On January 22, the UK Financial Services Authority (FCA) published Finalised Guidance – 15/1: Retail investment advice: Clarifying the boundaries and exploring the barriers to market development (the Guidance). The Guidance followed consideration by the FCA of responses to Consultation 14/3 (which had closed in October 2014) by which the FCA had sought the views of market participants as to how firms should interpret the boundaries of investment advice.

The main purpose of the Guidance is to clarify what constitutes a personal recommendation (for the purpose of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID) definition of investment advice) in relation to investments based on different retail investment sales models. It also provides guidance on the meaning of “investment advice” with respect to the retail sector by consolidating existing guidance that is available from the FCA, the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). In the Guidance, the FCA provides detailed example scenarios, offering in each case a view on whether the FCA thinks it includes the provision of investment advice (and hence constitutes a regulated activity within the ambit of the FCA) or not, and explores specific issues in this area that stakeholders have raised with the FCA.

The Guidance can be found here.