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11 March 2021

This week in "Brussels"

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Welcome to our Gold Friends weekly e-mail.

 My highlights of the week: Finally, the EU’s legislative institutions agreed on the mandate of the Conference on the Future of Europe – with a conclusion next spring. Will it amount to anything? British commentators will undoubtedly repeat their historic error about Messina in 1957 but, in a post-Covid world, EU citizens may see benefit in being “ever closer” – but only once they have got past the Covid vaccine shambles! The end of scandal-tainted LIBOR is nigh and ESAP – the European Single Access Point for corporate reporting - is moving off the starting blocks. It is an essential foundation stone of CMU. The Open Lux scandal develops and Tax Justice Network reckons that OECD states (and their dependencies) account for 68% of the corporate tax abuse – hardly a good starting point for OECD action against the problem.  


The City of London deployed the latest statistics to show its contribution to global finance while a former French ambassador to the UK did not spare the UK’s blushes when she pointed out that “Britain faces a tough challenge to retain global influence after its departure from the EU under a prime minister who has a well-known reputation for “lying”.

Graham Bishop


Articles from 5-11 March 2021

    General Financial Policy



Conference on the Future of Europe: Engaging with citizens to build a more resilient Europe : This paves the way to launching a series of debates and discussions that will enable people from every corner of Europe to share their ideas to help shape Europe’s future. View Article
EPC: The Conference on the Future of Europe: Comparing the Joint Declaration to institutions’ expectations : The Conference on the Future of Europe is finally ready to start. After an eight-month-long negotiation, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council agreed on a Joint Declaration, determining the Conference’s mandate, set-up, agenda and principles.  View Article

 SUERF: Who has purchased euro area debt since the start of the health crisis? : The coronavirus crisis and the decline in economic activity led to a steep rise in the need for financing. As a result, net issuance of public and private debt securities in the euro area has increased to unprecedented levels. The main buyers are central banks and banking institutions, and, to a lesser extent, non-euro area residents. View Article

Bruegel: The EU’s fiscal stance, its recovery fund, and how they relate to the fiscal rules : Joint EU borrowing to boost the recovery, if not treated as national deficit and debt, will substantially ease rules-based fiscal adjustment needs in southern and eastern Europe, but not in western and northern Europe. View Article

Banking Union

BIS: The universe of supervisory mandates - total eclipse of the core? : Most banking supervisory authorities are charged with multiple mandates in addition to their core responsibility of fostering the safety and soundness (S&S) of banks and the banking system.  View Article
ECON Brief: Non-performing Loans - New risks and policies? - What factors drive the performance of national asset management companies? : This paper develops, on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis, on the conditions that must be met for an Asset Management Company (AMC), established under the centralised approach in EU Member States, to efficiently facilitate the management and recovery of non-performing loans (NPLs).  View Article
SRB launches consultation on 2021 Single Resolution Fund contributions : Institutions have the opportunity to review the SRB’s preliminary Master Decision for the 2021 ex-ante contributions before its adoption, and are invited to comment on any aspects they consider pertinent to the calculation exercise. View Article
EBA assesses consumer trends for 2020/2021 : The Report identifies topical issues including irresponsible lending, creditworthiness assessments, and digitalisation, which the EBA has very recently addressed, as well as others, such as selling practices and access to bank account, which it has recently started to work on.  View Article
The EBA consults on guidance on how to grant authorisation as credit institution : The European Banking Authority (EBA) published today a Consultation Paper on its Guidelines on a common assessment methodology for granting authorisation as a credit institution. View Article
Vox EU: Bank performance in the time of COVID-19: Evidence from the US : Across the globe, economies have been hit hard and fast by COVID-19. This column explores the effect of the pandemic on US banks’ health and their ability to support the economy with lending, using a novel measure to gauge banks’ exposure to COVID-19 and lockdown measures.  View Article

Capital Markets Union

 ISDA Statement on UK FCA LIBOR Announcement : “Today’s announcement constitutes an index cessation event under the IBOR Fallbacks Supplement and the ISDA 2020 IBOR Fallbacks Protocol for all 35 LIBOR settings. .." View Article

EFAMA responds to IOSCO Consultation on Market Data in Secondary Equity Market : EFAMA supports the initiatives launched by IOSCO and other regulators (e.g. ESMA, FCA, SEC) to analyse and address the significant issues concerning market data in the secondary equity market. View Article

Accountancy Europe: EC’s Consultation on a European Single Access Point (ESAP) for financial and non-financial information publicly disclose:We have submitted our response to the European Commission’s Consultation on a European Single Access Point (ESAP) for financial and non-financial information publicly disclosed by companies View Article

ALFI responds to European Commission targeted consultation on the establishment of an ESAP : A European Single Access Point or ESAP was outlined a priority under the Capital Markets Union Action Plan. This could significantly facilitate access to financial and non-financial data (including but not limited to sustainability related data) by investors in general and asset managers.  View Article
IOSCO Reviews Implementation of Liquidity Risk Management Recommendations and Market Participants´ Responses to COVID-19 Induced Market Stre : The Recommendations are meant to ensure that liquidity risk is managed to safeguard and protect the interests of investors, including in stressed market conditions...also designed to address potential structural vulnerabilities in the asset management sector that could impact financial stability. View Article
Insurance Europe: EIOPA should prioritise prevention, risk reduction and resilience building over pricing when considering insurance and cli : Insurance Europe has today published its response to a discussion paper by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) on non-life underwriting and pricing in light of climate change. View Article
IAIS: Successful first year of monitoring of the global Insurance Capital Standard (ICS) on route to adoption in 2024: : The IAIS has completed the first year of monitoring for the Insurance Capital Standard (ICS), despite the operational challenges of 2020. First ICS discussions amongst group-wide supervisors with other involved supervisors provided valuable input and feedback to enhance the ICS further.  View Article

