before developing the KID, the provider of the product will have to respect an approval procedure. This aspect is still sensitive, like the introduction of labels for the most complex products, as well as the powers granted to supervisory authorities.
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Publication:European Report
Date:Oct 23, 2013
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