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An International Comparison

Abstract

Parity-of-information is purported to be the single overarching policy rationale for the European Union (EU) regulation on insider trading. This is because securities trading on the basis of informational advantages is generally prohibited under EU rules, as is tipping (and issuers’ selective disclosure) of material, non-public information. Yet, EU regulations allow market actors, including investment professionals and analysts, that have discovered valuable information -and thereby, have an informational advantage vis-à-vis their trading counterparties- to trade on this information. Relatedly, issuers of financial instruments, takeover bidders and merging parties can share information with a selected group of investors prior to public announcement of the transaction (market sounding), whereas firms can delay public disclosure of inside information and prevent all other market participants from trading on this information. I argue that these exceptions from the parity-of-information theory are -from a doctrinal standpoint- best explained as property rights in information of market actors that have developed new proprietary information with respect to European listed securities. This article, therefore, aims at providing a property rights account of the exceptions to the parity-of-information theory and it illustrates the trade-offs between the parity-of-information and the property rights in information theories underlying European insider trading rules. By extension, I analyze the specific case of activist campaigns as inside information and argue that it would be consistent with the property rights approach to allow activist investors to share their investment and trading strategies with other market participants that further their activist agenda.

Abstract

Over the last decades, European company law experienced a continuous growth in significance. Along with the European company law directives, European legal forms constitute the two pillars of European company law. In the course last 35 years, three European legal forms – namely the European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG), the Societas Europaea (SE) and the Societas Cooperativa Europaea (SCE) – were introduced. In contrast, the introduction of four other legal form projects on the European plane (inter alia the Societas Privata Europaea (SPE)) failed. This paper will attempt to identify whether there are underlying principles and systematics to the functioning of these established and envisaged European legal forms. This approach shall contribute to the development of an overall concept for European legal forms. In this regard, the article examines the historical development of European legal forms and their significance for the practice of European company law. On this account, also these legal forms’ functions – in particular their effect on the competition between EU and national level – will be discussed. To complement these considerations, the paper studies the regulatory technique and the associated multi-level problem.

Abstract

1. Bank crises and the treatment of retail investors in the BRRD era. – 2. The problem of misselling in the context of self-placement of securities issued by banks. – 3. The (loose) interplay between investor protection and bank resolution in the current regulatory environment. – 4. The Single Resolution Board’s policy on the treatment of retail clients’ holdings for the purpose of MREL eligibility. – 5. Art. 44 a BRRD 2 on the «selling of subordinated eligible liabilities to retail clients». – 6. The need for a more effective integration between investor protection and bank resolution discipline: from an ex-post to an ex-ante approach. The role of product governance under MiFID 2. – 7. Concluding remarks.

During the recent COVID-19 pandemic crisis, stock markets around the world have witnessed an abrupt decline in security prices and an unprecedented increase in security volatility. In response to a week of financial turmoil on the main European stock markets, some market regulators in Europe, including France, Austria, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Belgium, passed temporary short-selling bans in an attempt to stop downward speculative pressures on the equity market and stabilize and maintain investors’ confidence. This paper examines the effects of these short-selling bans on market quality during the recent pandemic caused by the spread of COVID-19. Our results suggest that during the crisis, banned stocks had higher information asymmetry, lower liquidity, and lower abnormal returns compared with non-banned stocks. These findings confirm prior theoretical arguments and empirical evidence in other settings that short-selling bans are not effective in stabilizing financial markets during periods of heightened uncertainty. In contrast, they appear to undermine the policy goals market regulators intended to promote.

This paper explores corporate law rules adopted in some European states amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to track the major reform trends and consider how corporate law in Europe has adjusted to the emergency. The analysis focuses primarily on the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain; occasionally, depending also on the relevant rules actually introduced by the states, other systems are considered as well. The paper groups the emergency measures into three main categories that include rules aimed at facilitating shareholders’ meetings and meetings of the board of directors, rules relaxing directors’ duties and liability and giving directors some leeway as companies face unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, and rules designed to support corporate liquidity. The analysis shows that while some points of similarity exist among the emergency rules considered, there are nevertheless numerous differences in their nature, scope, technicalities, and also timing. These differences emphasize a lack of coordination at the European level. The discussion also sheds light on the potential of some emergency measures to call traditional corporate law rules into question and last in what will be the new normal after the crisis.