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COVID-19 - Impact on Financial Sector - 10 April 2020


Please find below a summary of COVID-19 developments relevant to our clients; these alerts are dedicated to following up on the financial  regulators’ responses to the crisis. We have also created a COVID-19 Resource Center to offer legal and business insights as this crisis continues to evolve. We wish you and your loved ones well.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact: 

Tom Van Dyck
+32 475 90 90 91

Freya Mareels 
+32 475 25 11 50

Wim Dedecker
+32 491 36 03 99



Report on the comprehensive economic policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic


The European Council has published an overview of the coordinated actions taken so far at the level of the Member States, the EU and the euro area, concerning the covid-19 pandemic and the economic impact thereof. It also gives an overview of the additional crisis response instruments and measures to prepare the ground for recovery.


NBB Circular on IFRS 9 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

The NBB has issued a Circular that applies to less significant institutions (LSIs) that are not subject to the direct prudential supervision of the ECB and that prepare their consolidated financial statements on the basis of IFRS 9.

Although principally not applicable to LSIs as defined above, the NBB finds that the guidelines of the ECB issued on April, 1st are nevertheless important for these institutions, as the guidelines deal with the collective assessment of a possible increase in credit risk (SICR), the use of long-term macroeconomic forecasts, and the use of macroeconomic forecasts for "specific" years.

Therefore, the NBB expects these institutions to take into account the ECB's recommendations in the assessment of and in the provisions for their expected credit losses they report in their periodic financial statements.

The LSIs will receive a copy of this circular.



NBB Circular on AML and COVID-19


The NBB encourages financial institutions to concentrate their resources for implementing internal AML/CFT mechanisms on the tasks that are most necessary to maintain a high level of effectiveness in detecting and analysing atypical transactions, as well as in reporting suspicious transactions, funds and facts to CTIF/CFI, in accordance with legal obligations.

The NBB draws attention to the official communications published in this respect by the EBA, the FATF and CTIF/CFI. Furthermore, the NBB reminds financial institutions of its decision to extend to 31 August 2020 the deadline for communicating the AMLCO annual activity report 2019 and for replying to the 2020 periodic questionnaire on combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

A copy of this Circular will be send to the supervised entities.



ESMA sets out supervisory expectations on publication of investment funds periodic reports


ESMA has issued a public statement directed at fund managers concerning their obligations to publish yearly and half-yearly reports.

In the current situation, ESMA expects NCAs to adopt a risk-based approach and not prioritise supervisory actions against these market participants in respect of the upcoming reporting deadlines.

This public statement is without prejudice to obligations of fund managers stemming from national legislation and EU law.


ESMA promotes coordinated action regarding benchmarks external audit requirements

ESMA has issued a Public Statement to promote coordinated action by National Competent Authorities (NCAs) regarding the timeliness of fulfilling external audit requirements for interest rate benchmark administrators and contributors to interest rate benchmarks. More specifically, ESMA expects NCAs not to prioritise supervisory actions against administrators and supervised contributors relating to the timeliness of fulfilling those audit requirements where the audits are carried out by 30 September 2020.



ESMA extends MiFID II/MiFIR transparency review report consultation to 14 june 2020


ESMA has decided, in view of the effects of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic on stakeholders and market participants, to further extend the response date for the consultation on the MiFID II/MiFIR review report on the transparency regime for non-equity instruments and the trading obligation for derivatives to 14 June 2020.


EIOPA publishes extraordinary information for Solvency II Relevant Risk Free Interest Rate Term Structures and Symmetric Adjustment to Equity Risk with reference to 6 April 2020

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, EIOPA will carry out extraordinary calculations on a weekly basis to monitor the evolution of the relevant risk-free interest rate term structures and the symmetric adjustment to equity risk.

EIOPA is publishing this information in order to support insurance and reinsurance undertakings in the monitoring of their solvency and financial position.


IOSCO reprioritizes its work program to address impact of COVID-19

IOSCO will pause or delay some of its work in 2020 in order to redirect its resources to focus on the multiple challenges securities markets regulators are addressing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

This decision means that the work priorities outlined in IOSCO´s 2020 annual work program needed to be reconsidered.

However, IOSCO will continue to proceed with its work on good practices for deference, as well as other projects that are near completion which will not burden limited regulatory or industry resources. IOSCO will also examine any specific investor protection issues, market integrity or conduct risks that may arise in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

Copyright - Please do not quote without permission. Please note that this alert is not a legal advice.