BERLIN Jan 30 Germany needs to improve
regulation and supervision of financial markets in order to
protect investors, including those who have been affected by
this month's insolvency of the wind park group Prokon, Finance
Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said.
"It remains the goal of the German government to better
regulate and supervise the grey zones of the financial market,"
Schaeuble was quoted as saying in an advance release from an
interview being published in Friday's Handelsblatt newspaper.
"We keep pushing for regulatory measures on the level of the
(Group of) 20 and we remain active at the national level too.
That also includes dealing consistently with the Prokon case."
Prokon, which had raised 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion)
mainly from retail investors, filed for insolvency this month
after a growing number of stakeholders asked for their money
back following media reports about the business.
Prokon, which operates 50 wind parks in Germany and Poland
and employs roughly 1,300 staff, had raised money by selling
profit-participation certificates - offering high interest
payments - through advertising on prime-time German television.
With profit-participation certificates, the investor also
participates in losses. Unlike shares, the securities do not
give holders any say in the company.
Consumer groups accused Prokon of attracting investors with
promises of potential returns of at least 6 percent a year
without giving sufficient warning of the risks. Its insolvency
deals a blow to thousands of retail investors who had hoped to
profit from Germany's shift from nuclear to renewable energy
sources such as wind and solar.
Germany has long pushed for stronger financial market
regulation internationally - and Schaeuble said his ministry had
asked the German financial regulator Bafin to look into
improving investor security.
But he also cautioned: "Even better regulation will only
help up to a point if investors only look at the returns and not
(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Kevin Liffey)