On July 29, the European Commission (EC) published a communication on equivalence in the area of financial services (Communication). The EC states that, in light of recent policy developments, it is timely to take stock of the EU’s approach to equivalence.

The Communication discusses the purpose and importance of equivalence. The EC states that each new decision is looked at individually and in detail to ensure that the policies of third countries are compatible with those of the EU, and that any equivalence determination is beneficial to, and sustainable for, both parties.EU financial services law includes approximately 40 provisions that allow the EC to adopt equivalence decisions and as of July 29, the EC has adopted more than 280 equivalence decisions for more than 30 countries.
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On February 8, the Joint Committee of European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) published a final report on proposed amendments to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/653 (Delegated Regulation) on key information documents (KIDs) for packaged retail and insurance-based investment produces (PRIIPs).
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On November 13, the European Commission (EC) published a statement by Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on the regulation of cryptoassets and initial coin offerings (ICOs), which he presented at the European Parliament Plenary debate in Strasbourg.

Key takeaways include:
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On November 8, the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) published a consultation paper on draft joint guidelines on cooperation and information exchange between national competent authorities (NCAs) supervision credit and financial institutions for the purposes of the Fourth Money Laundering Directive (MLD4)
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On July 20, the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), which comprises the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority, updated its Q&As on the key information document (KID) required to be issued in connection with packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs)

On July 18, eight of the EU member states (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, and The Netherlands) published a joint statement on the Capital Markets Union (CMU) after Brexit. The joint statement sets out the shared views of the member states’ finance ministers and urges the European Union to use Brexit as a catalyst in the further development and integration of EU capital markets.
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The European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) imposes clearing and risk mitigation obligations on firms trading in the European Economic Area. On May 4, the Joint Committee of European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) published two consultation papers in relation to the interaction of the Securitization Regulation (SR) with those obligations under EMIR, specifically:

  1. A consultation paper with

Steven Maijoor, Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) spoke on March 20, regarding ESMA’s work during the past year. In his speech, Mr. Maijoor commented on ESMA’s work in relation to:

  1. supervisory convergence to limit the scope for regulatory arbitrage in light of the United Kingdom’s upcoming withdrawal from the European Union