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  • Abusive financial services: Consob blacks out 10 abusive websites (Press Release of 30 July 2021)

    Published: 30/07/2021

    Consob has ordered the blackout of 10 new websites that abusively offer financial services.

    The Authority availed itself of the powers deriving from the "Growth Decree" (Law no. 58 of 28 June 2019, Article no. 36, paragraph 2-terdecies), on the basis of which Consob can order Internet connectivity service providers to inhibit access from Italy to the websites through which financial services are offered without due authorization.

    Below are the websites Consob has ordered to be blacked out:

    - Evergo Ltd (website www.4x-trade.com and page https://client.tradefiled.com);

    - Trade Action Ltd (website https://trades-action.com and related page https://accounts.trades-action.com);

    - Nab Europe Limited (website www.nabinv.com);

    - FX24 Investment Ltd (website www.fx24.live and related page https://my.fx24.live):

    - Prim Global Reach Ltd - PrimeATrade Limited - FX Publications Inc. (website https://primaatrade.com and related page https://client.primaatrade.com)

    - Fantex (website https://www1.fantex.co, URL https://fantex.co and related page https://webtrader.fantex.co);

    - "Cfxdtrade Limited" and    Handelfx" (website https://cfxdtrade.com);

    - Aca-Asset Limited (website https://2amltd.com and related page https://accounts.2amltd.com);

    - Mellifluous Group LTD (website https://neoomatic.co and related pages https://webtrader.neoomatic.co and  https://client.neoomatic.cc);

    - Wirexinvest Invest Ltd e Wirex UAB (sito internet www.wirexinvest.com).

    The number of websites blacked out since July 2019, when Consob got the power to order that the websites of fraudulent financial intermediaries be blacked out, has thus risen to 495.

    The measures adopted by Consob can be consulted on the website www.consob.it.

    The black-out of these websites by Internet service providers operating on Italian territory is ongoing. For technical reasons, it can take several days for the black-out to come into effect.

    Consob draws investors' attention to the importance of adopting the greatest diligence in order to make informed investment choices, adopting common sense behaviors, essential to safeguard their savings: these include, for websites that offer financial services, checking in advance that the operator with whom they are investing is authorized, and, for offers of financial products, that a prospectus has been published.

    To this end, Consob would remind you that on the website www.consob.it there is a section on the homepage, "Watch for Scams!", providing useful information to warn investors against financially abusive initiatives.

      Press release in PDF

  • Trading in turbo certificates and minifuture certificates (Press Release of 27 July 2021)

    Published: 27/07/2021

     

    Trading in turbo certificates and minifuture certificates

     

    On 30 June 2021 the AFM (the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets) adopted, pursuant to article 42 of Regulation (EU) No 600/2014 (MiFIR), specific product intervention measures aiming at limiting at national level the distribution to retail clients of the so-called turbo-like products, with effect from 1st October 2021 (https://www.afm.nl/en/professionals/nieuws/2021/juni/besluit-beperkingen-turbos).

    For some time now, Consob has been specifically monitoring the features of the Italian market of certificates characterised by high risk/complexity, among which the so-called turbo-like products, so as to consider any possible actions for the protection of investors.

    In this area, specific attention is dedicated to verifying intermediaries' compliance with the measures they are required to adopt in accordance with provisions stemming from MiFID II.

    In the perspective of proportionality that characterises investment services requirements, these measures indeed assume particular relevance for the products concerned, in consideration of their risk and complexity features.

    In this context, the product governance requirements calibrate the way of accessing these instruments, in order to direct them to the most adequate target clients.

    As a result of their intrinsic complexity and risk features, such products cannot be subject to execution-only regime[1]; consequently, transactions undertaken by investors in such products should be subject at least to the assessment of appropriateness by the intermediary.

    The intermediary is required to ensure that the client is clearly informed[2] both before the investment is made and when the client already holds a position, also considering, inter alia, what is specifically requested[3] for positions including contingent liability transactions/leveraged financial instruments.

    Where intermediaries receive any form of third-party benefit/payment (for example from market makers and/or product manufactures) for the distribution/trading of the products concerned, they have to fulfil the requirements concerning inducements, conflict of interests and best execution[4].

    Based on the above, considering the features - also dimensional – of transactions in so-called turbo-like products at domestic level, at present, there are no conditions for adopting on a national basis intervention measures similar to those undertaken by the AFM.

