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The recently enacted Legislative Decree 164 of September 17 2007 has implemented in Italy the EU Directive 2004/39/EC, generally referred to as Mifid (Markets in financial instruments directive). Legislative Decree 164 has introduced several substantial amendments to the Italian Financial Act, stating that Consob, the Italian regulatory authority of the financial markets, must adopt detailed rules in relation to it. Hence, Consob has adopted the new regulations 16190 and 16191 of November 2 2007 regarding intermediaries and financial markets respectively. They have repealed the former regulations on the same subjects.

The major changes introduced by Mifid relate to the regulation of financial markets. According to the new regulation, the trading of financial instrument may now be imposed not only on regulated markets, but also on the so-called multilateral trading facilities (MTF), and on systematic internalisers. The former general rule of concentration of trading exclusively on regulated markets has been replaced by the application of the rules of competition among the trading venues, mentioned above.

Such competition, however, may cause difficulties for investors when it comes to comparing the prices of financial instruments traded in different trading venues such as regulated markets, multilateral trading facilities or through systematic internalisers. For that reason, the Italian Financial Act (as amended by Legislative Decree 164) says that the information relating to the trading of financial instruments in different venues is to be consolidated, to put the investors in a position to compare the prices applied, which each trading venue must publish. In addition, the amended Italian Financial Act and the relevant implementing Consob Regulation 16191 provide for pre-trade and post-trade transparency requirements for regulated markets, multilateral trading facilities, and for systematic internalisers.

As far as the protection of the investors is concerned, it is worth mentioning that, according to the Italian Financial Act as amended, certain provisions of Legislative Decree 206 of September 6 2005 (the Consumption Code) as well as of Law 262 of December 28 2005 (the Law for Savings Protection) will apply to investment and collective asset management services.

The consumers' associations recorded in the relevant register may now file claims to protect the common rights of the investors, pursuant to the procedures set forth in the Consumption Code. Further, any dispute between investors and intermediaries (relating to investment and collective asset management services) may now be settled pursuant to the conciliation and arbitration procedures referred to in the Law for Savings Protection.

This procedure may take place before the Conciliation and Arbitration Chamber recently established within Consob, which rules on the alleged infringements by the intermediaries of their duties of information, correctness and transparency towards investors.

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