act legal Germany (AC Tischendorf Rechtsanwälte) 25. January 2023

BaFin focuses audit on product governance and objects to accuracy of financial market participants

Complaints about product governance

BaFin has examined product providers as well as distributors, i.e. portfolio managers, investment advisors, etc., and found numerous reasons for objections. The complaints relate in particular to the following topics:


Target market identification

When determining the target market, product providers must specify exactly what knowledge, experience, risk appetite, etc. the investors must have who are to be suitable for the product in question. The more complex a product is, the more extensive and in-depth the individual characteristics of the potential target customers must be designed (proportionality principle) to ensure that only customers within the target market are eligible for purchase.

BaFin has found that product providers rarely base their target market definition on the proportionality principle. There is a need for improvement here.

Costs and fees

The cost and fee structure must also fit the target customers. Costs, for example, must not eat up the expected return. Product providers must calculate and evaluate this accordingly when designing the product.


Target market identification

For distributors, the target market must be determined individually against the background of the company’s own customer base. An independent target market definition must therefore be carried out; an unchecked takeover from the product provider is not sufficient. The following also applies to this target market definition: the more complex a product is, the more extensive and in-depth the individual characteristics of the potential target customers must be (principle of proportionality).



The responsibility for proper target market determination in compliance with the proportionality principle lies with the respective product provider or sales company. They cannot therefore delegate these tasks in one direction or the other.

Implementation in organizational guidelines

The best way to counter BaFin’s objections is to include appropriate requirements in your organizational guidelines.

We have years of experience in drafting them and therefore know exactly what is important and how you can implement them in a way that fits your corporate culture. Please feel free to contact us at any time and arrange a meeting.

For more information please contact

Marcus Columbu

Attorney at law
act legal Germany AC Tischendorf Rechtsanwälte Frankfurt, Germany
Phone: +49 69 24 70 97 32