European Union commissioner Michel Barnier has vowed to improve consumer protection for packaged retail investment products.
The internal market and services commissioner says the investment fund markets, structured investment products and life insurance products represent £9.22 trillion.
He says: “Millions of small investors find it difficult to understand and compare these products which are often complex and opaque.
“Furthermore, the financial intermediaries who sell these products do not always have their clients’ best interest at heart.
“The result is that, all too often, European consumers buy financial products which are not in their best interest.”
Barnier says current rules at a European level “offer uneven protection” with new measures to be introduced to bridge gaps with better information and stricter rules.
The commissioner says new Ucits rules will see the introduction of stricter liability for the loss of financial instruments kept with a depositary bank.
He adds: “The aim is that every “lost” asset is in some way or other returned in kind or in any other form to the equivalent value. We will thus achieve a very high level of investor protection.”