Almost two thirds of European financial services firms have not yet fully budgeted for the implementation of the EU's Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), according to a survey by SunGard.
The research found that around 65% of the 102 firms surveyed either have no overall plan or are yet to fully identify MiFID-related budgets.
But despite this, general confidence remains high, says SunGard, with 80% of the firms surveyed believing they are on track with MiFID preparations, only slightly down from 84% in an earlier study released in September.
Richard Thornton of SunGard Consulting Services, says: "Although it is encouraging to see that most firms remain confident about preparations, it is also interesting to note that many are yet to commit significant budgets. For many, there seems to be an attitude of 'wait-and-see' as MiFID's implications become clearer over time."
Of those respondents who have made budget provisions, 50% have allocated less than €1 million, whilst 18% have budgeted between €10 and €40 million.
Pablo Orbiso, vice president at Citigroup Global Markets Limited, who participated in a telephone interview, commented: “We are on track with MiFID implementation, but there are several open questions about how the Directive will be implemented that we are working on clarifying."
He says Citigroup Investment Bank (CIB) has set aside "a significant sum of next year’s budget" to implement any MIFID related changes in order to adhere to the new rules by November 2007.
"The forecast considers costs such as technology changes, training, legal and compliance, etc.," he says. "Overall, we are viewing the project favourably because although it will have significant costs, the main benefits will be to simplify and unify the trading environment across Europe.”
However, Sheena Kelman, director, head of dealing at Martin Currie Investment Management Ltd in Edinburgh, offered a different view point: "The timing, for an automated solution, is getting very tight. Companies are unlikely to waste huge amounts of resource on final processes and systems, until the requirements are clear. The industry generally needs about an 18-month lead time to make really major changes to their processes. Unless the MiFID deadline changes, or the proposals are relatively straightforward, then the nearer we get to November 2007 the less likely it is that, however willing it is, the industry will be able to comply."