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Derivatenwetgeving (EMIR) (10-01-2014)

European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) betreft een Europese verordening. Ondernemingen die in het verleden derivaten zijn aangegaan die nog openstaan of die nieuwe derivaten aangaan, krijgen te maken met nieuwe regelgeving.


Deze regelgeving verplicht partijen die over-the-counter (OTC) derivaten verhandelen om vanaf 15 september 2013 samen met hun bank een aantal procedures vast te leggen.

Deze procedures maken partijen weerbaarder in het gebruik van derivaten en minder ruimte laten voor onzekerheid over de voorwaarden van een derivaat dat wordt aangegaan. Daarnaast moeten derivaten gerapporteerd worden aan zogenaamde Trade Repositories. Deze rapportageverplichting geldt zowel voor OTC-derivaten als voor beursverhandelde derivaten en gaat op 12 februari 2014 van kracht.


De AFM zal samen met DNB toezicht gaan houden op de regels uit EMIR. Welke toezichthouder wanneer de bevoegde toezichthouder is kunt u vinden in artikel 2h van het Besluit uitvoering EU-verordeningen financiële markten. Dit besluit is gewijzigd op 10 juli 2013 (wijziging besluit). DNB is de bevoegde toezichthouder voor banken, (her)verzekeraars en pensioenfondsen. AFM is de bevoegde toezichthouder voor overige partijen.

 

De drempelwaarden voor niet financiële tegenpartijen zijn definitief vastgesteld. Wanneer (één van) de drempelwaarden wordt overschreden zijn niet financiële instellingen verplicht dit te melden aan de AFM. De AFM heeft een aantal formulieren hiervoor beschikbaar gesteld.


AFM_brochure_EMIR.pdf

QA_door_de_ESMA.pdf

QA_door_de_Europese_Commissie.pdf



Provisieverbod beleggingsdienstverlening een feit (10-01-2014)

Op 17 december 2013 is in het Staatsblad het Wijzigingsbesluit financiële markten 2014 gepubliceerd. Hiermee is het provisieverbod voor beleggingsdienstverlening sinds 1 januari 2014 een feit.

Het provisieverbod verandert en versimpelt de geldstromen tussen belegger, aanbieder en beleggingsdienstverlener. Hiermee wordt gewaarborgd dat de sector zich bij het verlenen van beleggingsdiensten op een eerlijke, billijke en professionele wijze inzet voor de belegger. Waar in het verleden een prikkel kon bestaan om de belegger te leiden naar de aanbieder die de meeste provisie opbracht, is deze nu weggenomen. Het wordt zo voor de belegger inzichtelijk wat de kosten van beleggingsdienstverlening zijn. Daarnaast is de beleggingsonderneming met de overstap naar directe beloningen beter in staat de onafhankelijkheid aan de belegger te tonen. Dit maakt het voor de beleggingsonderneming gemakkelijker om de toegevoegde waarde van de beleggingsdienstverlening kenbaar te maken.

Bij afschaffing van de genoemde provisies verdwijnt het risico dat de beleggingsonderneming niet in het belang van de belegger handelt. Het verbod moet er toe leiden dat de beleggingsonderneming (ofwel een bank, beleggingsadviseur of vermogensbeheerder) voortaan alleen nog directe vergoedingen van de belegger ontvangt.

Retourprovisies en aanbrengvergoedingen kennen een verbod vanaf 1 januari 2014. De belangrijkste distributievergoedingen zijn per 1 januari 2015 verboden en kennen voor 2014 een overgangsregeling.

De AFM houdt toezicht op naleving van het provisieverbod voor beleggingsondernemingen.


stb-2013-537.pdf


AFM agenda 2014 (08-01-2014)

De AFM heeft haar agenda voor 2014 gepubliceerd waarin de doestellingen, de thema’s en andere plannen voor 2014 uiteen worden gezet.

De AFM schetst in haar agenda voor 2014 relevante ontwikkelingen in het binnen- en het buitenland welke zich voordoen binnen de financiële sector, bijvoorbeeld over de herstructurering van het Europees toezicht, waaronder de komst van een Europese bankenunie. Hierbij wordt tevens aangegeven welke risico’s de AFM gesignaleerd heeft. De AFM geeft aan dat zij vanwege beperkte invloed deze risico’s onvoldoende tegen kan gaan. Een voorbeeld hiervan is de grote hoeveelheid complexe internationale wet- en regelgeving waarmee de financiële sector te maken heeft. Daarnaast vormt cybercrime een risicofactor voor de stabiliteit van financiële markten.


