Financial Services & Markets

In recent years, following the outbreak of the financial crisis, the European Union has put forward an ambitious and unprecedented series of reforms to secure financial stability and improve the functioning and the supervision of financial markets. An extensive number of EU legislative acts were adopted in the financial sector.

Milieu was delighted to be awarded a framework contract by DG FISMA in this important field of EU legislation. The aim of the contract is to assess the compliance of EU-28 Member States’ national legislation to the legislation of the EU in the areas of banking, re/insurance, investment funds, harmonised regulation for investment services, as well as other financial legislation.

Milieu has carried out 13 compliance assessment projects for DG FISMA. Key projects covering core components of EU financial law and policy include:

Accounting Directive

In 2008, the European Parliament adopted a non-legislative resolution on accounting requirements, stressing the excessive burden the Accounting Directives represent for small and medium-sized companies, and in particular for micro-entities. They therefore asked the Commission to review the Directives to establish exemptions for such companies and simplify accounting rules. In 2011, the European Council also called for the overall regulatory burden to be eased at both Union and national level, in particular for SMEs. As a result, the so-called Accounting Directive 2013/34/EU was adopted to repeal and merge the existing Accounting Directives in order to simplify and provide clarity, consistency and coherence to the accounting framework. The overall objective of the new Accounting Directive was to reduce administrative burdens, in particular for SMEs.

Milieu carried out the compliance assessment of the national transposing provisions in all 28 EU Member States with this Directive

Audit Directive and Regulation

Investors’ trust in companies’ financial information is necessary for cross-border investment and economic growth. Independent and effective auditing of companies is vital to build this trust. The Audit Directive (Directive 2014/56/EU) therefore sets out the framework for all statutory audits and reinforces auditors’ independence and their professional scepticism towards the management of the audited company. It strengthens public oversight of the audit profession and improves cooperation between competent authorities in the EU.

Milieu assessed the compliance of the national transposing provisions in all 28 EU Member States with the Directive and with the options provided by the Audit Regulation which details requirements for statutory audits of public interest entities, such as listed companies, banks and insurance undertakings.

Transparency Directive

The application of transparency rules for publicly traded companies is critical for the adequate functioning of capital markets. Investors need to rely, on precise and timely information about the business performance and assets of companies in order to limit risk when they carry out an investment. The EU adopted Directive 2013/50/EU amending Directive 2004/109/EC on the harmonisation of transparency requirements in relation to information about issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market. The aim of this Directive was to simplify issuers ‘rules inter alia for small and medium-sized issuers raising capital in the Union and to improve the requirements on the disclosure of corporate ownership’.

Milieu carried out the compliance assessment of the national transposing provisions in all 28 EU Member States with this Directive.

UCITS V

The main focus of the fifth directive on Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (Directive 2014/91/EU – UCITS V Directive) is the protection of investors. UCITS V applies to EU asset managers managing UCITS funds and UCITS depositaries. This directive introduces stricter criteria for entities allowed to act as a depositary.
Milieu carried out the compliance assessment of the national transposing provisions in all 28 EU Member States with this Directive

MiFID II

The Directive on markets in financial instruments (Directive 2014/65/EU – MiFID II) aims to harmonise national provisions concerning the requirements applicable to investment firms, regulated markets, data reporting services providers and third-country firms providing investment services or activities in the EU. MiFID II created a new legal framework for trading activities on financial markets and enhanced investor protection. The Directive ensures that financial products are traded on regulated venues, strengthening the transparency requirements applying to the trading of financial instruments.
Milieu carried out the compliance assessment of the national transposing provisions in all 28 EU Member States with this Directive

IORP II

Considering the increasing pressure upon social-security systems and the ageing of the EU population, the organisation of an internal market for occupational retirement pensions (IORP) at a European level is a crucial and necessary development in order to ensure a decent living standard for older and disabled people. Despite the enactment of Directive 2003/41/EC, the internal market for IORP was not sufficiently developed due to differences in the labour legislation and the national social systems in the Member States. Therefore, cross-border operations remained weak and more expensive due to the existing prudential barriers. Moreover, it was observed that the minimum level of protection for members and beneficiaries was insufficient and exposed them to market risks that did not affect the sponsoring undertaking. Directive (EU) 2016/2341 on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORPs Directive) replaced Directive 2003/41/EC. It aims to reinforce the framework for occupational pension schemes to better protect and inform the beneficiaries. It further seeks to guarantee that such schemes offered are financially stable whilst also encouraging long-term investment in the market of occupational pension provisions.
Milieu carried out the compliance assessment of the national transposing provisions in all 28 EU Member States with this Directive

In order to take informed decisions, consumers should understand the nature and price of insurance. Therefore, the Insurance Distribution Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/97 – the IDD) regulates the sale of insurance products in the EU. This Directive applies to re/insurance intermediaries and undertakings distributing re/insurance products. The IDD contains transparency and conduct-of-business requirements. Furthermore, the Directive modernises the rules governing cross-border provision of services by insurance intermediaries.

Payment Services Directive

Directive 2007/64/EC (“PSD I”) introduced a regulatory framework for payment services in the European Union’s internal market. New technological developments in electronic and mobile payments and the introduction of new types of payment services and products, led to the introduction of new players in this market. This enhances competition and brings more options for consumers of payment services. These emerging and innovative payment services remained partly or entirely outside the scope of PSD I with the risk of fragmented national legal regimes and a lack of regulation of such services in Member States. As a result, Directive (EU) 2015/2366 (PSD II) was adopted to harmonise national laws on, inter alia, electronic payments and establish a safer, user-friendly and cheaper environment for innovative online and mobile payment methods.
Milieu carried out the compliance assessment of the national transposing provisions in all 28 EU Member States with this Directive

Payment Account Directive

Directive 2007/64/EC established basic transparency requirements for fees charged by payment service providers in relation to services offered on payment accounts. On 18 July 2011, the European Commission adopted a Recommendation on access to basic payment accounts, with the aim of promoting financial and social inclusion for consumers across Europe. The Recommendation was to apply in conjunction with Directive 2007/64/EC, providing that rules on the transparency of conditions and on information regarding payment services apply to basic payment accounts. The European Commission, however, considered that a recommendation was not enough and Directive 2014/92/EU was adopted to improve consumer rights of EU citizens with regard to access to bank accounts, comparability of fees and bank account switching.
Milieu carried out the compliance assessment of the national transposing provisions in all 28 EU Member States with this Directive

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.