European Union

SEC Announces Measures to Facilitate Cross-Border Implementation of the European Union’s MiFID II’s Research Provisions

 

On October 26, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that, “following consultation with European authorities, and in response to concerns that investors could lose access to valuable research, the staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued three related no-action letters. These letters are designed to provide market participants with greater certainty regarding their U.S. regulated activities as they engage in efforts to comply with the European Union’s (EU) Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) in advance of the Jan. 3, 2018, implementation date.”

According to the SEC, the no-action relief “provides a path for market participants to comply with the research requirements of MiFID II in a manner that is consistent with the U.S. federal securities laws. More specifically, and subject to various terms and conditions: (1) broker-dealers, on a temporary basis, may receive research payments from money managers in hard dollars or from advisory clients’ research payment accounts; (2) money managers may continue to aggregate orders for mutual funds and other clients; and (3) money managers may continue to rely on an existing safe harbor when paying broker-dealers for research and brokerage.”

The Press Release announcing these developments can be found here.

CFTC Comparability Determination on EU Margin Requirements and a Common Approach on Trading Venues

On October 13, 2017, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC“) announced determinations by the CFTC and the European Commission (“EC“) on comparability and equivalence of margin requirements for uncleared swaps. CFTC Commissioners unanimously approved a comparability determination finding the margin requirements for uncleared swaps under the laws and regulations of the European Union (“EU“) comparable in outcome to those under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations. This determination is effective immediately. This announcement coincides with the EC’s announcement of an equivalence decision which similarly finds that the CFTC’s uncleared swap margin rules are comparable in outcome to the EU’s corresponding margin requirements for uncleared OTC derivatives. Additionally, the CFTC and EC announced a common approach regarding certain CFTC and EU authorized derivatives trading venues. Press Release. Rule. Common Approach.

Delegated Regulation on RTS Specifying Criteria for Setting MREL under BRRD published in OJ

 

On September 3, 2016, the Commission Delegated Regulation ((EU) 2016/1450) supplementing the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (2014/59/EU) (BRRD) with regulatory technical standards (RTS) highlighting the criteria relating to the methodology for setting the minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities (MREL) has been published in the Official Journal of the EU (OJ).

Article 45(6) of the BRRD specifies certain criteria that a resolution authority must consider when determining the level of MREL for a BRRD institution. Article 45(2) of the BRRD gave the European Commission the power to adopt a Delegated Regulation containing RTS further specifying the Article 45(6) assessment criteria.

The RTS contain provisions relating to the interpretation of the six assessment criteria set out in Article 45(6). They also permit resolution authorities to provide a transitional period for reaching the final MREL for firms or entities to which resolution tools have been applied.

The Delegated Regulation was adopted by the Commission on May 23, 2016. It shall enter into force 20 days after its publication in the OJ (i.e. September 23, 2016).

Addendum to ECB Guide on Harmonizing Options and Discretions Available in Union Law

 

On August 10, 2016, the European Central Bank (ECB) published an addendum to its guide on options and discretions (O&Ds) available in Union law.

The addendum complements the guide and ECB Regulation that were published in March 2016. It lays down the ECB’s approach to the exercise of eight O&Ds provided for in the Capital Requirements Regulation (Regulation 575/2013) (CRR) and the CRD IV Directive (2013/36/EU). The objective is to provide coherence, effectiveness and transparency regarding the supervisory policy that will be applied in the supervisory assessment of applications from significant supervised entities within the scope of the single supervisory mechanism (SSM).

A press release also published on August 10, highlights that the publication of the addendum signals the end of the consultation process. A consolidated version of the guide, including the addendum and the approach for the recognition of institutional protection schemes, is to be published on the ECB’s website later in 2016.

EBA Publishes Interim Report on MREL

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published an interim report on the minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities (MREL). Under the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (2014/59/EU) (BRRD) the EBA is required to submit a report to the European Commission on the implementation of MREL by October 31, 2016.  This report will assist the Commission in its work on a legislative proposal on the harmonized application of MREL as well as a legislative proposal to review MREL and implement the total loss absorbing capacity standard in the EU.

The EBA’s interim report is intended to provide input into the Commission’s deliberations ahead of the preparations of the EBA’s final report and contains a number of provisional recommendations. Preliminary quantitative findings on the financing capacity and needs of EU banking groups are also available in the interim report, although these are subject to several methodological caveats.  In the absence of MREL decisions for institutions to date, and given the limited information related to the resolution authorities’ MREL policy approach, the EBA was required to make assumptions on the likely scope and calibration of MREL.  These assumptions are by definition different from the actual levels of MREL which will ultimately be determined by resolution authorities in relation to each institution and group.

The interim report is available here.

Brexit – What Now For Your Business

So, the UK has voted to leave the EU. Everyone has their own opinion and we’ve all seen the news reports and various viewpoints but what does this result mean for you in practical terms and where do we go from here? Orrick’s EU-UK Working Group is ready and waiting to answer any questions you may have (see contact details at the end of this alert) and in the meantime, here’s our overview of the key issues for your business. READ MORE

Commission Adopts Proposal to Incorporate ESAs into EEA Agreement

On June 2, 2016, the European Commission published a press release announcing that it had adopted a proposal for a Council decision on the position to be taken by the EU on the incorporation of the Regulations on the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), and some of the related Regulations and Directives, into the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA).

The acts to be incorporated into the EEA Agreement include the ESAs Regulations (EBA, EIOPA and ESMA Regulations), the European Systemic Risk Board Regulation, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive and related Delegated Acts, the Short Selling Regulation and related delegated acts, the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (‘EMIR’) and the Credit Ratings Agency Regulations.

This is an important step towards the extension of the European System of Financial Supervision (ESFS) to the EEA EFTA countries: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The Commission explained that incorporating these acts into the EEA Agreement would ensure strong and co-ordinated financial supervision throughout the EEA.

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.

Directive Amending Solvency II Transposition and Application Dates Published

On 21 May 2012, the European Commission published a legislative proposal for a directive to amend the Solvency II Directive. The proposals extend the date by which Solvency II must be transposed by member states into national law from 31 October 2012 to 30 June 2013. It also states that Solvency II will apply from 1 January 2014 (the application date) and Solvency I will no longer apply on this date.

The proposals were made as a result of delays in the adoption of the Omnibus II Directive and to allow a smooth transition into the new law under Solvency II. The Commission has requested that the European Parliament and Council of the European Union adopt the proposed Directive urgently so that it can enter into force as soon as possible. Legislative Proposal.