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The Lamfalussy Reform in the EU Securities Markets: Fiduciary Relationships, Policy Effectiveness and Balance of Power

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2008

CHRISTIAN DE VISSCHER
Affiliation:
Université catholique de Louvain 1, Place Montesquieu B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium e-mail: devisscher@spri.ucl.ac.be
OLIVIER MAISCOCQ
Affiliation:
Université catholique de Louvain 1, Place Montesquieu B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium e-mail: maiscocq@spri.ucl.ac.be
FRÉEDÉERIC VARONE
Affiliation:
Université de Genève 40, Boulevard du Pont d’Arve 1211 Genève 4, Switzerland e-mail: frederic.varone@politic.unige.ch

Abstract

In 2000 a Committee of Wise Men chaired by Alexandre Lamfalussy, former president of the European Monetary Institute was appointed by the Economics and Finance Ministers Council to make recommendations on the regulation of the European securities markets. It proposed a four-level system to improve the legislative process while ensuring what it called a democratic and institutional balance. Our paper questions to what extent the concepts of two basic modes of delegation – agency and trust relationships – are appropriate tools to interpret the new structure set up by the Committee. It formulates hypotheses about its policy effectiveness and the balance of power between Community institutions. Evidence supports the agency hypothesis: the Lamfalussy process has reduced the average time taken to negotiate and adopt the first framework directives at level 1 and it has facilitated the removal of bottlenecks in the process through parallel working at levels 1 and 2. In this sense, delegation has enhanced policy effectiveness in the securities sector. But it is much more difficult to assess the trustee hypothesis: that is, whether the Commission and the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) in fact act as trustees of the member states for the benefit of market actors. For the time being, whether CESR might evolve into a European securities regulator remains an open question.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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