Single Resolution Mechanism : How are bank defaults handled in Europe ?

AGEFI Luxembourg – le 20 juin 2019 :

During the financial crisis, political and financial authorities were back against the wall when facing the global deterioration of the financial sector. When a bank was about to default, two options were on the table: either let them fail with (often) unpredictable consequences on the financial and real economy, or rescue them using taxpayer money. The EU country members were not aligned in their choices, taking sometimes inconsistent decisions. In any case, when the second option was chosen, it resulted into durable reputational damage.

In the aftermath of crisis, the European Financial Stability Board worked on a better approach, trying to escape the “too big to fail” situation. It resulted in two directives that lay the foundations of the single rulebook to harmonize bank resolution: The Bank Recovery and resolution Directive (BRRD) and the Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive (DGSD). These directives allow national or European authorities to start a resolution process for a bank. Resolution is defined by the application of a plan to deal with a bank’s insolvency while safeguarding public interest and limiting the impact on the economy.

The road to a greener finance?

Agefi – Mai 2019 :

After twenty years of building a legislative framework to enhance the stability of the financial sector, regulators are not willing to let go of the pressure. Now that the European and national authorities have been granted the necessary powers to shape the financial landscape, regulators are looking beyond crisis prevention:the next regulation aims to fuel change for a greener society.

The Action Plan for Financing Sustainable Growth

In March 2018, the European Commission published the Action Plan for financing sustainable growth. It details future legislative work to steer the financial sector towards the COP 21 goals set by the Paris Accords in 2015. To meet these targets in greenhouse gas emission cuts, renewable energy and energy savings, the financing gap is estimated to 270 Bln per year, in addition to current investment level(1). The plan aims to reorientate investment flows towards these sustainable development needs, improve sustainability in risk management, and increase transparency and long-termism in corporate governance.

First, the commission will introduce a taxonomy, labels and standards to help investors identify financial products that support sustainable targets. The plan also includes a list of amendments to current regulations: Benchmark and Credit Rating Agency regulations, IDD and MiFID II. This will impact benchmark and index providers, financial advisory, Credit rating agencies, institutional investors and asset managers, who will have to take into consideration ESG factors in their methodology and decision processes. Finally, the action plan aims to foster long-term strategies in corporate governance, by improving non-financial information in corporate reporting and including environmental considerations in the prudential framework. It will also take a critical approach to new accounting standards whether these have a positive or negative impact on environment.

The MiFID II impact on investment research

In the last weeks before MiFID II goes live, the investment research industry is still adjusting to comply with the new rules designed to improve transparency and protect the investor. The new legislation covers a wide range of topics impacting the European financial system as of January 2018. One of the major constraints MiFID II introduces is a “no inducement” rule. It will require brokers to separate their execution and research offers, and investment firms will not be allowed to receive any research for free any more.

Buy-side firms used to receive their investment research from their brokers bundled with trade execution or other services. This practice is now deemed an inducement by the regulator: money managers may deal transactions with brokers giving the best advice and access, rather than the lowest commission for executing trades. By unbundling the research costs, MiFID II aims to provide the end clients with more transparency on what they pay for. But this overhaul comes with a series of challenges for both sell-side and buy-side firms.