This content is from: Local Insights

Finland

On January 31 2001, the Finnish Ministry of Finance appointed a working group to develop legislation applicable to the book-entry securities system and book-entry accounts. The task of the working group is to propose amendments to the legislation, in order to create a multi-level ownership system.

The multi-level ownership system would be an alternative to the existing system, based on centralized investor-specific book-entry accounts, managed by the Finnish Central Securities Depository Ltd (FCSD). The investors will have the right to choose between the present system and the new multi-level system.

In the multi-level ownership system, book-entry securities would not be registered in individual shareholder-specific book-entry accounts, managed by the FCSD. Instead, book-entry securities would be registered in the systems of the FCSD in certain omnibus accounts of different account operators, ie securities intermediaries and authorized clearing parties. The FCSD would also, in the future, act as the manager of the centralized book-entry system and co-ordinate the transfers, pledges and custody operations relating to book-entry securities.

In the multi-level ownership system, account operators would manage the investor-specific book-entry accounts, and the holders would exercise the rights attached to the respective book-entry securities through the relevant account operator. The holdings of an investor could be viewed only at the system of the relevant account operator holding the book-entry securities. The book-entry securities would be registered in an omnibus account at the FCSD, together with all book-entry securities managed by that account operator.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the working group will propose legislative amendments to guarantee that the prohibition on insider dealing could be sufficiently supervised. To this end, the supervisory authorities should be granted the right to obtain sufficient information on holders of book-entry securities. It should also be provided that shareholders' registers be kept in real time, and that information registered in shareholders' registers be publicly available for inspection.

The term of the working group ends in September 2001.

Helsinki Exchanges introduces evening trading
The Helsinki Exchanges has resolved to introduce evening trading as of April 11 2001. According to the Exchange, continuous trading will end at 6.00 pm, at which time the official closing and reference prices for the respective trading day will be confirmed. After the closing of the continuous trading, the evening trading will start after a short break and last until 9.00 pm. The calculation of indices and the transmission of company information will continue until 9.00 pm.

According to the Helsinki Exchanges, the trading rules in force at present will be applicable to both evening trading and continuous trading. Furthermore, corresponding settlement periods (at present T+3) will apply.

Risto Ojantakanen

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