Financial Markets Authority (AMF) – Finance for all

The Office for Financial Markets (AMF) is responsible for ensuring the supervision of financial markets, protecting and informing natural persons about savings and regulating financial operations. It also participates in the harmonization of financial regulations at the European and international level.

AMF organization

L’Financial Markets Authority (AMF) is an independent administrative authority with legal personality created by the Act of 1ahem August 2003 following the merger of the Exchange Commission (COB), the Financial Markets Council (CMF) and the Financial Governance Discipline Council (CDGF).

Its president is appointed by decree for a non-renewable period of five years by the president of the republic.

The AMF consists of a college, a sanctions committee, six permanent advisory committees and a scientific council.

The college is the decision-making body of the AMF. It consists of 16 members, including the president of the AMF. The term of office of members of the collegium is five years with the possibility of extension. Half of the dormitory is renewed every thirty months. It approves new regulations concerning its areas of competence, which are financial markets and their actors, financial operations and financial products. The college can establish advisory commissions for certain topics: new financial products, legal protection of savers, development of market techniques. AMF College has inspection and investigative powers. In the event of a violation of financial regulations, the college can actually decide to initiate sanction proceedings. Complaints are forwarded to the Sanctions Commission. Decisions made within its walls are made by majority vote.

Sanctions Commission consists of 12 persons (2 state councillors, 2 councilors of the Court of Cassation, 6 persons appointed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and representing companies listed on the stock exchange, 2 representatives of employee shareholders). AMF exercises through this its sanctioning authority with respect to any person whose practices contravene applicable regulations and are “likely to impair the protection of investors or the orderly functioning of markets”.

THE Advisory Committee they can be consulted on specific topics by the AMF and have been created for this purpose by French financial legislation. Five of them perform activities permanently:

  • savers’ advisory commission;
  • advisory commission for the organization and operation of the market;
  • advisory commission for financial management activities;
  • Advisory Committee on Compensation Activities;
  • Advisory Committee on Financial Operations and Information
  • Advisory Commission on Climate and Sustainable Finance.

Scientific Council brings together financial specialists from the academic and professional world. Its purpose is to convey current financial discussions to the AMF, to identify elements of these various discussions that may have an impact on the activities of the regulator, and finally to carry out research work on specific topics.

AMF mission

The mission of the AMF is to ensure:

  • for the proper functioning of the Paris financial center,
  • protection of savers who invest in financial products,
  • on the quality of information provided to economic entities.

The AMF also plays a role on the international scene, as it participates in the development and harmonization of financial regulations at the European and international level.

The AMF monitors the financial markets

The AMF is responsible for identifying any practices or behavior that contravene its regulations or constitute offenses that could harm savers’ security.

In this context and as the general regulation of the AMF reminds: “The main mission of market surveillance is to detect any event or abnormal behavior that could be qualified as a violation or a crime on the stock exchange”, of which there are three:

Reporting suspicious transactions to the AMF

All professional financial actors are required to report transactions that appear suspicious to the AMF. This procedure requires the involvement of financial entities in the prevention and detection of market abuse. This statement takes the form of a notification that initiates an AMF investigation.

When the regulator suspects a violation or stock crime, the AMF General can decide to open an investigation. The report is then presented to the panel, which decides whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.

Sanction procedure of the AMF

In the event that sanction proceedings are initiated, the Chairman of the Board shall forward the reports on the investigation to the Chairman of the Commission for Sanctions. The accused is directly informed of the complaints filed against him. He has two months to respond to the procedure. After a report is drawn up by the AMF member responsible for investigating the procedure, the decision is communicated to the parties involved. He can appeal against this decision to the Paris Court of Appeal or the Council of State. The President of the AMF can also appeal against the decision made by the Sanctions Committee after the consent of the College.

The AMF imposes administrative sanctions (financial and disciplinary: warning, reprimand, withdrawal of consent, etc.) in contrast to criminal sanctions imposed by courts.

Since 2011, sanction proceedings can also be carried out according to the administrative composition. This is a procedure that the Academy can offer to any financial intermediary in the event of a professional breach. He can refuse or accept. This proposal requires the AMF General and the expert to reach an agreement within 4 months. The penalty is monetary.

Find out more about the sanctions imposed by the AMF

AMF protects and controls information transmitted to savers

It is also one of the missions of the AMFto inform and protect savers. In this context, it provides them with several tools to support them in their investment process, namely:

  • Telephone reception “AMF Epargne Info Service” (available Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on 01 53 45 62 00). Almost 1,000 calls are handled per month;
  • Educational event with the provision of guides and training in cooperation with IInstitute for Public Financial Education ;
  • Free brokerage service.

The AMF also verifies the quality and understanding of information provided to the general public about collective savings products such as investment funds. All elements characterizing these financial products must be presented in a document that is “accurate, non-misleading and with balanced business documents”: Key Information Document.

After carrying out these documentation works, the AMF is responsible for monitoring the marketing of these collective savings products throughout their lifetime.

The AMF regulates the financial operations of companies listed on the stock exchange

During any financial transaction, such as a public offer for purchase (OPA), a capital increase or even an IPO, listed companies are required to submit a precise document called a prospectus, as stipulated by the general regulations of the AMF by ensuring that the information disseminated to the general public “is complete, coherent and understandable’. In addition, the AMF also ensures that any information that could affect the share price of a listed company is properly disseminated to the general public.

AMF approves asset management companies

The AMF approves portfolio management companies on behalf of third parties, securitization companies, management companies of private investment companies, as well as UCITS or any other collective investment entity. Any application for authorization submitted by one of these organizations present in a Member State of the European Union other than the French State must also be confirmed by the AMF if it wishes to carry out its activities in France.

It also issues opinions or comments on the activities of investment service providers (PSI), whose consent is issued by the Office for Prudential Control and Crisis Resolution (ACPR), and approves the professional association of investment advisors for financial investments (CIF).

The AMF permits the introduction of atypical investments to the market

The Sapin 2 law gave the AMF new powers that allow it to carry out increased scrutiny before marketing investment offers. As a result, as of May 2017, companies or intermediaries offering investments in forests, wine, diamonds, etc. must first apply for an AMF permit. If the company sells them atypical products without receiving the registration number issued by the AMF (because he did not request it or because he was not granted the authorization), he will be acting unlawfully.

International and European cooperation of the AMF

At the international level, the AMF is a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). Within this international organization, which brings together more than 100 countries, the AMF has an obligation they represent the French position on the harmonization of rules governing the functioning of financial markets. The regulatory authority is present at the executive and regulatory level to the extent that it is directly involved in the creation of recommendations.

At the community level, the AMF is called upon to define standards or norms in certain topics related to financial regulation that will allow the principles and priorities developed at the end of the international work of IOSCO and other institutions, such as the Financial Stability Board or the Joint Forum, to be legally translated.

The AMF participates in the working groups of the European Securities Authority (AEVM or ESMA). It also has a permanent seat on the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB).

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