Towards harmonisation of bank insolvency laws

The harmonisation of insolvency rules for European banks was recently put on the table by Germany’s finance minister Olaf Scholz, together with other measures (such as a European deposit insurance scheme) destined to advance the banking union (see his position paper on the goals of the banking union).  According to Minister Scholz:

The lack of harmonisation in this area complicates the resolution of banks with cross-border operations. This becomes particularly problematic when banks and creditors are better placed in proceedings under national insolvency legislation than they would be with a resolution in accordance with the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive. When this happens, national insolvency legislation undercuts the provisions that are tailored to fit the specific set of interests at play when a bank is wound down.

What is more, the SRB also needs to take into account 19 different national insolvency regimes when performing a resolution due to the no-creditor-worse-off principle, which stipulates that no creditor may incur greater losses as a result of a resolution than they would have in national insolvency proceedings. This is complex, increases legal and compensation risks and results in groups of creditors receiving different treatment despite being fundamentally the same.

For this reason, we need a single European set of laws on bank insolvency.

Coincidentally (or not), a study on the differences between bank insolvency laws and on their potential harmonisation was recently published (the report and the executive summary can be found here). The abstract from the executive summary reads as follows:

 The resolution framework set out under Directive 2014/59/EU (‘BRRD’) provides EU Member States with comprehensive and harmonised arrangements to deal with failing banks at a national level, and is complemented in the euro area by the Single Resolution Mechanism Regulation (SRMR) that sets out a euro-area-wide resolution framework. But under EU law, unlike in the United States, resolution does not function as a standalone substitute for national insolvency proceedings. This study identifies the national insolvency procedures applicable to banks and analyses key differences between them, notably concerning the circumstances according to which the application of reorganisation or winding-up procedures is triggered, the ranking of liabilities, and the available tools to manage bank crises. By highlighting the differences that can be found in the legislative regimes applicable at national level and determining how these national insolvency regimes differ from the resolution regime as set out in the BRRD and SRMR, the study assesses the potential disadvantages that result from the lack of harmonisation of these bank insolvency regimes. Taking these disadvantages into account, policy options are outlined to address these divergences. The feasibility, benefits, obstacles and impact of these options are discussed. In terms of future revision of the current framework, more clarity and predictability of the applicable regime should be sought, particularly for medium-sized banks, with a holistic approach to reform that also takes into account related policies such as those on state aid control and deposit insurance.

 

 

Locating pure economic loss: jurisdiction over prospectus liability under Article 7(2) of the Brussels I Regulation Recast

A post by guest blogger Michiel Poesen

In C‑304/17 Helga Löber v Barclays Bank plc, the CJEU had the opportunity to revisit its case law regarding jurisdiction over prospectus liability. The relevant ground for jurisdiction is Article 7(2) of the Brussels I Regulation Recast (previously Article 5(3) of the 2001 Brussels I Regulation): A person domiciled in a Member State may be sued in another Member State in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict, in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur. The ECJ confirmed that in the context of prospectus liability, the place where the harmful event occurred can be exceptionally located in the claimant’s domicile. Continue reading “Locating pure economic loss: jurisdiction over prospectus liability under Article 7(2) of the Brussels I Regulation Recast”

Regulating Finance: Levelling the Cross-Sectoral Playing Field

A guest post by Veerle Colaert on a conference in Nijmegen (15 and 16 October 2018)

Financial law as we know it today mirrors the traditional structure of the financial industry. In most legal systems, it is thus divided into banking, insurance and investment services law. Over the past few decades, however, the clear separation between financial sectors has gradually evaporated, as business lines have converged across sectors. Moreover, various FinTech solutions have emerged, which do not fit traditional sector boundaries. This raises the question whether a more cross-sectoral approach to financial regulation is warranted. Continue reading “Regulating Finance: Levelling the Cross-Sectoral Playing Field”

Are markets efficient? A discussion between Thaler and Fama

An earlier blogpost reported the award of the Nobel Prize in Economics 2017 to Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago for his work on behavioural economics.