    In order to detect any potential changes that might require possible intervention actions for the protection of investors, Consob will continue to monitor the market of the mentioned products, as well as, in general, the market of other products characterised by a high risk/complexity profile, also through the sharing of views and experiences in the relevant European fora.

      Press release in PDF

     


    [1]As highlighted by ESMA in the "Guidelines on complex debt instruments and structured deposits" (see ESMA/2015/1787 of 4 February 2016).

    [2]In accordance with Article 36 of Intermediaries Regulation adopted by CONSOB with Resolution no. 20307, dated 15 February 2018.

    [3]See Article 62, paragraph. 2 of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565.

    [4]Also taking into account what is represented by ESMA in the Public Statement published on 13 July 2021 where "ESMA warns firms and investors about risks arising from payment for order flow and from certain practices by ‘zero-commission brokers'".

  • Framework agreement between MUR, Consob and CRUI for training and innovative research doctorates (Press Release of 22 July 2021)

    Published: 22/07/2021

     

     

    Rome, 22 July 2021 – The development and consolidation of opportunities and collaborative initiatives in the field of higher education and research, applied to the context of public institutions. This is the main objective of the Framework Agreement signed today by the Minister of University and Research-MUR, Maria Cristina Messa, by the President of CONSOB (Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa), Paolo Savona, and by the President of CRUI (Conferenza dei Rettori delle Università Italiane), Ferruccio Resta.

    In particular, the collaboration between MUR, CONSOB and CRUI will allow, in addition to the development of joint training interventions, to identify the current priorities available for planning and carrying out internships and developing innovative doctoral programs at CONSOB.

    A joint Steering Committee, set up by the Minister of University and Research, will approve the annual plan of activities and will evaluate the actions that will be deliberated.

    "The Agreement signed today is a further tool designed to make training and doctoral courses increasingly in line with the requests and operative needs of a continuously changing society, which is transformed by processes of innovation and digitalization and which is in search of new skilled specialists» said the Minister of University and Research, Maria Cristina Messa.

    "The agreement represents a concrete commitment to the renewal of the public administration that involves human capital and which is fully part of the objectives of the PNRR," said the President of the CRUI, Ferruccio Resta. "A systemic initiative that aims to encourage both training and the introduction of new highly qualified skills for the implementation of the public sector reforms required by Europe. An intervention that, we hope, will prove to be structural and not cyclical, allowing the optimization of resources and making the cooperation between institutions more efficient. The CRUI, in particular, has been working for some time to carry out internships and to develop innovative doctorates to give a greater impulse to the relationship between the university system and the world of work, both in the public and in the private sector ".

     Press Release in PDF

  • Signed the agreement between Consob and Consiglio di Stato (Press release of 20 July 2021)

    Published: 20/07/2021

     
         

    Consiglio di Stato

     

     
     
    PRESS RELEASE

    This morning at Palazzo Spada, the President of the Council of State, Dr. Filippo Patroni Griffi, and the President of CONSOB, Prof. Paolo Savona, signed the Framework Agreement between the two Institutions for developing collaborative relationships, aimed at sharing experiences in the field of technology, research and carrying out activities for the use of Artificial Intelligence and blockchain as well as training of its staff.

     Press Release in PDF

  • The FinTech Committee and the regulatory sandbox for the digitalization of the financial services of the Country are underway (Join Press release of Bank of Italy, Consob, Ivass and Ministry of Economy and Finance of 17 July 2021)

    Published: 17/07/2021

    Logo

    JOIN PRESS RELEASE

    The decree governing the operations and the powers of the FinTech Committee as the control room set up at the Ministry of Economy and Finance is into force, with the conditions and the methodology for trial of techno-finance activities (FinTech) in Italy.

    It is an innovative initiative, representing a significant step forward for the digitalization of the Country. For the first time, in fact, Italy is developing a regulatory sandbox, a sheltered space for digital trial in the banking, financial and insurance sectors.

    The trial will allow FinTech operators to test innovative solutions, benefiting from a simplified transitional regime in constant dialogue with the supervisory authorities: the Bank of Italy, Consob and IVASS.

    At the same time, the supervisory authorities will be able to observe the dynamics of technological development as well as to select the most appropriate and effective regulatory interventions to help FinTech development, also with a preventive containment of potential risks spreading from the beginning.