Vervolgens gaat de AFM in op haar doelstellingen voor 2014. Hierbij wordt aangegeven dat het toezicht van de AFM risicogestuurd is. Eerst maakt de AFM namelijk een risicoanalyse van de markt waarna er keuze volgt voor bepaalde thema’s.


De opbouw bij alle doelstellingen is als volgt: een probleemanalyse, hoofddoelstellingen voor langere termijn, beoogde effecten voor langere termijn, effectmeting en tot slot de middelen.


De doestellingen voor 2014 zijn:

- productaanbieders stellen het belang van de klant centraal;

- kwaliteit van financiële dienstverlening is beter;

- kwaliteit van vermogensopbouw is beter;

- financiële dienstverlening aan zakelijke partijen is passend;

- pensioenuitvoeders geven overzicht en inzicht in de hoogte en risico's van pensien;

- de kwaliteit van governance, verslaglegging en accountantscontrole gaat omhoog;

- de effectenmarkten functioneren eerlijk en efficiënt en de infrastructuur blijft bestendig;

- gedragsttoezicht draagt bij aan stabiliteit van het financiële stelsel; en

- stabiliteit en financiële criminalietit nemen af.


Tot slot geeft de AFM inzicht in de toezichtskosten.


agenda-2014.pdf

                                                                                                                                                     


Thema's DNB toezicht 2014 (07-01-2014)

De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) heeft inmiddels bekend gemaakt op welke thema’s in 2014 de nadruk zal liggen.

Extra aandacht gaat dit jaar uit naar integriteitsrisico’s in de financiële sector. Zo is de DNB een onderzoek gestart naar de kwetsbaarheid van processen bij banken en financiële instellingen in Nederland in verband met een mogelijke manipulatie van internationale prijszettingsmechanismen op valuta-, derivaten-, en grondstoffenmarkten. Verder zal de DNB onderzoek blijven verrichten naar gedrag en cultuur binnen de financiële instellingen.


Daarnaast gaat de DNB aandacht besteden aan de toekomstbestendigheid van financiële instellingen, het herstel van de financiële buffers en de overgang naar het gemeenschappelijk Europese bankentoezicht. De DNB vindt bijvoorbeeld belangrijk dat financiële instellingen anticiperen op toekomstige risico’s en kansen die de veranderingen bieden voor hun bedrijfsmodel. Bij banken wordt onder andere gekeken naar de mate van afhankelijkheid van de marktfinanciering in de financieringsstrategie.


De DNB heeft een brochure gepubliceerd waarin deze toezichtthema’s toegelicht worden. Alle instellingen die bij de DNB onder toezicht staan hebben deze brochure toegestuurd gekregen.

Belangstellenden kunnen de brochure van de DNB hieronder raadplegen.


Themas_DNB_toezicht_2014_tcm46-301463.pdf

                                                                                                                                                                         

 

ESMA released an Opinion on arrangements for the late transposition of the AIFMD (02-09-2013)

Due the fact that some Member States may not have met the deadline for the implementation of the AIFMD, ESMA has published an opinion regarding the practical arrangements for the late transposition of the AIFMD.      

                                                                                           

ESMA notes first that not all situations arising from non-transposition can be accommodated by way of practical arrangements that are legally sound. Then the ESMA identifies two issues which could be addressed via practical arrangements: An AIFM in a Member State where the Directive has been transposed may not be able to manage an EU AIF established in another Member State that has not transposed the Directive and AIFMs and competent authorities in Member States that have transposed the Directive may have difficulties notifying the marketing of EU AIFs (including AIFs established in a Member State other than the home Member State of the AIFM) to relevant competent authorities if the host Member State has not transposed the Directive.

 

ESMA believes that if the Directive has been transposed in the home Member State of the AIFM, the competent authority of the host Member State of the AIFM (Article 32) or home Member State of the AIFM (Article 31) may not refuse a valid notification under the Directive on the ground that the Directive has not yet been transposed in the host Member State. This applies irrespective of whether the marketing is done using the freedom to provide services or by means of a branch.

