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07 February 2008

This week in "Brussels"

European Finance Forum

Friday, 29 February 2008, 10.00 – 13.00 hours



Confirmed speakers include:

Peter Skinner (MEP)

Karel van Hulle (European Commission)



Topics to include:

Solvency II



Speech McCreevy: Crisis or no crisis – Credit Crisis & the Aftermath

07 February 2008

Commissioner McCreevy underlined that corporate governance needs to be strengthened. “The risks associated with using broker channels to source mortgage transactions, and how those risks are managed requires attention”, McCreevy said. View

Speech McCreevy: Crisis or no crisis – Lessons for financial markets and regulators

07 February 2008

Commissioner McCreevy acknowledged that the speed and severity of the turmoil that has swept through the financial markets since last summer have taken both market participants and regulators by surprise. “Regulators being too far behind the "knowledge curve" is not satisfactory ”, McCreevy said. View

Telegraph: Northern Rock-style crisis 'would cause chaos in Eurozone'

07 February 2008

A Northern Rock-style disaster would cause "chaos" if it happened in the Eurozone, Charlie McCreevy warned. With 44 financial regulatory institutions on the Continent it was almost impossible to conceive of how they would unite to combat a potential Europe-wide bank run. View

Speech Kroes: European Competition Policy in the age of globalisation – towards a global competition order?

07 February 2008

Commissioner Kroes underlined that competition authorities need to work closer together. “At present there are too many jurisdictional barriers which hamper efficient anti-trust enforcement”, she said. “Effective enforcement of competition rules in an international environment requires that authorities in Europe co-operate with authorities outside”, Mrs Kroes added. View

EFRAG's Final Comment Letter on ED of a Proposed IFRS for SMEs

07 February 2008

EFRAG has completed its due process regarding the Exposure Draft of a Proposed IFRS for Small and Medium-sized Entities noting that the proposed standard needs to be further improved. View

EFRAG Draft Comment Letter on the Amendments to IFRS 2 and IFRIC 11

06 February 2008

EFRAG has issued its draft comment letter on the IASB's Exposure Draft of proposed amendments to IFRS 2 and IFRIC 11: Group Cash-settled Share-based Payment Transactions. View

EFRAG Final Comment Letter on ED 9 Joint Arrangements

06 February 2008

EFRAG has completed its due process regarding the Exposure Draft ED 9 Joint Arrangements and has submitted its final comment letter to the IASB. View

IOSCO urges public companies to clarify use of accounting standards

06 February 2008

IOSCO published a statement urging publicly traded companies to provide investors with clear and accurate information on the accounting standards used in the preparation of their accounts. “We are recommending that all publicly traded companies include information which clearly explains the basis on which their accounts have been prepared”, Mr Prada said. View

IOSCO addresses sub-prime crisis

06 February 2008

IOSCO reviewed the progress being made by the Task Force on the sub-prime crisis launched in Tokyo in November 2007. The Task Force is due to publish its final conclusions in May 2008. View

G7 to talk with Russia, three Asian economies

06 February 2008

The Group of Seven financial leaders will hold an "outreach" session Saturday with China, South Korea, Indonesia and Russia to discuss macro-economic conditions, Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga said Tuesday. Japan intends to work out a G7 message to stabilize global financial markets rattled by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. View

FSA Business Plan for 2008/9

06 February 2008

The FSA published its Business Plan setting out the FSA's programme of work for the year ahead of addressing the risks highlighted by the Financial Risk Outlook. View

AMF Financial Regulation Newsletter

06 February 2008

The AMF released its Financial Regulation Newsletter which includes an interview with French Minister of State for European Affairs, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, discussing the main priorities in terms of financial market regulation for the French Presidency starting mid 2008. View

FT: FSA threatens tougher stand on insider deals

06 February 2008

Senior management in investment banks face a greater chance of being prosecuted for maintaining weak defences against insider dealing, even in the absence of specific instances of market abuse, a senior lawyer has warned. View

MLex: 'Surcharging' may be risky tool for card fee transparency

06 February 2008

Commissioner Neelie Kroes has suggested that allowing retailers to add a margin to credit card purchases could inject much-needed transparency into the costs of payments cards. But many think she is opening a can of worms by forcing the debate on a practice used variously and controversially by the likes of Ikea and Ryanair. View

IMA Quarterly Investment Fund Statistics – 4th Quarter 2007

06 February 2008

IMA published its quarterly investment fund statistics for the fourth quarter of 2007. View

Independent: Reputations on the line for ratings agencies

06 February 2008

Having failed to call the credit crisis, the rating sector's image needs a makeover. The credit-rating agencies, fingered early on as important villains in the unfolding credit crisis, have alighted on a new plan to shore up investors' confidence in their abilities and to head off potentially ruinous new rules from angry law-makers. View