    To access the trial, operators must submit projects relating to innovative services, products or processes in the banking, financial or insurance sector, which imply benefits for end users or contribute to market efficiency, to the supervisory authority competent for the matter. The projects must be adequately developed for being put on trial and they must be sustainable from an economic and financial point of view.

    The supervisory authorities will give specific indications about the criteria for admission to the trial, established by the decree. With reference to the timing of the application submission for accessing the trial in 2021, the supervisory authorities, by September, will determine the time window for sending admission requests to the sandbox. A contact point is also available on the website of each authority for the launching of informal discussions with operators.

    After the completion of the preliminary phase of the applications, the official register of operators admitted to the trial will be published on the Treasury Department website.

    The initiative, in compliance with the provisions of the Conversion Law no. 58 of 28 June 2019 of the Law Decree no. 34 of 30 April 2019, so-called "Growth Decree", saw the cooperation of the Ministry of Economy and Finance with the Bank of Italy, Consob and IVASS. The project is part of a framework of constant dialogue between institutions and operators in the sector, made possible by the work of the FinTech Coordination Committee, established in 2018 at the Department of the Treasury and formalized by the Growth Decree as an institutional space for debate, coordination, proposal and sharing of experiences and best practices between authorities and competent institutions on FinTech.

     Press release PDF version

  • The Discussion Paper "The post-trading industry" has been published (16 July 2021)

    Published: 16/07/2021

     Discussion paper no. 10 - July 2021 "The post-trading industry" [PDF] 

  • Consob publishes a warning on Binance (Press release of 15 July 2021)

    Published: 15/07/2021

    PRESS RELEASE

    Consob warns savers that the companies of the "Binance Group" are not authorized to provide investment services and activities in Italy, not even through the website www.binance.com  whose sections called "derivatives" and "Stock Token", relating to instruments related to crypto-assets, were previously also written in Italian.

    Therefore, the attention of the public must be drawn to this circumstance and, more in general, savers are invited to make use of their utmost diligence in order to make their investment choices in full awareness, verifying in advance that the websites through which they make the investment can be attributed to authorized subjects.

    Furthermore, savers are invited to adopt the utmost caution in making transactions on instruments related to crypto-assets, for this may imply the total loss of the sums of money invested and it is recommended to savers to always follow the general rule of considering the signing of contractual proposals only when they have an adequate understanding and only when they are assisted by clear and complete information also on the identity of the contractual counterparty who may propose himself as a service provider.

    In any case, it is important that savers are informed that transactions in instruments related to crypto-assets may present risks that are not immediately perceptible, due to their complexity, the high volatility of the prices of these instruments as well as for malfunctions and cyber attacks to which the IT infrastructures used for such operations may be subjected.

     Press release PDF version

  • The mandate of Commissioner Anna Genovese has expired (Press release of 15 July 2021)

    Published: 15/07/2021

    PRESS RELEASE

    The Commission, on the occasion of the expiry of the mandate of Commissioner Professor Anna Genovese, expressed deep appreciation and sincere gratitude for the highly qualified professional contribution she made to the Board and to Consob, also as Vicar Chairman, during seven years of intense work. The Commission also remarked the fundamental contribution given by Professor Anna Genovese to the issues of regulation and, in particular, to the development of legislation on sustainable finance and transparency of ESG factors to protect the market and investors.

     Press release PDF version

  • Hearing of Dr. Guglielmina Onofri, Head of the Issuer Information Division of CONSOB, at the Camera dei Deputati, Italy, Sixth Commission, Finance as part of the discussion of Resolution no. 7-00668 (Buratti), regarding support initiatives related to cooperative credit banks (13 July 2021)

    Published: 13/07/2021

  • Cysec, the supervisory authority of Cyprus, suspends the authorization of Depaho ltd to provide investment services (Advice of 13 July 2021)

    Published: 13/07/2021

    The supervisory authority of Cyprus (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission - Cysec) reports that it has ordered, with effect from 9 July 2021, the total suspension of the authorization issued by the same for the provision of investment services to the Cypriot company Depaho Ltd (https://www.cysec.gov.cy/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?guid=d9b84e26-6873-4768-8aba-6fde9c98808f), authorized to operate in Italy in the mode of free provision of services.

