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Comment: Shift in Political Mood May Give Respite from Regulation

By David Wighton
February 1, 2016, 
Financial News

They tend not to be at the political cutting edge, the Belgians.

Johan Van Overtveldt’s pledge to try to halt the proposed financial transactions tax is unlikely to derail the ill-conceived plan. It may not even change the position of the Belgian government, given that the prime minister, who comes from the other party in the coalition, remains committed to the plan, which is being discussed by 10 E.U. countries.

But it illustrates a palpable shift in the attitude to financial regulation among many European politicians. Increasingly worried about Europe’s sluggish economic recovery, they fear that the regulatory response to the financial crisis is putting growth at risk.

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Belgian Support Shrinking for Eurozone Transactions Tax

By Braden Campbell
January 25, 2016, Law360

Support for a proposed financial transactions tax in several eurozone nations is continuing to shrink, as Belgium’s finance leader on Saturday expressed displeasure with the current incarnation of the plan to the national news agency there.

European media reported over the weekend that Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt said that although Belgium does not have immediate plans to back out of the negotiations, current plans are “unacceptable,” imperiling a controversial proposal already more than four years in the making.

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FTT Slips Off E.U. Agenda

By James Rundle
January 14, 2016, Financial News

The financial transaction tax is notable by its absence from the topics due for political agreement under the leadership of the new Dutch six-month presidency of the European Council.

The lack of an agreement meeting for the controversial levy comes despite participating countries saying they wished to introduce the tax by June 2016.

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Leaving Europe Outweighs MiFID on Risk Scale

By Tim Cave
January 6, 2016, Financial News

With a year-long delay to the European Union’s revised trading rulebook now looking likely, and many implementation projects on ice, thoughts are turning to another issue looming over Europe: Brexit. A referendum on whether the U.K. should remain in the E.U. is set take place before the end of 2017 but many think the sooner it takes place, the better.

A vote to exit would leave London-based practitioners wondering not when MiFID will be introduced, but whether it will be at all.

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Ten E.U. Countries Agree on Some Aspects of Financial Transactions Tax

By Victoria Dendrinou
December 8, 2015, The Wall Street Journal

Ten European Union countries that have pledged to impose a tax on financial transactions on Tuesday reached a compromise on some aspects of the levy, and gave themselves another six months to agree on the remaining key issues, including the rate of the tax and the use of its proceeds.

Finance ministers representing 11 E.U. countries had aimed to strike a deal by the end of this year on the basic form of a tax on financial transactions, after missing a previous official deadline of the end of 2014. But the tentative agreement reached Tuesday falls short of a full political deal and doesn’t address several major aspects of the tax, underlining the political differences countries face on the remaining issues.

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E.U. Transaction Tax Falters as Austria-Imposed Deadline Nears

By Rebecca Christie
November 25, 2015, Bloomberg Business

A proposed European financial-transactions tax is foundering as 11 participating nations try to meet a December deadline to decide how to charge levies on an array of financial products.

Nations still haven’t decided what trades to tax, how to calculate levies or how to treat pension funds and government bond-related transactions, according to a document prepared for technical talks Wednesday in Brussels. The slate of unsettled topics suggests nations will have trouble meeting the December deadline set earlier this month by Austrian Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling, who leads the negotiations.

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Italy, Other States, Raise Objections on Financial Transaction Tax

By Francesco Guarascio
November 10, 2015, Reuters

Italy and other European states have expressed reservations on the scope of a common financial transactions tax (FTT) although some progress has been made on narrowing differences, Italy's finance minister said on Tuesday.

Germany and France proposed the FTT in 2012, with the euro zone debt crisis raging, as a way of correcting excesses in the financial sector that was blamed for the worst market turmoil and decline for decades. It has been debated ever since.

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E.U. FTT Could Defeat Objectives of CSDR, Claims Lobby Group

September 30, 2015, The Trade

The E.U.’s proposed Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) could reduce the supply of securities available to market participants to borrow to cure settlement fails, according to the International Securities Lending Association (ISLA).

This, says the association, will increase operational risk in the system and could therefore defeat one of the main objectives of the Central Securities Depository Regulation (CSDR).

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Berlin to Push for Financial Transaction Tax to Cover All of E.U.

By Jim Brunsden and Peter Spiegel
September 13, 2015, Financial Times

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble will push for a planned European tax on stock and bond trading to apply in all E.U. countries in spite of firm UK opposition to the scheme and warnings from banks it would hurt their business.

While only 11 nations — including Germany and France — are planning to participate in the financial transactions tax, Mr Schäuble said on Saturday that this should be seen only as a first stage, and that efforts should then be made to convince other nations to join.

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Comment: Why Taxing Wall Street Won't Work

By Bill Harts
August 4, 2015, CNBC

The goal is lofty, audacious and of perfect sound-bite length: Free college tuition for all, paid for exclusively by a "small" tax on "Wall Street speculators." 

The idea of a financial-transaction tax has been kicking around for a while but has gotten more notice since presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley have been calling for it. Sanders is calling for a 0.5-percent tax on stock trades, a 0.1-percent tax on bond traders and a smaller tax on derivatives (futures and options) trades.

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