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WORDS TO UNDERSTAND

The CONSOB's Role

The CONSOB regulates, authorises, monitors, and controls Italian financial markets with the aim of protecting investors and ensuring the efficiency, transparency and development of the securities market. To achieve these objectives, through regulations, the CONSOB self-regulates its organization and functioning with the only constraint being the control over its legitimacy exercised by the Prime Ministerís office.

 
The Consob: Main tasks

Brief History

The Italian Securities and Exchange Commission (CONSOB) was founded 1974 through a government law to concentrate the functions and jurisdictions that until then had been attributable to the Ministry of Treasury. In short, powers to monitor the securities markets. Hence at the beginning, the CONSOBís range of action was much less broad than today. With a law of 1983, its jurisdiction was extended to protecting public savings, and two years later the CONSOB received juridical personality and autonomy. In 1991, it was attributed powers to audit securities brokerage companies (SIMs) and monitor insider trading.

 

The Role

The CONSOB carries out several functions:

  • it regulates the investment services and operations of intermediaries, the reporting obligations of companies listed on regulated markets, and the solicitation of investment from the public;
  • it authorizes the operations of regulated markets, the publication of prospectuses, the centralized management of financial instruments, and enrolment in registers;
  • it monitors the operations of market management companies, the transparency and orderly conduct of trading, and the transparency and fairness of the conduct of intermediaries and financial representatives;†
  • it penalizes any unfair conduct by the above-mentioned parties;
  • it checks the information provided to the market by entities that solicit investment from the public, as well as the information contained in the accounting documents of listed companies.

Summary of its Organization

The CONSOB is headed by a collegiate body consisting of a chairman (currently Lamberto Cardia; his predecessors include Luigi Spaventa, Enzo Berlanda, and Franco Piga) and four members, appointed by a decree of the President of the Republic on the proposal of the President of the Council of Ministers, who remain in office for seven years and their term is non-renewable. The organizational structure includes a central management committee under which there are eleven departments (issuers, intermediaries, markets, etc.) and thirty-nine divisions (company controls, public tender offers and ownership structure, financial representatives monitoring and register, insider trading, derivatives markets, etc.), with offices in Rome and Milan.

Examples of CONSOB Action

Among the CONSOBís typical actions, it authorizes SIMs to carry out investment services and operations, it approves prospectuses for public tender offers for financial instruments and products, and the expulsion of financial representatives from the relevant register.

 
The Consob: Its role
 

The CONSOB cooperates with other national entities and mainly with those with jurisdiction for supervisory functions such as the Bank of Italy, the Private and Collective Insurance Supervisory Body (ISVAP), the Pension Fund Supervisory Commission (COVIP), the Antitrust Authority, and, of course, the Ministry of Economy and Finance. At the international level, the CONSOB is a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), as is its US counterpart the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR).


Page updated 10 january 2014

 
 
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