In recent years there has been an avalanche of new regulations from the EU governing banking, financial services and insurance. I attended a seminar last week to catch up with the latest developments. It was a long meeting.
We are witnessing the early developments of regulation from the main European Supervisory Agencies (ESAs).
UCITs V has been developed to regulate investment funds. CRD IV is to regulate bank capital. The EU is working on a Bank Resolution and Recovery Directive, and on proposals for bank structural reform. The banking ESA is undertaking stress tests on banks and is seeking extra powers including binding arbitrations.
The Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) will propose a resolution mechanism to be approved by the Commission, to be triggered by the ECB. The Resolution fund will be paid for by all the Euro member states, but will be 60% mutualised within two years of its establishment.
The EU is working on changes or improvements to its anti money laundering legislation, on payments, benchmarks, and KIDIP consumer protection. It is backing the Asset Quality Review (AQR), and will allign EU leverage ratios for banks with Basel III international agreement. The SSM, the new banking supervisor in the ECB, plans 1000 staff to supervise the main EU banks. There will be a single rule book for banks across the single market, not just the Euro area. The system of living wills for banks will be incorporated into the new system.
The aim will be a comprehensive system of consumer and professional market regulation in all financial areas. Every area will need to conform to the general rules against financial crime and money laundering. There will then be differing individual requirements sector by sector depending on the type of business and the nature of the customers.
Increasingly the UK regulators will be enforcing EU requirements. I mention this in a neutral spirit, but if we wish to have a well informed debate about the relative powers of the Uk and EU governments it is always now wise first to ask what are their respective powers and responsibilities. In the area of financial regulation the EU is clearly now in charge.
The EU is also keen to increase its involvement in taxation. The UK has declined to join the scheme to introduce a Financial Transaction Tax, but other countries will go ahead without us. The EU is also planning to require more exchange of information over savings taxes, extanding the range of current proposals, as they wish to move closer to common savings taxation.
The UK says that as it is not in the Euro area it can still have its own distinctive system. Yet developments show that in so many ways membership of the EU as a non Euro member still sucks us into the general movement towards EU control.