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COVID-19 - Impact on Financial Sector - 30 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 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



COVID-19: information for institutions for occupational retirement provision

Having regard to the current coronavirus outbreak, the FSMA has, amongst others, recommended and reminded the institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORPs) :

(1) to comply with the regulatory requirements. However the FSMA intends to be flexible with respect to the deadlines for the adaptation of key documents such as the principles of the investment policy (SIP) ;

(2) where physical board meetings are not possible, the board of an IORP may deliberate by written procedure provided that the articles of association of the IORP allows the written procedure of the board of directors. In addition, the FSMA considers that a meeting held entirely by video conference or telephone conference can be assimilated to a "physical" meeting as it allows for an adversarial debate ;

(3) IORPs may be faced with practical issues when submitting to the FSMA files aimed at enabling the "fit & proper" assessment of the candidates for the appointment or reappointment as members of operational bodies or as heads of key functions. Under those circumstances, the FSMA notes that : 

  • as regards to the form, the signature can be replaced by a picture of the signature or by the words "completed truthfully and in good faith", followed by the full name of the person 'signing';
  • as regards to the extract from the criminal record, if it is not possible to provide an excerpt from the municipality or from the FPS Justice, the FSMA provisionally accepts that the candidate sends a sworn statement of his or her situation/offences. 

(4) the FSMA asks IORPs to inform it without delay where the valuation or trading of certain assets in their portfolio is suspended. In this respect, special attention should be paid to collective investment instruments which, given the current market circumstances, should be subject to special liquidity measures.


CEAOB emphasizes the important aspects regarding the impact of covid-19 on the audit of the financial statements

The Committee of European Audit Oversight Bodies (CEAOB) published a press release on March 24, 2020 about the impact of Covid-19 on the audit of the financial statements.

The CEAOB highlights the following areas that are of high importance for the performance of ongoing audits:

(i) obtaining of sufficient appropriate audit evidence;

(ii) going concern;

(iii) subsequent events; and 

(iv) reporting and communication.



ESMA confirms application date of equity transparency calculations


ESMA has decided to keep the date of application of the transparency calculations for equity instruments of 1 April 2020 unchanged.

ESMA has recently been asked by some stakeholders to postpone the date of application – required by MiFIDII/MiFIR to apply from 1 April, on the basis of the extraordinary market circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application of new tick-sizes was cited as particularly problematic in the current environment. ESMA acknowledges the severity of the situation and is working to alleviate market participants’ burden to the maximum extent possible, as some recent publications show, in particular delaying the application of new obligations which require significant technological changes.



Governors and Heads of Supervision announce deferral of Basel III implementation to increase operational capacity of banks and supervisors to respond to Covid-19


The Basel Committee's oversight body, the Group of Central Bank Governors and Heads of Supervision (GHOS), has endorsed a set of measures to provide additional operational capacity for banks and supervisors to respond to the immediate financial stability priorities resulting from the impact of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on the global banking system.

The measures endorsed by the GHOS comprise essentially the granting of one additional year for the implementation of various outstanding Basel III standards.

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