On September 5, the European Commission published a Consultation Document on the Regulation of Indices in which it sought views on a possible new regulatory framework to be applicable to the production and use of indices serving as benchmarks in financial and other contracts.

The Commission has already amended its proposals for the Market Abuse Regulation (COM(2012) 2011/0295 (COD)) and for the Criminal Sanctions for Insider Dealing and Market Manipulation Directive (COM(2012) 2011/0297 (COD)) to remove any doubt that manipulation of benchmarks is “clearly and unequivocally illegal” and subject to sanctions. The aim of this consultation is to focus ways in which the production and governance of benchmarks could be improved by identifying the key issues and shortcomings and assessing what legal framework changes may be needed to enhance the future integrity of benchmarks.

The Commission is requesting comment on the following issues:

  • General information on indices and benchmarks, including who produces them and the purposes for which they are used.
  • Governance and transparency arrangements concerning the calculation of benchmarks.
  • The purposes and uses of benchmarks.
  • The role of private and public bodies in the provision of benchmarks.
  • The potential impact of the regulation of benchmarks, transition, continuity and international issues.

Consultation responses are requested by November 15.

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