 

Also, ESMA believes that AIFMs established in a Member State that has transposed the Directive should be able to manage an EU AIF via the management passport, both using the freedom to provide services or by means of a branch, in a Member State where the Directive has not been transposed, irrespective of the provisions currently in place in such jurisdiction since the relevant provisions of the Directive are of a self-executing nature, and provided the AIFM is authorised to manage that type of AIF in accordance with Article 33(1) of the AIFMD. Any local restrictions on AIFMs that are not in accordance with the AIFMD will need to be disapplied.

 

2013-1072_opinion_on_practical_arrangements_for_late_transposition_of_aifmd.pdf

 

AIFMD entered into force in the Netherlands (28-07-2013)

The AIFMD entered into force in the Netherlands on 22 July 2013. In this update we will specifically address two important issues, which are the grandfathering regime and the private placement exemptions. Below we will set out the changes.

 

Grandfathering regime

The transitional period began on the 22 July 2013 and lasts until 21 July 2014. The AFM takes the position that during the transitional year a AIFM already has to take all necessary measures to comply with the AIFMD implementing measures.

 

Private Placement Exemptions

On 22July 2013 not only the Act on Financial Supervision (“AFS”) was amended, but also a new Exemption Regulation entered into force. The most important change is that the private placement exemptions formerly mentioned in Section 4 of the Exemption Regulation have each been entirely deleted. Section 4 included the following exemptions.

(1)    the participations are offered exclusively to qualified investors;

(2)    the participations are offered to fewer than 100 persons other than qualified investors;

(3)    the participations on offer can only be acquired for an equivalent value of at least €100,000 per investor; or

(4)    the denomination per participation is at least €100,000.

 

The new legislation did introduce a new section 1:13b in the AFS. Under this section almost all rules relating to AIFMs (including the license obligation) do not apply to AIFMs  (1) established and regulated in a designated state or, if the AIFM in not established in a designated state, (2) managing AIFs the participations whereof will solely be offered to qualified investors in the Netherlands.

 

We can provide you with detailed advice on both the matters.

 

Implementation AIFMD in Dutch Act on Financial Supervision (17-06-2013)

On 19 April 2012, the Dutch Government submitted to Parliament the legislative Act a proposal for the implementation of Directive 2011/61/EU on Alternative Investment Fund Managers (the “AIFMD”) in the Dutch Act on Financial Supervision (the “AFS”). After having been adopted by the Second Chamber, the bill was submitted to the Senate on 2 October 2012, and adopted by the Senate on 11 June 2013.

                                                                                                                                                       

 The Senate’s approval has taken significantly more time than was expected. This is due to the fact that the Second Chamber amended the bill. Pursuant to this amendment, managers of AIFs in which only pension funds may invest would not fall within the scope of the new legislation. Minister of Finance De Jager sent a letter to the Dutch Parliament, in which he explicitly advised against adoption of the amendment. Also, the Authority for the Financial Markets (“AFM”) and the Central Bank opposed the amendment.

The Ministry of Finance thereupon consulted the European Commission on the amendment. The European Commission considered that under article 2(3)(b) of the AIFMD only the following categories are exempted from the Directive:

(i)   Institutions for Occupational Retirement provisions, (“IORPs”);

(ii)  authorized entities responsible for managing IORPs and acting on their behalf, provided they are listed in article 2(1) of the MiFID and provided they do not manage one or more AIFs; and

(iii)  investment managers appointed pursuant article 19(1) of the MiFID, provided they do not manage one or more AIFs.

 

The bill was thereupon amended again, whereby the exemption was deleted.

 

Our FMLA Client Memo concerning the implementation of the AIFMD can be downloaded below.

