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14 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)

Michaela Koller (Director General, CEA)



Topics to include:

Solvency II



Commission published Internal Market Scoreboard

14 February 2008

According to the Commission’s latest Internal Market Scoreboard, on average 1.2% of Internal Market Directives for which the implementation deadline has passed are not currently written into national law, down from 1.6% in June 2007. View

Turquoise enters testing phase

14 February 2008

Bank-backed equities trading venture Turquoise has recruited US-based AppLabs to provide testing and quality assurance for its pan-European platform and surveillance system, which is set to launch in September. View

Japan welcomes China sovereign fund with open arms

14 February 2008

China's sovereign wealth fund is most welcome to invest in Japan at a time when the country is being almost "ignored" by foreign investors, Financial Services Minister Yoshimi Watanabe said Wednesday. View

Subprime losses steadily eroding profits of Japan's financial firms

14 February 2008

Subprime loan-related losses more than doubled to ¥600 billion at banks operating in Japan in the three months through December, the Japanese Financial Services Agency said Wednesday. View

IASB amendments to improve financial reporting of particular financial instruments

14 February 2008

The IASB issued amendments to improve the accounting for particular types of financial instruments that have characteristics similar to ordinary shares but are at present classified as financial liabilities. The amendments are set out in Amendments to IAS 32 and IAS 1. View

Telegraph: Non-dom fury fires up City

14 February 2008

Leading City figures stepped up their attack on the Government's planned changes to the taxation of non-domiciles yesterday, warning a gathering of financiers that the "mood music" in London had been irreparably damaged. View

CESR consultation on the role of Credit Rating Agencies

13 February 2008

CESR launched a consultation on the Role of Credit Rating Agencies in Structured Finance. “CRAs’ concerted initiatives put forward so far are not enough” Ingrid Bonde, Chairperson of the CESR task force on credit rating agencies, said. View

Commission policy priorities for 2009

13 February 2008

The Commission presented its Annual Policy Strategy setting out its political priorities for 2009, and outlining the Commission's policy objectives in five priority areas. View

Sovereign wealth funds - US Treasury warns against growing protectionism

13 February 2008

Under Sec McCormick warned that sovereign wealth funds raise potential concerns. “Primary among them is a risk that sovereign wealth funds could provoke a new wave of investment protectionism, which would be very harmful to the U.S. and global economies”, McCormick said. View

MLex: Nomura drops CFI appeals over EC clearance of state aid to Czech bank

13 February 2008

Nomura, the Japanese financial services conglomerate, has dropped two appeals it had pending with the Court of First Instance against a European Commission decision approving Czech governmental aid to the bank CSOB, which subsequently took control of IBP.  View

BVCA study on Economic Impact of Private Equity in the UK 2007

13 February 2008

The BVCA published its latest report on the economic impact of private equity in the UK. The report underlines that private equity-backed companies continue to be a significant driver of the UK economy and its global competitiveness. View

AMF 2007 Report on Corporate Governance and Internal Control

13 February 2008

AMF published its fourth report on corporate governance and internal control procedures in companies making public offerings. The AMF finds that the overall quality of the information provided in 2007 with regard to the 2006 financial year is better. View

Economic Times: Paulson, US banks line up new plan to cut mortgage foreclosures

13 February 2008

Bank of America, Citigroup and four other US lenders will announce new steps to help some borrowers in danger of default stay in their homes, according to three people familiar with the plans. The banks will offer a 30-day freeze on foreclosures while loan modifications are considered. View

Economic Times: US, banks unveil aid for homeowners facing foreclosure

13 February 2008

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson unveiled a new private sector-led program backed by six leading home lenders to help homeowners facing foreclosure in a deepening real-estate slump to keep their homes. View

Telegraph: US credit crisis escalates as defaults spread

13 February 2008

Defaults in the US housing market are spreading from sub-prime to the much larger stock of top-grade housing debt, threatening to set off a wave of even bigger losses for banks and investment funds. View

FSA plan for strengthening the competitiveness of Japan's financial and capital markets

13 February 2008

The FSA Japan has published the Plan for Strengthening the Competitiveness of Japan's Financial and Capital Markets. The Plan incorporates specific measures to strengthen the competitiveness in four policy areas. View

