On March 22, 2016, the European Securities and Markets Authority published translations of its guidelines on the assessment of the knowledge and competence of individuals providing investment advice or information about financial instruments, investment services or ancillary services to clients on behalf of investment firms. Under the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, an investment firm is required to ensure that individuals giving investment advice or providing information about financial instruments, investment services or ancillary services to clients have the necessary knowledge and competence to do so and satisfy the firm’s obligations on suitability, appropriateness and reporting and provision of information to clients. Where requested by its national regulator, an investment firm may be requested to demonstrate that these requirements have been met. National regulators must publish the criteria that will be used to assess such knowledge and competence. ESMA’s guidelines, which apply to national regulators and investment firms, specify criteria for the assessment of knowledge and competence, establishing the minimum standards that staff providing the relevant services should meet. The guidelines will come into effect on January 3, 2017.

The guidelines are available at: https://www.esma.europa.eu/document/guidelines-assessment-knowledge-andcompetence