 

AIFMD_NewsUpdate.pdf

 

Co-operation on Alternative Funds (17-06-2013)

ESMA approved co-operation agreements between securities regulators from the 27 EU Member States, Croatia and the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and 34 third-country regulators, for example Cayman Islands. It must be mentioned that the agreements are bilateral and therefore must be signed between each EU securities regulator and the non-EU authorities. The actual supervision of AIFMs lies with the national securities regulators, therefore each authority decides with which non-EU authorities it will sign a MoU (Memoranda of Understanding).                                                                                                                                                 

 

The key elements of the cooperation arrangements are:

-EU and non-EU authorities will be able to supervise fund managers that operate on a cross-border basis both within the EU and outside;

-The co-operation between authorities includes the exchange of information, cross-border on-site visits and assistance in the enforcement of the respective laws;

-EU securities regulators will be able to share relevant information received from non-EU authorities with other EU authorities, ESMA and the European Systemic Risk Board, provided appropriate safeguards apply;

-The existence of co-operation arrangements between the EU and non-EU authorities is a precondition of the AIFMD for allowing managers based outside the EU to access EU markets or perform fund management by delegation from EU managers; and

-The co-operation arrangements are applicable from 22 July 2013 and enable cross-border management and marketing to professional investors of alternative investment funds.

 

2013-629_esma_promotes_global_supervisory_co-operation_on_alternative_funds_30_may_2013_0.pdf

 

Source:

http://www.esma.europa.eu/system/files/2013-629_esma_promotes_global_supervisory_co-operation_on_alternative_funds_30_may_2013_0.pdf

 

 

 

Dutch legislative proposal AIFM Directive adopted by Dutch Lower House (3-10-2012)

On 2 October 2012 the Dutch Lower House adopted the Dutch legislative proposal implementing the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) in Dutch law. As a result of that proposal, a very large number of currently exempted fund managers will become subject to supervision.

The bill (the “Bill”) implementing the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive in the Netherlands was put before the Dutch Parliament on 19 April 2012. The Bill introduces a licensing requirement for Netherlands-based managers of one or more “alternative investment funds” (“AIFs”), being any collective investment scheme that is not subject to authorisation under the European Directive regulating Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (“UCITS”). As a result of the Bill, nearly all existing Dutch exemptions (€100,000 exemption, “qualified investors only” exemption, less than 150 offerees exemption) will be repealed. AIF managers (or self-managed AIFs) currently relying on these exemptions will require a license. In addition, currently licensed AIF managers and self-managed AIFs will need to obtain a new license from the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (“AFM”). The Bill also introduces a large number of amendments to the current Dutch framework for (managers of) non-UCITS these licensed collective investment schemes, including: (i) new rules on “depositaries”; (ii) changes in outsourcing rules; (iii) new (ongoing and incidental) reporting requirements; (iv) new investor disclosure requirements; (v) new governance and organisational requirements (risk management, liquidity, valuation, etc.); and (vi) new remuneration rules. Amendment of MP Huizing The Lower House further adopted an amendment which was submitted by the Member of Parliament Huizing. Pursuant to this amendment, managers of AIFS in which only pension funds invest do not fall within the scope of the Bill. Prior to the vote on the amendment, Minister of Finance De Jager sent a letter to the Lower House, in which he explicitly advised against adoption of the amendment. In that letter, the minister also quoted the position of the AFM and the Dutch Central Bank who both wish to supervise managers of pension assets. The Lower House, however, ignored the advice of the minister and adopted the amendment. Next steps After the adoption of the Bill by the Lower House, the Proposal will be sent to the Upper House. The AIFMD must be implemented in Dutch law by 22 July 2013. Newly registered managers will need to obtain a license by that date. Currently licensed managers will need to comply with the new Bill by the same date and to obtain a new license from the AFM.

 

Source: https://zoek.officielebekendmakingen.nl/kst-33235

 

Dutch legislative proposal AIFM Directive submitted to Dutch Lower House (19-04-2012)

On 19 April, 2012, the Dutch Minister of Finance has submitted to the Dutch Lower House the Dutch legislative proposal implementing the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive in Dutch law. As a result of that proposal, a very large number of currently exempted fund managers will become subject to supervision.

The Dutch legislative proposal (the “Proposal”) implementing the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive in the Netherlands was put before the Dutch Parliament on 19 April 2012. The Proposal introduces a licensing requirement for Netherlands-based managers of one or more “alternative investment funds” (“AIFs”), being any collective investment scheme that is not subject to authorisation under the European Directive regulating Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (“UCITS”).

