The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) has just announced that it is getting a significant boost to its legal powers. Under a new law which is governing the Cypriot regulator’s structure, powers, and responsibilities, the watchdog is finally getting a boost to its ability to supervise the country’s financial sector.
According to the law, which was amended in April 2019, the CySEC’s structure, responsibilities, powers, and organization are undergoing significant reform. The new legislation increases the CySEC’s powers to enable it to better meet its responsibilities and obligations as a financial supervisory authority.
Thanks to the new legislation, significant weaknesses are getting to be addressed. Certain limitations the persons and companies under investigation to refuse to provide the CySEC with information that would constitute correspondence or communication.
Since the adoption of the new legislation, this provision is essentially eliminated. The CySEC now has the ability to collect all the required information, enabling it to conduct audits and investigations. Almost all the information requested by the regulator when it conducts audits and investigations constitutes correspondence or a form of communication.
According to a communique published by the Cypriot regulator in Greek, the new legislation explicitly states that the obligation to provide information includes a mandate to demand from brokers any written information, including meetings with any legal person, as well as information stored on corporate and personal computers.
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Brokers will be required on demand to produce, disclose, and submit the information that the regulator necessitates in its investigations.
In the event of any legal person’s refusal to comply with a notice of inspection or if the legal person displays, furnish or misrepresents the requested records, books, accounts, other documents, data or information, the CySEC shall have the power to impose an administrative fine on the entity.
In the event of denial of access to information, files, books, accounts, and other documents and data stored on computers, the CySEC may immediately seize relevant information, files, accounts, other documents, and data, as well as digital data storage and transfered media.
Together with the CySEC’s commitment to materially increase the number of staff it has, the new legal status quo is likely to lead to a significant clean up of the brokerage industry on the island.
While today, the ESMA poured cold water on the Cypriot regulator’s proposal for tiered leverage by discouraging the Polish KNF, the change to the powers of the Cypriot regulator on local turf is likely to materially affect the conduct of some regulated firms.