BRUSSELS The European Commission may reduce reporting requirements for derivatives trading in Europe, in an effort to cut costs for financial services, the financial services commissioner said on Tuesday.
After the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, which left regulators in the dark over who was on the other side of the bank's derivatives trades, leaders of the Group of 20 economies agreed all derivatives trades must be reported.
In the European Union, both sides of a trade must report transactions. In the United States, only one side must report. The industry has urged the EU to adopt one-sided reporting.
"It should be possible to lower the administrative reporting burdens," EU Financial Services Commissioner Jonathan Hill told a financial regulation conference in Brussels. "And all this while ensuring supervisors have enough information to monitor risks, and intervene if necessary.
"I want to use the EMIR review to do that," Hill said referring to European Market Infrastructure Regulation, the main EU regulation on derivatives. The regulation was adopted in 2012 but is now being revised.
"It should be possible to make EMIR more proportionate and continue to mitigate systemic risk in our derivative markets," Hill said.
Regulation should not weigh too heavily on clearing services and should not undermine sensible business planning and risk management, he said.
At the same conference, Steven Maijoor, chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority, said moving from a two-sided to one-sided system would be costly, since markets in Europe have already invested in a dual-reporting system.
But Maijoor also said that "we should not shy away from measures that can improve the two-sided system." A system where "one of the sides takes responsibility could be a good way forward", he said.
The possible regulatory moves on derivatives are part of a wider EU plan to assess the impact of financial regulation and to make it more proportionate and less costly, when possible.
Hill said on Tuesday he will begin public consultations on how to review EU rules on banks' liquidity ratios, introduced at a global level after the 2007-09 financial crisis to reduce volatility.
He also repeated that he wants lower regulatory requirements for smaller banks.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, editing by Larry King)