The adjustments to MiFid II are currently the subject of heated debate. In principle, advisors will have to ask for sustainability preferences as of August, but according to current reports, some seem to be exempt from the regulations, at least for the time being. In our last Digital Lunch Talk on June 30, we examined and discussed the topic from various perspectives. As always in our Digital Lunch Talks, we wanted to deal with the topic in a practical way and therefore invited women from different areas.

Our panelists were:

  • Victoria Arnold, Institutional Sales Germany – BlackRock ETF & Index Investments and Local ESG-Representative
  • Jennifer Brockerhoff, Consultant for Sustainable Investment - Brockerhoff Finanzberatung
  • Dr. Sandra Derissen, Head of Sustainability Analysis SHC – avesco Sustainable Finance AG
  • Madeleine Sander, Member of the Board/ Mitglied des Vorstands bei HAUCK AUFHÄUSER LAMPE Privatbank AG

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The legal changes were examined and discussed from different perspectives. It was about the challenges for different stakeholders. On the one hand, advisors like Jennifer Brockerhoff are faced with the question of how to query sustainability preferences of their clients. On the other hand, according to Victoria Arnold, fund providers now have to bring their existing sustainability analyses together with regulatory requirements.

Jennifer Brockerhoff makes it clear right from the start that the consulting services will be greatly expanded from August. However, the consultants themselves do not yet know in detail what they will be facing from August and are therefore waiting for urgently needed information. When asked whether the ESG questionnaire is comprehensive enough for female consultants and how uniformly it must be applied, Jennifer Brockerhoff therefore says with a smile: "Ask me in four weeks.

Victoria Arnold agrees that the information available to date is very heterogeneous. This also poses new challenges for product providers, she adds. Arnold therefore hopes for further standardization in the near future. Madeleine Sander goes on to say that advisors are faced with the balancing act of asking customers' preferences in a way that complies with the rules on the one hand, while on the other hand remaining comprehensible to customers and not becoming too technical in their explanations. This would probably lead to somewhat more time-consuming consultations, especially in the beginning.

Jennifer Brockerhoff refers to the necessary preliminary work in consulting. Without this, it could be difficult to match customer preferences with appropriate products. Many customers want products that are as green as possible, and preferably impact-oriented. However, this often cannot be reconciled with reality. She therefore recommends that consultants talk openly with customers about regulations and options. Against this background, it is indispensable for consultants to deal with the topic of sustainability themselves.

The panelists agree that this is only the beginning of a major process of change. Therefore, the advice of all the panelists is to inform themselves in depth, to show courage and not to throw in the towel too quickly. Madeleine Sander holds: "Information is key!"

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Simin Heuser

Simin Heuser is a freelancer and works for various investment fund companies and financial firms. She also writes as a freelance author on financial and insurance topics.

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