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Brussels, 20 April 2009

Financial services: Commission launches call for evidence on review of Market Abuse Directive

The European Commission has launched a call for evidence on its review of the application of the Market Abuse Directive, including some preliminary findings and proposals to improve and simplify this Directive. The Market Abuse Directive aims to ensure that behaviour such as insider dealing and market manipulation is properly deterred and sanctioned. The review is a key element of the Commission's policy to strengthen the EU regulatory framework for financial services set out in the Communication on "Driving European recovery" (IP/09/351) and of its action plan to reduce administrative burdens on EU companies by 25% by the end of 2012.

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "This review aims to improve and simplify the Market Abuse Directive. It efficiently contributes to the plan of European recovery and enhances market integrity in turbulent times like the ones we are going through. I encourage all interested parties to give us their views."

Issues addressed by the consultation

After extensive discussion with stakeholders, including the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) and the European Securities Markets Expert Group (ESME), the Commission considers that specific elements of the Market Abuse Directive should be reviewed.

The Commission considers that the effect of the Market Abuse Directive has generally been positive. It has defined different types of market abuse, created important obligations and specified the means to deter and sanction abusive behaviour.

The Commission has however identified some elements of the Directive that should be reviewed in order to improve its effectiveness and to reduce where possible unnecessary burdens. These issues include:

  • The scope of the markets and financial instruments covered by the Directive;
  • The ability of listed issuers to delay disclosure of inside information;
  • Disclosure of inside information by issuers of commodity derivatives;
  • The ability of competent authorities to gain access to telephone records and other data;
  • The obligation to draw up insiders' lists and to report the transactions of managers of issuers.

Questions related to short selling, a topic that is not expressly addressed in the current Directive, are also included in the call for evidence.

About the Market Abuse Directive

The Directive prohibits abusive behaviour such as insider dealing and market manipulation. It creates obligations aimed at deterring abuses, such as insiders' lists, suspicious transaction reporting, and disclosure of trades by managers of issuers. It also requires issuers to disclose inside information. It increases the means for regulators to fight against market abuse and provides for greater cooperation in international investigations.

About the action plan to reduce administrative burdens

The Commission's Better Regulation initiative aims to ensure that the regulatory framework in the EU contributes to achieving growth and jobs. Its objective is to simplify and improve existing regulation, to improve the design of new regulation and to reinforce the respect and the effectiveness of existing rules. In 2007 the Commission reinforced the initiative with an ambitious action plan to reduce the administrative burden of existing regulation on EU companies, jointly with Member States, by 25% by the end of 2012. It is estimated that a reduction of the administrative burden by a quarter could lead to an increase of 1.4 % of EU GDP.

The call for evidence is available at:

Comments should be sent before 10 June 2009 to the following e-mail address:

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