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24 January 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




SEC inquiry into ABN share trades during Barclays bid

24 January 2008

US regulators are looking into share trades at Dutch bank ABN Amro in the weeks before Barclays launched its bid in March last year. The US Securities & Exchange Commission has requested lists naming those with insider knowledge from all the banks involved. View

EFAMA report on DC Pension Schemes

23 January 2008

EFAMA presented its report "Defined-Contribution Pension Schemes - Risks and Advantages for Occupational Retirement Provision". The report confirms that public authorities should broaden the availability of DC schemes in order to encourage households to save more to ensure an adequate level of retirement income. View

EC seeks pensions innovations, with guarantees

23 January 2008

Officials at the European Commission and European Parliament have called for the development of innovations and new ideas in pensions delivery which could provide some level of guarantee to retirement incomes but which do not restrict investments to the fixed income market. View

IMCO meeting 22-23 January

23 January 2008

Issues discussed included the reports on "Improving consumer education and awareness on credit and finance", and on the Green Paper on retail financial services. View

Japan promotes initiatives to strengthen competitiveness of its financial markets to overseas investors

23 January 2008

Representatives from the Japanese securities industry were gathered at an event in London this week to promote the Japanese market as a whole to overseas investors. Japan is in the process of introducing a series of specific policy measures which are intended to strengthen the competitiveness of its financial and capital markets and so make them more attractive to foreign investors. View

finextra: Watchdog to probe insurance comparison sites

22 January 2008

The UK's FSA is set to review the regulation of insurance comparison sites amid concerns that current rules do not adequately protect customers. The watchdog is launching a review following warnings from the British Insurance Brokers' Association that the current Insurance Conduct of Business rules for "electronic introductions" are outdated. View

FT: Europe blames US policies for turbulence

22 January 2008

European policymakers blamed the turmoil in global equity markets on US economic and fiscal policy and said Europe’s economy was resilient enough to emerge without great damage. “It’s about a recession in the US, because big imbalances have built up over the years in the US economy – a big current account deficit, a big fiscal deficit and a lack of savings”, said Joaquín Almunia. View

Foreign banks may list in China

22 January 2008

The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has finished its initial feasibility study of allowing foreign banks to list domestically, Securities Times reported, citing CBRC chairman Liu Mingkang. The evaluation process will be completed within the year. View

Commission studies on supplementary pension schemes

22 January 2008

The Commission published two studies on the supplementary pension schemes and mobility in Europe. "These new studies clearly demonstrate the need for an effective and proportionate directive to reduce obstacles to mobility without placing undue burdens on pension providers”, Commissioner Vladimír Špidla said. View

ICMA: Credit crunch hits 2007 bond issues by 26.5%

22 January 2008

Xtrakter released figures today outlining that a 26.5% (USD 421.56 billion) drop in new bond issues occurred in the second half of 2007. “This highlights the impact of the credit crunch on the capital market”, said Kevin Milne, Chief Executive of Xtrakter. View

Market losses drag pensions back to 2007

22 January 2008

Recent funding decisions by some pension funds are sending confusing messages about pensions funding needs when compared with moves to maintain pensions assets in turbulent investment markets, suggest European asset managers and pensions consultants. View

ECON meeting 22-23 January

22 January 2008

The Committee discussed among others the sector inquiry on retail banking, the Green Paper on retail services. ECON also held a meeting with the ECB and the Slovenian Presidency on European financial supervision, and crisis managment on financial markets. View

ECOFIN meeting

22 January 2008

The Council adopted its conclusions on the single euro payments area, an initiative to be launched on 28 January. The Council held an exchange of views on the presidency work programme. View

Hedge Fund Working Group publishes industry guidelines

22 January 2008

The Hedge Fund Working Group has published its best practice standards for hedge fund managers. The body of voluntary standards includes recommendations for managers to adopt an independent process for valuing portfolios and to put in hand robust governance of funds. View

FSF welcomes hedge fund manager initiative on best practice standards

22 January 2008

The Chairman of the Financial Stability Forum, Mario Draghi, welcomed the the Hedge Fund Working Group’s best practice standards. “The report represents an important step towards improved disclosure practices and market discipline in this sector”, he said. View

JURI meeting 21-22 January

21 January 2008

JURI Committee held a first discussion on the working document on "Transparency of institutional investors". Rapporteur Lehne pointed out that it is a matter of fact that alternative investment vehicles such as hedge funds and private equity may give rise to systemic risk and to high levels of exposure of financial institutions, mostly banks. View

ICMA and JSDA sign MoU to develop closer co-operation in securities markets

21 January 2008

ICMA and the Japan Securities Dealers Association (JSDA) have signed a joint memorandum of understanding to address together issues of mutual concern that arise for the international markets. View

