European Commission

EC Summary of Contributions of the Green Paper on Retail Financial Services

On July 14, 2016 the European Commission published a summary of responses to the public consultation launched on December 10, 2015 relating to the Green Paper on retail financial services prepared by the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.

The summary report sets out the broad content of responses received. Firms highlighted a number of obstacles to offering services cross-border, including local financial regulation, tax laws, access to data and information, local network for insurance claims handling, and divergent national interpretations of the anti-money laundering directive (2015/849/EU).

The report states that work is ongoing in the Commission services on a follow-up initiative, which might take the form of an action plan.

European Commission Calls for Further Technical Advice from EBA on Prudential Regime for Investment Firms under CRD IV

On July 6, 2016, the EBA published a call for advice, dated June 13, 2016, that it has received from the European Commission relating to the prudential requirements applicable to investment firms under the Capital Requirements Regulation (Regulation 575/2013) (“CRR”) and the CRD IV Directive (2016/36/EU) (together referred to as CRD IV).

The EBA already provided advice on this matter to the Commission in December 2015, in which it broadly concluded that the current prudential regime for investment purposes is not adequate. To better inform the Commission’s decision, it is seeking further technical advice from the EBA on the details of the high level recommendations set out in the December 2015 advice. It has asked the EBA to provide advice on the following:

  • the criteria and thresholds for each of the three proposed classes of investment firm;
  • the design and calibration of all relevant aspects of a new prudential regime for the three proposed classes of investment firm;
  • the application of the CRD IV remuneration requirements to the different proposed classes of investment firm, and if whether the proposed new classes would affect the applicability of the CRD IV corporate governance rules; and
  • any other issues or inconsistencies the EU competent authorities have identified in implementing the rules relating to investment firms.

The EBA is to consult with ESMA when preparing its advice. The deadline for preparing the advice on the analysis relating to class one investment firms is September 31, 2016. The EBA must prepare its final report on the substantive content and calibration of the proposed regimes for the different classes of investment firms to the Commission by June 30, 2017.

European Commission Adopts Delegated Regulation on RTS on Key Information Documents for PRIIPS

On June 30, 2016, the European Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation and related annexes supplementing the Regulation on key information documents (“KIDs”) for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs) (PRIIPs KID Regulation). The delegated act introduces RTS specifying the content and underlying methodology of the KIDs that will have to be provided to retail consumers when they buy certain investment products.

The RTS specify the exact contents of the KID, which must outline the product’s aims, how risky it is, when investors can get their money back, how much it costs and its expected returns. The information must be set out in a standard way, regardless of the type of investment product.

The European Parliament and Council now have a two-month scrutiny period, which they can extend for a further month, during which to consider the Delegated Regulation. If neither of them objects, it will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the OJ and it will apply from December 31, 2016.

European Commission Adopts Delegated Regulation on RTS Specifying Obligation to Clear Derivatives Traded on Regulated Markets and Timing of Acceptance for Clearing under MIFIR

On June 29, 2016, the European Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation supplementing the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (“MiFIR”) with regard to RTS specifying the obligation to clear derivatives traded on regulated markets and timing of acceptance for clearing.

Under Article 29, ESMA was required to develop draft RTS to specify the requirements to ensure that cleared derivative transactions concluded on a trading venue or on a bilateral basis are submitted and accepted for clearing as quickly as technologically practicable using automated systems in order to facilitate clearing and trading certainty. The Commission’s Delegated Regulation is based on the draft RTS submitted by ESMA to the Commission in September 2015.

The RTS lay down requirements for the transfer of information, pre-trade checks and timeframes for the transfer of such information for cleared derivative transactions concluded either on a trading venue or on a bilateral basis. It also provides rules on the treatment of cleared derivative transactions which are not accepted for clearing by the CCP.

The Council of the EU and the European Parliament will consider the Delegated Regulation and if neither of them objects, it will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the OJ. It will apply from the date appearing in the second paragraph of Article 55 of MiFIR.

European Commission Adopts Delegated Regulation of RTS for Specifying Information to be Notified by Investment Firms, Market Operators and Credit Institutions under MIFID II

On June 29, 2016, the European Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation supplementing the MiFID II Directive with regard to regulatory technical standards (RTS) specifying information to be notified by investment firms, market operators and credit institutions exercising their rights under the freedom to provide services or the freedom of establishment.

ESMA was required to develop an exhaustive list of information to be notified to the relevant competent authority by such investment firms and credit institutions under Articles 34(8) and 35(11) of MiFID II. The Commission’s Delegated Regulation is based on the draft RTS submitted by ESMA to the Commission in June 2015.

The purpose of the RTS are to provide certainty, clarity and predictability in the passport notification process for investment firms and to facilitate the review by competent authorities through the use of harmonized documents.

The Council of the EU and the European Parliament will consider the Delegated Regulation and if neither of them objects, it will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU (OJ).   It will apply from the date appearing in the second sub-paragraph of Article 93(1) of the MiFID II Directive.