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)

 CRE: EU sustainability reporting could be phased in from 2023 under new recommendations : Mandatory sustainability reporting for European companies would be rolled out in “realistic” phases starting from 2023, under new recommendations proposed by the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG).Reporting back to the European Commission (EC), EFRAG has proposed more than 50 recommendations to develop a roadmap for non-financial reporting standards in Europe. View Article

 IPE: Gamechanger’ potential in proposed EU ESG reporting standards – EFAMA : The European Fund and Asset Management Association (Efama) has said the accelerated development of mandatory European sustainability reporting standards (ESS) could “become a game-changer unleashing the impact of sustainable finance”. View Article

 Vox EU: The ECB’s green agenda : Debates have emerged recently on central banks’ role in mitigating climate change... The February 2021 CfM-CEPR survey asked members of its European panel of experts about measures the ECB could take to address the environmental impact of its bond-purchasing policies.  View Article

SUERF: Greening the UK financial system – a fit for purpose approach : The transition to a low-carbon economy consistent with the 2015 Paris Agreement represents the greatest challenge of our our financial sector. The deregulated and market-oriented approach to greening finance taken by the current UK government will not go far enough.  View Article

GRI: Strengthened financial reporting to complement sustainability reporting : IFRS proposals on corporate sustainability are a step in right direction View Article

 GRI: EU requirements for impact-focused sustainability reporting are one step closer : GRI sees clear alignment with EU’s sustainability standard setting efforts – and is ready to assist View Article

 CDSB/WBA: CDSB and WBA issue recommendations to bring policy coherence to the EU sustainable finance agenda : CDSB and the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) issued recommendations based on discussion in a multi-stakeholder roundtable hosted by the two organisations to strengthen policy coherence between the different legislations and requirements of the EU sustainable finance agenda.  View Article

CDSB’s reactions on the EFRAG report on EU sustainability reporting standard-setting : The EU Commission-appointed EFRAG Project Task Force published its final report on the creation of European non-financial reporting standards. CDSB welcomes recommendations on international co-construction and digitisation, but cautions around areas of duplication that can be avoided.  View Article 

CDSB welcomes IFRS statement on sustainability standards : A welcome pace as IFRS Trustees take further steps towards a global approach to sustainability standards.  View Article

IFAC Supports Next Steps and Strategic Direction of IFRS Foundation’s Work on Sustainability : IFAC supports steps announced today by the IFRS Foundation in its ongoing consideration of whether to establish a new Sustainability Standards Board (SSB) alongside the IASB and under the existing governance structure of the IFRS Foundation. View Article
Responsible Investor: A call to action on sustainable corporate governance : Mervyn King, Paul Polman, Kerrie Waring, Bob Moritz and Gilbert Van Hassel lead the call for business and finance to support EU efforts to reform corporate governance rules View Article
CRE: D&O exposure under further threat as MEPs vote on corporate accountability Directive : Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will today vote on whether to request the European Commission (EC) adopts a new Directive on corporate accountability and governance that would oblige EU companies to address infringements of human rights and environmental damage within their supply chains. View Article

 Fin Tech Regulation

 Project Syndicate: Why Europe’s Digital Decade Matters : Margrethe Vestager , Josep Borrell: Now that digitalization has become the driving force of the modern economy and even a critical factor in today's geopolitics, there is an urgent need for more democratic governance over technology. With its vision of a "digital decade," Europe intends to lead the way, in close partnership with its allies. View Article

 Economic Policies Impacting EU Finance

EURACTIV: ‘OpenLux’ showed need for tougher enforcement of EU tax rules, says Gentiloni : The OpenLux investigation last month by journalists, including from Le Monde, Le Soir, Miami Herald and Sueddeutsche Zeitung, said Luxembourg’s investment fund industry is a $5.4 trillion “black box” that helps people launder money and avoid tax. View Article

Tax Justice Network: Corporate Tax Haven Index - 2021 Results : The Corporate Tax Haven Index is a ranking of jurisdictions most complicit in helping multinational corporations underpay corporate income tax. Tax haven ranking shows countries setting global tax rules do most to help firms bend them. View Article

 ECON: Better cooperation between national authorities on taxation of digital trading : Tax authorities should share information more quickly; Sanctions should be introduced for platforms and need to be harmonised; Non-EU platforms must register in an EU member state where they have substantial economic activity View Article


City of London Corporation: Providing financial services to the world : Exports from UK financial services and insurance firms amounted to £79bn in 2019 and generated £59bn of trade surplus, according to data published in the ONS Pink Book. View Article

FT: Amsterdam: Europe’s surprise early winner as Brexit shakes up the City : The Dutch city has taken some business from London, but Frankfurt and Paris are better placed to take long-term advantage  View Article

 CEPS: On the fringes: EU-UK financial services under the TCA : The outcome of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) for trade in financial services between the EU and UK deal was even more paltry than expected. The TCA does not even institute a dedicated financial services committee, but rather a general one for services. View Article

 EURACTIV: UK faces difficult post-Brexit era under ‘lying’ PM, says French ex-ambassador : Britain faces a tough challenge to retain global influence after its departure from the EU under a prime minister who has a well-known reputation for “lying”, France’s former ambassador to the UK told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in an interview. View Article



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