FRANCE – The French government has unveiled the details of the proposed merger of the financial regulators Commission des Operations de Bourse (COB), the Conseil des Marches Financiers (CMF), and the Conseil du Discipline de la Gestion Financiere.

Discussions to merge the regulators have taking place since 2000, in a bid to strengthen France’s financial markets and grant them more autonomy.

A 93-page draft sent to the Conseil d’Etat on December 20 lays out the government’s plans to overhaul the regulation of financial markets. The aim is modernisation and the creation of two new authorities to replace the COB and the CMF. The first will be the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) – a sort of super-regulator. The next will be the insurance and mutual fund body the Commision de Controle des Assurances, des Mutuelles et des Institutions de Prevoyance (CCAMIP).

The AMF will oversee the protection of savings invested in financial products, the provision of information to investors, and the functioning of the financial markets. The AMF will also act as an independent body, financed by fees rather than by the French government. Independent status of the new regulator has long been a desire of market participants.

Members of the new body will be elected, and will include financial market professionals.

A modernisation of accountancy regulations was also suggested in the draft, including new laws that will ensure greater transparency.

The proposal is to be sent to the French cabinet for approval on January 22.