European Commission Adopts a Delegated Regulation on RTS Relating to Clearing Access in Respect of Trading Venues and Central Counterparties under MiFIR

The European Commission has adopted a Delegated Regulation and annex supplementing the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (Regulation 600/2014) (“MiFIR“) with regard to regulatory technical standards (“RTS“) relating to clearing access in respect of trading venues and central counterparties (C(2016) 3807 final). The European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA“) submitted the draft RTS to the Commission in September 2015. The RTS cover transparency, micro-structural issues, data publication and access, requirements applying on and to trading venues, commodity derivatives, market data reporting, post-trading issues and best execution. The Delegated Regulation will now be considered by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. If neither of them objects, it will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. The Delegated Regulation will apply from the application date of MiFIR (that is, January 3, 2018) with the exception of Articles 15, 16, 17, 19 and 20, which will apply from the date the Regulation enters into force.

European Commission Adopts Delegated Regulation on RTS Relating to Maintenance of Relevant Data Relating to Orders in Financial Instruments under MiFIR

On June 24, 2016, the European Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation and annex supplementing the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (Regulation 600/2014) (“MiFIR“) with regard to regulatory technical standards (“RTS“) for the maintenance of relevant data relating to orders in financial instruments (C(2016) 3821 final).

The Delegated Regulation will now be considered by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. If neither of them objects, it will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. The Delegated Regulation will apply from the application date of MiFIR (that is, January 3, 2018).

European Commission Adopts Delegated Regulations on RTS Relating to Execution Venues under MiFID II

On June 8, 2016, the European Commission adopted the following two Delegated Regulations supplementing the MiFID II Directive (2014/65/EU):

  1. A Delegated Regulation (C(2016) 3333 final) in relation to regulatory technical standards (RTS) surrounding the data to be published by execution venues on the quality of execution of transactions, together with an Annex. For financial instruments subject to the trading obligation, each trading venue and systematic internalizer must, under MiFID II, make available to the public, at no cost and on at least an annual basis, data relating to the quality of execution of transactions on that venue.
  2. A Delegated Regulation (C(2016) 3337 final) in relation to RTS for the annual publication by investment firms of information on the identity of execution venues and on the quality of execution, together with an Annex. Investment firms that execute client orders must, under MiFID II, summarize and make available annually, the top five execution venues in terms of trading volumes where they executed client orders in the preceding year, and information on the quality of execution obtained.

It is now for the Council of the EU and the European Parliament to consider the Delegated Regulations. Subject to any objection, they shall enter into force 20 days after their publication in the Official Journal of the EU (OJ).

European Parliament Votes to Postpone MiFID II Implementation until January 2018

On June 7, 2016, the European Parliament published a press release announcing that it has voted to postpone the implementation of MiFID II (the MiFID II Directive (2014/65/EU)) and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (Regulation 600/2014) (MiFIR)) until January 3, 2018. This grants member states a year’s extension on the original July 3, 2016 deadline to transpose the legislation. The extension was triggered by the European Commission and the European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) delay in producing the necessary technical standards.

MiFID II intends to close the gaps left by MiFID I. Following the financial crisis, it was introduced to create a single market for investment services and activities, with the aim of improving the competitiveness of EU financial markets. The Parliament, through MiFID II, seemingly aims to introduce: (i) a dedicated regime for the treatment of package transactions with regards to pre-trade transparency obligations; (ii) clarification for the own-account exemption for corporate end-users and securities financing transactions, which are excluded from MiFID transparency obligations; and (iii) a technical cross-referencing issue between the Prospective Directive (2003/71/EC) and MiFID II.

On June 8, the Parliament proceeded to publish the provisional edition of: (i) the text of the legislative proposal for a Directive amending the MiFID II Directive as regards certain dates; and (ii) the text of the legislative proposal amending the MiFIR, the Market Abuse Regulation (Regulation 596/2014) (MAR) and the Regulation on improving securities settlement and regulating central securities depositories (CSDs) (Regulation 909/2014) (CSDR) as regards certain dates.

It now remains for the proposals to be formally adopted by the Council, following which they will be published in the Official Journal of the EU (OJ) and enter into force in line with the timing stipulated in the legislation.

European Commission Adopts Delegated Regulation on RTS on Detailed Records of Financial Contracts under BRRD

On June 7, 2016, the European Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation supplementing the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (2014/59/EU) (BRRD). The Delegated Regulation deals with the regulatory technical standards (RTS) on a minimum set of the information on financial contracts that should be contained in the detailed records, together with the circumstances in which the requirement should be imposed (C(2016) 3356 final).

Following submission of draft RTS by the EBA in December 2015, the Commission is entitled, under Article 71 of the BRRD, to adopt delegated regulations which highlight the methodology for assessing the value of assets and liabilities of institutions or entities. The draft RTS state that, should the relevant conditions for resolution be satisfied, an institution must maintain detailed records of financial contracts where it is foreseen that resolution actions would be applied to the institution concerned. The Annex accompanying the Delegated Regulation highlights the minimum list of information on financial contracts.

It is now for the Council of the EU and the European Parliament to consider the Delegated Regulation. Subject to any objection, it will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU (OJ).