The government recently issued Decree-Law 22/2019, which is aimed at ensuring the security, financial stability and integrity of financial markets in the event of a so-called 'hard Brexit'. Under the decree-law, UK banks that carry out activities subject to mutual recognition on the United Kingdom's withdrawal date can continue carrying out their activities in Italy by serving notice to the Bank of Italy. Further, Italian branches of UK banks may continue to carry out their activities by serving notice to the Bank of Italy.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance recently published a press release announcing the measures which the Italian government, in close consultation with the regulatory authorities and following discussions with trade associations, intends to take in order to avoid a hard Brexit having a cliff-edge effect on financial activities. During the transitional period provided by the temporary measures, banking intermediaries will be able to continue to operate according to existing laws and regulations.
Virtual currencies represent uncharted territory in Italy for various reasons, and the current rules and restrictions will likely need structural adjustments to make them work. The fact that the issuer of virtual currencies for investment purposes is in most cases based in a foreign country (often outside the European Union) could make the scope of current exemptions under the Securities Act too broad.
The Bank of Italy recently commenced a public consultation on the proposed amendments to Regulation 285/2013 on remuneration policies in the banking sector, the main aim of which is to align the regulation with the European Banking Authority Guidelines of December 2015 and ensure compliance with Articles 74(3) and 75(2) of the EU Capital Requirements Directive. The consultation will end on May 14 2018.
With the Competition Law's recent entry into force, the legislature has finally established a clear legal framework by defining the concept of a 'financial lease' and the consequences for banks (or leasing companies) and clients following a breach of contract. These provisions make financial leases a more transparent tool with the aim of boosting their appeal and increasing investment by Italian companies, thus fostering economic growth.
The Italian courts, as well as scholars and legal practitioners, have debated the concept of supervening usury for many years. Until recently, it was unclear whether interest stipulated below the usury threshold at the time of contract, but exceeding such threshold at the time of payment, was usurious. The Supreme Court finally addressed this issue in a recent decision, which ruled out supervening usury entirely.