Capital Markets Union- Strasbourg, October 2015
I would like to thank Commissioner Katainen for coming to present the Capital Markets Union Action Plan which sets out the ambition to free up capital flows across the EU and a plan that encourages EU savers to become investors so that they can derive a sustainable income in their old age.
Beyond all the detail I am sure we will debate at length in the much needed review of the Prospectus Directive and the Securitisation legalisation, are several other measures to ensure a more effective single market for financial services. I would suggest that the real measure of success of the CMU will be whether it becomes relevant to all 28 Member States- whether those countries of the EU currently don’t have active and well-functioning capital markets develop one, and whether all countries can nurture a culture of investment both at a personal and institutional level to fuel investment in their businesses.
The IMF recognised a long time ago that functioning capital markets are a precondition for a thriving economy and recognise this measure in their country specific assessments on an annual basis. Therefore including this kind of criterion into the European Semester in an analogous way to the IMF will be really important.
But the CMU should not solely be about legislation nor should it be about spending money on new institutions to achieve a single supervisor – it should be about cultural change so that investors can take appropriate risk and companies don’t see bank loans as the only way to finance investment and growth.
Achieving diversity in retail finance products available, cross border, will be important but more time dependent will be securing a more diverse array of funding models for our businesses to access capital, both equity and debt via the broad capital market instruments available and emerging. Companies will always need bank financing but a complementary well-functioning capital market is essential for our European companies to grow and be competitive. We need to seek best practice wherever it may have developed and remove all existing barriers erected by Member States which impede capital flows and investor choice which makes pass porting in the fund sector more difficult. CMU should stand for choice, diversity and EU expertise.