On April 23, 2015, ESMA launched a consultation on draft guidelines specifying the criteria for the assessment of the knowledge and competence of employees in investment firms that provide investment advice, information about financial instruments, investment services or ancillary services to clients. Under the new Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, investment firms will have to ensure and be able to demonstrate to national regulators that employees of the firm involved in such activities have the necessary knowledge and competence to provide such advice, to act in the best interests of the client and to act honestly, fairly and professionally. The draft guidelines will apply to investment firms and national regulators from January 3, 2017, the date that MiFID II comes into effect. Responses to the consultation are due by July 10, 2015. ESMA intends to publish its final report in Q4 2015.

The consultation paper is available at:

http://www.esma.europa.eu/news/ESMA-consults-draft-guidelines-specifying-criteria-assessment-knowledge-and-com petence-MiFID-II?t=326&o=home