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Duff & Phelps – Best Global Regulatory Advisory Firm

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With all the regulatory developments in recent times, and the ominous spectre of MiFID II looming large, it is fair to say that these are busy and exciting times for regulatory advisory firms. Duff & Phelps is no exception, with Julian Korek, Global Head of Compliance and Regulatory Consultancy, confirming that Duff & Phelps' global clients are interested in four issues, at present.

The first is MiFID II, a hugely complex regulatory change that is set to impact the asset management community.

"We are still awaiting some of the Level 3 details to be published. When we had our last count, there were 1,384 pieces of information to look through, so it's a huge issue for firms to wade through all of this and work out how best to respond," says Korek. 

To help with this, Duff & Phelps has produced a solution named MAST: MiFID Analyser Solution & Tracker. This enables people to fast track in and identify, according to the permissions they have, what rules are likely to hit them and identify a `To do' list for the areas that will require amending. They can then track the progress of those amendments by using the tracker component of MAST. It's a sophisticated tool that Korek confirms has taken nine months to build, bringing together all the rules and regulations and systematising them. 

"What we are saying to the industry, is that given the need for MiFID firms to start transaction reporting, they need to think about it sooner rather than later because it is likely going to require new systems, implementing those systems, testing them and so on. The quicker buy-side firms engage with this, the better, in order to get the support of their preferred vendor(s)."

"We already have a number of asset management clients using MAST, as well as a number of service providers," confirms Korek.

The second key issue, he says, is Brexit. 

"UK, US and Asian clients want to know whether it will impact fund passporting and distribution across Europe under AIFMD, whether they should move parts of their business, etc. We've seen no signs of this happening, however, at the moment. With the UK leaving the EU there will be potential opportunities to refine regulation. This could lead to the creation of new fund products with a different regulatory regime. A lot of people are asking what that may look like. 

"A third area of interest for our clients relates to Asia, where markets such as Hong Kong have introduced senior management regimes, such as we have in the UK. This will make senior management accountable for controls and governance in licensed organisations," explains Korek.

The fourth issue relates to the Trump presidency, in particular what the impact on US regulation such as the Dodd-Frank Act could be, going forward. Korek expects there to be no more than a bit of tinkering around the edges. "It will very hard to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act in its entirety but there might be some elements that get removed," says Korek, adding that the strength of Duff & Phelps is its ability to provide global coverage yet operate as a single team. 

"This gives our clients consistent knowledge and expertise on the various regulatory developments. We are able to put regulation into an operational context," says Korek. 

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