France’s financial markets authority and asset management association have launched a working group that aims to make the country’s asset management industry more attractive to foreign investors.

The working group has been dubbed FROG, for French [Routes & Opportunities] Garden.

Its steering committee held its first meeting last week.

Its aim is to “enhance the positioning of French asset management internationally and to give the industry the best available distribution tools”, according to the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF).

It placed the working group in the context of the post-financial crisis European regulatory framework and initiatives to “support European growth by financing the economy and its firms”, such as the Europe 2020 Strategy and the European Commission’s Capital Markets Union (CMU) project.

Asset management “must be a driving force in this effort”, said the financial markets authority.

“Effectively attracting international investment to invigorate the European economy will require taking foreign investors’ preferences with respect to strategies, legal structures and distribution channels into consideration,” it added.

The adoption of new distribution models made possible by technological advances will also be necessary, according to the AMF.

The working group will focus on two aspects: French funds’ strategies and legal structures, and distribution channels and market infrastructures.

The FROG group is being chaired by Didier Le Menestral, head of the competitiveness commission at the asset management association (Association Française de la Gestion financière).

The membership of the group is still being decided, but it will comprise representatives of the asset management, infrastructure and financial technology industries and AMF officials, a spokesperson told IPE.

The group will publish a report next summer, setting out steps that can be taken immediately, as well as recommendations for longer-term goals.

“[T]he creation of the FROG group is a very positive sign that the industry’s energy is focused on making the French financial ecosystem more appealing to investors,” said Le Menestrel.

“By proposing to implement simple, concrete initiatives, FROG should make the French asset management sector more competitive internationally and a vital tool for financing the French economy.”