ESMA - Advice on Crypto-Assets and initial coin offerings


ESMA publishes its Advice to the EU Institutions on initial coin offerings and crypto-assets. 

The advice outlines ESMA’s position on the gaps and issues that exist in the rules within ESMA’s remit when crypto-assets qualify as financial instruments and the risks that are left unaddressed when crypto-assets do not qualify as financial instruments. 

  For crypto-assets that qualify as financial instruments under MiFID, there are areas that require potential interpretation or re-consideration of specific requirements to allow for an effective application of existing regulations.

 Where these assets do not qualify as financial instruments, the absence of applicable financial rules leaves investors exposed to substantial risks. At a minimum, ESMA believes that Anti Money Laundering (AML) requirements should apply to all crypto-assets and activities involving crypto-assets. There should also be appropriate risk disclosure in place, so that consumers can be made aware of the potential risks prior to committing funds to crypto-assets. 

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ESMA - Public Statement on a no-deal Brexit scenario


European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) issued a public statements stating that it is ready to review UK central counterparties' (CCPs) and Central Securities Depositories' (CSDs) recognition applications for a no-deal Brexti scenario.


ESMA states that it aims to recognise UK CCPs in a timely manner, where the four recognition conditions under Article 25 of EMIR are met.

To ensure continued access to UK CCPs for EU clearing members and trading venues, ESMA aims to adopt the recognition decisions well ahead of the Brexit date. Similarly to the equivalence decision, they will take effect on the date following the Brexit date, under a no-deal scenario.

ESMA states that it will follow a similar process, as described for UK CCPs, for the recognition of the UK CSDs as third country CSDs under the CSD Regulation in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

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Delegated Regulation that amends Regulation EU 2017/565 (SME growth markets-MiFID II)


The European Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation that amends Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565 as regards certain registration conditions to promote the use of SME growth markets for the purposes of MiFID II.

The adopted Delegated Regulation has three operational provisions:

  • it replaces the current definition of a non-equity issuer set out in Article 77(2) of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565 with a new definition based on an issuance size criterion;
  • it modifies Article 78(2)(g) of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565 by leaving the flexibility to SME growth market operators to impose a half yearly financial report on non-equity issuers (while keeping this obligation unchanged for equity issuers); and
  • it introduces a new point (j) in Article 78(2) of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565 requiring listing rules of SME growth markets to impose a free float requirement for equity issuers when the shares are admitted to trading for the first time.

The adopted Delegated Regulation will now be considered by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

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The Sixth AML Directive is already on its way


 On 12 November 2018, there was published in the Official Journal of the EU Directive (EU) 2018/1673 on combating money laundering by criminal law.

The 4th Directive focused on risk, the 5th Directive focuses on risk transparency, the upcoming 6th Directive will focus on criminal offences and penalties.

The Directive provides a harmonised list of 22 predicate offences, which include cybercrime, aiding and abetting, inciting and attempting money laundering. 

The Directive shall enter into force on 2 December 2018 and Member States must transpose the Directive into national law by 3 December 2020.

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Priority dossiers under the Romanian EU Counscil Presidency


Romania will hold the EU Council Presidency from January to July 2019. Its Presidency comes at the end of the European Parliament’s current legislative term, with European elections taking place on 23-26 May 2019. This is the first time that Romania holds the EU Council Presidency since joining the European Union on 1 January 2007. Romania has a bicameral legislature. The Parliament consists of the Senate (the upper house) having 137 seats and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) with 332 seats. The members of both houses are elected by direct, popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of the Government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. The Social Democratic Party (PSD) heads the current governmental alliance with the centre-right Liberal-Democrat Alliance (ALDE). Romania is a semi-presidential republic, with Klaus Iohannis as President in office since November 2014, and the current Prime Minister, Viorica Dancila (PSD), in office since January 2018. 

Pan-European personal pension product (PEPP)


On 19 June 2018, the European Council agreed a general approach on a pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) and the ECON Commitee voted its report and negotiating mandate on September 3rd, hence trilogues have started. 

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