The Chairman of the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), Jean-Paul Servais, has been re-elected to chair the ESMA committee on financial innovation. The work in this area has to do specifically with various types of complex or innovative financial instruments as well as with different forms of financial innovation emerging in the financial sector.
ESMA is the European Securities and Markets Authority, of which the Belgian supervisory authority, the FSMA, is a member. ESMA advises the European Commission on financial regulation and contributes to convergence in supervisory practices among the national competent authorities, with a view to consistent investor protection within the EU.
ESMA has a committee on financial innovation that was specifically provided for in the European Regulation establishing ESMA. The Chairman of the FSMA had been elected to chair the Financial Innovation Standing Committee (FISC), the work of which he began to lead starting in 1 October 2015. He has just been re-elected for two years as chair of that committee, as from 1 October 2017. ESMA has also published a press release to this effect.
Within ESMA, the FISC provides advice on the development of guidelines and recommendations, on product intervention and on regulatory intervention to be taken to prevent unsuitable financial innovations which may be detrimental to consumers and may constitute a threat to financial stability. The committee also monitors and analyses trends regarding financial innovation and reports on its findings.
Topics addressed within the committee include complex or innovative financial instruments such as ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and FinTechs (including RegTechs). Based on the work carried out by FISC, ESMA recently published a report on the benefits and risks of applying DLT to financial markets, as well as an opinion concerning the scope of intervention powers provided for under the MiFIR regulation.