European Commission (EC)

European Commission Publishes Summary of FinTech Consultation

 

In March 2017, the European Commission published a consultation paper on FinTech, seeking input from stakeholders which could assist the European Commission’s policy approach towards technological innovation in the financial sector.

In total, the European Commission received a total of 226 responses, the majority from the finance industry, and a summary of the contributions provided were published on September 12, 2017.

The summary indicates that the main risks which were raised by the industry were that of cybersecurity, the use and control of data, and money laundering. With that being said, FinTech was also seen as a driver of development within the sector which created opportunities as to efficiency, cost-saving, competition, and access to finance.

A full copy of the summary is available here. The significantly longer annex, available here, provides some of the detailed responses received.

European Commission Implementing Regulation Amending Implementing Regulation 2016/2070 Published in the OJ

 

The European Commission Implementing Regulation amending Implementing Regulation 2016/2070 in relation to benchmarking portfolios and reporting instructions under the CRD IV Directive (2013/36/EU) (Regulation 2017/1486) was published in the Official Journal of the EU (“OJ“) on August 31, 2017.

The Implementing Regulation 2016/2070 sets out the reporting requirements required from institutions and was published in the OJ in December 2016. The European Banking Authority (“EBA“) and other competent authorities use the information reported to assess the quality of the institutions’ internal approaches under Article 78 of CRD IV.

Pursuant to Article 78(1) of CRD IV, institutions must submit the calculations of their internal approaches at least once a year. Given that the reporting requirements evolve over time in line with the changing focus of the competent authorities’ assessments and EBA Reports, the Commission considered it necessary to amend Annexes I to VI to Implementing Regulation 2016/2070.

The amendments to Implementing Regulation 2016/2070 are limited, and as such, there was no public consultation. The Implementing Regulation will enter into force on September 20, 2017.

Amendment to MiFID II – European Commission Adopts Delegated Regulation Amending Systematic Internaliser Definition

 

The European Commission published the text of a Delegated Regulation amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565 in relation to the specification of the definition of systematic internalisers on August 28, 2017.

The Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565 supplements the MiFID II Directive (2014/65/EU) in relation to the organizational requirements and operating conditions for investment firms and defined terms.

Following perceived ambiguities in relation to the meaning of “trading on own account when executing client orders,” the Commission launched a public consultation on the Delegated Regulation in June 2017. Concerns raised during the consultation have been addressed by the introduction of a new recital and amending article 16a, which clarifies the scope of matching arrangements that are considered dealing on own account.

The Delegated Regulation was adopted on August 28, 2017, and will now need to be considered by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament. Provided neither of the Council or Parliament objects, the Delegated Regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and will enter into force on the day after its publication.

European Commission Adopts Delegated Regulation That Supplements the MiFIR on the Treatment of Package Orders

 

On August 14, 2017, the European Commission has published the draft text of a Delegated Regulation supplementing the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (Regulation 600/2014) (“MiFIR“) with regard to the treatment of package orders.

Currently, Article 9(1)(e) of MiFIR provides that, where certain conditions apply, a waiver is given for both pre- and post-trade transparency requirements for packaged orders. This waiver is, however, limited where the package order is considered “liquid”.

Pursuant to the power of the Commission to adopt a Delegated Regulation establishing a clear methodology for determining package orders for which there is a “liquid market,” the Commission has introduced this Delegated Regulation. Article 1 of the Delegated Regulation sets out general methodology for establishing which for package orders there is a “liquid market.” Articles 2 to 5 then go on to specify the conditions under which a package order can fulfill asset-specific criteria set out in Article 1(b).

Following the introduction of the draft text of the Delegated Regulation, the Council of the EU and European Parliament will consider it. Subject to any objections, it will then enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU and apply from January 3, 2018.

To see the draft text of the Delegated Regulation, please click here.

European Commission Guidelines on Application of PRIIPS Regulation

 

On July 4, 2017, the European Commission adopted a communication containing guidelines on the application of the Regulation on key information documents (“KIDs“) for packaged retail and insurance-based products (“PRIIPS“) (Regulation 1286/2014) (PRIIPS Regulation).

The PRIIPS Regulation lays down rules on the content and format of the KID to be drawn up by PRIIP manufacturers and on the provision of the KID to retail investors and those selling or advising on the products. By smoothing out potential interpretative divergences throughout the EU, the guidelines hope to help providers and distributors of investment products, funds and investment insurance policies design their KIDS. Along with several others, the guidelines address the following issues:

  1. products covered by the PRIIPS Regulation;
  2. products made available to retail investors against no consideration;
  3. multi-option PRIIPS;
  4. insurance-based investment products with PRIIPS and non-PRIIPS as underlying investment options;
  5. territorial application;
  6. use of KIDs by UCITS;
  7. PRIIPS only sold by intermediaries;
  8. distribution of a PRIIP without a KID; and
  9. a non-PRIIP product offered alongside a PRIIP.

The communication was published in the Official Journal of the EU (OJ) on July 7, 2017, as 2017/C 218/02. Firms must comply with the Regulation from January 1, 2018.

