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  • 1.
    Berglund, Amie
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Danell, Oskar
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    "Inte sjutton läser man alla de där papperna man får": En kvalitativ studie om hur MiFID II påverkat Principal agent problem vid investeringsrådgivning2019Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Background: On January 3, 2018, the EU directive Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II) came into effect. The directive is intended to expand investor protection through eliminating information asymmetry and conflicts of interest in the financial market, while also harmonizing the regulations between nations within the EU. For investment advising, the directive results in more extensive documentation and stricter regulation of how fees and risks are communicated, as well as how incentives are handled; all with the aim of protecting investors. At the same time, the general public shows low interest in personal finance, as well as inadequate financial knowledge.

    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to further the understanding of how the introduction of the EU directive MiFID II has affected the principal-agent problem that arises during investment advising, from an investment firm perspective.

    Completion: This is a qualitative case-study which utilizes a phenomenological research perspective and an abductive approach. The empirical material has been collected through semi-structured interviews at investment firms with a total of seven respondents, whom were selected through goal-oriented convenience sampling. 

    Conclusion: The study concludes that the principal-agent problems in investment advising have not been eliminated. According to our interpretation of the traditional theories, information asymmetry is nearly non-existent. Yet it remains a significant problem due to lack of interest and an inability to assimilate the information. Thus, we argue that the theoretical framework should be revised to include these barriers, as they may lead to information asymmetry. Conflicts of interest have been reduced, but still remain to some extent. Furthermore, the motivation to act based on self-interest still remain. Hence, the study shows that MiFID II has not turned the principal-agent relationship into a stewardship relationship.

    Contribution: The theoretical contribution to information asymmetry challenges the assumption that the principal is interested in all the information that is of relevance for them. The study show that this is not always the case. Apart from information asymmetry arising when ascertaining the actions of the agent is expensive or difficult, it can also arise due to the principal’s lack of interest or inability to assimilate the information. Moreover, MiFID II has made it more difficult for the agent to act in their own self-interest, should it deviate from the interest of the principal. The directive has not, however, affected the intrinsic motivation of the agent. Thus, we cannot assume that the elimination of these problems causes a principal-agent relationship to transform into a stewardship relationship. Through an increased understanding of how binding legislation affects principal-agent problems, the empirical contribution can help regulatory bodies in their work to mitigate the aforementioned problems. Hence, the study may help to not only expand existing legislation, but also in the development of future legislation and directives. By providing an outside perspective of what conflicts of interests could arise in investment advising, the empirical contribution could also be of use for investment firms in their work to identify and manage conflicts of interest

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