Parliament recently approved Bill 7637, which modified the Law of 5 April 1993 on the financial sector and the Law of 6 April 2013 on dematerialised securities. The bill introduces important modifications with respect to the direct issuance of dematerialised securities using distributed ledger technology (DLT) and strengthens Luxembourg's position as one of the most DLT-friendly and important financial hubs in the European Union.
Submissions of documents under the EU Prospectus Regulation and the Law of 16 July 2019 on prospectuses for securities must now be made through the e-Prospectus platform developed by the Luxembourg Financial Supervisory Authority. The e-Prospectus platform covers submissions and tracking of applications and submissions of notification requests, among other things.
The law of 10 July 2020 on professional payment guarantees, which aims to create greater freedom of contract while ensuring legal certainty in the provision of personal guarantees governed by Luxembourg law, recently entered into force. The new law is undoubtedly a welcome addition, especially in times of heightened uncertainty, and demonstrates once again Luxembourg's attractiveness as a forward-looking and business-friendly financial centre.
Due to the capital markets conditions caused by the COVID-19 crisis, liquid funds may need to activate their gating provisions in order to limit redemptions, in accordance with the terms of the fund's prospectus. Further, illiquid funds, such as private equity and loan-originating funds, should consider whether the COVID-19 crisis could constitute a material adverse effect under agreements or deals that have yet to close. This article examines the impact of COVID-19 on liquid and illiquid funds and their managers.
The Luxembourg Financial Supervisory Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and have issued a number of recommendations for fund managers concerning remote working, risk management and compliance, disclosure and reporting requirements.
In recent months, the Luxembourg Financial Supervisory Authority (CSSF) has been active and the industry is preparing for the open banking wave. The changes in response to the EU Payment Services Directive aim for a generally positive evolution of the payment scene in Luxembourg. The CSSF has published the fallback exemption request form and adopted several circulars that are applicable to payment service providers.
By way of the Law of 20 July 2018, Luxembourg has finally implemented the EU Payment Services Directive (PSD 2). As the PSD 2 is a full harmonisation directive, most of Luxembourg's PSD 2 provisions are identical to the legal framework implemented across the European Union. Nonetheless, EU member states were given scope to decide on certain topics and the Grand Duchy seized the opportunity to define its own rules.
EU Regulation 655/2014, which established a European Account Preservation Order (EAPO) procedure, aims to facilitate the collection of claims in civil and commercial matters by introducing a uniform EU procedure for identifying and freezing funds held in a debtor's bank accounts in another member state. This increased transparency is a particularly new development for Luxembourg, which recently introduced a straightforward EAPO enforcement procedure that is in line with its existing enforcement measures.
The new Markets in Financial Instruments (MiFID) Act, which transposes the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and implements the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, was recently voted into law. Most issues relating to markets in financial instruments are covered by the first part of the act, while the provision of investment services will continue to be governed by the Financial Sector Act, as amended by the second part of the MiFID Act.
A recent Luxembourg District Court judgment has confirmed the well-established, flexible and creditor-friendly environment offered by the Collateral Act. The court ruled that the enforcement of a pledge cannot be set aside, except in the case of clearly established fraud. The main takeaway from the decision is the confirmation of the possibility offered by the act to enforce a pledge without any payment default and in case of a breach of a financial covenant.
Following the adoption of Bill of Law 7022, the new Act on Market Abuse recently entered into force. The act significantly increases the administrative and criminal penalties for infringements of market abuse provisions and designates the Luxembourg financial sector regulator as the competent authority for the purposes of the EU Market Abuse Regulation. It also extends the definition of 'regulated information' provided for in the Act on Transparency Requirements for Issuers.
The Luxembourg financial sector regulator (CSSF) recently published a number of circulars in order to streamline its regulation of IT outsourcing in the financial sector and introduce specific rules for the use of cloud services. In doing so, the CSSF has defined the conditions under which financial service providers may outsource activities without infringing the regulatory principles of central administration and sound governance.
EU Regulation 655/2014 recently became fully applicable, making it possible for creditors in Luxembourg to obtain a preservation order for the bank accounts of a debtor situated in another EU member state and vice versa. The regulation introduces a certain degree of transparency at the EU level with regard to debtors' assets, which is greater than that provided under existing Luxembourg law.
The Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) recently introduced a new specific platform for green financial instruments: the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX). Although joining the LGX is optional and green securities can be listed on the LuxSE and recognised as green regardless of whether the issuer chooses to join the LGX, having securities admitted to the LGX will increase investor confidence as to their green nature.
The Luxembourg financial sector regulator (CSSF) recently published frequently asked questions clarifying the criteria that it considers when assessing whether to accept an external expert as a regulated entity's internal auditor. The CSSF also confirmed that the criteria are assessed proportionately, and that it may request further information or interview the relevant parties when determining whether outsourcing an internal audit is possible.
The EU Market Abuse Regulation recently came into force in Luxembourg and a new market abuse regime affecting listed companies has been implemented. In addition, a wider set of rules covering the disclosure of inside information, insider list manager transactions and modifications relating to multilateral trading facility (MTF) platforms – including the Luxembourg Euro MTF market – have been introduced.
Updated Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) rules and regulations came into force in January 2016 and the LuxSE recently published frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Euro MTF Market rules. The FAQs include information on approvals and the requirements for the different types of security generally issued. They also provide support to practitioners in regards to prospectus approvals and the Euro MTF market listing process.
The Luxembourg financial sector regulator has issued Circular 15/631, which provides guidance on the definition and treatment of dormant accounts. According to the circular, professionals should maintain regular contact with their clients and monitor client relationships with vigilance. They must also set out rules to determine clearly when a relationship has become inactive and when an account has become dormant.
The Luxembourg Stock Exchange recently published new rules which are now in force and which replace the previous set of rules. Among other things, references to obsolete regulations have been deleted and discrepancies in terminology have been corrected, while certain requirements have been relaxed in accordance with EU regulations.
The EU Capital Requirements Directive has been transposed into Luxembourg law. The implementing act also amended the laws governing the financial sector, the CSSF (the Luxembourg financial sector regulator) and alternative investment fund managers. Among other things, key definitions have been introduced to pave the way for implementation of the EU supervisory framework for credit institutions and investment firms.