Plans to hold a referendum on the UK’s future in the European Union present a clear risk to the growth of the UK asset management industry, experts have warned.
On 23 January, prime minister David Cameron pledged to give the UK public a say on the country’s continued membership of the EU if the Conservative Party remains in power after the 2015 general election.
Commentators such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, the IMA and the European Fund and Asset Management Association have warned that this could be damaging to the asset management world.
The Ucits regulatory framework is overseen by the EU Commission and will continue to be so even if the UK changes its relationship with the bloc. Given that UK asset managers run a large pool of European investors’ money in EU-based funds, changes to this dynamic could have wide-reaching consequences.
PwC hedge fund leader Rob Mellor says: “A UK asset management industry outside of Europe may find itself facing obstacles to the continued management of assets for EU-based investors. This is a fundamental risk to the growth of the industry.”
A joint statement by IMA chief executive Daniel Godfrey and Efama director general Peter de Proft also stresses the advantages of keeping the UK in the EU asset management industry.
“Efama and IMA strongly believe that asset management in the EU benefits hugely from the UK industry’s involvement, both commercially and from its positive influence in the shaping of regulation. We also believe that the UK asset management industry gains hugely from the single market,” they say.
“The whole EU asset management industry continues to keep the interests of investors at the heart of its work and to maintain the UK industry’s prominent role in policy formation within the EU framework.”