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News releases AMF: 2014

The AMF publishes its 2013 annual report

Published on June 3, 2014

AMF Chairman Gérard Rameix presented the AMF’s 2013 annual report to the media on 2 June 2014.

Gérard Rameix, Chairman of the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), today presented the regulator’s annual report to the media. Amid firmer market conditions in 2013, which paved the way for an upturn in initial public offerings (IPOs), the highlights for the AMF included transposition of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) and implementation of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). At the same time, the AMF closely monitored progress in European talks on revising the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID).

Protecting investors
The AMF Epargne Info Service helpline, which takes queries from retail investors and industry professionals, handled 9,840 cases in 2013, 62% of which from individuals seeking information or wanting to file a complaint. The Ombudsman’s office handled 883 cases. Of these, 570 were within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction, while the other 313 dealt with banking or insurance matters and were forwarded to the appropriate bodies.

The AMF and the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR) continued to work to prevent problems and provide information, regularly updating the lists of unauthorised websites and entities offering forex investments or binary options. The AMF teamed up with the national institute for consumer affairs, INC, to organise a new awareness-raising campaign for consumers, while extending its range of educational guides to include one on voting at annual general meetings. It also added to the tools provided to the public by offering new online financial calculators. In addition, the AMF completed a training cycle launched in 2011 for representatives of consumer associations.

Over 2013 the AMF backed the adoption of several provisions of the Consumer Act of 17 March 2014. Going forward, class action may be taken if regulatory breaches are committed when assets are sold or services provided, notably when financial products are being marketed. Also, the AMF may forward evidence to the courts that is relevant to an action brought by an investor seeking redress for losses. Furthermore, by creating the new category of intermediary in miscellaneous assets, the law has enhanced the AMF’s ability to ensure that advertising for atypical investments presented as an alternative to standard financial products provides a balanced description of the risks and rewards involved. These changes have greatly strengthened the legal framework in place to protect investors.

Markets and asset management
After dipping slightly in 2012, the AMF’s workload increased again in terms of authorisations. In all, 39 new management companies were authorised, compared with 34 in 2012, reflecting an upswing in private equity and property activities. Applications to extend programmes of activity jumped by 60% over the year, notably owing to AIFMD transposition.

At 31 December 2013 total assets managed by collective investment schemes (CIS) came to €1,309 billion, on a par with the previous year. Strong equity market performances offset low interest rates, which are unfavourable to money market and structured funds.

The AMF examined around 320 marketing campaigns for retail products, concentrating particularly on CIS applying atypical management processes, venture capital funds and European CIS intended to be marketed in France.

On the regulatory front, work on transposing the AIFMD led to amendments to the General Regulation in order to incorporate the directive’s obligations on marketing, depositaries, asset valuation and disclosures. At the same time, several measures were introduced into domestic law to enhance France’s attractiveness in terms of asset management, including steps to rationalise the range of alternative investment funds (AIFs).

The first set of measures from the European regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (EMIR) were implemented in 2013. The AMF, which was involved preparing EMIR’s implementing standards, worked to provide support to the financial industry and businesses. It also began the joint process with the ACPR of assessing LCH.Clearnet SA’s application for authorisation under the new regulatory framework. Authorisation was granted on 22 May 2014.

Disclosures and corporate finance
The AMF approved 683 corporate finance transactions, or 10.7% more than in 2012. Euronext Paris saw a resumption of IPOs, with 15 new listings, 13 on the regulated market and two on Alternext, raising a total €1.3 billion. The largest deals included Blue Solutions, Numéricable and Tarkett.

The number of approvals for issues of debt securities rose by 34% to 196. Private bond placements continued to grow robustly, reflecting the combined effects of more constrained bank lending and the need to diversify financing sources amid buoyant market conditions. These deals, though still mostly confined to large listed companies, are gradually becoming more accessible to mid-tier firms. The market for hybrid corporate debt remained brisk, following an exceptional showing in 2012.

The AMF took 42 decisions on the compliance of takeover bids, similar to 2012.

On the regulatory front, the AMF closely followed negotiations on two new French laws, one on supporting the real economy, which was passed on 24 February 2014, and the other on streamlining requirements for companies, adopted on 2 January 2014. The first of these new laws will impact takeover legislation in various ways, including setting the minimum acceptance threshold for takeover bids at 50% of capital and voting rights, introducing double voting rights for all registered equities held for more than two years, and giving the works committees of target companies a greater role in the takeover procedure. The second law seeks to reform the scope of regulated agreements while enhancing the disclosures provided to shareholders on such agreements between the company and a senior executive or major shareholder or between two related companies.

Supervision, investigations, inspections and enforcement
The AMF Secretary General instigated 67 inspections in 2013, including 35 targeting financial investment advisers, and 77 investigations. The Enforcement Committee handed down 27 decisions. It imposed 39 fines, up to a maximum of €14 million, against 23 legal entities and 16 individuals.

When it issues a statement of objections to a respondent, the AMF Board can offer the option of entering into an administrative settlement. Five such agreements were published on the AMF website in 2013 (three of which dating back to 2012). Over the year, the Board made six offers, one of which gave rise to a settlement published in 2013, while two others led to settlements published in the first half of 2014.

The Banking Separation and Regulation Act has expanded the scope of market abuse punishable by the AMF, which can now take action against attempted price manipulation or attempted dissemination of false information and manipulation of financial indices. The powers of inspectors and investigators were also enhanced.

AMF financial resources
For 2013 the AMF recognised a book loss of €5.84 million, since a 3.4% increase in operating income to €85.09 million failed to offset the 10.1% increase in operating costs to €91.29 million. The 2014 budget forecasts this deficit to rise to €8.37 million.

Press contact:
AMF Communication Directorate - Florence Gaubert - Tel: +33 (0)1 5345 6034 or +33 (0)1 5345 6028

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Legal information
Head of publications: The Executive Director of AMF Communication Directorate.
Contact: Communication Directorate – Autorité des marches financiers 17 place de la Bourse – 75082 Paris cedex 02