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Jagged edge challenge

Briefing from the regulator poses the question of justifying costs for separating Mifid and non-Mifid business

An FSA paper on Mifid client categorisation rules has thrown down the gauntlet for advisers to prove they should not be dragged into the regime through the “jagged edge”, say lawyers.

CMC Cameron McKenna partner Ash Saluja says the regulator’s briefing asks the question of whether the costs of keeping separate categorisations for Mifid and non-Mifid business can be justified.

Saluja says the note is designed to gauge industry opinion on the issue ahead of consultation papers on changes to Cob rules in October and addressing the jagged edge issue in January.

The so-called jagged edge refers to the unresolved issue of whether Mifid rules should be extended to non-Mifid products and services as a way of creating more even competition and cutting burdensome costs.

The FSA paper says that it will look to align the current categories of private customer, intermediate customer and market counterparty as much as possible with the new categ- ories of retail client, professional client and eligible counter-party.

Saluja says the FSA is making it clear that it it is looking to lower the potential burden of regulation and advisers will hopefully not have to send out correspondence to clients explaining any categorisation changes.

He says the FSA will be looking to see whether the planned Mifid and non-Mifid business separations should be put in place which would, in effect, create six categorisations.

He says many will argue that, under a cost-benefit analysis, such a separation could not be justified.

Saluja says: “There are benefits to be had for advisers coming directly under the Mifid regime and this paper examines one of the main arguments to be debated in the coming months as to how much advisers will be directly affected by the directive.”

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