This week, the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (ECON) held a public hearing with the chairs of the European Supervisory Authorities, tackling issues hotly debated in the European Institutions.
The meeting, hosted by the Chair of the ECON Committee, the Italian Roberto Gualtieri, saw the participation of Steven Maijoor, Chairman of ESMA, Andrea Enria, Chairman of EBA and Gabriel Bernardino, Chairman of EIOPA.
The public hearing took place in a crucial moment where the ESAs review 2017 Commission proposal is heatedly discussed in both the European Parliament and the Council. This proposal aims at establishing a stronger European supervisory framework through amendments on powers, governance and funding of the ESAs.
One of the hottest topics of discussion between the ESAs representatives and the Members of the ECON Committee was the anti-money laundering (AML) proposal. The Commission proposal is an addition to the above mentioned ESA review and aims at creating new powers for EBA in the fight against money-laundering. In particular the speaker form the liberal group Wolf Klinz expressed the need for a stand-alone authority, which not only supervises but also imposes penalties in case of non-implementation of Union law. Andrea Enria, the chairman of EBA, reminded the Committee that the Commission, and its expert group, have analyzed the option and have concluded that the establishment of such an authority would probably be possible only in the long run.
AML was also brought up by the Green group via a question by the German Sven Giegold on the resources that the ESAs have at the moment deployed on the fights against financial crimes. Because of the lack of recourses, topic often stressed by the Authorities, both EIOPA and ESMA confessed to the Committee that AML did not represent a priority in their agenda and therefore, the amount of resources dedicated to this issue in particular was quite limited.
Another crucial point of discussion proved to be the issue of PRIIPs and in particular the extension of the exemption from the PRIIPs KIDs (key information document) for UCITS that still use the well working UCITS KIID (key investor information document). Again, the member of the liberal group Wolf Klinz, addressed the problem, later emphasized by the European People Party speaker, the French Alain Lamassoure, of the unrealistic belief that the review of the PRIIPs KIDs might end by the next year and therefore, UCITS KIIDs might be used for longer than planned. The chairs of the ESAs in this case only underlined the need for a quick evaluation and urgency to have a report ready for the Commission by the first quarter of next year.
The ECON Committee broached rather hot political issues, the development of which warrants some close monitoring in the weeks and months to come.
By Elona Morina, ABBL & ALFI European Affairs