MIRROR: Mr Hufeld, hardly passes a year without investors scandal: in 2013, the real estate firm S&K had misappropriated millions in investor funds. In 2014, the wind energy company prokon went bust, now the Drama of the container provider to P&R. Why BaFin is not better?
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Hufeld: , We fit, as far as we, the legislature has authorized. Since 2015 providers of direct investments for their products have to create brochures. For direct investments as in P&R there is this obligation even since the beginning of 2017. It is our only point of reference. We examine whether these prospectuses are complete, understandable and coherent.
MIRROR: What you can’t say the same for a P&R brochure from the year 2017. There not even in there, how old is the containers are offered to purchase. Imagine the time in a car…
To the Person Felix Hufeld , Born in 1961, studied law, worked after his second state examination as a management consultant and then made a career in the Finance and insurance industry. In 2013, he was in financial supervision, BaFin’s Executive Director for the branch of insurance, in March 2015, he is the President of the authority.
Hufeld: , There are formal requirements about what information must be included in a prospectus. The age is not one of them in containers.
MIRROR: But because you have no one suspicious? The grievances in the case of P&R were for experts, obviously. The magazine “financial test” has warned in 2017, prior to the Offers.
Hufeld: “financial test” can and must apply other standards. “Financial test” can test the from the consumer’s point of view, desirable. Laws establish minimum standards. We need to keep as state regulatory laws.
MIRROR: according to The law, you have the possibility to ban dangerous products. Why have you not done this in P&R?
Hufeld: is A product of prohibition is the Ultima Ratio. For products, the disadvantage in your building structurally clients. You can’t say the same of direct investments – which are not bad per se…
MIRROR: …but the deals are still often questionable.
Hufeld: That’s right. Nevertheless, there is each Time an Outcry, if we don’t rügen, for example, a provider of direct investments in trees and forests, because they do not meet their obligation to publish a Prospectus. Fidelity investors to run on a regular basis storm, because they are in love in such systems. Therefore, we do well to shape our actions would always be legally watertight, otherwise we will go in court disputes with Timpani and trumpets.
MIRROR: Even if one of your employees notices a product, there’s something wrong, you can do anything, as long as the formalities are complied with?
Hufeld: If we have an indication of criminal behavior, we will inform, of course, the Prosecutor’s office. But a vague disturbing feeling is not a reason to ban a product. We can’t do supervision for Lord of the manor.
MIRROR: the legislature Should give them more powers to protect consumers? More Employees? More Rights Of Intervention?
Hufeld: This is a delicate discussion. Of course you have to protect the investors. But how far can this go? We want to in the future, that a government Agency controls the content and prospects of success of a product? What’s that contraption I need to build up there? And the authority shall be liable if the Investment develops still bad?
MIRROR: you talk in Extremes. It is possible to examine products to determine whether they are based on realistic assumptions?
Hufeld: you say so. To formulate realistic assumptions, legally sound, is extremely tricky. The fact is: If you want to, ultimately, from a purely formal examination, talk to you, ultimately, a state-controlled financial system the word. One can discuss political, of course. We must ask the question of whether a market economy dominated state of law suits. I know of no Western-style country, in which there is a state of content and monitoring of success of financial products.
MIRROR: an Alternative Would be to, at least, stricter rules for those that sell products, such as banks and financial intermediaries?
Hufeld: has been done already. Since this year, the EU makes a new set of rules for the securities business with the beautiful name Mifid II, the rigorous criteria for the product development and sales. Similar rules are planned in the distribution of investment products.
MIRROR: , The German financial lobby, however, has ensured that an originally-planned strict Commission ban was soaked in it. You not outraged?
Hufeld: no. According to Mifid II, the financial incentives are prohibited in the sale of a product unless you create a concrete Benefit for the customer.
MIRROR: What is the Benefit of the client, if the adviser switched the sale to the highest commissions?
Hufeld: Each one consultant has to have the best customer benefits in view. However, I have to smile always, a little, when some of the lobbyists to put the advice on a fee basis as a solution to all problems. Risking social and political turmoil, in order to ban Commission-based advice. In the UK, has tried it, with a frightening result: Because there is a clear sign that broad sections of the population are cut off since then, from the retirement planning advice, in fact. Someone who has little money, just not 150 or 200 pounds for a financial Advisor – because you can preach, as much as you want.
MIRROR: but One could also say: Better no advice than one that is sold in the me there is only trash.
Hufeld: This is me to a polemic. Neither the one nor the other is desirable. Who is considered to be the Commission sales as a stronghold of Evil, and fee-based advisors as the better person, I can only say: keep Dreaming. Of course, there are excesses. In contrast, we go. We can preserve investor but not especially, you must take responsibility.
MIRROR: The Germans are considered to be risk-averse: they are afraid of the stock market and Park your money in fixed accounts, which are currently hardly any interest. In the case of gray market products, many but let all caution go. How do you explain that?
Hufeld: The causes can be very different. Some like direct investments, because they are so specific, or because they have an affinity to a particular industry. Often there were also special tax incentives. Think of the Drama with the East real estate, with ship funds, film funds, very early builders models. Millions of savers have forgotten to ask whether this is economically profitable, therefore the in the USA often used the expression of “silly German money”. Stupid German money. A further point Investments, the keep track of in addition a further purpose, for instance in the social or environmental field, such as, for example, Prokon. Many investors want to do with your investment is also something Good. That is understandable and sympathetic. Philanthropic motives, and such the profitability and security of investment are pursuing very different goals. If both are at the same time accessible, is the ideal, but one should not superimpose the other subject. Many consumers lose sight of the sober distance, true in the case of a money plant. I’m afraid in this area will happen a lot in the future.
MIRROR: And you have to watch as the rather idly, if something is brewing?
Hufeld: of Course not. We have a differentiated set of instruments, we also apply. Ranging from market studies and clear consumer warnings, sales restrictions and Product prohibitions. But no state protection can replace the need for individual consumers to act in financial matters carefully and responsibly.