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COVID-19 - Impact on Financial Sector - 18 March 2020

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Please find below a summary of COVID-19 developments relevant to financial service clients; these alerts are exclusively dedicated to following up on the financial regulators’ responses to the crisis. We wish you and your loved ones well.

If you have any questions please feel free to click here or contact:

Tom Van Dyck
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+32 475 90 90 91



Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager on a draft proposal for a State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak

Last night, the European Commission has sent to Member States for consultation a draft proposal for a State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, based on Article 107(3)(b) TFEU to remedy a serious disturbance across the EU economy.

Prohibition of short selling

The FSMA has issued a new prohibition of short selling (which is much wider than the prohibition announced in yesterday’s alert). The new prohibition has immediate effect and will last until 17 April 2020.

The prohibition pertains to “short selling, including any transaction which creates, or relates to, a financial instrument and the effect or one of the effects of that transaction is to confer a financial advantage on the natural or legal person in the event of a decrease in the price or value of another financial instrument”.

The prohibition is applicable to all “companies listed on Euronext Brussels and Euronext Growth where the FSMA is the national competent authority for the most relevant market”. Please note that this is much wider than the restriction announced yesterday.

The prohibition applies also to index-related instruments, but only if the restricted shares represent more than 20% of the index weight.

The prohibition applies regardless of the place where the transaction is executed (i.e. on a trading venue or OTC). It does not apply to the activity of market making.


ESMA issues positive opinion on short selling ban by Italian CONSOB

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued an official opinion agreeing to an emergency short selling prohibition, for a period of three months, by the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) on all transactions which might constitute or increase net short positions on all shares traded on the Italian MTA regulated market, for which CONSOB is the relevant competent authority as well as to all related instruments relevant for the calculation of the net short position.



Besluit van de Vlaamse Regering houdende noodmaatregelen inzake mobiliteit en openbare werken / Arrêté du Gouvernement flamand relatif aux mesures d’urgenceen matière de mobilité et de travaux publics.



Besluit van de Vlaamse Regering over erkenning van de Corona crisis en tot afwijking van de waarborgregeling voor kleine, middelgrote en grote ondernemingen / Arrêté du Gouvernement flamand portant reconnaissance de la crise corona et portant dérogation au régime de garanties pour petites, moyennes et grandes entreprises.


FCA information for firms on Coronavirus (Covid-19) response

The FCA stands ready to take any steps necessary to ensure customers are protected and markets continue to function well. We are working closely with the Government, the Bank of England, the Payment Systems Regulator and firms on this.


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