Financial Minister's vision for ECC

What Konstantinos Petridis said at the online conference of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission

The Minister of Finance, Konstantinos Petridis, participating in the web conference of the Cyprus Capital Market Commission, "CySEC 25 Years: The Past Present and Future of Financial Development and Innovation", he referred to the history of the ECC, which began in 1996 with very few employees reaching today employs 120 people, while another 40 people are expected to participate by the end of the year.

Mr. Petridis, among other things, pointed out that his vision is for ECC to continue its open policy with regulated entities, so that there is a good understanding of the evolving market and the opportunity to provide appropriate guidance. The introduction of the Innovation Center is a demonstration of this approach by the ECC, he noted.

He also thanked the president of the ECC for its persistent efforts for almost 10 years as head of the supervisory authority, where he worked tirelessly to create a modern and powerful supervisor. The same applies, he noted, to all members of the Board of Directors of this Committee and the past.

This is the speech of the Minister of Finance:
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished guests,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this online conference with theme the 25 years of CySEC, its past, present and future of financial development and innovation.  I am sure that, should circumstances had been different, CySEC would have organised a different event where we would be able to join in person, but it is important to make the most of any situation and move forward.

This forward course has been followed by CySEC in the past 25 years, from a very modest beginning with a few employees in 1996, to a robust Organisation with around 120 employees and more than 40 expected to be joining the Commission, by the end of the year.

Looking back at the history of CySEC, it is my view that the defining moment for the capital markets in Cyprus, has been the accession of the country to the European Union.  As a member of the EU, Cyprus enjoys significant advantages, most notably a solid legal framework that evolves according to the circumstances, with the efforts and contribution of the European Bodies and member states.  The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, the Markets Abuse Directive, the Transparency Directive and a plethora of other legal acts and instruments that regulate prudential supervision, collective investment schemes and all aspects of the capital markets, have been instrumental in the development of the market in Cyprus.  Membership in the Union and the adherence to a common rulebook, has given investors in Cyprus’ regulated entities, such as investment firms, opportunities and access to the European Union market which is of the utmost importance.

Being part of the European Union, provides also security for future challenges in the financial development and innovation.  The Proposal for a Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA) and the proposal for a Regulation on digital operational resilience for the financial sector currently under discussion, are typical responses of the Union in changing circumstances, that would guard capital markets from risks but also provide opportunities for sustainable development.  Being part of the EU family, also makes us part of the long-term project for a capital markets union that would provide opportunities for financing and investment for our economies.

European privileges come also with obligations.  The legal framework without strong supervision and enforcement, is of no use.  It is almost counterintuitive but, a strong capital market can only exist where everybody plays by the same rules, investors are protected and fraudulent or illegal activity is thwarted promptly and decisively.  It is this vital role that CySEC has been called upon to fulfil, a task that is not easy at all.  The Government and the Ministry of Finance are well aware of this vital role of the supervisory authority and for this reason, CySEC was one of a few organisations in the broader public sector, where the moratorium on hirings and job creation was not applied to, during the economic consolidation programme in 2013 and onwards. Hirings and job creation continued during this period with permanent posts increasing from 52 in CySEC’s 2014 Budget to 172 in the Budget of 2021.

What is my vision of CySEC for the future? I envision CySEC to continue its open-door policy with the regulated entities, so that there is a good understanding of the evolving market but also opportunity to provide the appropriate guidance. The introduction of the Innovation Hub, is a demonstration of this forward-looking approach by CySEC. 

At the same time, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission should strive to enhance its abilities and methods so that it serves in the best possible way its primary role, that of the supervisor of the financial sector.  This can be only be achieved, with efforts for supervisory excellence and no tolerance to illegal and fraudulent activity.  Policies should strive for the establishment of a market structure with robust and well governed entities, exhibiting strong market conduct away from opportunistic behaviour.  It is also my view that the supervision in the financial sector, would be further augmented in the near future with the use of technology and data analytics.

 The Ministry of Finance and the Government will continue to support all efforts by CySEC as well as of the European Union that would foster supervisors and the framework they operate in.

Ladies and gentlemen
I take this opportunity to personally thank the professionals and investors from abroad, who have shown their trust in Cyprus.
Today, I can offer a renewed commitment that the efforts to achieve sustainable growth, to maintain sound public finances, to promote reforms will not only be maintained, but will be enhanced.  The pandemic has demonstrated once again, that responsible conduct in good times is vital preparation for more challenging times.

I also take this opportunity to thank CySEC’s Chairwoman for her sustained efforts for almost 10 years as the head of the Supervisory authority, where she has worked tirelessly for the establishment of a modern and robust supervisor.  The same applies to all Board members of CySEC present and past.  
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Once again, I thank you for your presence and I welcome you in today’s  conference.

Constantinos Petrides
Minister of Finance