  • Consob Notice of 13 July 2021 regarding the Guidelines issued by ESMA about outsourcing to cloud services providers

    Published: 13/07/2021

    Consob Notice of 13 July 2021

    Notice regarding the Guidelines issued by ESMA about outsourcing to cloud services providers

    Consob complies with the Guidelines on "Outsourcing to cloud services providers" issued by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), integrating them into its supervisory practices.

    The Guidelines, published in the official languages of the Union on 10 May 2021, provide recommendations on the identification, management and monitoring of risks originating from agreements for the outsourcing of activities and services to companies providing cloud services, with particular reference to:

    • the risk assessment and due diligence to be carried out on cloud service providers;
    • the governance, supervision and control requirements to be put in place to monitor the performances of cloud service providers, as well as how to exit from such outsourcing agreements without interruption of its activities;
    • the contractual requirements between the parties (companies and cloud service providers), there including their respective rights and duties;
    • IT security requirements and exit strategies from outsourcing agreements;
    • the compliance with the requirements if the cloud service provider on behalf of a company uses other subjects for the performance of certain critical or important functions (or parts thereof) (so-called sub-outsourcing);
    • the information to be notified to the competent Authorities.

    The Guidelines provide that the same apply to the competent Authorities, to which guidance is given on the supervision of such arrangements, in order to promote a convergent approach in the European Union, as well as the following subjects:

    1. alternative investment fund managers (AIFMs) and alternative investment fund depositaries (AIFD);
    2. undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS), management companies and UCITS custodians and investment companies that have not designated a company management authorized under the UCITS Directive;
    3. central counterparties (CCPs), including those of second tier third countries that satisfy the requirements provided by the EMIR;
    4. trade repositories;
    5. investment firms and credit institutions when they carry out investment services and activities;
    6. data communication service providers (DRSPs);
    7. trading venues managers;
    8. central securities depositories (CSDs);
    9. credit rating agencies;
    10. securitization depositories;
    11. administrators of critical benchmarks.

    The Guidelines will be applicable from 31 July 2021 to all outsourcing agreements with cloud service providers entered into or renewed from that date. The aforementioned subjects will have time until 31 December 2022 to review and amend, where necessary, the existing outsourcing agreements with the cloud service provider to ensure that they take into account the aforementioned Guidelines.

    The Guidelines are also available in the Italian language on the Consob institutional website.

    ESMA was informed of the compliance with the Guidelines pursuant to Regulation (EU) no. 1095/2010.

    THE CHAIRMAN
    Paolo Savona

     Consob Notice of 13 July 2021 PDF version

  • Abusive financial services: Consob blacks out 3 abusive websites (Press Release of 8 July 2021)

    Published: 08/07/2021

    Consob has ordered the blackout of 3 new websites that abusively offer financial services.

    The Authority availed itself of the powers deriving from the "Growth Decree" (Law no. 58 of 28 June 2019, Article no. 36, paragraph 2-terdecies), on the basis of which Consob can order Internet connectivity service providers to inhibit access from Italy to the websites through which financial services are offered without due authorization.

    Below are the websites Consob has ordered to be blacked out:

    - Lexis Solution LTD and "Ventera Group" (website https://venteragroup.com and related page https://clientzone.venteragroup.com);

    - Donnybrook Consulting Ltd (website www.optimarket.cc);

    - Scintilla Enterprise Ltd (website https://solidstocks.co and related page https://client.solidstocks.co).

    The number of websites blacked out since July 2019, when Consob got the power to order that the websites of fraudulent financial intermediaries be blacked out, has thus risen to 485.

    The measures adopted by Consob can be consulted on the website www.consob.it.

    The black-out of these websites by Internet service providers operating on Italian territory is ongoing. For technical reasons, it can take several days for the black-out to come into effect.

    Consob draws investors' attention to the importance of adopting the greatest diligence in order to make informed investment choices, adopting common sense behaviors, essential to safeguard their savings: these include, for websites that offer financial services, checking in advance that the operator with whom they are investing is authorized, and, for offers of financial products, that a prospectus has been published.

    To this end, Consob would remind you that on the website www.consob.it there is a section on the homepage, "Watch for Scams!", providing useful information to warn investors against financially abusive initiatives.