As a result of the Proposal, nearly all existing Dutch exemptions (€100,000 exemption, “qualified investors only” exemption, less than 150 offerees exemption) will be repealed. AIF managers (or self-managed AIFs) currently relying on these exemptions will require a license. Currently licensed AIF managers and self-managed AIFs will need to obtain a new license from the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (“AFM”). The Proposal also introduces a large number of amendments to the current Dutch framework for (managers of) non-UCITS collective investment schemes, including:

 

(a) new rules on “depositaries”;

(b) changes in outsourcing rules;

(c) new (ongoing and incidental) reporting requirements; (iv) new investor disclosure requirements; (d) new governance and organisational requirements (risk management, liquidity, valuation, etc.); and (e) new remuneration rules.

 

Newly registered managers will need to obtain a license by 22 July 2013. Currently licensed managers will need to comply with the new rules pursuant to the Proposal by the same date and to obtain a license from the AFM by 22 July 2014.

 

Our FMLA Client Memo concerning the Proposal can be downloaded below.

 

Bron:  "Client Memo FMLA AIFM"

          "Dutch legislative proposal AIFM Directive"

          "Explanatory statements Dutch legislative proposal AIFM Directive"

          

 

AFM calls for more transparent costs information by retail fund managers (05-04-2012)
The AFM intends to take steps in order to compel retail fund managers to disclose actual costs of ownership information to retail investors.

In his speech at the recent "FD Morningstar Awards" on 4 April 2012, Theodor Kockelkoren, a director of the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (“AFM”), indicates that the AFM intends to compel retail fund managers to provide more accurate cost information to retail investors. Referring to a future report of the AFM, the AFM director also raises questions as to the suitability of synthetic Exchange Traded Funds for retail investors. 

Under current regulations, managers are required to disclose “total expense ratio” (“TER”) information concerning their funds. However, according to Mr. Kockelkoren, the TER of a fund is not a reliable figure, because it does not reflect the total costs that are actually deducted from the gross return on a fund investment. Furthermore, he believes that not all fund managers include the same (types of) costs in the TER, making it unsuitable for fund performance comparison purposes. In order to address these issues, the AFM intends to use its powers to compel fund managers to disclose “total cost of ownership” information instead of the TER, unless the sector does so proactively.


The titel of the speech was: “Op weg naar de KNVB beker!” (“Towards the KNVB award!”). In Dutch, “KNVB” stands for cost-efficiency, purpose, safety and understandability in relation to financial products. In his speech, Theodor Kockelkoren hints at a “KNVB award”, which would reward the ‘best’ investment fund on the basis of these criteria.

 

Bron: Speech "FD Morningstar Awards"

 

ESMA publishes responses to consultation paper on “key concepts” of the AIFMD (27-03-2012)
ESMA publishes input received from stakeholders following consultation on “key concepts” of the AIFM Directive, clarifying the scope and interpretation of the Directive.

On 27 March 2012, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published responses to its consultation on "key concepts" of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”). The discussion paper to which stakeholders so responded contained ESMA’s draft policy approach concerning the interpretation of certain key aspects of the AIFMD, namely:

 

(a) the range of functions that an Alternative Investment Fund Manager (“AIFM”) must carry out in accordance with the AIFMD;

(b) the criteria based on which national competent authorities can determine whether or not an entity falls under the scope of the definition of “Alternative Investment Fund” (“AIF”) under the AIFMD;

(c) the interrelation between the AIFMD and the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directive, e.g. which services may entities that are authorised under one of these directives provide under the other; and

(d) clarification concerning the treatment of authorised “investment firms” and “banks” under the AIFMD, in particular the fact that these types of entities may not be authorised under the AIFMD.

 

In light of the feedback received, ESMA will now develop formal proposals for draft regulatory technical standards, which will be submitted to the market by means of a consultation paper. The results of that public consultation will be used by ESMA in finalising the draft regulatory technical standards to be submitted to the European Commission for endorsement by the end of 2012.

 

Final text of European regulation on short selling and CDs published in Official Journal (24-03-2012)
On 24 March 2012, the final text of the European regulation on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps was published in the Official Journal of the European Community. 

