Reflecting on 2016, it is easy to see it as a difficult year for the asset management industry. Troubled markets made core business more difficult while, behind-the-scenes, teams continued to fight fires caused by an aggressive but uncertain regulatory agenda. It is possible that 2016 is a one-off but, from a regulatory perspective, it seems there is no rest for the weary.

For example, those following the progress (and eventual delay) of the PRIIPs Regulation will note that it is merely the latest tin can to be kicked down the road by the European legislature.  A lot of this deferred pain will come to pass in 2018 – leaving firms an awful lot to do next year to be ready.

On the revised timeline, PRIIPs, the Benchmarks Regulation and parts of CRD IV will usher in a New Year on 1 January 2018, followed two days later by MiFID II and aspects of the Market Abuse Regulation on 3 January.  2018 is also likely to be the year that sees the introduction of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime, General Data Protection Regulation and the crux of the Brexit negotiations. This is, of course, not to mention the fallout from the FCA’s asset management market study and countless others I am sure.

2017 is therefore set to be every bit as challenging as its forebear. This will come as little shock to those implementing these projects, but does highlight the ever-increasing compliance burden on firms at a time when they are being criticised for a lack of innovation and poor value.

 ‘Happy’ New Year? I hope so, but I would settle for a stress-free one.