     

  • Consob Notice of 7 July 2021 regarding the transposition of the Guidelines issued by ESMA on some aspects of MiFID II requirements relating to the function of compliance control with the rules

    Published: 07/07/2021

    Consob Notice of 7 July 2021

    Notice regarding the transposition of the Guidelines issued by ESMA on some aspects of MiFID II requirements relating to the function of compliance control with the rules.

    On 6 April 2021, ESMA published on its website, in the official translation into Italian, the "Guidelines on certain aspects of the MiFID II compliance function requirements" (hereinafter, also, "the Guidelines", adopted by the European Authority, pursuant to article 16 of Regulation no. 1095/2010 / EU [1] (so-called "ESMA Regulation"), on 5 June 2020.

    The Guidelines are also available on the Consob institutional website in the Italian version, together with the full text of the "Final report" in English (containing the summary of the responses to the consultation and the consequent observations of ESMA), useful for allowing a correct application of the same Guidelines.

    They provide operational guidelines regarding the role and the reserved attributions, within the internal control system, to the compliance control function.

    In compliance with paragraph 3 of the aforementioned article 16 of the ESMA Regulation, it was communicated to the European Authority that Consob, with reference to its competences on the matter pursuant to art. 6, paragraph 2, letter b-bis), number 3), of the Consolidated Law of Finance, complies with the guidelines in question, integrating them into its supervisory practices.

    The intermediaries subject to Consob supervision[2]  are required to comply with the interpretative Guidelines of ESMA that are the subject of this notice, applicable - according to the terms established by paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Guidelines - starting from the date of 7 June 2021, to replace the previous ones, issued in the regulatory framework of MiFID I.

    * * *

    On this occasion, it should be noted that the disclosure obligations provided for by Consob Resolution no. 17297/2010 with reference to the "Report of the compliance control function" are fulfilled by sending the reports referred to in article 22, par. 2, letter c) of Regulation (EU) 2017/565, drawn up according to the indications of guideline 3 of the ESMA Guidelines in question, applicable starting from the date of 7 June 2021. The sending deadlines and the obligation to accompany the document with the observations and decisions of the corporate bodies in relation to any shortcomings identified by the function.

    THE CHAIRMAN
    Paolo Savona


    [1] As last amended by Regulation (EU) no. 2019/2175.

    [2] In particular, reference is made to "intermediaries" as defined by article 87 of the Intermediaries Regulation no. 20307/2018 issued by Consob on 15 February 2018, as well as to asset management companies, in the provision of both investment services and activities and the collective asset management service, to SICAVs and SICAFs.

  • Hearing of Maria Antonietta Scopelliti (CONSOB Secretary General) about "FINTECH: Warning profiles and opportunities for issuers and national savings", at the Bicameral Inquiry Committee of the Italian Parliament about the Banking and Financial System (6 July 2021)

    Published: 06/07/2021

  • Financial Education Month 2021 – Take care of your future - Applications are open for the organization of initiatives and events on financial education throughout Italy next October (Press Release of 6 July 2021)

    Published: 06/07/2021

    Logo1

    October is Financial Education Month. We are in the fourth edition and the Committee for the planning and coordination of financial education activities will be available throughout Italy with a series of initiatives aimed at promoting the development of financial, insurance and social security culture. The theme of the October 2021 Month will be "Take care of your future", highlighting the strong connection between what we are sowing today and what we will reap tomorrow. Through the increase of our basic knowledge on financial, insurance and pension issues, we can make easier to ourselves to take care of our finances, to make informed choices to deal with our future with serenity, to learn how to manage any unpredictable event and to achieve a greater financial well-being.

    The initiatives of the Month will be held from the 1st of October 2021 to the 31st ; they will be both online and face-to-face, in various forms: conferences, webinars, cultural initiatives, seminars, shows, days of gaming and training for adults, teens and children.

    Last year the Month was focused on the theme of financial choices at the time of Covid-19 and it ended with a very positive balance: the events organized throughout Italy were more than 600 and they disclosed a wide participation due also to the use of digital tools. These results bode well for a great membership this year, too.

    The Committee invites associations, institutions, companies, universities and research centres, schools, foundations, public administrations and any organization wishing to engage in the field of financial education with quality events, to apply by 24 September through the appropriate form which is available on the portal of the Committee www.quellocheconta.gov.it .