The final text of the new EU regulation on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps  (the “Regulation”) does not materially deviate from that of the European Commission’s proposal. The Regulation provides for a harmonised European framework governing short selling of certain listed instruments. Among others, the Regulation:


(a) prohibits the use of ‘uncovered’ Credit Default Swaps (“CDs”) in sovereign debt, i.e. transactions where no underlying long position exists in the relevant sovereign bond are no longer permitted (Member States are however allowed to suspend the prohibition in their own jurisdiction in certain circumstances);
(b) imposes certain ‘certainty of settlement’-requirements in relation to uncovered short selling of shares and sovereign bonds;

(c) introduces an harmonised notification and reporting regime for shares, whereby holders of net short positions must notify these privately to the regulator when they exceed 0.2% of the issued share capital of the issuer company and must publicly disclose these (on a named basis) when they exceed 0.5%. In each case, further notification or reporting is required at each 0.1% above the initial threshold;
(d) provides national competent authorities and ESMA with additional powers to intervene in the markets in times of stress; and

(e) excludes sales under a repo agreement or futures contracts from the definition of short sales in shares and debt instruments.

 

Many provisions of the Regulation are to be further implemented by means of delegated acts and technical standards. ESMA has been requested to advise the European Commission in that regard.

 

ESMA publishes responses to consultation paper on suitability requirements under MiFID (29-02-2012)

ESMA publishes updated draft guidance for portfolio managers and investment advisers on how to deal with the “suitability” test under the MiFID.

On 29 February 2012, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published the responses to its consultation paper on certain aspects of the "suitability" requirements under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (“MiFID”). The draft guidelines set out in that paper are relevant for MiFID-licensed investment firms when performing individual portfolio management or investment advice services under the MiFID. The paper focuses mainly on the need for firms to have in place appropriate policies and procedures in order to know their clients when recommending “suitable” investment choices in accordance with the MiFID. The draft guidelines contain guidance concerning, inter alia, the following topics:

(a)    the firms’ information obligations vis-à-vis their clients regarding the background of the suitability assessment process and the firms’ own responsibilities in that process;
(b)    the adequate policies and procedures investment firms are required to have in place to enable them to understand the essential facts about their clients and the characteristics of the financial instruments available for those clients;

(c)    the variable nature and extent of the information to be collected depending on the services provided, the instruments involved and the level of ‘sophistication’ of the relevant client;
(d)    the level of knowledge and expertise required from staff members involved in material aspects of the suitability;
(e)    the reasonable steps required from investment firms to ensure the information collected is reliable and the procedures required to maintain adequate and updated information about the client; and

(f)    the firms’ record-keeping obligations concerning all stages of the suitability process.


ESMA expects to publish a final report, and final guidelines, in the second quarter of 2012.

 

ESMA publishes discussion paper and launches consultation on “key aspects” of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (23-02-2012)

In a published discussion paper, ESMA provides some clarification on the interpretation of certain important aspects of the AIFM Directive and on its scope of applicability.

On 23 February 2012, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published a discussion paperon “key aspects” of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”). This discussion paper contains ESMA’s draft policy approach concerning the interpretation of certain key aspects of the AIFMD, namely:

 

(e)    the range of functions that an Alternative Investment Fund Manager (“AIFM”) must carry out in accordance with the AIFM;
(f)    the criteria based on which national competent authorities can determine whether or not an entity falls under the scope of the definition of “Alternative Investment Fund” (“AIF”) under the AIFMD;

(g)    the interrelation between the AIFMD and the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directive, e.g. which services may entities that are authorised under one of these directives, provide under the other;
(h)    clarification concerning the treatment of authorised “investment firms” and “banks” under the AIFMD, in particular the fact that these types of entities may not be authorised under the AIFMD.

In light of the feedback received, ESMA will develop formal proposals for draft regulatory technical standards, which will be submitted to the market by mean of a consultation paper. The results of that public consultation will be used by ESMA in finalising the draft regulatory technical standards to be submitted to the European Commission for endorsement by the end of 2012.

 

ESMA publishes consultation paper on short-selling of certain instruments (15-02-2012)
ESMA consults with the market in connection with the elaboration of further measures implementing the new European regulation on short-selling.

