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COVID-19 - Impact on Financial Sector - 19 March 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 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




De Kamer / La Chambre

  • Wetsvoorstel tot wijziging van de wet van 22 december 2016 houdende invoering van een overbruggingsrecht ten gunste van zelfstandigen en tot invoering van tijdelijke maatregelen in het kader van COVID-19 ten gunste van zelfstandigen. – Aangenomen tekstVerslagAmendementenWetsvoorstel /
    Proposition de loi modifiant la loi du 22 décembre 2016 instaurant un droit de passerelle en faveur des travailleurs indépendants et introduisant des mesures temporaires dans le cadre COVID-19 en faveur des travailleurs indépendants. – Texte adoptéRapportAmendementsProposition de loi

New Belgian rules banning short selling

The FSMA has added additional guidance with respect to its short selling rules (see yesterday’s alert):

  • The FSMA confirms that it is prohibited to “entering into a short sale which might constitute or increase a net short position on stocks admitted to trading to Belgian trading venues
  • This includes “any transaction which creates, or relates to, a financial instrument and where 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 rules have taken effect on 18 March 2020 and are extended to 17 April 2020
  • The ban applies regardless of the place where the transaction is executed (i.e. on a trading venue or OTC)
  • The measure is only applicable to companies listed on Euronext Brussels and Euronext Growth where the FSMA is the national competent authority for the most relevant market (MRM)
  • The ban applies to index-related instruments only if the shares represent more than 20% of the index weight. The ban does not apply to the activity of market making

ECB announces €750 billion Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP)


(Press release NBB)


The ECB decided the following:

  • To launch a new temporary asset purchase programme of private and public sector securities to counter the serious risks to the monetary policy transmission mechanism and the outlook for the euro area posed by the outbreak and escalating diffusion of the coronavirus, COVID-19. This new Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) will have an overall envelope of €750 billion. Purchases will be conducted until the end of 2020 and will include all the asset categories eligible under the existing asset purchase programme (APP). For the purchases of public sector securities, the benchmark allocation across jurisdictions will continue to be the capital key of the national central banks. At the same time, purchases under the new PEPP will be conducted in a flexible manner. This allows for fluctuations in the distribution of purchase flows over time, across asset classes and among jurisdictions. The ECB will terminate net asset purchases under PEPP once it judges that the coronavirus Covid-19 crisis phase is over, but in any case not before the end of the year.
  • To expand the range of eligible assets under the corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP) to non-financial commercial paper, making all commercial papers of sufficient credit quality eligible for purchase under CSPP.
  • To ease the collateral standards by adjusting the main risk parameters of the collateral framework. In particular, we will expand the scope of Additional Credit Claims (ACC) to include claims related to the financing of the corporate sector. This will ensure that counterparties can continue to make full use of the Eurosystem’s refinancing operations.

ESMA sets out approach to SFTR implementation

  • ESMA has issued a public statement to ensure coordinated supervisory actions on the application of Securities Finance Transactions Regulation (SFTR), in particular, on the requirements regarding the reporting start date, as well as the registration of Trade Repositories (TRs). This approach is needed in response to the effect of current adverse developments events as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ESMA issues positive opinion on short selling ban by French AMF

  • ESMA has issued an official opinion agreeing to an emergency short selling prohibition, for a period of one month, by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) of France on all transactions which might constitute or increase net short positions on shares admitted to trading on French trading venues (Euronext Paris, Euronext Growth Paris, Euronext Access Paris), for which the AMF is the relevant competent authority as well as to all related instruments relevant for the calculation of the net short position.

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