    All the initiatives following the requirements set by the Guidelines available on the portal of the Committee will be welcomed. Membership will allow you to use the official logo of the Month and to benefit from the many promotional activities at national and local level managed by the Committee, in order to guarantee greater visibility to the organizers of the various initiatives. Information on single events will be published on the official website www.quellocheconta.gov.it and on the social profiles @ITAedufin on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and @ComitatoEdufin on LinkedIn.

     Press Release in PDF

    The Committee for the planning and coordination of financial education activities has the task of planning and promoting awareness-raising and financial education initiatives to measurably improve skills in the fields of savings, investments, pensions, insurance.

    The Committee, headed by Professor Annamaria Lusardi, is composed of: Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Welfare, Bank of Italy, Consob, Covip, Ivass, Ocf, National Council of Consumers and Users.

  • Consob and Bank of Italy supervisory guidelines for "Società di investimento semplice" (Simple investment company) or SiS - Results of the consultation (6 July 2021)

    Published: 06/07/2021

    Consob and the Bank of Italy, following a public consultation which ended on 29 July 2020 [only in Italian language], adopted the Supervisory Guidelines on "Società di investimento semplice" (Simple investment Company) or SiS [only in Italian language].

    The Decree Law 30 April 2019, n. 34 (the so-called Growth Decree, converted into Law with amendments by Article 1, of Law No. 58 of June 28, 2019) amended the Consolidated Law on Finance (Legislative Decree No. 58 of February 24, 1998) introducing the discipline of "Simple investment company "or SiS.

    According to the provisions of the Consolidated Law on Finance, SiS is an Italian AIF (Alternative Investment Fund), established in the form of a fixed capital investment company (Sicaf), reserved for professional or non-reserved investors, which directly manages its assets and respects the following conditions: shareholders' equity does not exceed 25 million euros; the exclusive object of the company consists in the direct investment of the assets collected in SMEs not listed on regulated markets which are in the experimentation, establishment and start-up phase of the activity, notwithstanding article 35-bis, paragraph 1 letter f); does not use financial leverage; has a share capital at least equal to that provided for by article 2327 of the Civil Code, notwithstanding article 35-bis, paragraph 1, letter c), of the Consolidated Law on Finance.

    The article 35-undecies, paragraphs 1-bis, 1-ter and 1-quater, of the Consolidated Law on Finance identifies a special discipline for these managers.

    To favor the uniform and correct application of the new regulations, the joint document adopted by Consob and the Bank of Italy [only in Italian language] contains a survey of the main provisions applicable to the SiS, defines some supervisory guidelines, which represent the expectations of the Supervisory Authority on the procedures with which the SiS must comply with the new regulations and indicates the procedure applicable in the event of non-temporary exceeding of the net equity limit pursuant to article 1, paragraph 1, letter i-quater, of the Consolidated Law on Finance.


     Consultation report table - only in Italian language - (6 July 2021)

     Consob-Bank of Italy supervisory guidelines on simple investment companies (SiS) - only in Italian language - (6 July 2021)

     Comments on the consultation document of 30 April 2020 - only in Italian language - (6 July 2021)

  • First semester in growth for the Ombudsman for Financial Disputes - 65% of the appeals accepted for 13.5 million euros - A compendium of the most relevant decisions and a practical guide for savers upcoming (Press release of 5 July 2021)

    Published: 05/07/2021

    Logo Consob ACF - Arbitro per le controversie finanziarie

    PRESS RELEASE

    The activity of the Securities and Financial Ombudsman (ACF), the out-of-court dispute resolution body between savers and financial intermediaries, established by Consob in 2016 and operational since January 2017, continues to grow.

    The first half of the year saw 903 new appeals (874 in the same period of 2020). Over 8,000 appeals have been received by the Consob Ombudsman from the beginning of its activity to date.

    The Board has accepted 65% of the appeals examined (35% rejected), recognising compensations for a total of 13.5 million euros (12 million euros in the first half of 2020). If we also take into account what was decided in the previous four years, in mid-2021 the total sums settled in favour of savers reach almost 100 million euros (97.8 million euros in total), with a per capita average of about 40,000 euros.

    The total value of the compensation claims by savers in the first half of the year is almost 47 million euros (about 50 million euros in the first half of 2020), with an average unit value of 50,000 euros; over 200 appeals with compensation claims of more than 50,000 euros, up to the maximum expected of 500,000 euros.

