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IP/05/434

Brussels, 15 April 2005

Clearing and settlement: first meeting of Commission expert group on fiscal compliance issues

The European Commission’s Clearing and Settlement Fiscal Compliance (“FISCO”) expert group is holding its first meeting in Brussels on 15 April 2005. The group, chaired by the Commission, will advise on the removal of fiscal compliance barriers to the clearing and settlement of cross-border securities transactions within the EU. It is composed of 15 high-level experts, mainly from private bodies.

Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: “"The FISCO Group will have an important role to play in helping to tackle the fiscal barriers. This is an area that was highlighted by the group of financial experts chaired by Alberto Giovannini, as one of the obstacles to more efficient pan-European cross border clearing and settlement in securities. This is important in the context of deepening financial market integration.”

Clearing and settlement takes place after two parties have agreed a securities transaction, in order to allow the transfer of ownership and of the corresponding payment. Systems in the EU have developed nationally, as cross-border trading activity has been limited. Cross-border clearing and settlement in the EU is therefore still much more costly and complex than within a single Member State or in the United States, to the detriment of the EU's financial markets.
Different fiscal regulations in Member States are a factor in this fragmentation and the group will advise on ways to remove these barriers, identified in the Giovannini reports (http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/giovannini/clearing_settlement_en.htm)

and by respondents to the Commission’s April 2004 Communication on Clearing and Settlement (IP/05/346). The Communication includes an action plan outlining various initiatives to achieve an integrated, safe and efficient clearing and settlement environment for securities trading in the EU, based on a level playing field for the different providers of services.

The group will look at alternative ways for Member States to secure their tax receipts, while permitting all financial institutions across the European Union to compete on an equal footing. It will produce a study assessing whether national fiscal compliance procedures could be more closely aligned and whether the multiplicity of rules which raise the cost of cross-border settlement could be eliminated or substantially reduced. The group may also identify other relevant issues.

It will liaise with two other expert groups - the CESAME group on market-led initiatives to bring down barriers to integration and the Legal Certainty Group, which tackles legal barriers - as well as with the “Group of 30” and other international bodies.

The group will conduct its work openly (up to date information will be available through its website) and in line with the Commission’s work in the area to date. The work is expected to take about two years.

The Commission will use the findings as a basis for discussion with the Member States in accordance with the established policy of prior consultation on tax issues. If subsequent action at EU level is considered appropriate, the Commission will bring forward proposals.

For more details of Commission policy on clearing and settlement:

http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/financial-markets/clearing/compliance_en.htm

Annex

List FISCO Group

Mr. Francis BARRIER

SEGL/FIS

Mr. Joseph DE WOLF

Banque Nationale de Belgique

Dr. Daniel DEAK
Corvinus University Budapest,

Faculty of Business Administration

Mr. Gabriele ESCALAR

Studio Associato Legale Tributario

Mr. Charles HELLIER

Linklaters

Mr. Philip KERFS
Euroclear

Mr. Erkki KONTKANEN
The Finnish Bankers Association

Mr. Koen MARSOUL

Ernst&Young

Mr. Steven MCGRADY

Stamp Taxes Group

KPMG LLP

Mr. Jeffrey NASLUND
Deutsche Börse Group/Clearstream International

Dr. Martine PETERS
Clifford Chance

Mr. Jan ROELS
Deloitte & Touche Belastingconsulenten CVBA

Ms. Anne RUTBERG
Mannheimer Swartling

Mr. Francisco URIA
Asociación Española de Banca

Mr. Klaus ZINKEISEN
Deutsche Bank AG


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