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Regulators must cooperate: McCreevy


BRUSSELS—The European Commission will not hesitate to force the pace of supervisory convergence in the regulation of financial institutions if national regulators fail to move fast enough, according to Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services.

Speaking at the annual symposium of the French association the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) in Paris, Mr. McCreevy said that Europe could not afford to risk losing vital investment by failing to offer investors a unified, cost-effective and efficient cross-border regulatory system.

Mr. McCreevy said that deep liquid markets are not enough. He said that Europe needs safe, efficient and cost effective supervision to accommodate the growth of integrating, pan-European financial services.

The commissioner said that the only credible structure is the Lamfalussy structure — its so-called hubs and spokes system — whereby the Commission acts as the hub and the national regulators the spokes to ensure a level playing field.

"What I want to concentrate on is making this architecture work better. With practical solutions. Alleviation of duplicative or excessive regulatory burdens. Streamlining of reporting formats. Eliminating any redundant reporting requirements. Building a true European supervisory culture with top class standards and mutual trust and confidence," said Mr. McCreevy.

He said that he would like to see European regulators exchanging personnel and adopting joint training programs. The supervisory Committees, established by the Lamfalussy process, are "still young" and should be given some time to deliver, he said, promising to help them.

"But 'should' is not enough, it must be done. If not, investors and companies will go elsewhere; we must bear in mind the difficulties encountered by United States markets in attracting initial public offerings since 2003. We cannot afford to get things wrong in Europe. Too much is at stake."

"If supervisory convergence and cooperation are insufficient, the Commission will not hesitate to act and to propose to strengthen the system. If there is one simple message here— it is this. Markets are integrating. Supervisory practice must as well. Cooperation must deepen," said Mr. McCreevy.