EDHEC: The subprime crisis explained

21 January 2008

EDHEC issued an article that tries to explain the factors which have led to the subprime crisis. It concludes that the subprime crisis is far from over. It will take time for the losses in the 2006/7 vintage subprime MBS to appear and for these losses to work through the system. View

HM Treasury financing structure on Northern Rock

21 January 2008

HM Treasury announced a new financing structure that could be made available to Northern Rock and other interested parties, for a possible private sector solution for the entire company. The proposed financing structure envisages Northern Rock raising funds from investors in the financial markets backed by a mixed pool of assets. View

The Impact of Private Equity as a UK Financial Service

21 January 2008

The BVCA published a report that examines two key features of the UK private equity industry’s significance within the broader financial and professional services sector, that is the employment created both directly and indirectly by those engaged in private equity-related activities and also the fees generated through the industry’s fundraising, investment and divestment activities. View

CESR/CEBS call for evidence on commodities

18 January 2008

CESR and CEBS are being asked jointly to give advice on certain issues concerning the regulatory treatment of firms that provide investment services in relation to commodity and exotic derivatives. In particular, the views of the committees are sought on whether the MIFID and CAD treatment of this type of firm continues to support the intended aims of market and prudential regulation. View

Bank of Greece urges pension reform to protect public services

18 January 2008

The Governor of the Bank of Greece has warned the government if it fails to adopt "early and major pension reform" the increased pension expenditure could jeopardise essential public services. The demographics of the EU27 is expected to change dramatically as life expectancy increases and fertility rates fall. View

CEBS elects new chair and vice chair

18 January 2008

Mrs. Kerstin af Jochnick, Director of Prudential Supervision at the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority has been elected Chair of CEBS. She replaces Mme Danièle Nouy who has held the position since January 2006 and whose two-year term as Chair has expired. View

EBF response to 3L3 Work Programme consultation

18 January 2008

In its response to the 3L3 Work Programme consultation the EBF urges the 3L3 to capitalise on the not inconsiderable political will to make progress on improving supervisory co-operation within Europe. The issues identified are to be generally aligned with the recommendations arising from the recent review of the Lamfalussy Process. View

FT: Credit squeeze hits Eurozone borrowing

18 January 2008

Borrowing by eurozone businesses and consumers is being hit severely as the global economic outlook darkens, according to a European Central Bank survey released on Friday that could act as an additional deterrent to further rises in official interest rates. View

IFRIC publishes proposed guidance on accounting for customer contributions

17 January 2008

IFRIC released for public comment a draft Interpretation for IFRIC D24 - Customer Contributions. IFRIC D24 will standardise practice and clarify the accounting for the receipt of customer contributions. View

IFRIC publishes proposed guidance on distributions of non-cash assets to owners

17 January 2008

IFRIC released for public comment a draft Interpretation, D23 - Distributions of Non-cash Assets to Owners. IFRIC D23 proposes that all types of distributions of non-cash assets would be measured at the fair value of the assets distributed. View

IASB issues amendment to IFRS 2 Share-based Payment

17 January 2008

The IASB issued an amendment to IFRS 2 Share-based Payment. The amendment clarifies that vesting conditions are service conditions and performance conditions only. View

AMF 2007 Report on rating agencies

16 January 2008

The AMF issued its 2007 report on rating agencies. The AMF’s fourth report deals first with developments, including regulatory changes, in the international environment in which credit rating agencies operate. View

IMF Intensifies Work on Subprime Fallout

15 January 2008

Following the recent sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States and the resulting global market turmoil, the IMF has recalibrated its work program and launched a number of initiatives with the aim of developing policy proposals both to deal with the present crisis and to improve the Fund's capacity to spot potential trouble spots. View

IMF Assesses Central Banks' Reaction on subprime crises

15 January 2008

The IMF is assessing the different approaches taken by the major central banks in response to financial market turmoil sparked off by the subprime crisis, to help draw lessons for developing a more effective liquidity management framework. View

ECON meeting 14 January

14 January 2008

ECON held a Public Hearing on Credit Rating Agencies. Chairwoman Ms Beres noted that rating agencies had been used by some as scapegoats for the current crisis. She disagreed, as they could only furnish the results for which they had been mandated. View





28 January 2007

Commission Public Hearing on Solvency II

The Commission Services are organising a Public Hearing on the draft QIS4 specifications. Panel sessions will cover Groups, SMEs, and the use of internal models. Registration is open until 18 January 2008. A formal consultation process on the draft QIS 4 specifications is running from 21 December 2007 to 15 February 2008.


June 2008

Commission Public Hearing on "substitute" retail investment products



© Graham Bishop

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