EUROPE – Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, says the ECB backs the idea of “regulatory intervention” in asset management.

“On the question of new regulatory initiatives, we share the view that asset management and retail financial services are areas where regulatory intervention could be considered,” Trichet said in testimony to the European Parliament today.

Speaking before the Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, he also backed the European Commission’s intention to put forward a proposal for a directive on securities clearing and settlement.

European internal markets commissioner Charlie McCreevy yesterday said that the potential for gains in the asset management industry are “considerable – worldwide, and in the EU”. He saw considerable boosts from economies of scale.

He said in a speech in Luxembourg: “Globally we are talking about a €45trn capitalised industry, greater than €10trn in the EU.

“For investment funds, annual savings of up to €5bn alone may be achievable as a result of better exploited economies of scale.”

He added: “The investment funds industry is of strategic importance. Not only because of the role it can play with regard to the challenges I mentioned before. But also because of its size and dynamism.”