In this video of the Chicago Booth Review, Thaler, a vehement critic of the idea of market efficiency, engages in an interesting discussion with Eugene Fama, another University of Chicago Nobel Prize laureate (2013) and widely regarded as “the father of the efficient-market hypothesis”.

In his previous work, Eugene Fama introduced the model of “efficient capital markets”, i.e. markets that fully reflect all available information (see the paper: “Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work”). The most common version of this model that is defended today, is the “semi-strong version”, according to which all publicly available information is incorporated in stock prices (but information that is held privately by some investors not necessarily so).

Thaler has spent much of his time writing about how people are not completely rational, an assumption that strongly underpins the efficient-markets hypothesis, for example in his book “Nudge” (together with Cass Sunstein) and in his book “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics”.

In the discussion with Fama, Thaler distinguishes two aspects of the efficient-markets hypothesis: “One is whether you can beat the market. The other is whether prices are correct.” On the first aspect, Fama and Thaler are in agreement: generally, even professional mutual fund managers fail to consistently beat the market, after subtracting management costs (Michael Jensen from Harvard University first provided evidence for this hypothesis in this paper).

Fama and Thaler do disagree (and rather strongly) about the second aspect, however. In the video, Fama argues as follows about the efficient-market hypothesis: Continue reading “Are markets efficient? A discussion between Thaler and Fama”

Tom Vos (KU Leuven) op Oxford Business Law Blog over prijs bij verplicht openbaar bod

Op Oxford Business Law Blog verscheen een bespreking door Tom Vos van het arrest van 20 juli 2017 inzake Marco Tronchetti Promovera SpA e.a. v. Consob, waarin het Hof van Justitie voor de eerste keer oordeelde over de interpretatie van artikel 5(4) van de Overnamerichtlijn, dat in de mogelijkheid voorziet voor nationale financiële toezichthouders om de prijs van een verplicht openbaar bod aan te passen. In deze zaak had de Italiaanse financiële toezichthouder, de Consob, besloten om de prijs van het verplicht openbaar bod te verhogen omdat er sprake was van samenspanning tussen de bieder en één van de verkopende aandeelhouders.

De vraag die werd voorgelegd aan het Hof was of het concept van “samenspanning” niet te onduidelijk was om een prijsaanpassing te rechtvaardigen. Het Hof van Justitie laat het finale oordeel aan de Italiaanse rechter, maar lijkt toch te suggereren dat er geen probleem is met het Italiaanse recht. De uitspraak is ook erg interessant voor Belgische juristen, aangezien België een gelijkaardige bepaling als Italië heeft met betrekking tot de prijsaanpassing bij verplicht bod.

U kon de analyse (in het Engels) van deze uitspraak door Vos reeds lezen in een eerdere post op deze blog.

 

Insider trading onder de MAR: streng, maar (ook) rechtvaardig?

Post door gastbloggers Stefan Mees en Michiel Stuyts over hun bijdrage in TRV-RPS

Het MAR-tijdperk

Met de inwerkingtreding van de Market Abuse Regulation (hierna “MAR”) op 3 juli 2016 brak een nieuw tijdperk aan binnen de regels met betrekking tot het marktmisbruik. Bij dergelijke juridische omwenteling, is het opportuun om bestaande en nieuwe reglementering te (her)bekijken in een gewijzigde maatschappelijke en juridische context. Continue reading “Insider trading onder de MAR: streng, maar (ook) rechtvaardig?”

‘Minting Capital: The Role of the Corporation’ by Katharina Pistor (Columbia)

The youtube channel of the European Corporate Governance Institute has an interesting video of a discussion on “Minting Capital: The Role of the Corporation”. Professor Katharina Pistor of Columbia University discusses how corporate law can be used to generate wealth for the persons using this “legal code’ and how this can be seen as a legal subsidy.

This presentation develops the topics which Professor Pistor touched upon in her Heremans Lectures as Global Law Professor at the KU Leuven in 2016. She is working on an upcoming book on these topics