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ESG and Intergenerational Equity – Mind the Gap (Part I)

30 March 2022
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by Lieve Lowet & Lorenz Van Roosbroeck

Early February, the Actuarial Association of Europe (AAE) hosted a webinar entitled Sustainability and Climate Change – what does it mean for risk management in Insurance and Pensions? The webinar centered around issues of sustainability and the climate crisis. Since the EU Commission officially endorsed ESG considerations in its 2017 sustainable finance package, reinforced by the priorities of the current Commission and the Green Deal in 2019, the discussions are proliferating — up until the point that it is nearly impossible to follow all developments. As such, clear and distinct frameworks which capture the essence of the challenges we face are needed. It is within this context that the aforementioned webinar sparked interest as one of the speakers introduced a concept and measurement tool from ‘down-under’. More specifically, Gregorio Gil de Rozas, Instituto de Actuarios Espanoles, introduced the specific case of The Australian Actuaries Intergenerational Equity Index or AAIEI. After some research, it appears that The Actuaries Institute — i.e. the professional body representing the actuarial profession in Australia — published a Green Paper under the same name as the presentation, entitled Mind the Gap — The Australian Actuaries Intergenerational Equity Index (AAIEI). Here, we bear emphasis on this topic of intergenerational equity for several reasons.
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FSB warns of emerging risks from crypto-assets to global financial stability

29 March 2022

Crypto-asset markets are fast evolving and could reach a point where they represent a threat to global financial stability due to their scale, structural vulnerabilities and increasing interconnectedness with the traditional financial system. This is the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB’s) updated assessment of risks to financial stability from crypto-assets, published on February 16th. The report examines developments and associated vulnerabilities relating to three segments of crypto-asset markets: unbacked crypto-assets (such as Bitcoin); stablecoins; and decentralised finance (DeFi) and crypto-asset trading platforms. It notes the close, complex and constantly evolving interrelationship between these three segments, which need to be considered holistically when assessing related financial stability risks. Continue reading…

European Central Bank announces timeline to gradually phase out temporary pandemic collateral easing measures

28 March 2022
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The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) has decided to gradually phase out the package of pandemic collateral easing measures in place since April 2020. The Governing Council has taken into account in a forward-looking manner the impact of this gradual phasing out on the collateral availability of Eurosystem counterparties, in particular with regard to their ability to continue mobilising collateral until the maturity of the outstanding targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO III). Moreover, it has considered the risk impact of each of these measures. This gradual phasing out allows ample time for the Eurosystem’s counterparties to adapt, and is scheduled to take place in the following three steps.
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Digital Markets Act: Commission welcomes political agreement on rules to ensure fair and open digital markets

25 March 2022
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The Commission welcomes the swift political agreement reached yesterday between the European Parliament and EU Member States on the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The regulation, agreed in slightly more than a year after it was proposed, is among the first initiatives of its kind to comprehensively regulate the gatekeeper power of the largest digital companies. Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton (see photo) said: “This agreement seals the economic leg of our ambitious reorganisation of our digital space in the EU internal market. We will quickly work on designating gatekeepers based on objective criteria. Within 6 months of being designated, they will have to comply with their new obligations. Through effective enforcement, the new rules will bring increased contestability and fairer conditions for consumers and business users, which will allow for more innovation and choice in the market. We are serious about this common endeavour: no company in the world can turn a blind eye to the prospect of a fine of up to 20% of their global turnover if they repeatedly break the rules.”
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FSB, CPMI and IOSCO analysis highlights need to continue work on CCP financial resources

24 March 2022
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The Financial Stability Board (FSB), the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) of the Bank for International Settlements, and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) have today published a report analysing existing financial resources and tools for central counterparty (CCP) recovery and resolution, which confirmed the need for further work on CCP financial resources. In November 2020, the Chairs of the FSB, CPMI, IOSCO and of the FSB’s Resolution Steering Group publicly committed to collaborate on and conduct further work on CCP financial resources in recovery and resolution. This report presents the results of the evidence gathering and analysis on existing financial resources and tools for CCP recovery and resolution carried out in 2021. Continue reading…

Enforcing sanctions against listed Russian and Belarussian oligarchs

22 March 2022
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The European Commission’s ‘Freeze and Seize’ Task Force, set up to ensure EU-level coordination to implement sanctions against listed Russian and Belarussian oligarchs, has now stepped up its action at international level. It will work alongside the newly established ‘Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO)’ Task Force, under which the EU operates together with the G7 countries Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as Australia. Cooperation between the European ‘Freeze and Seize’ Task Force and the international ‘REPO’ Task Force is essential to guarantee the efficiency of the sanctions taken on both sides of the Atlantic. The Commission is committed to work closely and coordinate with its partners to ensure effective cooperation on a global level. Continue reading…

The Compliance Cafe: The transnational fight against illicit money flows

21 March 2022
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The European Compliance Center together with media partner Risk & Compliance Platform Europe, is pleased to present the launch of a new initiative, the Compliance Cafe. The Compliance Cafe is a series of monthly webinars with outstanding compliance professionals. The aim of these online sessions is to encourage interaction between compliance professionals from different countries to discuss current risk and compliance topics, such as money laundering and de-risking. The first Compliance Cafe webinar was held on January 26, 2022, on the topic of the peculiarities of the transnational fight against illicit money flows – regulations, institutions, and effectiveness. Continue reading…

11 suspects arrested in Romania, Belgium and Austria for stealing EUR 420 000 using cloned fuel cards

18 March 2022

During an action day, 11 suspects were arrested in Romania, Belgium and Austria, accused of stealing at least EUR 420 000 using cloned fuel cards in Belgium. In Romania, a total of 115 law enforcement officers from different units were deployed, including those specialising in combating organised crime. Eurojust supported the investigation led by Belgian authorities. The perpetrators allegedly used various skimming techniques to obtain the electronic data contained on the magnetic stripe of the original fuel cards and their PIN codes. With these electronic data, they cloned fuel cards that, with the use of the PIN code, allowed them to buy fuel and to upload money to the Belgian road-toll-reporting device without the intention of ever paying these amounts. Continue reading…

ESMA finds shortcomings in supervision of cross-border investment activities and issues specific recommendations to CySEC

17 March 2022
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has on March 10th published its peer review report on the supervision of cross-border activities of investment firms. With this peer review, ESMA is also issuing Article 16 recommendations to the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), the first time ESMA has issued such recommendations to a National Competent Authority (NCA). ESMA identifies in the peer review the need for home NCAs to significantly improve their approach in the authorisation, ongoing supervision and enforcement work, relating to investment firm’s cross border activities. This includes calibrating their supervisory work to the nature, scale and complexity of those firms’ cross-border activities and the risks they pose. Continue reading…

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Google and Meta, in online display advertising

14 March 2022
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The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether an agreement between Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) for online display advertising services may have breached EU competition rules. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: ”Many publishers rely on online display advertising to fund online content for consumers. Via the so-called “Jedi Blue” agreement between Google and Meta, a competing technology to Google’s Open Bidding may have been targeted with the aim to weaken it and exclude it from the market for displaying ads on publisher websites and apps. If confirmed by our investigation, this would restrict and distort competition in the already concentrated ad tech market, to the detriment of rival ad serving technologies, publishers and ultimately consumers.”
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