A highly international asset management industry
The asset management industry has undergone spectacular growth in recent years. Total assets under management are now nearly equal to global GDP and asset management has become a critical component of the international financial system.
A central position in the market economy
The asset management industry has carved out a central position in the market economy, handling the management of a large proportion of the public’s long-term savings, primarily through pension schemes in a growing number of developed and emerging countries.
As the industry grows, the participants are becoming increasingly international. Today, investors can choose between funds established in other countries, as well as domestic funds, and foreign securities account for a substantial proportion of investment funds’ portfolios, especially in the case of European funds.
This means that the asset management industry has a major influence on financial markets, on financing for national economies and on the structure of personal and institutional savings. This is why the regulation of the industry is now being considered at the international level.
The French asset management industry: a European leader
At the forefront of the European asset management industry, France is one of the major players in asset management, alongside the United States. Five French groups are in the top 25 worldwide. French asset management companies are present on all continents and hold dominant positions in Europe, the United States and Asia. The French players’ international asset management experience means that their organisations and know-how have incorporated international best practices to meet the needs of major international institutional clients, including pension funds, central banks and international organisations.
The AFG represents one of the world leaders in a highly internationalised industry with a major influence on the financial industry as a whole. This means our action must be considered in an international environment, starting with our regulatory lobbying activities, which are aimed largely at European institutions.
International coordination of regulations
The main hurdle for the international development of asset management has been divergences in regulatory views and practices, which can impede mutual recognition and thus hamper the free export of asset management products.
The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), made up primarily of regulatory agencies, has set the goal of harmonising rules at the global level. To this end, it is working to promote:
- Cooperation between its members to produce high standards of regulation,
- Information sharing to promote the development of sound and efficient markets,
- Establishing methods for effective surveillance of international securities transactions,
- Mutual assistance between regulators to enforce standards, promote market integrity and repress market offences.
Consultations on in-depth technical work, international sharing of experiences and analysis and development of joint principles make IOSCO an international standard setter, as well as a forum for exchanging points of view and technical cooperation between its members. In 1998, IOSCO set out a series of principles and objectives for financial regulation that are now recognised as the benchmark for financial market regulation.