EU Securities Market Regulation

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The aim of securities market regulation is to ensure proper disclosure and enforcement via a complex set of intermediaries and institutions. This is achieved not only via legislation, but also by stimulating a process of competition between intermediaries on the basis of reputation and allowing the market to take responsibility for part of the regulatory and enforcement work. EU securities markets are characterised today by much greater integration as a result of EMU and technological progress, which has forced European policy-makers to revisit the regulatory set-up governing these markets. A first step was the publication in May 1999 of the financial services action plan (FSAP), which called for a single financial market by 2005. The next step was the establishment of a Committee of Wise Men last year by the EU Finance Ministers to examine ways to strengthen the EU regulatory framework. Chaired by Alexandre Lamfalussy, former President of the European Monetary Institute, this group has focused largely on EU legislative procedures, but has in our judgement probably given insufficient attention to the process of stimulating well functioning securities markets across all the intermediaries and institutions involved.

Several EU directives have attempted to harmonise a broad range of securities market activities. Rules are in place covering issuers in capital markets, intermediaries, investors and investment products. Owing to the large differences in the legal and institutional structure of securities market supervision in Europe, however, implementation has met with mixed results and mutual recognition has functioned unevenly. The objective should be to eliminate the remaining obstacles that prevent mutual recognition from working efficiently, but to stop short of excessive harmonisation. The single passport should be strengthened by removing remaining barriers at national level. EU action should at this stage concentrate on introducing light amendments to existing legislation.

The ECMI-CEPS Task Force has discussed the market developments and examined the framework of EU securities market regulation and the relevant elements of the FSAP. It has not been able to conduct an exhaustive review of the latter, however. The Task Force’s principal recommendations are organised into two categories, regulation and supervisory and institutional matters.  


  • Dr Alfred Steinherr, Chief Economist, Head of Economics & Information Directorate, European Investment Bank (initially Dr Luigi Spaventa)


  • Karel Lannoo, Chief Executive, CEPS    

Final Report of the Task Force: 'EU Securities Market Regulation: Adapting to the Needs of the Single Capital Market​'