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COVID-19 - Impact on Financial Sector - 23 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




Agreement between Belgian federal government,the financial sector and the National Bank of Belgium with regard to supportmeasures by Belgian banks

The two main elements in this agreement are:

  • Deferral of payments: the financial sector undertakes to grant a deferral of payments to non-financial companies that are viable (levensvatbaar / viable*) until 30 September 2020 without any cost.
  • State guarantee scheme: the federal government will activate a guarantee scheme for all new credit facilities and credit lines with a maximum term of 12 months made available to non-financial companies that are viable (levensvatbaar / viable).

Based on the information currently available, viable (levensvatbaar / viable) shall be defined as companies which did not have payment delays (betalingsachterstallen / retards de paiement) on 1 February 2020 or which had payment delays of less than 30 days (betalingsachterstallen / retards de paiement) on 29 February 2020 and which do not fall under active credit restructuring (actieve kredietherstructurering / restructuration de crédit active).

The guarantee scheme will have the following characteristics:

  • It will be for a total guarantee amount of EUR 50 billion.
  • All new additional credits and credit lines with a maximum maturity of 12 months (excluding refinancing credits) granted until 30 September 2020 will be covered by the guarantee scheme.

After the end of the guarantee scheme, the amount of losses incurred on the credits under the guarantee scheme will be assessed and shared between the financial sector and the State on the basis of the agreed loss-sharing mechanism:

  • The first 3% of losses will be borne entirely by the financial sector.
  • For losses between 3% and 5%, 50% of the losses will be borne by the financial sector and 50% by the State.
  • For losses in excess of 5%, 80% of the losses will be borne by the State and 20% by the financial sector.

The National Bank of Belgium, together with Febelfin, will set up a monitoring system to monitor the guarantee scheme as well as the sector's commitments.

20/03/2020 ESMA position on call taping under MiFID II

ESMA has issued a public statement on MiFID II recording obligations

  • Considering the exceptional circumstances created by the COVID-19 outbreak, some scenarios may emerge where, notwithstanding steps taken by the firm, the recording of relevant conversations required by MiFID II may not be practicable.
  • If firms, under these exceptional scenarios, are unable to record voice communications, ESMA expects them to consider what alternative steps they could take to mitigate the risks related to the lack of recording.
  • Firms are expected to deploy all possible efforts to ensure that the above measures remain temporary and that recording of telephone conversations is restored as soon as possible.
20/03/2020 ESMA position on MiFIR tick-size regime for systematic internalisers

ESMA has issued a public statement in relation to MiFIR tick-size regime for systematic internalisers:

  • ESMA expects competent authorities not to prioritise their supervisory actions in relation to the new tick-size regime from 26 March 2020, the application date, until 26 June 2020.
  • ESMA expects competent authorities to generally apply their risk-based supervisory powers in their day-to-day enforcement of applicable legislation in this area in a proportionate manner.
20/03/2020 ESMA extends consultations response dates ESMA has decided to extend the response date for all ongoing consultations with a closing date on, or after, 16 March 2020 by four weeks.

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