FSMA publishes annual report and presents an analysis of the costs charged by funds and of investments made by retail clients

Press release
FSMA-medewerkers praten voor het FSMA-gebouw

The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has today published its annual report for 2023. During a webinar, the Chairman of the FSMA, Jean-Paul Servais, set out two key themes addressed in the report. The first involves the costs charged by investment funds, and the second is the use of data analysis to gain an overview of Belgian retail investors’ holdings in shares, ETFs and options.

Consumers who wish to invest in funds need to take into account entry charges, management fees and other administrative or operating costs. These costs have considerable impact on the returns they can achieve. Costs contribute to determining the value for money that they can obtain. 

The FSMA seeks to ensure that funds offer value for money. Fund providers are required to give consumers prospects of real returns and not charge unjustifiably high fees. Two years ago, the FSMA presented its first study of this subject. An update of that study illustrates the changes in these costs. 

The FSMA recommends that consumers take a careful look at the funds they are considering investing in if they wish to obtain value for money. “In order to obtain value for their money, consumers need to compare the costs of various funds carefully and identify their impact on the final return,” according to Jean-Paul Servais. 

On the occasion of the presentation of the annual report, the FSMA also set out statistics on the investments made by Belgian retail investors. The figures are based on a data analysis of stock market transaction reports. The study brings to light a number of striking developments:

  • Investments in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have become more and more popular. It is mainly young people who are increasingly investing in these index trackers.
  • Belgian retail investors have a very limited selection of shares in their portfolio. More than one in three traded in just one share.
  • Of the new investors who began to invest in shares during the Covid-19 crisis in 2020, only one-third were still actively investing in 2023.

More information is available in the presentation of the webinar (available in French - Dutch) and in a video message (available in French - Dutch), in which Jean-Paul Servais sets out some of the most important topics in the annual report. 

The 2023 annual report is available on the website of the FSMA (for now in French and Dutch).