The Regime of Administrative Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Sanctions in Financial Markets’ Law in the European Union (EU)

Professor Pierre-Henri Conac is working on the regime of administrative pecuniary and non-pecuniary sanctions in financial markets’ law in the European Union (EU) and as such will contribute significantly to the expertise of the Luxembourg financial centre in this field.

There has been a growing recognition by the European legislator and also Member States that administrative sanctions are effective in the regulation of financial markets. This effectiveness is important not just from a financial law perspective but also from an overarching context since the recent financial crisis have caused European democratic civil societies to request much more accountability in the financial sector.

Despite recent effort towards harmonisation, the current legal landscape in the EU remains fragmented and, in some areas, practically incoherent. Member States do not have a common view on the procedural aspects of administrative sanctions, despite some harmonisation provided by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). This situation contradicts the European Commission's intention to achieve "supervisory convergence" in the EU.

The research that Prof. Dr Pierre-Henri Conac is carrying out will be of global interest. The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), which sets international standards in financial markets, is working on how to achieve “Credible Deterrence in the Enforcement of Securities Regulation”, which is often achieved through administrative sanctions. IOSCO is also working to facilitate cross-border access to financial markets and could play a role in the assessment of equivalence.

The research project analyses the differences between substantive and procedural rules in order to determine which provisions could benefit from greater harmonisation, with the aim of simplifying and increasing the effectiveness of enforcement. It could have an impact on regulatory practice and legislative developments in the Member States, especially in a major financial centre like Luxembourg, and in the European Union in general, leading to a review of the system of administrative sanctions and, possibly, of the accompanying procedures.