    In mid-2021, the total compensation claims made to ACF thus exceeded EUR 450 million.

    The South was confirmed, also in the first part of 2021, as the area of origin of the highest number of appeals (41%), slightly ahead of the North (40%) and, far behind, the Centre of the country (19%).

    Against the 903 appeals received, 918 proceedings were concluded in the first half of 2021, with an increase of more than 20% compared to the corresponding figure for 2020 (750). As a result, the meetings held by the Board also increased (35 in the first half of 2021, 27 in the same period of 2020). A further, decisive increase in investigative and decision-making activities is planned for the second part of the year, in line with the declared objective of bringing the deadline for the completion of proceedings back to the standard 180-day time limit by next year.

    The measures for the early termination of the proceedings undertaken by the President, at the request of the concerned applicants, have significantly increased (152 in the first half of 2021, 107 in the same period of 2020).

    This is a trend that should be evaluated positively, as it is largely related to cases in which the parties have independently reached an amicable settlement of the dispute, which proved to be a practicable solution only after the initiation by the saver of the proceeding before the ACF.

    On the other hand, the cases of unacceptability/inadmissibility of the appeals for detected and uncorrectable formal irregularities are appreciably decreasing: 113 in the first part of the current year, while there were 242 during the entire 2020 and 290 in 2019.

    The intermediaries so far involved in the proceedings before the Ombudsman are 195, of which 71 in the first half of this year; overall, the intermediaries participating in the ACF system as of 30 June are 1,177.

    The area in which the most critical issues in the relationship between retail investors and intermediaries are nested continues to be that of the information preparatory to the investment. Savers who turn to the ACF, in addition to not recognising themselves in their investor profile as outlined in the specific Mifid questionnaire, too often complain about the fact that they did not receive clear and adequate information on which to base informed investment choices.

    This is a problem that the ACF Board is almost systematically facing and on which numerous consolidated general guidelines have now been defined in the almost 4,000 decisions published so far and freely available on the institutional website (www.acf.consob.it). Guidelines that intermediaries should comply with, by adjusting their operating practices accordingly, so as to nip in the bud or, at least, minimise the cases of subsequent litigation.

    Precisely in view of this and as a contribution to the better usability of the guidelines, a review of the "judicial decisions" taken among the decisions issued by the Board and considered of greater interest for intermediaries but also for savers will be published on the site from the current month of July, on a monthly basis.

    In the second half of the year, the publication of a practical guide for retail investors is also planned which, by drawing inspiration from the cases that are gradually examined, identifies the good and bad practices encountered. The objective is to generate informational and behavioural awareness in small savers, who too often are indiscriminately reliant and tend to lose responsibility, only to regret the outcome of the investments made.

    Finally, it should be noted that the amendments to the ACF regulation, recently approved by Consob at the end of the public consultation held last year, will enter into force on 1 October.

    Among the important innovations, it should be noted the provisions aimed at further facilitating the amicable and direct settlement of the dispute between the parties and the fulfilment of the decisions by the unsuccessful intermediaries (such as the possibility for the parties to obtain the suspension of the arbitration proceedings in case negotiations are started in order to find an agreement; the postponement of the publication of the notice of non-fulfilment when the parties start a negotiation aimed at reaching an agreement on the basis of the ACF decision; the possibility of late fulfilment, with cancellation in this case of notice of non-fulfilment), in addition to the expected standardization of the new proceeding forms, which will be made available on the Ombudsman's website by next September.

     Press release PDF version

  • Abusive financial services: Consob blacks out 3 abusive websites (Press release of 2 July 2021)

    Published: 02/07/2021

    PRESS RELEASE

    Consob has ordered the blackout of 3 new websites that abusively offer financial services.

    The Authority availed itself of the powers deriving from the "Growth Decree" (Law no. 58 of 28 June 2019, Article no. 36, paragraph 2-terdecies), on the basis of which Consob can order Internet connectivity service providers to inhibit access from Italy to the websites through which financial services are offered without due authorization.

    Below are the websites Consob has ordered to be blacked out:

    • Vibeinv Invest Limited (website www.vibeinv.com);
    • "FXGBP Markets" (website https://fxgbpmarkets.com);
    • "Maxinvesto" (website www.maxinvesto.com and related page https://secure.maxinvesto.com).

