The IMC’s chief executive says “there is a very big misunderstanding of what this industry is all about” but thinks the reshuffling of the European Parliament is a unique opportunity to set the record straight.
“A lot of the work we’ve been doing in Brussels for the last few months has been about creating credibility; credibility for the industry and credibility for the IMC,” the organization’s CEO Bruno L’ecuyer told IMI during its annual forum in Geneva last week.
“I’m pleased to say that the European Commission, the European Parliament, and other policy makers in Brussels have, actually, been very welcoming and a lot of credit is due to them for the fact that they have opened their doors. They’ve created an expert group for member states and for the industry to represent its thoughts on the situation within investment migration,” he adds.
“Big misunderstanding of what the industry is all about”
L’ecuyer describes the April 16th stakeholder meeting as productive, and that heads of program units, along with about 20 other stakeholders from the industry, had taken part in a variety of discussions and that, “at the end of the day, there are concerns.”
The IMC-chief confirms that the areas about which policy-makers are most troubled are those related to national security, money laundering, and due diligence standards.
“I am absolutely shocked and alarmed about some of the things I hear come from these policymakers. There is a very big misunderstanding of what this industry is all about. There is an information gap and somebody needs to fill it or create a bridge between the policymakers and the industry. We see it as part of the IMC’s role to do that, and we think that other industry players should also take a part in filling this vacuum of information.”
Fresh MEPs, fresh start
L’ecuyer believes the information gap, coupled with the comprehensive reshuffling of the European Parliament that will see 751 freshman MEPs enter the assembly, represents a unique chance to get off on the right foot with recently elected representatives.
“This is a brilliant opportunity for the industry to properly start engaging with all these policymakers in shaping how policy, legislation, and potential regulation for the industry could look in five to ten years time,” he says.
During an audience address on the forum’s second day, L’ecuyer formally welcomed the first cohort of students for the association’s long-awaited certification program, which aims to introduce educational standards for the investment migration industry similar to those common in accounting, financial planning, and among trust practitioners.
“It’s about professionalizing the industry so that it is recognized as being credible, and it’s also about professionalizing the IMC as the industry body, along with all its members,” comments L’ecuyer, who further divulged that, along with the certification program, the organization will partition its individual membership status into several different levels according to competence:
Read more about the IMC’s certification program here.
“We’ve started off with quite an ambitious program of certification in investment migration, which is formulated as an online, self-learning system with five modules.”
Outlining the program, L’ecuyer explains that the five modules will cover due diligence, GDPR-compliance, KYC/AML, ethical standards, as well as a final module that deals with “what this industry is all about”.
See the full interview with Bruno L’ecuyer below: