The long and short of it: Cesr’s proposals on pan-European short selling rules create valid concerns about public disclosure and its effect on liquidity

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On March 2 2010, the Committee of European Securities Regulators (Cesr) published its proposed model for a pan-European short selling regime, which is based closely upon the proposals it issued for consultation in July 2009.

The practice of short selling, whereby a investor agrees to sell shares it does not own, has come under the spotlight during the financial crisis. During the period of extreme market volatility in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers collapse, many national regulators, including in the US and the UK, imposed bans on the short selling of shares in financial sector companies. Although most of these bans have now been lifted, many jurisdictions have introduced requirements for disclosure of short sales or short positions – either publicly or privately to the relevant regulator. To date, there has been no coordinated approach within the EU, leaving decisions to be taken entirely at national level.

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