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Financial markets


Main objectives

Legislative process
Regulation of alternative
investment funds

Directive on alternative
investment fund managers
known as AIFM Directive.

Definition: alternative
investment funds are collective
investment bodies that collect
capital from investors and
invest it on their behalf. They
include hedge funds and
private equity funds.

To regulate the activities of alternative
investment fund managers. The
directive establishes requirements
related to transparency and protection
of investors.
To harmonise supervision of managers
of such funds.


Adopted formally on 8
June 2011. Member states
had until July 2013 to
transpose the text.

Regulation of derivatives

Regulation EMIR (European
Market Infrastructure
Regulation) 648/2012/EU on
over-the-counter derivatives,
central counterparties and
trade repositories.

Definition: derivatives are
financial instruments whose
value is based on the change in
value of an underlying asset.

All derivatives must be reported to
central data centres within 24 hours of
the transaction.
Standardised derivatives contracts
must be concluded by central
counterparties (CCP), entities that
make the payments (playing the role
of intermediary between the seller and
the buyer) and that bear the risk of
default of one of the parties.


Adopted formally on 4
July 2012. Entered into
force in August 2012.
Regulation of short selling

Regulation 236/2012/EU on
short selling and certain
aspects of credit default swaps

To increase the transparency of short
selling in order to improve detection
of risks associated with this practice.
Regulators can place restrictions on
short selling in exceptional cases.


Adopted formally on 14
March 2012. The text has
been in application since
November 2012.
Definition: short selling is the
sale of a security the seller
does not own with the
intention of buying it back at a
later time in order to deliver it.
This practice carries specific
risks of settlement failure.

Regulation of credit rating

Regulation 462/2013/EU
revising the regulation on
credit rating agencies;
Directive 2013/14/EU revising
the directives on the use of
ratings by UCITS and on
hedge fund managers

To address conflicts of interest
between rating agencies and rated
To reduce excessive dependence on
To regulate the rating of sovereign
debt by rating agencies.
To boost competition in the sector of
rating agencies.


Adopted formally on 21
May 2013. Entered into
force in June 2013.
The directive has to be
transposed by member
states no later than 21
December 2014.
Financial market reform

Revision of Directive
2004/39/EC on markets in
financial instruments;
regulation on markets in
financial instruments
amending the EMIR
regulation on over-the-counter
derivatives, central
counterparties and trade
To further regulate the structure of
financial markets and their
To apply a more stringent framework
to commodity derivatives markets and
algorithmic and high-frequency
trading (technologies that have
increased transaction speed).
To strengthen protection of investors.


First reading

The EP and Council sealed
a political compromise in
January 2014. The EP
endorsed it on 15 April and
the Council adopted it on
13 May.

This reform has to be
implemented by the end of

Reform of rules on market

Regulation repealing Directive
2003/125/EC on insider
dealing and market
manipulation; directive on
criminal sanctions for insider
dealing and market
To expand rules to combat market
abuse to commodity markets and over-
the-counter derivatives trading.
To strengthen regulatory authorities
powers of investigation.
To reinforce administrative sanctions
for non-compliance with the
To introduce criminal sanctions for
market abuse.

First reading

The Council approved on
14 April the political
compromises worked out
with the European
Parliament. The EP had
already done so in
September 2013 and
February 2014.

The two texts will be
published in the Official
Journal in June. Member
states will have 24 months
to transpose the directive
into their national
Regulation of central
securities depositories

Regulation on improving the
regulation on securities
settlement in the EU and on
central securities depositories
(CSDs) and amending
Directive 98/26/EC.

Definition: Central securities
depositories handle the
registration and safekeeping of
securities (or financial
contracts) and administer
securities settlement systems.

To harmonise the securities
transaction settlement period.
To require issuers and investors to
register with a depository the
securities they trade on regulated
markets (exchanges).
To strengthen business and prudential
requirements for depositories.


First reading

The EP and Council
reached a political
compromise in December
2013. The EP validated it
on 15 April, and the
Council still has to adopt

Transparency rules for

Directive 2013/50/EU
amending Directive
2004/109/EC on the
harmonisation of transparency
requirements in relation to
information about issuers
whose securities are admitted
to trading on a regulated
market; recast of accounting
Directives 78/660/EEC and
83/349/EEC (directive).

To require oil, gas, mining and
forestry companies to disclose the
payments they make to governments
of countries where they operate.
To cut red tape and improve the
comparability of the income
statements of all European companies
(listed or not).
To draw up special rules for small and
medium-sized companies (SMEs).


Adopted formally on 22
October 2013.
The states have 24 months
to comply with the
Regulation of financial
benchmarks such as Libor
(the London interbank rate).

Regulation on indices used as
benchmarks in financial
instruments and financial

To set up a framework for the
creation, configuration, use and
supervision of benchmarks.


First reading

The EP has to adopt its
position and the Council its
general approach. The two
institutions will then have
to negotiate a political
Money market funds

Regulation on money market
funds (MMF).

Money market funds are
alternatives to bank deposits
considered more attractive by
investors who wish to invest
for the short term.

They form part of shadow
banking, in other words the
system of credit intermediation
that involves entities and
activities outside the regular
banking system.

To enhance the stability of money
market funds (MMF).


First reading

The EP has to adopt its
position and the Council its
general approach, after
which the two institutions
will have to reach a
political compromise.

Transparency of certain
financial transactions

Regulation on reporting and
transparency of securities
financing transactions

The aim is to enhance the
transparency of certain financial
transactions, which take place outside
the regulated banking sector.
The targeted operations are 'securities
financing transactions' (STFs);
securities loans and pensions
operations (repo), which consist of
selling securities with the commitment
to buy them back later, in the short
term. The text aims to "improve the
visibility" of these operations for
regulators and investors. For example,
these transactions must all be notified
to a central database.


First reading

The EP has to adopt its
position and the Council its
general approach, after
which the two institutions
will have to reach a
political compromise.