Reviewing the EU’s Market Abuse Rules

Published in: 
Carmine Di Noia

In 2011, an EU legislative package on market abuse was proposed, which comprises two sets of documents: 1) a draft Regulation that will largely replace the existing Market Abuse Directive (MAD) and the level 2 measures; and a new Directive dealing with criminal sanctions. Market abuse rules are needed to ensure market integrity and investor confidence, and to allow companies to raise capital and contribute to economic growth, thereby increasing employment. This ECMI Policy Brief argues that rules on market abuse should be technically well designed, proportionate and crystal clear, but also subject to more efficient and harmonised supervision than before. The paper focuses particularly on the draft Regulation. The use of a regulation is welcome, as (in integrated financial markets) abuses should be regulated in a harmonised manner by member states, which has not always been the case, as the 2007 report from the European Securities Markets Expert (ESME) Group extensively demonstrated. 

At the same time, this paper criticises some of the provisions contained in the draft Regulation, notably the new notion of inside information not to abuse (Art. 6.e) and the unchanged definition of inside information for listed companies to disclose, and it proposes new definitions. The extension of disclosure obligations to issuers whose shares are traded on demand only on ‘listing’ multilateral trading facilities is also widely criticised. Other comments deal with the proposed rules on managers’ transactions, insiders’ lists and accepted market practices.

Carmine Di Noia is Deputy Director General and Head of Capital Markets and Listed Companies at Assonime (the Association of the Italian Corporations).