CEA new Solvency II working papers on groups

13 February 2008

CEA published two new Solvency II working papers on Groups. The first explains how the group support regime would work in practice. The second document shows how the group support regime will work and sets out the connections between the different issues. View

Telegraph: Darling makes non-dom concessions

13 February 2008

Business leaders have welcomed the Chancellor's U-turn on new rules for non-domiciles - but warned that the Government must do more to rebuild damaged relations with foreign residents. View

Independent: Non-doms fight their corner

13 February 2008

Lobbying by the City has forced a retreat on government plans to tax non-doms. The Government insists that it will press ahead with its core plan for taxing non-domiciled residents after furious City lobbying forced it to backtrack on details of its proposals. View

FT: Europe’s saplings need financial fertiliser

12 February 2008

After recent financial turmoil, it would be tempting for European policymakers to rein in the scope of financial innovation. The current focus on financial stability must go hand in hand with a renewed policy impetus to improve the European financial system’s ability to foster enterprise growth. View

IPE: EU must not favour cross-border DC "at expense" of DB

12 February 2008

EU member states need to avoid over-regulating and discouraging defined benefit schemes in favour of a cross-border defined contribution pensions market, Barnett Waddingham has warned. View

EBF response on CESR MiFID Work Plan

12 February 2008

The EBF made public its response on the CESR Work Plan of the MiFID L3. FBE stresses that CESR should in due time have a fully-fledged consultation on the areas to be addressed for further convergence work. View

CFTC and China Securities Regulatory Commission sign arrangement for enhanced cooperation and collaboration

12 February 2008

The U.S. CFTC and the China Securities Regulatory Commission announced that the agencies have agreed to hold regular meetings to promote enhanced cooperation and collaboration. View

Economic Times: Europe may stay sick longer after catching US cold

12 February 2008

Europe’s economy has caught the US’ cold, and may be sick longer. “A European downturn will take noticeably longer to run its course than the US one,” Nobel laureate Phelps, an economics professor at Columbia University in New York, said. View

SEC hosts meeting of Securities Regulators from major emerging markets

12 February 2008

The SEC held its first Emerging Markets Conclave with heads of securities regulators from Brazil, China, South Africa and South Korea. These leading emerging markets came together to discuss challenges faced by growing securities markets. View

Commission welcomes ECOFIN adoption of a recast of capital duty directive

12 February 2008

The Commission welcomed ECOFIN Council adoption of a recast of the capital duty directive concerning indirect taxes on the raising of capital. The recast clarifies and simplifies the Directive in view of the problems that arose from its interpretation. View

Bruegel Paper: Financing Europe’s Fast Movers

12 February 2008

“To improve financing for high-growth potential emerging companies, policymakers should focus on the legal and regulatory environment and on market incentives, rather than on subsidies or other direct intervention”, Thomas Philippon and Nicolas Véron argue in their latest Policy Brief issued by Bruegel institute. View

FT comment: Subprime chains

12 February 2008

It is the standard regulatory principle: prevent the last crisis. If the financial system blows up in some new and exciting way you will be blamed, but if it blows up in the same way as last time then public and political fury will know no end. View

IPE: TowerGroup names five to survive exchange consolidation

12 February 2008

By 2012, the exchange-trading business will be dominated by five global powerhouses, namely Nyse, Nasdaq/OMX, London Stock Exchange, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Eurex, according to forecasts from TowerGroup. View

Commission publishes new study on investment policies of UCITS funds

12 February 2008

The Commission published a new research study on European investment funds which surveys the investment outcomes of UCITS and non-UCITS funds over the five past years. It finds that a large number of UCITS funds have started to invest in derivatives. View

EBF response to Commission call on substitute retail investment products

12 February 2008

EBF made public its response to the Commission call for evidence on product transparency and distribution requirements for “substitute” retail investment products. EBF stated that the existence of different investment products and a competitive asset management landscape should be seen as desirable. View

Financial services industry commitments on transparency in structured credit markets

12 February 2008

In a joint letter to the Commission the financial services industry representatives stated their commitments on transparency in structured credit markets. The associations are working on three initiatives identified with the European Commission as priorities. View

