Press Release

CEOs State Regulatory Matters as their Biggest Concern 

PIMFA Launches Results From Their 2019 CEO Sentiment Report


Wednesday, 28 August 2019

PIMFA, the trade association for investment managers and financial advisers, has today launched the 2019 CEO Sentiment Research Report, the latest report in the annual CEO Sentiment series.

The 2019 CEO Sentiment Research Report provides a comprehensive overview of key issues and areas of concerns from CEO’s in the wealth management and financial advice industry, from within our membership.

For the next year, CEO’s have stated they will be focusing on key areas including:

  • 40% of CEO’s stated the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR), Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and issues with the Financial Ombudsman Service were the top three Regulatory Concerns causing most dissent. They have also stated that they are preparing for SM&CR by reviewing their processes, procedures and the culture of responsibility across their organisations
  • 47% stated that Business Growth is a key focus for them. Almost half of the CEOs in PIMFA’s membership are planning on growing their business by developing deeper relationships with existing clients, attracting diverse new clients and the crafting of new strategic undertakings including acquisition and consolidation. Winning new business, corporate expansion, stability and enhancing their overall strategy also figured strongly
  • CEO’s stated Tech Systems, Staffing & Recruitment, and Costs & Efficiencies – 30% shared equally by three categories – as another key focus. The focus is on the need to revitalise and improve digital systems to improve client interactions and their accessibility to their portfolio information. In addition to this, with increasing public concerns over the data protection, many CEO’s also stated that they will be continuing to invest in improving their cyber-security.

In the last year, the CEO’s listed regulatory issues, market uncertainty, cyber & data security and cost control as some of their main business concerns.

Regulatory issues; Regulations, and their implementation and compliance, came up as the top issue for CEOs, as it did last year. Firms are concerned about the amount of time required to manage regulation. As regulation changes with MiFID & SM&CR, compliance is no longer just the responsibility of those who work in the compliance department, everyone within the firm now has a role to play in ensuring that the firm remains compliant with the current regulations.

IT projects and upgrading was also a mainstream focus as firms are taking note of the ever-changing marketplace; streamlining processes, efficiencies and incorporating new technology were all deemed significant areas during the past year, with the growing fear of cyber-attacks.

The recruitment and retention of talent, particularly for succession planning and encouraging inclusion and diversity was also a concern.

Gary Sunderland, Head of Research and Indices at PIMFA said: “The CEO Sentiment Survey gives a great insight into the minds of the people running the wealth management and financial advice firms in the UK, and at such a precarious time, as Brexit approaches, it is always beneficial to know how others in the industry are navigating market volatility, political landscape and regulatory environment.”

The CEO Sentiment Research Series was originally launched in 2016, to be an informative canvass of member CEOs on their views each year regarding the issues for focus or concern within the wealth management and financial advice industry. The survey aims to continue on an annual basis so that we can build upon our findings with a consultation process on the content with member firms. The findings also inform the scope of our work over the next year and ensure that our objectives are aligned with our members’ focus. These results will be of interest to our members and other parties involved in the wealth management and financial advice sector.

To read the report in full, please click here.



Notes for Editors

About PIMFA – the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association

  • To read the report in full, please click here.
  • PIMFA’s 2018 CEO Sentiment is available to read in full, here.
  • PIMFA is the leading trade association for firms that provide investment management and financial advice to everyone from individuals and families to charities, pension funds, trusts and companies.
  • PIMFA represents both full and associate member firms. Full members provide a range of financial solutions including financial advice, portfolio management, as well as investment and execution services. They assist everyone from individuals and families, to charities and pension funds, all the way to trusts and companies.  Associate members provide professional services to the PIMFA community.
  • PIMFAleads the debate on policy and regulatory recommendations to ensure that the UK remains a global centre of excellence in the wealth management, investment advice and financial planning arena.  Our mission is to create an optimal operating environment so that its member firms can focus on delivering the best service to clients, providing responsible stewardship for their long-term savings and investments.
  • PIMFA was created in 2017 as the outcome of a merger between the Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) and the Wealth Management Association (WMA) with a history as a trade association going back for 28 years – read more.
  • Further information can be found at
  • To become a member of PIMFA for access to training, benefits and discounts, please visit or contact us directly at



For further information on this release or other press matters please contact: