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EC postpones corporate governance review to June

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  • EC postpones corporate governance review to June

EUROPE - The European Commission's green paper on corporate governance will now be published in the first week of June.

Speaking at a conference in Germany, Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner for the internal market and financial services, warned that regulatory reform needs to be co-ordinated globally with the G20 agenda as a "common roadmap".

He told delegates that the European Commission "will deliver" on its G20 commitments, with the necessary proposals intended to be presented by spring 2011 "at the latest". Although he added it will also require effort from member states and the European Parliament to ensure "rapid adoption so that all the measures can be implemented by the end of 2012".

However, Barnier noted that proposals already "on the table" such as the Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM) Directive, and proposals on supervisory reform will need to be concluded first. As he warned a delay in adoption of the supervisory reforms past the summer would put back the creation of the European Systemic Risk Board and European Supervisory Authorities, including the new European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), until after the start of 2011.

Barnier also outlined a busy June that will include the adoption of a green paper on corporate governance, expected on 3 June 2010, which will be followed by a consultation period. He said: "The Green Paper will address a number of questions - How to manage risk effectively in financial institutions? How to empower shareholders?  This is important - because true crisis prevention starts from within the companies." (See earlier IPE article: EC to publish corporate governance green paper)

Chris Verhaegen, secretary general of the European Federation of Retirement Provision (EFRP), said the organisation welcomes the Commission's move to consult on the issue in the wake of the financial crisis.

She said: "There are questions to be raised that were not raised before. Also in this aspect, the financial crisis has consequences that are still to be distilled and any policy response should be thought through extensively before taking any legislative initiative."

Meanwhile, Barnier also confirmed some amendments to the Regulation on Credit Rating Agencies - that comes into effect later this year - will also be published in June "to ensure efficient and centralised supervision. And transparency about the entities demanding the ratings in order to ensure that all credit rating agencies have access to this information".

He suggested this could help competition, but also admitted the regulation on credit rating agencies is a "first step". He added: "We may need to look into this particular market in more detail - the disproportionate role played by rating agencies in today's financial markets and in our regulation; the handling of public debt rating and the lack of competition in the market."

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