Sweden: What happened in 2021 and significant events in 2022
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EBA publishes its work programme for 2022 | European Banking Authority (europa.eu): For 2022, the European Banking Authority (EBA) has set five vertical priorities: i) monitoring and updating the prudential framework for supervision and resolution; ii) revisiting and strengthening the EU-wide stress-testing framework; iii) leveraging the European centralised infrastructure for supervisory data (EUCLID); iv) deepening analysis and information-sharing in the areas of digital resilience, fintech and innovation; and v) AML/CFT and contributing to a new EU infrastructure.
New EU regime on anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CTF): The European Commission (the EC) has proposed new legislation to strengthen EU AML/CTF. It includes the establishment of a new authority Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) to coordinate supervision and the cooperation among financial intelligence units within the EU. The legislative package remains subject to discussion in the European Parliament and Council.
Proposal for amended regulations on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures: The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Sw. Finansinspektionen) proposes an extension to the scope of application of their regulations (FFFS 2017:11) on AML/CTF. The amended regulations shall also apply to Swedish crowdfunding service providers, which are subject to the regulation on European Crowdfunding Service Providers. The amended regulations come into force on 1 January 2022.
Changes to Nasdaq Stockholm’s Main Market listing process: Nasdaq Stockholm has announced changes to its Nordic Main Market Rulebook for Issuers which will affect the listing process for new issuers in the Main Market segment. Issuers will be required to appoint a Listing Auditor to produce a report assessing whether the issuer fulfils the admission requirements and is suitable for listing. Nasdaq’s Stockholm Listing Committee will then review the report and decide whether to approve the application. Under the previous setup, Nasdaq Stockholm appointed an Exchange Auditor to perform the review. The new listing process is voluntary from 11 October 2021, and mandatory from 1 January 2022.
Swedish proposal to implement the MiFID II “quick fix”: After a lengthy legislative process, the so-called “quick fix” amendments to MiFID II came into force in February 2021. The amendments form part of a wider Covid-19 market recovery package which also includes amendments to the Prospectus and Securitisation Regulations. The changes to the MiFID II level 1 text comprise relaxations to investor protection measures and the position limits regime for commodity derivatives. Pending any forbearance measures in the interim, the changes will apply from 28 February 2022.
TRIPS waiver for COVID-19: The WTO continues to discuss a temporary waiver from the implementation, application and enforcement of certain IP rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) insofar as they relate to the prevention and treatment of Covid-19. The proposed waiver has the support of over 100 countries, including the USA, but disagreement persists as to whether it is the most appropriate and effective way to address shortages of vaccines and Covid-19 related medications and technologies.
Focus areas for the Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection: The Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (Sw. Integritetsskyddsmyndigheten) has announced that its focus area for 2021-2023 is to investigate complaints from individuals. The authority may initiate action on its own accord i.e., if a personal data incident is perceived or the authority has information to share.
Fit for 55: On an EU level, we will see discussions on a suite of legislative initiatives (fit for 55 package) across various sectors, including energy, transport and buildings, which is intended to fundamentally overhaul the EU’s climate policy framework and put the EU on track to deliver on its 2030 climate target of 55%.
EU corporate due diligence and accountability directive proposal: The European Commission is expected to publish a “sustainable corporate governance initiative” in the form of a directive by the end of Q1 2022. The directive would impose on companies of a certain status/size or risk category operating in the EU internal market due diligence and reporting obligations covering human rights, and the environmental and good governance impacts of their supply chain. It would also impose on directors a legal duty to consider, and to balance the interests of, a wide range of stakeholders (employees, consumers, local communities etc.) in their decision-making, rather than focusing on shareholders’ interests. This could extend to an obligation to implement procedures that address any adverse ESG and human rights impact on stakeholders.
Sustainable finance: In 2022, the disclosure obligations under the EU Taxonomy Regulation regarding pre-contractual information and annual reports will start to apply with regard to the first two environmental objectives. Market participants will also have to comply with the regulatory technical standard under the EU Disclosure Regulation which is expected to be finalised by the end of 2021.
Proposal to revoke regulations on MREL-reporting:The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Sw. Finansinspektionen) proposes that the regulations (FFFS 2019:1) on periodic reporting of information regarding the minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities requirement are to be revoked from 1 March 2022.
Finalisation of the Digital Finance Package: The Digital Finance Package, consisting of draft rules on digital operational resilience (DORA), markets in crypto assets (MiCA) and a pilot regime for DLT, is expected to be finalised in 2022.
ESMA publishes technical standards under the Crowdfunding Regulation: In November 2021, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published its final report on technical standards (RTS and ITS) under the Crowdfunding Regulation. The report covers all of EMSA’s 12 mandates, including four with a legal deadline of May 2022, in this area. The draft standards have been submitted to the European Commission for adoption.
Review of EU Solvency II: The European Commission has proposed a series of targeted amendments to the Solvency II regime, alongside a new framework for the recovery and resolution of insurers. The EU’s legislative bodies will now negotiate final texts based on the Commission’s proposals.
Implementation of the EU Copyright Directive: The deadline for implementation of the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market passed on 7 June 2021. Implementation has been patchy, due in part to Covid-19, but is now well underway across most of the Member States. In Sweden this has resulted in a bill that amends the Copyright Act to introduce new restrictions concerning text and data extraction. It is also proposed that press publishers are to be given a new right related to copyright and that large providers of online content sharing services are to be given copyright responsibility for the content their users upload. The legislation is proposed to come into force on 1 July 2022.
Legislative proposals for AIFMD II: The European Commission is expected to publish legislative proposals for amendments to AIFMD by the end of 2021, for consideration by the Parliament and Council in 2022. The European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) guidelines on marketing communications also come into force on 2 February 2022.
Obligation to create climate declarations for buildings: In January, the act on climate declarations for buildings (Sw. lag (2021:787) om klimatdeklaration för byggnader) as well as the supplementary regulation (the Act), will come into force. The Act aims to reduce the climate impact of the construction phase of new buildings. It contains an obligation for property developers to create and submit a climate declaration when a new building that requires a building permit is constructed. The climate declaration should contain general information about the property as well as its climate impact. The law will affect developers that apply for building permits after 1 January 2022.
New Company Reorganisation Act: The Act to implement Directive (EU) 2017/1132 on company restructurings and insolvency, will come into force on 1 July 2022 in Sweden. The Act aims to increase efficiency in procedures concerning restructuring and insolvencies, discharge of distressed companies’ debts and to provide simpler processes than those currently available. For example, a national advisory service for companies in the early stages of financial distress will be implemented. Most importantly, is the introduction of a faster, simpler and less expensive procedure for public restructuring (Sw. offentlig skulduppgörelse). This is designed for companies not requiring measures other than to make the business profitable again. Under the new rules, companies will be able to obtain legally binding reconstruction plans in courts, whereas under the current legislation, only debts covered by composition with creditors are legally binding.
Digital reforms: The EU aims to reach agreement on the Digital Markets Act next year, which will reshape how digital businesses operate in Europe and regulate online “gatekeepers”, such as Amazon and Facebook.
New regulation for artificial intelligence: The EU will press ahead with its proposal to create a new regulatory superstructure for AI, including prohibiting some uses entirely and imposing significant and extensive compliance obligations on providers of “high risk” AI. The EU will press ahead with its proposal to create a new regulatory superstructure for AI, including prohibiting some uses entirely and imposing significant and extensive compliance obligations on providers of “high risk” AI.