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IMA warns that UK must keep its eye on the EU ball

The Government needs to get more involved in negotiations over EU regulation to ensure the best outcomes for the UK financial services sector, according to the Investment Management Association.

Giving evidence to the Treasury select committee last week, IMA chief executive Richard Saunders said that while regulatory changes in Europe are positive on the whole, the UK Parliament is often outside of European decision-making processes.

He said: “The priority is to get stuck right in. There is a very large regulatory agenda coming from Brussels. We cannot assume that the motives behind what comes out are always going to be aligned with the interests of the UK.

“It is very important that the FSA is getting right into the establishment of the European Securities and Markets Authority to make sure that there is the right degree of UK participation in that.”

The UK will have one seat on ESMA, which will be taken by the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority. Saunders warned that any measure adopted by the EU which, like the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, could be deemed protectionist could cause problems for the UK. He said: “Versions we have seen would be quite overtly protectionist in that they would deny access to the European markets for funds and products based outside Europe.”

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