Council of EU Presidency Compromise on Regulation on ECB’s Powers to Impose Sanctions

On December 11, the Council of the EU published a note (dated December 10) that amends the ECB’s powers to impose sanctions.

The ECB published its recommendation for a Council Regulation in April 2014. The recommendation aims to establish a coherent regime for the imposition by the ECB for sanctions relating to the performance of its supervisory tasks under the Regulation establishing the single supervisory mechanism, by adapting the framework already set out for the purposes of monetary policy conduct.

BCBS Issues Revisions to Basel Securitization Framework

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (“BCBS“) issued revisions to the Basel II securitization framework on December 11.

 The framework, which comes into effect in January 2018, forms part of the BCBS’s broader Basel II agenda to reform regulatory standards for banks in response to the global financial crisis. The revisions aim to address a number of shortcomings in the securitization framework highlighted by the financial crisis and strengthen the capital standards for securitization exposures held in the banking book.

 The final requirements set out in the framework incorporate feedback to two rounds of consultation in 2012 and 2013 and take account of two quality impact studies undertaking during those consultations. Compared to the 2013 proposals, this final set of requirements includes amendments that smooth the impact of maturity on capital charges, as well as technical enhancements and clarifications.

EBA Publishes Risk Dashboard of EU Banking Sector for Q3 2014

On December 11, the European Banking Authority (“EBA“) published its risk dashboard for the third quarter of 2014, summarizing the main risks and vulnerabilities in the EU banking sector.

The data reflected in this version of the dashboard shows that, among other things:

  • Capital positions in EU banks reached the highest level since 2009, driven by capital issuances ahead of the stress test and assets quality review exercises;
  • Levels of non-performing loans remained stable, but were still high;
  • Profitability levels were volatile;
  • Shifting of balance sheet structure continued; and
  • Loan-to-deposit ration remained fairly unchanged during H1 2014.

 The EBA also published an interactive tool.

EIOPA Consults on Second Set of Solvency II Implementing Technical Standards and Guidelines

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has, on December 2, published 16 consultations in respect of the second set of draft implementing technical standards (ITS) and guidelines required under the Solvency II Directive (2009/138/EC).

The 16 consultations have been grouped under the three Solvency II pillars. EIOPA has also published two additional consultations on: (i) the draft guidelines on the supervision of branches of third-country insurance undertakings; and (ii) technical advice on recovery plans, finance schemes and supervisory powers in deteriorating financial conditions.

Responses to the consultations are requested by March 2, 2015 with the exception of the technical advice consultation for which responses are requested by February 18, 2015.  Consultations.

EDPS has published Guidelines on Data Protection in EU Financial Services Regulation

On November 25, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) published guidelines on data protection in EU financial services regulation.

The EDPS aims to ensure that the EU institutions and bodies are aware of data protection requirements and integrate high standards of data protection in all new legislation.

The EDPS notes that much of the information that is required to be gathered by EU legislation relates to legal persons but also notes that there is potential for financial services regulations to interfere with the right of privacy for natural persons.

The EDPS states that the EU legal framework is complex and has prepared for financial services regulation a 10-step methodology which may assist policymakers in anticipating some of the potential difficulties. This methodology is located in section 3 of the Guidelines.  Guidelines.

Council of EU Agrees General Approach on Proposed Regulation on Securities Financing Transactions

On November 20, the Council of the EU published a press release reporting that its Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) has agreed its approach on a draft regulation on reporting and transparency of securities financing transactions (SFTs) (the SFT Regulation).

SFTs are often carried out by the shadow banking sector and rely on assets belonging to the counterparty to generate financing.  They mostly involve lending or borrowing of securities and commodities, repurchase or reverse repurchase transactions, or buyback/sell-back transactions.

The SFT Regulation is intended to enhance financial stability by ensuring that information on SFTs is efficiently reported to trade repositories and investors in collective investment undertakings.

The Commission published its legislative proposal for the SFT Regulation in January 2014 and the Council published its first compromise proposal in October 2014. The Council’s agreement enables negotiations to commence as soon as the negotiating team of the European Parliament is entrusted with a mandate. The aim is to adopt the SFT Regulation at first reading. Press Release.

Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Market Abuse) Regulations 2014 Published

On November 20, the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Market Abuse) Regulations 2014 were published with an accompanying explanatory memorandum.  The Regulations were made on November 19, and come into force on December 15.  They amend the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) to extend until July 3, 2016 the expiry dates of:

  • the prohibition on market manipulation (s118(8) FSMA);
  • the associated provisions (s118A(2) and (3) FSMA); and
  • the definition of “regular user” (s130A FSMA).

On July 3, 2016, the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) will take effect and the above FSMA provisions will then expire.  The s118(8) prohibition will be replaced by a prohibition with similar scope under MAR.  RegulationExplanatory Memorandum.

ECON Publishes Draft Report on MMF Regulation

On November 17, the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) published a draft report on the proposed Regulation on Money Market Funds (the MMF Regulation).

Money market funds are a type of investment fund that invests in short-term debt such as money market instruments issued by banks, governments and companies (MMFs).  If adopted, the MMF Regulation will introduce a general framework of requirements to enhance the liquidity and stability of MMF funds.

The draft report sets out suggested amendments to the European Commission’s original proposal and an explanatory statement. The statement comments that:

  • there is still significant scope for improvement relating to liquidity and maturity transformation and in making MMFs more stable;
  • a new category of EU government constant net assets value money market fund (CNAV MMF) should be established, which would invest a majority of assets into EU government debt; and
  • the net asset value of CNAVs should be subject to daily disclosure requirements, stress tests should take place on a quarterly basis and there should be stronger investor warnings.

The Parliament is scheduled to consider the MMF Regulation at its plenary session on March 25, 2015. Draft report.