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Showing 1 - 20 of 132 results

Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in case 2168/2019/KR on how the European Banking Authority handled the move of its former Executive Director to become CEO of a financial industry lobby

Thursday | 07 May 2020

The Ombudsman received a complaint about the decision of the European Banking Authority (EBA) to allow its Executive Director to take up a position as CEO of an association representing banks, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).

The Ombudsman conducted an inquiry, inspected the relevant EBA documents and found maladministration, first, in that the EBA should have forbidden the job move. While the EBA adopted extensive restrictions, these are not sufficient when measured against the risks involved. The Ombudsman considers that if this move does not justify the application of the option, set out in the Staff Regulations, to forbid a staff member accepting a job offer, no move would.

Second, there was maladministration in that the EBA did not, once notified of the planned move, immediately withdraw its Executive Director’s access to confidential information.

The Ombudsman issues three recommendations to the EBA, which should (i) where necessary in future, invoke the option of forbidding its senior staff from taking up certain positions after their term-of-office. Any such prohibition should be time-limited, for example, for two years; (ii) set out criteria for when it will forbid such moves in future so as to give clarity to senior staff. Applicants for senior EBA posts should be informed of the criteria when they apply; and (iii) put in place internal procedures so that once it is known that a member of its staff is moving to another job, their access to confidential information is cut off with immediate effect.

The EBA should reply to these recommendations within three months.



Decision in case 1543/2019/FP on the European Commission’s refusal to grant access to a document from its investigation into a compensation scheme for bank ‘mis-selling’ in Italy

Friday | 13 December 2019

The case concerned a refusal by the European Commission to make public a document concerning its investigation of an Italian shareholder compensation scheme linked to mis-selling by Italian banks. The Commission refused access to the document, arguing that the document was covered by a ‘general presumption’ of non-disclosure, aimed at protecting the purpose of an on-going investigation.

In the course of the inquiry, the Commission informed the Ombudsman that the investigation into the compensation scheme was no longer ongoing and that the service letter could therefore be disclosed to the complainant. The complainant made a new request for public access and the document was finally disclosed. The Ombudsman therefore found that the Commission had settled the complaint and closed the inquiry.

Decision in cases 1141/2019/SRS, 1417/2019/SRS and 1015/2019/SRS on the Single Resolution Board’s alleged failure to take a timely decision on whether to compensate creditors and shareholders of a Spanish bank

Tuesday | 03 December 2019

The case concerned the time taken by the Single Resolution Board (SRB) to reach a final decision concerning whether to compensate affected creditors and shareholders of a Spanish bank.

The Ombudsman considers that the time the SRB is taking to assess whether to compensate affected creditors and shareholders is reasonable considering the particular circumstances of the case. She notes, in particular, that the SRB had collected approximately 23,800 individual comments on the matter and had set up processes to deal with them, including by hiring interim staff and redeploying other staff. She also takes the view that the SRB has sought to keep those affected informed, at every stage of the process, through general and individual communications. Thus, the Ombudsman found no maladministration.

Decision in case 357/2019/FP on the European Securities and Markets Authority’s refusal to grant public access to documents relating to contacts with stakeholders

Friday | 29 November 2019

The case concerned a refusal by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to grant the complainant public access to minutes and meeting records of contacts ESMA had with stakeholders regarding the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments legislation (generally referred to as MiFID). ESMA initially argued that no official minutes of these meetings existed.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that there were some internal notes drafted by staff members about those meetings. The Ombudsman therefore proposed that ESMA should assess each document individually and consider whether it could release them, either partially or in their entirety.

ESMA agreed to the proposal for a solution and partially released 8 documents. The Ombudsman then closed the case, with a suggestion for improvement regarding the records of meetings.