News of the week:
Covid-19 - Securities and Financial Ombudsman (ACF), further extension of the suspension of deadlines
Provisions contained in Article 37 of Decree-Law No. 23 of 8 April 2020: Consob Communication
Periodic financial reporting on UCITs and ESMA Statement No. 34-45-896 of 9 April 2020: Joint Consob and Bank of Italy Communication
Consob, Bank of Italy and IVASS coordination group on the application of IAS/IFRS: treatment in the financial statements of transactions involving the sale without recourse of unlikely-to-pay (“UTP”) loans in exchange for units in investment funds
Investor protection warnings from other supervisory authorities
- NEWS OF THE WEEK -
With Resolution no. 21328 of 15 April 2020, Consob further extended the suspension of all the time limits prescribed in Regulation No. 19602 of 4 May 2016 (the ACF Regulations), previously suspended until 15 April by Resolution no. 21308 of 18 March 2020, from 16 April 2020 until 11 May 2020.
The measure was adopted, in line with Decree-Law no. 23 of 8 April 2020, in order to limit the negative effects of the Covid-19 epidemiological emergency on proceedings before the Ombudsman, while ensuring continuity of activities.
In relation to suspension of the deadlines for proceedings pending with public authorities prescribed in Article 103, paragraph 1 of Decree-Law No. 18 of 17 March 2020, the scope of which, with regard to the administrative acts that fall within Consob’s competence, the Commission clarified with Communication no. 2/20 of 25 March 2020 (see “Consob Informa” no. 12/2020), it is announced that the deadline of 15 April 2020 previously prescribed in the aforementioned Decree no. 18, has been extended until 15 May 2020 by Article 37 of Decree-Law No. 23 of 8 April 2020 (Communication no. 4/20 of 15 April 2020).
On 9 April last, the European financial market supervisory authority, ESMA, published a Public Statement entitled “Actions to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the deadlines for the publication of periodic reports by fund managers”.
In the Statement, the ESMA emphasises that the annual and half-yearly financial reports of funds are an important point of reference for investors to make informed decisions and that the related requirements are regulated by EU harmonisation law.
The ESMA notes that the current pandemic context could prevent fund managers from fulfilling these obligations in a timely manner.
In this regard, the ESMA expects national authorities to act in accordance with the applicable national regulations and, where possible, to not prioritise supervisory action against fund managers if the delay in the publication of the financial reports is contained within a specific time frame defined in the Statement itself.
The Statement clarifies that the position is taken without prejudice to the provisions of national law.
With reference to the obligations that are the object of the ESMA Statement, it should be noted that at a national level, Articles 2 and 3 of Ministerial Decree 30/2015 (Regulation implementing Article 39 of the Consolidated Law on Finance regarding the determination of the general criteria with which Italian UCITs must comply) prescribe precise obligations to publish (for Italian UCITs) or make available to investors (for Italian alternative funds) said reports, within predetermined deadlines.
In relation to these deadlines, at the moment, Italian fund managers have reported no difficulties or signalled any need for an extension.
Consob and the Bank of Italy expect operators to make as much organisational effort as possible to meet the information needs of subscribers to Italian funds (UCITs or Alternative Funds) within the deadlines prescribed in national regulations.
The Consob, Bank of Italy and IVASS coordination group on the application of IAS/IFRS has prepared a document, addressed to entities supervised by the authorities, on the treatment in the financial statements of multi-originator sales of portfolios of impaired loans other than non-performing loans (“unlikely to pay” - UTP), whereby UTP loans are to be sold to mutual funds in exchange for units issued by the same funds.
The document is addressed to all issuers required to apply international accounting standards, regardless of the sector in which the firm operates (industrial, banking and other). However, it is of specific interest to banks and other financial intermediaries.
The document has been produced as part of the accounting agreement between the Bank of Italy, Consob and IVASS with the aim of providing the clarifications necessary to overcome certain doubts in application, and to ensure that operators behave in a uniform way.
The full text of the document is available at www.consob.it, www.bancaditalia.it and www.ivass.it.
The supervisory authorities of the United Kingdom (Financial Conduct Authority - FCA), Belgium (Financial Services and Markets Authority - FSMA), Austria (Financial Market Authority - FMA), Luxembourg (Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier - CSSF)and Slovenia (Slovene Securities Market Agency - ATVP) report companies and websites that are offering investment, financial and insurance services without the required authorisations.
Reported by the FCA:
- Investment Supermarket/Eclipse Marketing Limited (https://theinvestmentsupermarket.com/faq), with stated address in London;
- Investor Supermarket (www.investorsupermarket.co.uk);
- Credit Finance/Credit Finance Ltd
- (e-mail: Customerserviceloanshelpline@gmail.com; Loanlenderskltd@googlegroups.com; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org), with offices in London and Manchester;
- FX Goat/@_samfx _ (Instagram accountFX Goat - @_samfx_ https://www.instagram.com/_samfx_/?hl=en).
Reported by the FSMA:
- The Belgian supervisory authority warns that some individuals address investors through social media posts and articles in the press, transmitting false “statements” by and/or “interviews” with public figures praising certain financial investments. These posts and articles also circulate through sponsored advertising. The purpose of this practice is to make investment offers credible by using the images of well-known personalities in the business, sports or media sectors without their knowledge. Moreover, it appears that these companies are linked to entities that have been previously reported by the FSMA as not authorised to provide investment services.
- The Belgian supervisory authority also warns investors against scams carried out by exploiting the current situation of economic uncertainty due to the spread of Covid-19. Such scams are carried out using means of communication such as the telephone or e-mail, and in general through the internet. In particular, high return investments in “safe” assets are proposed by unauthorised entities as an alternative to traditional forms of investment, sometimes using “phishing”. There have been also been reports of similar methods offering protective masks and making fraudulent proposals to raise funds for victims and for research into the discovery of a vaccine.
Reported by the FMA:
- Digital Exchange Limited/Securex Plus Solutions Eood (www.united-lb.com), with stated address in Sofia (Bulgaria). This website had previously been reported by the FMA with reference to the company named United LondonBrokers (www.united-lb.com), based in London (see “Consob Informa” no. 12/2020).
Reported by the CSSF:
- Essential/Essential Portfolio Selection (ww.eps-gestion.com), whose website had previously been reported by the CSSF (see “Consob Informa” no. 14/2020).
Reported by the ATVP:
- The Slovenian supervisory authority warns investors against buying securities issued by the DecaCare d.o.o. company, some of whose securities are not subject to prospectus requirements and characterised by high risk.
- All the time limits prescribed in Regulation no. 19602 of 4 May 2016 (the ACF Regulations), previously suspended until 15 April by Resolution no. 21308 of 18 March 2020, have been further extended until 11 May 2020 (Resolution no. 21328 of 15 April 2020).
- The extension of administrative proceedings pending with public authorities, pursuant to Article 37 of Decree-Law No. 23 of 8 April 2020, previously suspended until 15 April by Decree-Law No. 18 of 17 March 2020 (Communication no. 4/20 of 15 April 2020), has been further extended until 15 May 2020.