Article 25 — Assessment of suitability and appropriateness and reporting to clients
- Member States shall require investment firms to ensure and demonstrate to competent authorities on request that natural persons giving investment advice or information about financial instruments, investment services or ancillary services to clients on behalf of the investment firm possess the necessary knowledge and competence to fulfil their obligations under Article 24 and this Article. Member States shall publish the criteria to be used for assessing such knowledge and competence.
- When providing investment advice or portfolio management the investment firm shall obtain the necessary information regarding the client’s or potential client’s knowledge and experience in the investment field relevant to the specific type of product or service, that person’s financial situation including his ability to bear losses, and his investment objectives including his risk tolerance so as to enable the investment firm to recommend to the client or potential client the investment services and financial instruments that are suitable for him and, in particular, are in accordance with his risk tolerance and ability to bear losses.
Member States shall ensure that where an investment firm provides investment advice recommending a package of services or products bundled pursuant to Article 24(11), the overall bundled package is suitable.
- Member States shall ensure that investment firms, when providing investment services other than those referred to in paragraph 2, ask the client or potential client to provide information regarding that person’s knowledge and experience in the investment field relevant to the specific type of product or service offered or demanded so as to enable the investment firm to assess whether the investment service or product envisaged is appropriate for the client. Where a bundle of services or products is envisaged pursuant to Article 24(11), the assessment shall consider whether the overall bundled package is appropriate.
Where the investment firm considers, on the basis of the information received under the first subparagraph, that the product or service is not appropriate to the client or potential client, the investment firm shall warn the client or potential client. That warning may be provided in a standardised format.
Where clients or potential clients do not provide the information referred to under the first subparagraph, or where they provide insufficient information regarding their knowledge and experience, the investment firm shall warn them that the investment firm is not in a position to determine whether the service or product envisaged is appropriate for them. That warning may be provided in a standardised format.
- Member States shall allow investment firms when providing investment services that only consist of execution or reception and transmission of client orders with or without ancillary services, excluding the granting of credits or loans as specified in Section B.1 of Annex I that do not comprise of existing credit limits of loans, current accounts and overdraft facilities of clients, to provide those investment services to their clients without the need to obtain the information or make the determination provided for in paragraph 3 where all the following conditions are met:
- the services relate to any of the following financial instruments:
- shares admitted to trading on a regulated market or on an equivalent third-country market or on a MTF, where those are shares in companies, and excluding shares in non-UCITS collective investment undertakings and shares that embed a derivative;
- bonds or other forms of securitised debt admitted to trading on a regulated market or on an equivalent third country market or on a MTF, excluding those that embed a derivative or incorporate a structure which makes it difficult for the client to understand the risk involved;
- money-market instruments, excluding those that embed a derivative or incorporate a structure which makes it difficult for the client to understand the risk involved;
- shares or units in UCITS, excluding structured UCITS as referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 36(1) of Regulation (EU) No 583/2010;
- structured deposits, excluding those that incorporate a structure which makes it difficult for the client to understand the risk of return or the cost of exiting the product before term;
- other non-complex financial instruments for the purpose of this paragraph.
For the purpose of this point, if the requirements and the procedure laid down under the third and the fourth subparagraphs of Article 4(1) of Directive 2003/71/EC are fulfilled, a third-country market shall be considered to be equivalent to a regulated market.
- the service is provided at the initiative of the client or potential client;
- the client or potential client has been clearly informed that in the provision of that service the investment firm is not required to assess the appropriateness of the financial instrument or service provided or offered and that therefore he does not benefit from the corresponding protection of the relevant conduct of business rules. Such a warning may be provided in a standardised format;
- the investment firm complies with its obligations under Article 23.
- the services relate to any of the following financial instruments:
- The investment firm shall establish a record that includes the document or documents agreed between the investment firm and the client that set out the rights and obligations of the parties, and the other terms on which the investment firm will provide services to the client. The rights and duties of the parties to the contract may be incorporated by reference to other documents or legal texts.
- The investment firm shall provide the client with adequate reports on the service provided in a durable medium. Those reports shall include periodic communications to clients, taking into account the type and the complexity of financial instruments involved and the nature of the service provided to the client and shall include, where applicable, the costs associated with the transactions and services undertaken on behalf of the client.
When providing investment advice, the investment firm shall, before the transaction is made, provide the client with a statement on suitability in a durable medium specifying the advice given and how that advice meets the preferences, objectives and other characteristics of the retail client.
Where the agreement to buy or sell a financial instrument is concluded using a means of distance communication which prevents the prior delivery of the suitability statement, the investment firm may provide the written statement on suitability in a durable medium immediately after the client is bound by any agreement, provided both the following conditions are met:
- the client has consented to receiving the suitability statement without undue delay after the conclusion of the transaction; and
- the investment firm has given the client the option of delaying the transaction in order to receive the statement on suitability in advance.
Where an investment firm provides portfolio management or has informed the client that it will carry out a periodic assessment of suitability, the periodic report shall contain an updated statement of how the investment meets the client’s preferences, objectives and other characteristics of the retail client.
- If a credit agreement relating to residential immovable property, which is subject to the provisions concerning creditworthiness assessment of consumers laid down in Directive 2014/17/EU of the European Parliament and the Council (48), has as a prerequisite the provision to that same consumer of an investment service in relation to mortgage bonds specifically issued to secure the financing of and having identical terms as the credit agreement relating to residential immovable property, in order for the loan to be payable, refinanced or redeemed, that service shall not be subject to the obligations set out in this Article.
- The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 89 to ensure that investment firms comply with the principles set out in paragraphs 2 to 6 of this Article when providing investment or ancillary services to their clients, including information to obtain when assessing the suitability or appropriateness of the services and financial instruments for their clients, criteria to assess non-complex financial instruments for the purposes of point (a)(vi) of paragraph 4 of this Article, the content and the format of records and agreements for the provision of services to clients and of periodic reports to clients on the services provided. Those delegated acts shall take into account:
- the nature of the service(s) offered or provided to the client or potential client, having regard to the type, object, size and frequency of the transactions;
- the nature of the products being offered or considered, including different types of financial instruments;
- the retail or professional nature of the client or potential clients or, in the case of paragraph 6, their classification as eligible counterparties.
- ESMA shall adopt by 3 January 2016 guidelines specifying criteria for the assessment of knowledge and competence required under paragraph 1.
- ESMA shall develop by 3 January 2016, and update periodically, guidelines for the assessment of:
- financial instruments incorporating a structure which makes it difficult for the client to understand the risk involved in accordance with points (a)(ii) and (a)(iii) of paragraph 4;
- structured deposits incorporating a structure which makes it difficult for the client to understand the risk of return or the cost of exiting the product before term, in accordance with point (a)(v) of paragraph 4.
- ESMA may develop guidelines, and update them periodically, for the assessment of financial instruments being classified as non-complex for the purpose of point (a)(vi) of paragraph 4, taking into account the delegated acts adopted under paragraph 8.