Aisa International s.r.o., is a MiFID- Securities Trader and European Portfolio Manager.
MiFID stands for Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and is the European wide regulation that increases the transparency across Europe’s financial markets. In Cyprus an investment advisor should belong to a company that has a MiFID licence.
As well as a standard MiFID licence, Asia International received formal notification from the Czech Regulator (Czech National Bank) on 20th December 2021 that the company has been granted a licence to operate as a Securities Trader with discretionary powers, commonly known as a Discretionary Investment Manager (DIM) or Discretionary Financial Manager (DFM). This formal notification followed informal approval that had been conveyed to the directors in October.
It also works alongside the UK and USA companies of Aisa Group to be able to offer a complete package to expats, including Defined Benefit / Final Salary pension advice as the UK office has DB permissions.
Being part of the Aisa Group of companies, Aisa International is headquartered in Prague. The MiFID- Securities Trader and European Portfolio Manager licence held by Aisa International is in addition to the IDD, Mortgage/Credit and Pensions licences. IDD is the Insurance Distribution Directive and allows Aisa to give advice on areas such as Insurance Bonds.
Along with the UK sister company Aisa Professional, which has FCA permissions, including those for DB pensions, this means that the Aisa Group offers a full service in the EU/EEA to British expats and those that have lived in the UK and hold UK pensions and investments.
When also combined with United States Securities Exchange Commission licences, and the fact that employees within Aisa International hold SEC registration as well, the full expat package available to those expats with UK or US connections makes Aisa’s coverage unique.
Marta Gellova, who is on Aisa International’s supervisory board and vice-Chair of European Financial Planning Association stated that “I am pleased that the awarding of this licence will allow Aisa International to promote transparent investment advice in the EU market, working in cooperation with Chartered Financial Planners, Aisa Professional”.
Chief Investment Officer, Chris Lean, said ‘The end of UK passporting into the EU/EEA meant that firms that wished to consider providing investment advice to the same market would either have had to cease their activities or apply for new licences. The application for this licence involved not only a management team, but many qualified local staff, having to take local securities trading exams in order to comply with local legislation. It is fact that local exams were required before Brexit but this was never really enforced. So potential clients of advice firms, operating in the EU, really need to check this.’ In Cyprus, anyone giving Investment Advice should have passed the CySEC advanced examination and be current on the public register of certified persons.
Aisa International and Aisa Professional director, Clive Tutton, also wanted to clear up some misconceptions. ‘With our combined full suite of licences, we are now able to offer advice from dual qualified individuals across the EU and UK, and operate in a discretionary way with portfolio management. We recognise that firms in the EU will not have terms of business with the majority of UK pension providers. As Aisa has both EU and UK licences, this means that the Aisa Group can offer a full service to those that have UK pensions and investments who are resident in the EU, which would be seamless if they return to the UK.’
As Aisa Group CEO James Caldwell explained “This is not just the standard basic MiFID licence that most firms in our market apply for, this licence also allows Aisa International to act in a discretionary way with more than just collectives or passive instruments”.
Aisa International’s new MiFID licence may be extended to cover EU countries through passporting where it is necessary.
It is a fact that non-UK regulated firms (including those based in the EU) are unable to obtain terms of business with the majority of UK pension providers as they limit contracts to UK regulated firms. This impacts on Aisa International as well, although it has the advantage of working alongside other members of the Aisa Group. Many networks and firms in the EU do not have this advantage or lack licences in one jurisdiction or the other.
Having the ability to advise or obtain information and work with all providers prevents unnecessary pension transfers which are not in the interest of a client. Aisa International say they are seeing quite a few instances of completely unnecessary transfers, not because it is in the clients’ best interests, but an advisory firm is unable to provide a full independent service or unable to earn money otherwise through their normal commission structures. Aisa Group members through their fee based structure are well-placed to deal with those clients that have UK pensions and are now resident in the EU, or vice-versa.
The views expressed in this article are not to be construed as personal advice. You should contact a qualified and ideally regulated adviser in order to obtain up to date personal advice with regard to your own personal circumstances.
Lee Hinton is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments, holds the Cyprus Ministry of Finance Advanced Examination certificate and holds the UK Diploma in Financial Planning.