Commission calls on accounting firms to help in M&As reform

Accounting firms working in the banking, insurance and securities sectors
have been asked how European Union rules controlling mergers and acquisitions in
these financial industries can be improved.

The European Commission said national regulators have inconsistently
implemented a rule allowing them to block takeovers and alliances if they
consider a target company’s ‘sound and prudential management’ at risk.

EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: ‘Europe’s financial
companies need to be able to compete globally, not just in their own back yard.
Current rules on supervisory approval give too much scope for protectionism and
divergent supervisory practices’.

He wants rules that ‘leave no room for political interference’, a charge
levelled at recent banking takeover rows in Italy, notably regarding ex-Italian
central bank governor Antonio Fazio preventing Banca Antonveneta’s purchase by
the Netherlands’ ABN Amro. The deadline for comments on improving the’clarity
and transparency’ of the rules and ‘consistent application’ is April 19. 


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