MILAN, July 12 (Reuters) - The Italian market regulator has published rules on the raising of capital by companies via on-line portals, making Italy the first country in Europe to implement equity crowdfunding laws, the watchdog said.
The rules relate to funds raised by innovative start-ups from investors who normally make small-sized investments, regulator Consob said in a statement on Friday.
The rules create a registry for crowdfunding companies, set out a code of conduct, give Consob powers to suspend or fine them in the event of violations and establish withdrawal rights for investors.
Crowdfunding was first developed in the United States before spreading to Europe. In Italy it counts more than 20 platforms from social lending sites to equity-based ones like WeAreStarting and SiamoSoci.
Equity crowdfunding for companies raised $116 million worldwide last year, a small chunk of the crowdfunding total which helped companies and individuals raise $2.7 billion, up 81 percent rise on 2011. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni and Jennifer Clark; Editing by David Holmes)