No clarity on clearing and settlement

Commissioner McCreevy has indicated that his
mind is still open on whether or not there should be legislation on
clearing and settlement in the EU. 

Speaking to the Parliament’s Economic and
Monetary Affairs Committee on 1 Feb, Mr McCreevy said he was still
rather more in favour of legislation then against but that he still
needs to be convinced. In the past, the Commissioner has singled
out clearing and settlement as one of the possible exceptions to a
general “time-out” on financial services legislation following the
completion of the Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP)
(see EURACTIV 8 Dec 2005). Clearing and
settlement concerns the procedural rules on transactions in
securities and derivatives: calculation of amounts due,
registration of change of ownership, delivery of certificates
etc. 

However, there is a strong anti-legislation
argument. Theresa Villiers, the Parliament’s rapporteur, is against
a legislative solution, advocating industry–led action towards
harmonising rules and removing barriers. Some commentators feel
that if there were proper implementation of FSAP legislation
already in the pipeline (Investment Services Directive and the
Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MIFID), further
legislation on clearing and settlement would not be needed.

Before making any decision the commissioner will
await the advice of the EU Clearing and Settlement Legal Certainty
Group. The group, made up of experts from the public and private
sectors and academia, held its first meeting on 31 January. It will
study the barriers to effective cross-border clearing and
settlement identified by the Giovannini Reports (see EURACTIV 19 Jan 2005).
Liaising with European and international bodies, it will
analyse the legal issues and put forward proposals on how best to
implement the initiatives on clearing and settlement suggested in
the Commission’s 2004 communication on the issue.

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