Information to clients
Changes in capital markets made new regulations necessary for the entire European Union The changes come into force on 3 January 2018 and affect clients and banks equally.
MiFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive - Directive 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council) covers multilevel regulation applicable to the entire European Union, the introduction of which necessitated the amendment of two significant domestic laws1 and the creation of additional sectoral regulations; several directly applicable European laws are connected to it.
In order to ensure the undisturbed operation of the IT system, our bank has decided to comply with the new requirements one day prior to the entry into force of the new regulations, i.e. from 2 January 2018, and is therefore modifying its processes and regulations accordingly.
Previous regulatory framework and changes
According to the regulations, investment firms - including our bank - must classify their clients into different client categories. The basis for categorisation is the client’s knowledge and experience of investment products and of their operation and risks, with the objective being that clients so defined receive protection corresponding to their level of expertise.
The law differentiates three client categories:
- Retail clients
- Professional clients
- Acceptable partners
The following will be classified as acceptable partners and professional clients: institutional investors defined by law and businesses meeting certain requirements of size. A retail client who meets the statutory criteria may request to be classified as a professional client. All others will be classified as a retail client if they do not belong to either the acceptable partner or the professional client category (hereinafter referred to as “MiFID Retail Client”).
UniCredit Bank’s Client Categorisation Policy contains details on client categories and the rules on switching categories; no substantial changes have taken place in this respect. The most stringent rules relating to providing information to clients concern MiFID retail clients, who constitute the majority of all clients. The Bank is obliged to inform all its clients of their client category upon signing the contract or upon any changes in it that have been applied to them and the rights attached thereto.
Assessment of appropriateness and suitability
With regard to investment advice, the bank must assess its client’s:
- knowledge of and experience with financial instruments,
- willingness to assume risk,
- financial condition and
- investment goals.
Prior to carrying out the orders specified by law, the Bank has to obtain information on its client’s knowledge of and experience with the essence and features of the particular transaction contained in the contract or the order, as well as the risks attached to such transactions. Based on this, our clients will have the opportunity to conclude transactions for particular products.
Accordingly, prior to concluding the contract for the investment transaction, everybody will have to make a statement on the so-called “Investment Data Sheet” regarding the following:
- their knowledge of and experience with the products (appropriateness test), and
- if they wish to use customised investment consultancy services, on their willingness to take risks, as well as their investment objectives and financial position (suitability test);
If our client still decides not to provide or only partially provide the above information and makes a written statement to this effect, their order shall of course still be carried out; however, in this case, our bank is not permitted to provide investment advisory services.
As January 2018 (MIFID II) an important change is that if orders are given to agents, we must examine the knowledge and experience of the person authorising the agent when using investment service products. In order to comply with this requirement, in future, prior to accepting orders for a certain investment product, we shall assess the product-related knowledge and experience of agents with the right to avail of securities accounts within the framework of the appropriateness test.
Preliminary information related to financial instruments
In the interest of investor protection, the appropriate provision of preliminary and subsequent information is of key importance. Within the framework of preliminary information, we therefore make available a so-called "Investment information booklet" prior to the client placing their investment order: in this we give assistance on the definition of financial instruments offered by UniCredit Bank, and we also draw their attention to the risks inherent in particular product types.
The law requires that investment service providers take all sufficient steps to attain the best possible investment results for clients in the course of the performance of client orders, considering the price, costs, speed, the likelihood of execution and performance, the volume and type of orders and other factors relevant to performing services.
The procedure for the effective and best execution of orders shall be specified in the execution policy, which contains the places of performance used by the Bank related to all classes of financial instruments, as well as the selection criteria for the place of performance that allows for the best results to be achieved.
Naturally, the client is entitled to give specific orders to have their instructions executed in a way different from that in the Execution Policy. However, in such cases, the client must bear the risk that their order will not necessarily lead to the best possible result being achieved. In light of the regulatory changes, we have performed an overall amendment of the Enforcement Policy, which forms an annex of the General Business Conditions on Activities for Investment Services; we therefore ask you to read it carefully.
What are the most significant changes for clients?
- Increased attention to client needs by the issuers and distributors of investment products (new Product Governance Rules).
- Cost transparency, which makes the costs related to the purchase, sale and holding of financial instruments transparent in advance and subsequently.
- The bank must record all relevant communications with the client.
- More detailed information than previously regarding the risks associated with financial instruments, investment advisory services provided during the sale and the incentives received by the bank.
- Increased coordination of trading venues and further regulations associated with the best execution of orders.
Product governance requirements and suitability statement
Our bank determines and continuously reviews the target market of each financial instrument. This procedure ensures that we offer only those solutions to our clients that are appropriate and suitable for them, based on their target market definition.
During investment advisory services but prior to execution of the order we provide a suitability report, which contains a summary of the advice given and information on why the recommendation provided is suitable for that client. When assessing suitability, our bank considers the following in each case: product knowledge, client categorisation, risk sensitivity, investment timeframe, client type, investment objective and client risk classification.
We shall continue not to provide investment advice with regard to financial instruments that are not suitable for that client. We, however, allow the possibility for our clients to give orders for such financial instruments without using investment advice, and in such case we draw our client’s attention to the lack of suitability.
Preliminary cost statement: Part of taking instructions for orders is to allow clients to obtain advance information in a transparent form regarding the expected costs and related incentives attached to investment services and products. Please read the information received from the bank prior to giving orders carefully, and request more information if you have any questions.
Please be advised that, with regard to the provision of services, the bank is required to provide information beforehand on the expected costs in every case and through all channels (in person, by telephone and online). We must provide the cost calculation to our investors on a durable medium in order to enable them to obtain information prior to making the investment decision. Accordingly, our colleagues are only able to accept and execute orders given by telephone if we are able to provide the preliminary cost calculation prior to accepting the order, i.e. if you have an e-mail address and have consented to being given information by e-mail and accept the risk associated with being informed by e-mail, of which you can read more here.
Subsequent cost statement: Our bank sends a detailed, personalised statement at least once each year to our clients of the exact costs and related incentives of the products and services they used.
Recording of relevant communication
In line with the regulations, the bank records all information regarding the order and advice, including the date and time, the place and initiator, the participants in all communications with clients, as well as the details of any client orders (price, volume, type of order and term of validity, required time of delivery or execution) placed, and upon request the bank provides these to its clients for a period of five years.
Requirements related to legal entities with a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) code
As of 3 January 2018, a legal entity identifier code, or LEI code must be applied for identifying all transactions carried out on securities accounts by legal entity clients to which the client reporting obligation applies. These include transactions with regard to securities, shares, investment funds, ETF’s, certificates, government securities, corporate bonds and mortgage bonds available at trading venues. Without such a code, the bank may not provide (inter alia) any securities-related services that will result in a transaction reporting obligation with regard to the concluded transaction.
You can obtain a LEI code from the issuing institutions and it must be renewed annually. For further information on the LEI code please see:
- General Rules of Business regarding Investment Services and Ancillary Services
- Investment guidelines of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)
- Investment information (in Hungarian)
- Investor’s questionnaire for private individuals (in Hungarian)
- Investor’s questionnaire for legal entities (in Hungarian)
- Client Classification Policy (Effective from 2nd January 2018)
- Execution Policy
- General Terms of Business of the Budapest Stock Exchange
- KELER General Business Rules
- MiFID Statement
1 Act CXXXVIII of 2007 on Investment Firms and Commodity Dealers and on the Regulations Governing Their Activities and Act CXX of 2001 on the Capital Market