With the introduction of MiFID II looming ever closer in January 2018, the new regulations are rising rapidly up the agenda for financial services businesses of all sizes. With our banking and finance clients focusing increasingly on what they need to do to comply, we were delighted to host a packed audience and two prestigious external speakers at a high-level seminar on the latest developments and longer-term implications around MiFID II.

While most larger financial services clients are well-advanced with their MiFID II implementations, some smaller firms have further to go

The event opened with an overview from Arun Srivastava, Head of our Financial Services Group, highlighting the key changes introduced by MiFID II. He pinpointed a number of areas of conflict between MiFID II and existing UK regulations on areas like inducements, which could create complications as the new rules bed in.

It is hard for product manufacturers to get visibility over their end-customers

The next speaker was Florian van Megaen, Retail Markets Specialist at The Investment Association. Using some highly informative visuals, Florian explained the difficulties facing product manufacturers in meeting MiFID II's product governance requirements in today's highly intermediated marketplace. He offered a solution in the form of The Investment Association's proposed "Target Market Definition Framework".

Like air passengers playing with the entertainment system while the plane's engine is on fire

The final speaker was Anthony Hilton, Financial Editor of the Evening Standard. He began by drawing an analogy between people focusing closely on the detail of MiFID II, and airline passengers playing with their entertainment system and not noticing an engine is on fire. He went on to describe MiFID II's potentially seismic impacts on the industry – including sweeping changes in market structures, and big challenges around back-office and research capabilities.