FRANCE - FEFSI chairman Wolfgang Mansfeld is hopeful that the European funds industry can regulate itself and take something positive from the wave of recent criticism.

Speaking at the Fund Forum in Nice, Mansfeld said: “I am optimistic on the growth prospects for the industry. If you look at developments in the last two years, according to FEFSI figures, there has been a 50 billion euro inflow in the whole of 2002, and growth has accelerated in the first quarter of this year.

“I strongly expect, as we go forward, this industry to grow above average for the rest of the financial services market.

“Also, we will overcome the profitability problem. We still have to work on the cost efficiency side, and that is an area of on-going pressure that will not stop when markets become favourable again. I have some concerns about the supply side and here it is clear we should be taking the KPMG report seriously.”

A joint KPMG/Create report has created a stir with its critical comments about the investment management industry.

Above all, Mansfeld believes that the funds industry could become much larger if there were a true single market.

“Recent reports, such as the one recently issued by the UK IMA [Investment Management_Association] show the benefits already achieved. The solutions are developing too slowly and what we require to achieve our true growth potential is a single market”

Equally, he suggests that unless the industry recognises the need for change and for self-regulation, that regulations will be imposed on it.

Figures released by Feri FMI show the contrasting business flows at either end of the funds industry in Europe. Analysis of cross-border fund promoters shows that for the top 44, net inflows from January 2002 to April 2003 totalled 42.5 billion euros. However, for the other 52 providers, the total was a negative 29.7 billion euros.

FEFSI, the Fédération Européenne des Fonds et Sociétés d'Investissement, is the pan-European umbrella organisation of the investment funds industry. It is in the process of merging with the European Asset Management Association.