ECOFIN meeting

12 February 2008

The Council adopted, among others, a key issues paper on economic and financial affairs that will be submitted to the spring meeting of the European Council, to be held in Brussels on 13 and 14 March. Council also held an exchange of views on the progress with the EU’s “better regulation” initiative. View

FSA Japan: Approval for Signing to the "IOSCO Multilateral MOU"

12 February 2008

The FSA of Japan obtained on February 5 the approval of the IOSCO to become a signatory of the Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding concerning Consultation and Cooperation and the Exchange of Information which is an information-sharing mechanism among securities regulators around the world. View

IASB: Trustees announce strategy to advance review of constitution

11 February 2008

The Trustees of the IASC Foundation announced a strategy for the review of the Foundation’s Constitution. View

Interview with Mr Trichet after G7 meeting

11 February 2008

Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the ECB, underlined that it is now the time to draw the lessons from the sub-prime turmoil. Because of the financial market turbulence and its effects on the real economy “we were in an unusually high level of uncertainty”, Trichet stated. View

EFRAG consults on assessments of the cost and benefits of implementing IAS 1 and IFRIC 14

11 February 2008

EFRAG consults on the revised IAS 1 - Presentation of Financial Statements and IFRIC 14 IAS 19 - The Limit on a Defined Benefit Asset, Minimum Funding Requirements and their Interaction. View

China faces downturn, says OECD

11 February 2008

Hopes that China will rescue the world economy from suffering a major slowdown have been dashed by an authoritative new study which reveals that growth in the Far Eastern tiger is heading downwards. View

FT: US in tax clash with UK over non-doms

11 February 2008

The UK and US are at loggerheads over the imminent tax clampdown on non-domiciled foreigners living in the UK, which threatens to hit Americans hard by in effect forcing them to pay the £30,000 annual levy twice over. View

FT: Cameron pressed on tax plan for non-doms

11 February 2008

David Cameron is under pressure from City supporters and rightwing MPs to rethink plans to tax non-doms, amid growing concern that the Conservatives are failing to hold the government to account on the issue. View

Daily Telegraph: Non-dom plan 'to cost Alistair Darling £2bn'

11 February 2008

Alistair Darling's tax crackdown on Britain's non-domiciled residents will end up costing the Treasury more than twice the sum the Chancellor expects it to raise, a new study has calculated. View

Independent: FSA urges global action as bank trading 'mismatches' escalate

10 February 2008

The City watchdog is set to call for international action to force global investment banks to improve their back-office operations dramatically amid alarm at a spiralling number of failures. The FSA will make the call at an upcoming meeting with its international peers in the wake of the Société Générale trading scandal. View

Telegraph: Japan is the next sub-prime flashpoint

10 February 2008

Just as battered investors had begun to glimpse signs of recovery in America, the next shoe has dropped with an almighty thud in Japan. The nagging fear is that Japan's lenders have taken on a far bigger chunk of mortgage securities, collateralised loans obligations and other exotica from America's structured credit boom than they have yet revealed. View

Japanese times: G7 finance chiefs vow to help markets

10 February 2008

The Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank chiefs vowed Saturday to help stabilize volatile situations in financial markets but stopped short of proposing concrete measures, including unified interest rate cuts, to fend off a global recession. View

FSF Working Group Interim Report February 2008

09 February 2008

The FSF’s Working Group on Market and Institutional Resilience has sent an interim report to G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. It discusses the Working Group’s views to date on adjustments and near-term challenges in the financial system,  the causes of and weaknesses revealed by market turbulence, and broad policy directions for strengthening the resilience of key elements of the financial system. View

Statement of G-7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

09 February 2008

Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the G7 countries met in Tokyo to discuss among others the turmoil on the financial markets.  “We note that downside risks still persist”, the final statement says. “Authorities should encourage market-led improvements in transparency and disclosure practices”, the statement continues. View

Speech Cox: The SEC agenda for 2008

08 February 2008

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox outlined the 2008 priorities of work, which will include enforcement as well as on insider trading, securities fraud, and market manipulation by hedge funds and other large, non-public investors. View

Japan times: FSA urges disclosure rules for brokers

08 February 2008

The FSA Japan has called on the securities industry to work out rules to promote voluntary disclosure of information on financial products in the wake of the U.S. subprime loan crisis. View