FSA Japan starts consultation on Financial Instruments Business Supervision

06 February 2008

The Financial Services Agency Japan has drafted the partial amendment to the Guidelines for Financial Instruments Business Supervision. The FSA plans to add new supervisory checkpoints to the Guidelines in order to act against illegally unregistered firms. View

FT: SocGen faces US investigation

06 February 2008

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at whether Société Générale violated US securities laws as it unwound and revealed its €4.9bn loss from Jérôme Kerviel’s allegedly rogue derivatives trades, the Financial Times has learnt. View

FT: Europe banks to launch derivatives platform

05 February 2008

A group of Europe’s biggest banks are preparing to launch a new trading platform for financial derivatives, going under the codename Project Rainbow, to compete with the region’s exchanges. View

IPE: "Portability not main aim of pension promise"

05 February 2008

The Commission is “too much focused” on full portability of pension rights and has forgotten occupational pensions are a bonus which companies offer employees to stay with the firm, according to Austrian economics professor Ulrich Runggaldier. View

FEE: Commission should reflect on calls for more transparency

05 February 2008

Commenting on the Commission's second progress report on the reduction of administrative burdens, Jacques Potdevin, President of FEE reiterated his concerns that the Commission's current approach may reduce much needed market transparency and exclude SMEs from the internal market. View

Telegraph: Société Générale 'failed to control Jérôme Kerviel'

05 February 2008

Société Générale came under fire after France's finance minister said faulty internal controls at the embattled French bank had contributed to the world's worst rogue trader scandal. View

FT: Moody’s offers to change debt rating system

05 February 2008

Moody’s moved on Monday to respond to its critics by proposing a new rating system for complex debt securities that would rely on numbers rather than letters. Critics have said the ratings process must become more transparent given the complexity of structured investment pools. View

US Treasury comments in advance of the G-7 Meeting in Tokyo

05 February 2008

Ahead of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Tokyo on 9 February, Under Secretary David McCormick outlined that the discussions will include current conditions and financial market developments, the international financial institutions, development issues, and climate change. View

CESR MiFID Level 3 Work Programme

05 February 2008

CESR published its MiFID level 3 work programme for future work under MiFID (Q4 2007 – 2008). View

Independent: Credit card misery

05 February 2008

Two years ago, banks were desperately fighting for credit card market share. Now they are closing accounts. After years of easy money, Britain's credit card providers are having to face the harsh reality of a world that seems to be conspiring against them. View

EFRAG Update January 2008

04 February 2008

EFRAG published its January edition of the EFRAG Update, which summarises the discussions held in  December 2007 and January 2008 View

IOPS good practices in risk management of alternative investment

04 February 2008

IOPS released a set of good practices relating to the risk management of alternative investments by pension funds. The document is directed at pension supervisory authorities to aid them in their assessment of whether the pension funds under their jurisdiction are managing their alternative investments adequately. View

Lagarde report on Société Générale

04 February 2008

France's finance minister Christine Lagarde issued her report to the Prime Minister on the Société Générale case.  “Certain internal control mechanisms at Société Générale did not work”, she concluded, “and those that did were not always followed up with the appropriate changes.” View

IMF study points to gaps in securities market regulation

04 February 2008

Gaps in securities market regulation are a worldwide phenomenon. The inability of securities market regulators to enforce compliance with existing rules and regulations hinders the healthy development of markets. The IMF study identified four main areas of concern. View

FT: US-EU set to open talks over regulation pact

02 February 2008

The US and the European Union on Friday agreed to start work on creating the first system of “mutual recognition” between their respective financial regulators under which both sides would recognise many of each other’s rules to allow cheaper and easier cross-border trading. View

Statement SEC and Commission on Mutual Recognition in Securities Markets

01 February 2008

At their meeting in Washington, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox and European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy discussed topics of mutual interest, including the current market volatility, accounting standards, sovereign wealth funds, credit rating agencies, XBRL developments and mutual recognition of securities regulation. View

SEC begins small business costs and benefits study of Sarbanes-Oxley Act

01 February 2008

The SEC announced that its professional staff has commenced a cost-benefit study of an upcoming auditor attestation requirement for smaller companies under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and proposes a one-year extension of final compliance requirements for smaller companies while the study is underway. View

UK says finance ministers to take forward details on tackling financial crisis

01 February 2008

Specific proposals on how to tackle the global financial crisis should be taken forward by G8 finance ministers when they meet in Japan next month, said British Prime Gordon Brown's spokesman, Michael Ellam. Ellam denied leaders were effectively powerless to stop the credit crunch. View

Summit backs hedge funds' proposals on transparency

01 February 2008

European leaders attending this week's "mini-summit" on the credit crunch have welcomed a report issued by some of the UK's biggest hedge fund managers that seeks to establish best-practice standards for the industry.  View

