Sélecteur de langues
Brussels, 12 September 2006
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "These new rules mean that supervisory authorities will have to be clear, transparent and consistent when assessing cross-border mergers and acquisitions. They leave no room for political interference or protectionism. This has to be the way forward if we're serious about having a fully functioning Internal Market and enabling Europe's financial companies to compete globally."
The proposed Directive provides supervisory authorities with a clear and transparent process for decision-making and notification. In particular, there is now a closed list of criteria on which the acquiring company should be assessed, such as reputation of the proposed acquirer, reputation and experience of any person that may run the resulting institution or firm, financial soundness of the proposed acquirer, compliance with relevant EU Directives, and risk of money laundering and terrorism financing. Also, the Directive reduces the assessment period from three months to 30 days and allows the supervisory authority to 'stop the clock' only once, under clear conditions.
It amends the following existing Directives: the Banking Directive (2006/48/EC), the Third Non-life Insurance Directive (92/49/EEC), the Recast Life Assurance Directive (2002/83/EC), the Reinsurance Directive (2005/68/EC), and Directive 2006/48/EC on markets in financial instruments.
The issue of low cross-border consolidation in the financial sector was discussed at the informal meeting of Economic and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) in September 2004. Ministers asked the Commission to study possible obstacles to cross-border mergers and acquisitions in the financial sector, arising both from differing supervisory practices and from other, broader factors.
Consequently, the Commission began a review of the existing rules in the banking sector on the supervisory assessments of shareholdings that allow Member States to block on prudential grounds the acquisition of shareholdings above certain thresholds. As this legislation is very similar to corresponding legislation in the securities and insurance sectors, it was considered appropriate to extend the review to include these sectors as well, in order to maintain and enhance further cross-sectoral consistency.
To gather stakeholders' view on the subject, the Commission carried out an online consultation in spring 2006 (IP/06/320). The results indicated that EU companies were aware of the problems with the supervisory approval process, and were supportive of the need to introduce clearer procedures and criteria and to improve consistency.
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