    The number of websites blacked out since July 2019, when Consob got the power to order that the websites of fraudulent financial intermediaries be blacked out, has thus risen to 482.

    The measures adopted by Consob can be consulted on the website www.consob.it.

    The black-out of these websites by Internet service providers operating on Italian territory is ongoing. For technical reasons, it can take several days for the black-out to come into effect.

    Consob draws investors' attention to the importance of adopting the greatest diligence in order to make informed investment choices, adopting common sense behaviors, essential to safeguard their savings: these include, for websites that offer financial services, checking in advance that the operator with whom they are investing is authorized, and, for offers of financial products, that a prospectus has been published.

    To this end, Consob would remind you that on the website www.consob.it there is a section on the homepage, "Watch for Scams!", providing useful information to warn investors against financially abusive initiatives.

     Press release PDF version

  • Published the first issue of the Consob Sustainable Finance series (28 June 2021)

    Published: 28/06/2021

    Published the first issue of the Consob Sustainable Finance series entitled "Sustainable finance. Trends, issues and perspectives amid the evolution of the EU regulatory framework", by N. Linciano, E. Cafiero, A. Ciavarella, G. Di Stefano, E. Levantini, G. Mollo, S. Nocella, R. Santamaria, M. Taverna.

    This paper offers a systematic review of the evolution of sustainable finance and the related law & economics debate, with the purpose of providing a mind map encompassing the role of financial players, market dynamics and the contribution of a regulation fostering the consideration of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors in financial actors' decision-making. Starting from the definition of sustainable development and sustainable finance, it describes the evolution of corporate social responsibility and of sustainable investing by institutional and retail investors as well as the initiatives by third-party information providers and the ability of financial markets to price sustainable factors. The review allows to ascertain among the most relevant frictions to the development of sustainable finance the lack of a common language for the identification of sustainable financial activities, products and services, together with the inadequacy and non-comparability of the information made available by companies and information intermediaries. Such market failure implies the need for regulatory intervention, which at present finds its fullest expression at the European Union level. The European Commission 2018 Action Plan and its implementing measures focus on increasing the reliability and comparability of information on sustainability of economic activities and financial products, so as to increasingly channel financial resources to sustainable activities. The European Commission also intervened on the rules of conduct for intermediaries in the provision of investment services as well as on certain corporate governance features. Additional initiatives are underway, such as those relating to sustainability reporting. Within this framework, securities markets authorities face some challenges concerning: the risk of green/socialwashing; the risk of misalignment between market valuations of sustainable investments and their fundamentals; abrupt price corrections associated with the acceleration of the green transition prompted by the ongoing evolution of the regulatory framework; the financial innovation that issuers may implement when designing ESG products. To best address the transition to the sustainable finance paradigm, it is increasingly important for financial supervisors to take a proactive and evidence-based approach. It is also crucial to promote the application of technology to sustainability, to enhance both the quality and comparability of information and the access to capital markets by sustainability-oriented investors and companies as well as the efficiency of compliance by market participants and supervision by securities markets authorities.

  • Statement of the European Commission, the European Central Bank in its banking supervisory capacity (ECB Banking Supervision), the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) on forthcoming cessation of all LIBOR settings (25 June 2021)

    Published: 25/06/2021

    In view of the imminent cessation of LIBOR publication, the European Commission, the European Central Bank in its banking supervisory capacity (ECB Banking Supervision), the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) strongly encourage market participants to substantially reduce their exposure to USD LIBOR, GBP LIBOR, JPY LIBOR, CHF LIBOR and EUR LIBOR.

    In order to achieve this result, the following actions are strongly encouraged:

    • stop using the 35 LIBOR settings, including USD LIBOR, as a reference rate in new contracts as soon as practicable and in any event by 31 December 2021;
    • limit the use of any LIBOR setting published under a changed methodology (also known as "synthetic" LIBOR) only to contracts that are particularly difficult to amend ahead of LIBOR cessation (commonly referred to as "tough legacy"); and
    • include robust fallback clauses nominating alternative rates in all contracts referencing LIBOR.

    Link: https://www.esma.europa.eu/press-news/esma-news/european-commission-ecb-banking-supervision-eba-and-esma-encourage-market