Alert June 03, 2008

European Commission Reexamines Supervision of Securities, Banking and Insurance Sectors

The European Commission published a consultation paper (the “Paper”) to explore the views of interested parties on potential revisions to the Commission Decisions, which established the Committee of European Securities Regulators (“CESR”), the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (“CEBS”) and the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (“CEIOPS” and, together with CESR and CEBS, the “Committees of Supervisors”).  This new initiative follows intensive discussions in 2007 and 2008 on the scope of activities of the Committees of Supervisors which, according to the Paper, resulted in a broad consensus that “the responsibilities of the Committees of Supervisors should be aligned, clarified and strengthened to ensure an enhanced contribution to supervisory cooperation and convergence at [the European Union] level.”  The current financial turmoil has further highlighted the need to strengthen EU financial stability arrangements.

The Paper does not call for a radical overhaul of the existing supervisory system, but rather proposes more limited revisions in order to (i) introduce greater consistency between each of the Commission Decisions establishing the Committees of Supervisors and (ii) establish a clearer framework for the activities of the Committees of Supervisors in the area of supervisory cooperation and convergence.  For example, the Paper provides that the Committees of Supervisors should intensify work in the area of streamlining reporting requirements and should also encourage and facilitate the process of developing a common supervisory culture in the EU.  In addition, the Paper discusses the proposed role of the Committees of Supervisors with regard to the proposal to establish “colleges of supervisors” in order to improve the supervision of cross-border financial groups.

All interested parties are invited to comment on the Paper by July 18, 2008.