LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The European Union’s plan to build a capital market union (CMU) will not include a super-regulator for markets in the same way the European Central bank now supervises top euro zone lenders, a senior EU official said on Wednesday.
The comment will assuage concerns in Britain, the bloc’s biggest securities market, that a push by Brussels for a new, more powerful EU regulator to oversee the City of London financial sector would stoke anti-EU sentiment ahead of a general election in May.
“Of course at some point in time in the development of capital markets in Europe, supervisory issues will pop up. Frankly, we are far from this point,” Olivier Guersent, one of Hill’s senior civil servants, told a Brussels-based Bruegel think-tank seminar.
The EU’s financial services chief Jonathan Hill will next month publish a paper on how to make it easier to raise funds for the bloc’s flagging economy by using markets rather than banks.
There is no majority at all among the bloc’ 28 member states for a super-regulator, with France and Germany and not just Britain against the idea, Guersent said.
Nemat Shafik, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, told the seminar that the obstacle to setting up a CMU was not primarily institutional, meaning there is no need for a new regulator.
“A lot of this is a single market agenda,” Shafik added.
Guersent said 80 percent of the CMU was about finishing securities reforms going back to 1999, known as the financial services action plan. Proposing a super-watchdog would cause the project to stall for years and it was better to take a series of steps.
“If we do everything quickly and right, we may have the first result in three years on the ground, most probably five,” Guersent said.
Some in Britain say that London, with its expertise in markets, is well placed to take a leading role in the CMU, but Guersent said other parts of the EU should be involved.
“Capital markets union is primarily about growing and diversifying the funding of Continental Europe because this is what the problem is,” Guersent said.
The CMU aims to use skills from other European financial centres, such as Paris and Frankfurt. (Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Louise Heavens)