European Commission Mid-Term Review of CMU Action Plan: Financial Services Aspects

 

On June 8, 2017, the European Commission published a communication on the mid-term review of the capital markets union (“CMU“) action plan (COM(2017) 292). This follows the action plan published by the Commission in September 2015, which set out its proposed initiatives relating to the establishment of the CMU, and the consultation paper published by the Commission in January 2017, which sought targeted input on revisions to the CMU action plan that would feed in to its mid-term review of the action plan.

The purpose of the mid-term review is to set out an additional set of actions that complement the initiatives laid down in the action plan that have not yet been completed. It consists of:

  • Initiatives that follow on from completed work announced in the action plan:
    • The Commission has confirmed that it intends to proceed with legislative proposals on (i) the Pan-European Personal Pension Product (PEPP); (ii) conflict of laws rules for third-party effects of transaction and securities and claims; and (iii) an EU framework for covered bonds.
    • The Commission also intends to proceed with further work on initiatives relating to commitments announced in the action plan, including (i) amendments to the Solvency II Delegated Regulation ((EU) 2015/35); (ii) recommendations on private placements; (iii) communication on a roadmap for removing barriers to post-trade market infrastructure; and (iv) communication on corporate bond markets.
  • New priority initiatives intended to strengthen the CMU action plan:
    • The initiatives relate to issues including (i) the functioning of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs); (ii) prudential treatment of investment firms; (iii) Fin Tech; (iv) non-performing loans (NPLs); and (v) cross-border investment funds.

The Annex to the mid-term review contains a consolidated list of the CMU initiatives and the proposed timings for those initiatives.

European Commission Adopts Delegated Regulation Amending Solvency II Delegated Regulation On Infrastructure Corporates

 

On June 8, 2017, the European Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation amending the Solvency II Delegated Regulation ((EU) 2015/35) concerning the calculation of regulatory capital requirements for certain categories of assets held by insurance and reinsurance undertakings (infrastructure corporates) (C(2017)3673 final). An impact assessment and executive summary were published alongside the Delegated Regulation.

The Solvency II Delegated Regulation was amended, with effect from April 2016, to provide for appropriate risk calibrations for qualifying infrastructure projects, but not infrastructure corporates. EIOPA submitted a report to the Commission in June 2016, which set out technical advice on infrastructure corporates and recommended several changes to the previous treatment of infrastructure projects. This included amendments to the definition and qualifying criteria for infrastructure projects to avoid inadvertent exclusion of investments in those projects with a better risk profile.

The amendments to the Delegated Regulation will reduce the capital charges attached to investments by insurance companies in infrastructure companies. The aim is to remove regulatory barriers to investment opportunities in infrastructure that fulfill a number of criteria and are considered to have a better risk profile. The amending Delegated Regulation forms part of the Commission’s wider efforts on capital markets unions (CMUs) to support insurers in their role as long-term investors in the EU economy.

It is now for the Council of the EU and the European Parliament to consider the amending Delegated Regulation. Should neither the Council nor the Parliament object to the amending Delegated Regulation, it will be published in the Official Journal of the EU (OJ). It will enter into force on the date following its publication in the OJ and will apply from that date.

European Commission Publishes Speech on Reducing Uncertainty in the Financial Services

 

On April 6, 2017, the European Commission published a speech that considered a number of areas in the financial services sector where action can be taken to reduce uncertainty and strengthen recovery. The speech, given by Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, touched on a number of interesting points, including nonperforming loans, the Capital Markets Union and the effect of Brexit on the central clearing of derivatives. The full speech is available here.

European Commission Publishes Draft Seventh Implementing Regulation Extending Transitional Periods Related to Own Fund Requirements for CCPS Exposures

 

On March 31, 2017, the European Commission published a draft version of an Implementing Regulation on the extension of the transitional periods related to own funds requirements for exposures to Central Counterparties (“CCPs“), set out in the Capital Requirements Regulation (Regulation 575/2013) (“CRR“) and EMIR.

The Commission adopted an initial Implementing Regulation (Regulation 591/2014) in June 2014, extending the 15-month periods referred to in Article 497(1) and (2) of the CRR and in the first and second subparagraphs of Article 89(5)(a) of EMIR by six months, to December 15, 2014. The most recent Implementing Regulation, adopted by the European Commission on December 9, 2016, extended the transitional periods to December 15, 2016.

To avoid market disruption and to prevent penalizing institutions by subjecting them to higher own funds requirements during the process of authorization and recognition of existing CCPs, the latest Implementing Regulation extends the transitional periods by an additional six months, to June 15, 2017.

European Commission Republishes CMU Report on Addressing National Barriers to Capital Flows

 

The European Commission has republished a report as part of its Capital Markets Union (CMU) initiative on addressing national barriers to capital flows.

The European Commission originally published the report in February 2017, but later removed it from its website. The European Commission stated that it was made aware of certain inaccuracies, mainly due to incomplete or conflicting information, and so decided to adopt an amended version. The majority of the changes relate to the removal of references to specific member states.

In the report, the European Commission sets out the initial findings of its expert group of representatives of member states on national barriers to cross-border capital flows and the steps that the Commission expects member states to take to address them. The issues highlighted include barriers to the cross-border distribution of investment funds, national approaches to crowdfunding and residence requirements on managers of financial institutions.