McCreevy signals time out on financial services legislation


New Internal Market Commissioner Charlie
McCreevy says that he does not envisage a further major programme
of regulation in the financial services sector.

The financial sector was suffering from
“regulatory fatigue”, conceded Commissioner McCreevy, speaking at a
conference held by the Committee of European Securities Regulators
in Paris on 6 December. He did not envisage any major securities
market proposals in 2005. Instead, his priorities would be
“implementation and enforcement” of the measures already in place
through the completion of the Financial Services Action Plan
(FSAP). To this end, the commissioner responsible for the internal
market and services intended to “listen hard to all sides”,
and monitor progress through discussion and co-operation. The
member states would be encouraged to publish “transposition
tables”, showing their progress on implementing FSAP measures and
the Commissioner did not rule out infringement proceedings for
those slow to do so, but as a last resort.

Commissioner McCreevy also promised action on
the retail side. Although stressing that the realisation of a
single market in retail financial services was lagging far behind
the wholesale, he did not give any definite plans. He ruled
out a legislative programme similar to the securities market
legislation, while leaving the option open to take other
legislative action if necessary.

Action on clearing and settlement would also be
a priority but the commissioner would not commit himself as to
whether there would be a directive on this: more consultation was
required. He also pinpointed the implementation of the Markets in
Financial Instruments Directive, common International Accounting
Standards, the Capital Adequacy Directive (both were agreed at
the 7 December EcoFin Council) and corporate governance as being
important next steps. Further improvement in regulation and
supervision would also be crucial. 

At the same conference, Jean-Claude Trichet,
President of the European Central Bank, said that it was up the
financial services industry themselves to now ensure that the FSAP
brought the expected results. 

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