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III. Financial market regulation in the post-Financial Services Action Plan era

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After a hectic period of law reform, which has also provoked major governance reforms in the form of significantly increased levels of transparency and market consultation and major institutional innovations (with allied accountability and governance risks), the 1999 Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP)1 has now been completed. It has radically transformed the regulatory landscape for financial services in the EC, and set a seal on the recharacterization of EC financial services law from a minimum harmonization-based market construction regime to a highly interventionist and increasingly sophisti-cated market regulation system. In particular, the coincidence of legislative reform under the FSAP with the development of a new institutional process for law-making, which has rapidly become embedded in the financial market architecture (the Lamfalussy process),2 produced a reform agenda of immense depth and range. The FSAP period has also seen the use and development of a wide range of regulatory tools in EC financial services policy in line with the growing sophistication of the regulatory regime. While disclosure has long been a key policy tool of EC financial services law, the FSAP saw a closer focus on conflict of interest management across the financial sector, on more interventionist controls such as transparency, suitability, and best execution requirements, and on calibrating regulation to different investor profiles and different market risks. This article considers a selection of key recent developments.

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