Speech McCreevy: The Commission's priorities for the insurance sector

08 February 2008

Commissioner McCreevy outlined the Commission’s policy priorities for the insurance sector. “Our key priority for this year is ensuring that the Solvency II Proposal is adopted without the substance of the Proposal being compromised”, McCreevy said. View

Telegraph: SEC warns over wealth funds

08 February 2008

The SEC has warned it is highly wary of sovereign wealth funds, branding the new wave of investors as potential traders of inside information. The SEC also accused such funds of being opaque in their governance structure and potentially difficult to regulate. View

US Regulators give green light to active ETFs

07 February 2008

US regulators have granted tentative approval for three fund providers to begin offering actively managed exchange traded funds as the mutual fund industry awaits the expected entrance of the controversial new type of investment vehicle. View

IPE: 'No technical argument against Solvency II'

07 February 2008

The decision on whether or not to apply Solvency II requirements to pension funds will be a political one as there are “no technical arguments” against such a step, said Harald Gössl from the Pensionskassen department at the Austrian financial supervisor FMA. View

HM Treasury launches consultation on UK market abuse regime

07 February 2008

The Treasury launched a consultation on the UK Market Abuse Regime. The consultation is specifically focused on where the UK regime imposes additional requirements to the EU's 2003 Market Abuse Directive. View

Speech McCreevy - Private Equity

07 February 2008

Commissioner McCreevy underlined that he does not intend to impose heavy handed regulation. “The private equity industry needs to have the freedom to act quickly and flexibly, and to be able to respond to rapidly changing global market conditions”, the Commissioner stated. View

Commission minutes on public hearing on Solvency II

07 February 2008

The Commission made public the minutes of the public hearing on Solvency II and QIS4 of 28 January 2008.  View

Speech Steel on U.S. Financial Regulation

07 February 2008

Under Secretary Steel focused on Treasury's work on a new regulatory blueprint for U.S. financial services regulation. Pointing to the limitations of the current regulatory system, Mr Steel characterised it as a system of ‘multiple federal and state regulators with unclear and sometimes overlapping boundaries.’ View

FT: Minister warns on non-doms tax purge

07 February 2008

Digby Jones, the trade and investment minister has warned that plans for a tax crackdown on non-domiciled foreigners living in the UK threaten London’s role as a world finance centre.  View

Fifth meeting of Code of Conduct Monitoring Group

06 February 2008

The Commission published the minutes of the fifth meeting of the Monitoring Group which took place on 21 January 2008. The main purpose of the fifth meeting of the Monitoring Group of the Code of Conduct (MOG) was to assess how infrastructures have implemented the third part of the Code on service unbundling and accounting separation by 1 January 2008. View




15 February 2008

3rd Convention - Co-operative banks Business Model: "Innovative and Sustainable"

The 3rd Convention of Co-operative Banks will take place on 15 February 2008 at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event aims to reflect on the challenges ahead, in the light of the studies of Oliver Wyman and the IMF Report on co-operative banks in Europe.



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 a 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


26 March 2008

CESR consultation on the role of Credit Rating Agencies

CESR will hold a public hearing for interested market participants at CESR premises in Paris. CESR will welcome interested parties (other than CRAs) to attend the hearing. 

Online registration


8 April 2008

Commission hearing on non-harmonised retail funds/real estate funds

The Commission hearing will examine recent developments in European retail funds and assess possibilities for cross-border retail distribution of these products and devote particular attention to markets for European real estate funds.

Online registration form, programme


8 April 2008

Cass-Capco Institute Risk Conference

The conference draws together practitioners and academics to discuss how risk can be managed to lessen its impact on business and economic growth. It offers four panel discussions on the topics of "Reputational Risk", "Operational Risk", "Pricing of Risk", and "Challenges of Complex products".

More information, programme


16 April 2008

IBC Legal Conferences' EU and UK Financial Services Forum

The EU and UK Financial Services Forum will assess the key developments mid-way through implementation of the Commissions White Paper on Financial Services. Sir Christopher Bellamy QC from Linklaters LLP in London is chairing the event,  joining him is a panel of experts from the Commission, banks, the Office of Fair Trading, the London Stock Exchange and leading law firms.

More information and booking


June 2008

Commission Public Hearing on "substitute" retail investment products



© Graham Bishop

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