A French ordinance (Ordinance no. 2010-76, dated 21 January 2010) has established a new single regulator for the financial services and insurance industries (Autorité de contrôle prudentiel).
This new authority has been created in order to improve the supervision of the insurance, banking and mutual benefit sectors through a merger of the four authorities currently in charge of licensing and supervision for each sector: (i) ACAM: Insurance and Mutual Benefit Supervisory Authority, (ii) CB: Banking Commission, (iii) CEA: Insurance Companies Committee and (iv) CECEI: Credit Institutions and Investment Firms Committee.
The new authority, once established (which should happen shortly, but no date has yet been given), will be in charge of licensing and supervision of the financial services industries (e.g. credit institutions, investment firms and payment institutions) as well as the insurance industry (e.g. insurance and reinsurance companies, group insurance companies).
As indicated by Christine Lagarde (French Minister for the Economy, Industry and Employment) this reform draws on lessons learnt during the financial crisis. Although French financial services firms showed good resilience during the crisis, intensive supervision played a critical role. The challenges of financial globalisation call for tighter and comprehensive supervision of the financial sector. The reform should also "give the French authorities more of a voice in international forums and raise the profile of the French two-pillar supervisory model, with its prudential and market authorities". Another aim of the reform is to tighten the supervision of sales of financial products. Christine Lagarde’s press release indicates that "the decision has been made to set up structured co-operation between the new authority and the AMF (Financial Markets Authority) in this area and, at the same time, to clearly incorporate the supervision of terms of sale into the Prudential Supervisory Authority’s brief".