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Over the last decade, most countries in the EBRD region have established their capital markets virtually from scratch. Countries pursued different approaches and took different policy considerations into account to design and implement economic reform programmes. In some countries for example, the Czech Republic, capital markets were initially created as support institutions to implement massive voucher privatisation programmes. In such cases, capital markets were established even before sound regulatory frameworks and competent market regulators were in place. Other countries, for example Poland, followed a more traditional approach and legal institutions were created before trading practices were established. Some countries however still have under-developed capital markets due to unfavourable economic conditions.
The EBRD's legal reform work on capital markets and securities markets legislation
The major reform projects undertaken by the EBRD over the years in the areas of capital and securities markets legislation include the following
In addition, the EBRD undertook a securities markets sector assessment project to gauge the quality of securities markets related laws and regulations in transition countries. It uses a checklist based on the Objectives and Principles of Securities Regulations (366KB - PDF) issued by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). To complement its assessment of securities market legislation, the EBRD launched the 2007 Legal Indicator Survey. The aim of the survey is to assess how the legislation, together with the local institutional framework, in each country, works to create a functional securities markets legal regime. The two initiatives assist the Bank to better understand legal developments in the region and serve as a reference for countries formulating reform. Similar sector assessments are undertaken with reference to corporate governance, insolvency, concessions and secured transactions.
After more than 10 years of transition, the development of capital markets and the degree of sophistication of legal and regulatory frameworks varies from country to country. However, while countries endeavour to establish modern and efficient capital markets, world financial markets are not standing still and the global economic environment is rapidly changing. For example, capital markets in the European Union are evolving rapidly due to technological advancement and the euro.
Strong globalisation and consolidation trends in world financial markets raise concerns about whether transition country capital markets will ever achieve the necessary economies of scale to compete internationally. These considerations have made some countries question whether it is worthwhile for them to invest time and resources to establish individual capital markets.
While the adoption of legal and regulatory frameworks similar to those in developed countries is not difficult, the key to developing and maintaining sound capital markets in the long term lies in strong supervision of market activities and rigorous legislation enforcement. Supervision and enforcement require qualified and sophisticated capital market professionals in the public sector, for example market regulators and judges. This is an area where international financial institutions and bilateral donors should play a role in providing financial and technical assistance.
A list of the securities regulators in the EBRD region with summaries of their objectives and competencies (116KB - PDF)
Last updated 21 May 2010