3rd International Forum of the CIFA in Geneva
Independant financial advisors gathered in Geneva
to «provoke a dialogue with the regulators»
GENEVA, 17 MARCH – Over 200 independant financial advisors from 15 countries
gathered in Geneva on March 16th to 17th 2005 to discuss one of the biggest challenges
facing the independant financial community: regulation. After two successful gatherings
in 2003 and 2004, this third congress of the Convention of Independant Financial
Advisors (CIFA) established the event as one of the major international forums for the
financial intermediation community.
«Is the independant financial sector being regulated to death?». This provocative question,
asked during one of the panels of the third international forum of the Convention of
Independant Financial Advisors (CIFA) in Geneva, summarizes somewhat abruptly the deep
concerns of financial intermediary professionnals towards the growing regulatory pressure on
Under the title «Let's provoke a dialogue with the regulators», the 2005 CIFA Forum offered
perspectives and explored solutions to harmonizing the governments' growing initiatives for
more regulation with the interests of the independant financial advisors' community. «Let us
stop complaining and act», said Jean-Pierre Diserens, founding member of the CIFA. «Let us
engage in a proactive dialogue with the regulators and offer proposals to improve – rather
than just increase – the way our profession is regulated».
A balance of the costs and benefits of regulation
During the first day of the forum, several panel discussions between high-level
representatives of regulating bodies from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland
and the EU, together with prominent speakers from the independant financial intermediation
community across Europe developed answers to burning questions such as «regulation: for
which objectives?», «corporate governance: an efficient set of rules to win back investor's
trust?», or «adjusting regulation to the financial intermediaries' activities» and «building a real
Speakers included personalities such as Angela Knight, Chief Executive of the Association of
Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (APCIMS) in London, Paul Rich from
the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in London, Jean-Baptiste Zufferey, Vice-Chairman of
the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (CFB) in Bern and Mats Isaksson, Head of the
Corporate Governance Division of the OECD in Paris.
In the evening, M. Jian Tu, Director General of Asset Management of the China Council for
the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and General Counsel of the Shanghai Stock
Exchange, delivered a keynote speech on the «structure and evolution of China's financial
markets» at the networking dinner that closed the first day of the conference.
The next morning session was dedicated to workshops on four specific financial centers:
Singapore, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
Closing the event, Marc Faber, Editor and Publisher of the Hong Kong based «Gloom, Boom
& Doom Report» and author of the bestselling «Tomorrow's Gold» provided a compelling
view of global investment opportunities, especially in rising China and Asia. Gathered to
«provoke a dialogue with the regulators», the delegates were themselves «provoked» by
Dr Faber's challenging call to relinquish their trusted benchmarks and invest in the booming
economies of Asia rather than in the United States, or in commodity markets rather than
overvalued real estates and financial assets.