EFAMA's comments on “substitute” retail investment products

01 February 2008

EFAMA published it's comments on the Commission's call for evidence on "substitute" retail investment products. EFAMA supports the Commission’s initiative to put an end to the “current regulatory patchwork governing product disclosure and intermediary regulation”. View

DNB steps up pensions supervision on market worries

01 February 2008

The Dutch Central Bank has warned it is increasing its supervision of Dutch pension funds’ management and investment strategies on the back of growing concern about the negative impact of the US financial crisis. View

Opening remarks of McCreevy at ‘Newsmaker’ debate in Washington

01 February 2008

Commissioner McCreevy focused on the current financial turmoil, sovereign wealth funds, and forthcoming issues as mutual recognition in the field of securities and insurance. “Several major financial institutions have been recapitalised, not to say rescued, by sovereign wealth funds”, McCreevy said. View

Commission study on capital maintenance regime - 2nd Company Law Directive

01 February 2008

The Commission published an external feasibility study on an alternative to the capital maintenance regime established by the 2nd Company Law Directive. The study provides a factual background on some of the main features of the legal capital regime established by the second Company Law Directive. View

NYSE Euronext targets Asia Pacific markets

31 January 2008

In a further move to extend its presence in the Asia Pacific region, Nyse Euronext is to expand its Liffe derivatives business in Singapore as part of a strategic push to get greater traction in emerging Asian growth markets. View

Commission acts to ensure Member States implement Capital Requirements Directive

31 January 2008

The Commission has acted to ensure that the Capital Requirement Directives are implemented in Hungary and Spain. The Capital Requirement Directives were to be transposed by 31 December 2006. View

Commission launches EU consumer investigations in retail markets

31 January 2008

Commissioner Kuneva announced the launch of new EU consumer investigations aimed at breaking down barriers that distort consumer choice and competition in retail markets. These barriers include issues on price distortion, limited consumer choice, barriers that prevent switching, and so-called ‘competition killers’.  View

Commission takes steps against Germany, Estonia and the Czech Republic on taxation of outbound dividends

31 January 2008

The Commission sent requests for information to Germany and Estonia about their rules under which dividends, and in the case of Germany also interest, paid to foreign pension funds may be taxed more heavily than dividends paid to domestic pension funds. View

Commission refers Czech Republic, Poland and Spain to Court over non-implementation of MiFID Directive

31 January 2008

The Commission decided to refer three Member States to the European Court of Justice over non-implementation of the MiFID Directive. The deadline for transposition of those measures expired on 31 January 2007. View

EFRAG issues a European discussion paper on 'The Financial Reporting of Pensions'

31 January 2008

EFRAG issued a discussion paper on “The Financial Reporting of Pensions”. Its objective is to take a fresh look at the principles that might be reflected in future accounting standards on pension benefits that are related to employment. View

IPE: ‘Reform Dutch first pillar’ – OECD

31 January 2008

The OECD has said the Dutch first pillar pension system must be reformed as, unrevised, it will account for the bulk of future state funding deficits. View

CEIOPS QIS4 Background Documents

31 January 2008

CEIOPS released two background documents to the QIS4 technical specifications. The information concerns, among others, an overview of the differences in calibration of the SCR in QIS4 as compared to QIS3. View

Commission progress report on reducing administrative burdens

31 January 2008

The Commission issued its second progress report on the reduction of administrative burdens in the EU for 2007 and the outlook for 2008. View

BNP Paribas considers Societe Generale bid

31 January 2008

BNP Paribas has confirmed that it is considering a bid for Société Générale, the rival French bank hit by a £3.7bn trading scandal. A BNP Paribas spokesman told Reuters: "We are studying it because all of Europe's banks are studying it." View

Japan's banks poised to target western rivals

30 January 2008

The recent plight of US banks, reeling from the turmoil in the subprime mortgage market, has been greeted by Japan's financial institutions with a mixture of anxiety and glee. "Now it is our turn to do in the US, what US banks did in Japan in the 1990s," says the chief investment officer of one of Japan's largest insurance companies. View

Joint communiqué on the global economy

29 January 2008

Joint communiqué on the global economy by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso. View

JAC joint statement on ‘substitute’ retail investment products

18 January 2008

Responding to the Commission call on ‘substitute’ retail investment products, the Joint Associations Committee (JAC)  underlines that harmonization would impose significant costs, be of limited benefit to investors, and would create avoidable regulatory costs for both the financial services industry generally and consumers. View



10 March 2008

Conference on the European Private Company

The European Commission will organise a conference on the SPE in Brussels, ahead of a forthcoming proposal for an SPE. The Conference will address the SPE both from a practical and from a legal point of view. Expert panellists from several Member States will share their views of what should be the key aspects of the future SPE.

Conference Programme, registration form


June 2008

Commission Public Hearing on "substitute" retail investment products


© Graham Bishop

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