On 15 February 2012, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published a consultation paper regarding its draft technical advice on possible delegated acts in respect of the new regulation on short selling and certain aspects of Credit Default Swaps, of which it is required to submit a definitive version to the European Commission by 31 March 2012.
The new regulation will enter into force on 1 November 2012. It provides for a harmonised European framework governing short selling of certain listed instruments. Among others the Regulation:


(a) prohibits the use of ‘uncovered’ Credit Default Swaps (“CDs”) in sovereign debt, i.e. transactions where no underlying long position exists in the relevant sovereign bond are no longer permitted (Member States are however allowed to suspend the prohibition in their own jurisdiction in certain circumstances);
(b) imposes certain ‘certainty of settlement’-requirements in relation to uncovered short selling of shares and sovereign bonds;
(c) introduces an harmonised notification and reporting regime for shares, whereby holders of net short positions must notify these privately to the regulator when they exceed 0.2% of the issued share capital of the issuer company and must publicly disclose these (on a named basis) when they exceed 0.5%. In each case, further notification or reporting is required at each 0.1% above the initial threshold;
(d) provides national competent authorities and ESMA with additional powers to intervene in the markets in times of stress; and
(e) excludes sales under a repo agreement or futures contracts from the definition of short sales in shares and debt instruments.


The consultation is designed to obtain comments from stakeholders on the technical advice that ESMA proposes to give to the European Commission on a number of possible delegated acts concerning the Regulation. The deadline for stakeholders to submit comments has been set on 9 March 2012.

 

New Dutch “suitability” requirements for policy-makers of financial undertakings (3-02-2012)

As of 1 July 2012, the pre-appointment screening criteria for policy-makers of financial undertakings will be amended.

On 3 February 2012, the Royal Decree (the “Decree”) establishing the date of entry into force of the new “suitability” requirements for daily policy-makers and supervisory officers of financial undertakings was published in the Dutch Government gazette (Staatscourant). Pursuant to that decree, the new rules holding, inter alia, replacement of the current “expertise” (deskundigheid) criterion by a “suitability” (geschiktheid) criterion will enter into force on 1 July 2012. According to the explanatory statements to the relevant legislative proposal, the “suitability” criterion is broader than the “expertise” criterion, because it encompasses not only the knowledge and experience of the relevant person, but also the person’s overall skills and professional behavior.


The Decree contains different transitional provisions with respect to persons that are already in office at the time of entry into force of the Decree. The applicable transitional regime depends on the function of the relevant person and on the type and size of the relevant financial undertaking.

 

ESMA publishes draft guidelines and launches consultation on ETFs and other UCITS-related issues (30-01-2012)

ESMA consultation paper provides insight into the future specific disclosure requirements for UCITS ETFs and other types of index-tracking UCITS

On 30 January 2012, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published a consultation paper setting out future draft guidelines on a number of topics relating to certain types of Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (“UCITS”), namely:
(a)    prospectus, annual and half-yearly disclosure for UCITS using index-tracking strategies;
(b)    prospectus and Key Investor Information disclosure for UCITS using leveraged index-tracking strategies;
(c)    the employment of so-called “efficient portfolio management techniques” by UCITS and related disclosure requirements;
(d)    the use of total return swaps by UCITS and related disclosure requirements;
(e)    specific rules for UCITS gaining exposure to an index that aims at replicating a quantitative or a trading strategy; and
(f)    definition of “UCITS Exchange-Traded Funds” (“UCITS ETFs”) and related specific rules and disclosure requirements (including rules designed to protect investors when redeeming units in UCITS ETFs).

 

Dutch government publishes its views on the regulations on Venture Capital Funds regulation and Social Entrepeneurship Funds (20-01-2012)

On 20 January 2012, the government published a letter setting out its preliminary views on the Commission’s proposals for regulations on smaller Venture Capital Funds and Social Entrepreneurship Funds.

 On 20 January 2012 the government published a letter to the Lower House setting out its preliminary views regarding the European Commission proposals for a European regulation on European Venture Capital Funds (“VCFs”) and a European regulation on European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (“SEFs”). These proposals provide for a European framework (including passporting rights) for the marketing to “professional investors” of VCFs and SEFs that are exempted under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”) due to their size (i.e. ‘registration only’ regime due to assets under management not exceeding €500 million or €100 million for non-leveraged, five-year close-end funds). The government is positive concerning the proposal for a European regulation on VCFs. In contrast, it does not consider it necessary to establish a European framework for SEFs. In the government’s opinion, the practical implications of both proposals and potential implementation issues should be carefully looked into. Furthermore, implementation should not result in excessive administrative costs. Due attention should be given to the relation between the AIFMD and the proposed regulations, notably in terms of potential inconsistencies.

