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24 May 2006

Speech McCreevy: Turning words into action

On the occasion of the Investment Management Association Dinner in London, Commissioner McCreevy laid out the forthcoming Commission initiatives on asset management, the MiFID, clearing and settlement, and corporate governance. He stated that there is “currently no case for specific EU legislation on hedge funds, and there is no evidence of cross-border risks which need to be addressed”. However, the expert group is currently discussion the need for an EU-wide 'private placement' regime and the extent of industry interest in broadening its investor base. The industry expert group will issue its reports in June, followed by a White Paper to be published in the autumn and accompanied by an impact assessment.

As far as the field of Corporate Governance is concerned the Commission is prioritising the issue of “one share – one vote”. An external study to be conducted should be as comprehensive as possible in order to take account of all sides of the problem. “We are intending to launch the study in the Summer and to complete it by early 2007”, McCreevy said.

The second project is the proposal for a Directive on the exercise of shareholders' rights. This proposal is currently examined in the European Parliament and in the Council. “The plumbing of cross-border voting badly needs fixing”, the Commissioner noted. “This can be done to a large extent by eliminating obstacles and complexities which are currently clogging the pipes and by lifting restrictions on proxy voting that tend to limit the influence of non resident shareholders.”

On the Clearing and Settlement issue and the need for a directive, the Commissioner said that “there are also many different ways in which we can deliver transparency and competition into the market aside from regulation.” “The question is will (the introduction of the MIFID) be enough to deliver the savings that most observers believe can be realised” McCreevy explained, “and if not what else can and should be done – of a legislative or non-legislative nature?”

Full speech

© European Commission

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