French market regulator issued 65 fines in 2015

French market regulator AMF has published its 2015 annual report.

The institution has much worked on risk prevention towards investors last year and will pursue in that direction in 2016.

Going further in its mission to protect investors from high-risk investments and scams, the AMF conducted for the first time in 2015 mystery shopping on websites.

The AMF Investor Information team has received 14,424 requests from individuals and professionals, 19% more than in 2014.

Individual investors have accounted for 75% of the requests, the AMF stressed, and 82% of the complaints dealt with sites promoting foreign exchange market or binary option investments.

The proposed law Sapin II  includes a provision outlawing online advertising for that kind of products. The AMF said it hopes this measure will help to limit individual investors’ exposure to such dangers.

In 2015, the AMF has completed 33 inspections of regulated professionals and achieved 75 investigations, of which 48 implied the help of foreign authorities.

AMF’s enforcement committee issued 65 fines totalling €21.325 million against 28 legal entities and 37 natural persons.

It also issued four disciplinary sanctions against three natural persons and one legal entity.

Moreover, it approved 12 settlement agreements, an alternative to sanction proceedings.

The AMF also encourages more transparency and convergence in the European financial market.

“The AMF thinks it is important for these reforms to be implemented with a view to coherence and convergence. Europe needs to promote the emergence of a shared market supervision culture, with the help of the ESMA.

“This is one of the AMF’s top priorities, and the regulator emphasised this when consulting with the European Commission in preparation for the Capital Markets Union in 2015,” the AMF said.

Regarding the implementation MiFID II, the AMF explained it collaborated with the Directorate General of the Treasury to transpose the revised directive into national law.

“The texts adopted by European lawmakers in 2014 specified that the transposition was to be finalised by 3 July 2016 for an entry into force on 3 January 2017.

“However, on 10 February the European Commission proposed postponing the initial application timeline by one year. The transposition work has given the opportunity to update French law. For example, it’s the opportunity to distinguish between the status of management company and that of investment firm, enhancing clarity,” the AMF said.

Another priority of the AMF regards the financing of the French economy.

The AMF conducted a public consultation on the conditions under which professional funds could lend directly to companies.

The 2015 amending budget Act created this option for three types of professional funds (private equity funds, specialised professional funds and securitisation vehicles) under conditions to be specified by decree.

The AMF said the new conditions need to be specified and that the institution will also supplement its policy.

Lastly, the French market regulator is still working with the French asset management association AFG to make French funds more attractive internationally through the working group FROG.

The first recommendations are expected this summer.

The AMF has also set up a joint initiative with the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR) to facilitate authorisation and monitoring of fintechs.

 

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