 

ESMA publishes consultation papers in connection with future European regulation on short-selling of certain instruments (24-01-2012)

ESMA consults with the market in connection with the draft technical standards pursuant to the new European regulation on short-selling

On 24 January 2012, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published a consultation paper on draft technical standards in respect of the new regulation on short selling and certain aspects of Credit Default Swaps, of which it is required to submit definitive versions to the European Commission by 31 March 2012. 
The new regulation will enter into force on 1 November 2012. It provides for a harmonised European framework governing short selling of certain listed instruments. Among others the Regulation:
(a)    prohibits the use of ‘uncovered’ Credit Default Swaps (“CDs”) in sovereign debt, i.e. transactions where no underlying long position exists in the relevant sovereign bond are no longer permitted (Member States are however allowed to suspend the prohibition in their own jurisdiction in certain circumstances);
(b)    imposes certain ‘certainty of settlement’-requirements in relation to uncovered short selling of shares and sovereign bonds;
(c)    introduces an harmonised notification and reporting regime for shares, whereby holders of net short positions must notify these privately to the regulator when they exceed 0.2% of the issued share capital of the issuer company and must publicly disclose these (on a named basis) when they exceed 0.5%. In each case, further notification or reporting is required at each 0.1% above the initial threshold;
(d)    provides national competent authorities and ESMA with additional powers to intervene in the markets in times of stress; and
(e)    excludes sales under a repo agreement or futures contracts from the definition of short sales in shares and debt instruments.

 

The consultation is designed to obtain comments from stakeholders concerning the draft technical standards that ESMA proposes to submit to the European Commission for endorsement by the end of March 2012. The deadline for stakeholders to submit comments has been set on 13 February 2012.

 

2012 levies for supervision costs published (04-01-2012)

The Dutch Ministry of Finance has published the regulation on costs of supervision for 2012

On 4 January 2012, the 2012 regulation on (one-off and ongoing) supervision costs was published in the Dutch government gazette (Staatscourant).

 

Exempted offerings: changes to Dutch rules (01-01-2012)

As of 1 January 2012, the exemption threshold has been increased from EUR 50,000 to EUR 100,000 and new ‘visual’ warnings are required for exempted offerings

As of 1 January 2012, the conditions for reliance on the ‘minimum amount’ and the ‘minimum denomination’ exemption for offerings of individual investment objects, participation rights in collective investment schemes and securities in the Netherlands have been tightened. These changes have been implemented through amendment of the Exemption Regulation to the Dutch Act on Financial Supervision (Vrijstellingsregeling Wft).
As a result, the minimum investment thresholds resulting in exemption from the relevant licensing and/or prospectus requirements have been increased to EUR 100,000 instead of EUR 50,000. The new stricter rules apply in any event to all "offerings" taking place after 1 January 2012 (an "offering" includes the management of a financial product during its life time). Certain transitional provisions have been enacted for:
(a)    parties merely managing individual investment objects offered before 1 January 2012 under the EUR 50,000 exemption; and
(b)    collective investment schemes offered before 1 January 2012 in reliance on the 50,000 exemption.
Further explanation concerning those changes and the transitional provisions can be found in a letter from the Dutch Minister of Finance (Dutch only) and on the AFM website (Dutch only).
As of 1 January 2012, new mandatory warning rules apply to advertisements, offerings and marketing documentation relating to exempted offerings of individual investment objects, participation rights in collective investment schemes and securities.
 
Inclusion of these warning is not required for exempted offerings of securities to only “qualified investors” as defined under Dutch regulations.

 

Changes in Dutch rules Notification of voting rights and holdings in listed companies (01-01-2012)

As of 1 January 2012, the Dutch rules on the notification of voting rights and participating interests in certain listed companies also capture certain cash-settled instruments

As of 1 January 2012, the scope of the rules governing the notification of voting rights and participating interests in –briefly put– listed Dutch public companies and non-European issuers with a Dutch listing has been extended to certain cash-settled instruments, such as ‘contracts for difference’ and ‘total return equity swaps’. The rationale behind this extension is that under certain circumstances these instruments may give the holder the possibility to influence the underlying voting rights and to obtain a participating interest in the relevant issuer. In relation to this change the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (“AFM”) has recently issued a policy rule and an updated version of the AFM brochure for shareholders.

 

 

 

 

 

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