There have been a number of significant regulatory developments in the market for the distribution of retail investment products in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. These developments have been driven by the underlying need to protect consumers, particularly in view of failings in the regime, many of which have been exposed by the financial crisis.

We have published a guide to assist those with global businesses involved in the distribution of retail investment products, in navigating their way through the differing regimes in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong. We have given an indication of the particular products and practices where regulatory concern and consumer claims have arisen; reforms on the agenda, issues for firms and how they should prepare for implementation; and the mechanisms for consumer redress.

In compiling this publication, a number of key themes have emerged. First, there have been numerous instances of regulatory enforcement action and litigation in relation to particular categories of retail investment product, particularly in relation to retail structured products issued or guaranteed by Lehman Brothers. Second, regulatory enforcement action and litigation have revealed widespread failures in selling practices for retail investment products. Third, legislative and regulatory reforms are in contemplation, are underway, or have already been implemented, in all jurisdictions covered by our publication. Fourth, in some jurisdictions, reforms are underway to improve consumer redress, the ultimate aim being to make it easier for consumers to bring claims against financial institutions.

Our publication can be found at http://www.herbertsmith.com/NR/rdonlyres/92F0B5BE-DB2A-4F75-99AE-B667F930CF53/0/7994Retaildistributionofinvestmentproductsd12.pdf