European Union: French Legal And Regulatory Update - June 2019

Last Updated: 23 July 2019
Article by Sophie Giono
Most Read Contributor in Belgium, August 2019
  • Banking

France - Authorization for foreign country companies to carry out certain transactions for their own account without the requirement of physical presence

Decree N°2019-655 dated 27 June 2019 authorizes any purchase or sale of securities between a French credit institution or an investment firm and any foreign country company which is negotiated over-the-counter and on its own behalf and allows a foreign investment services provider to be a member of a French trading platform without having to install a branch.

  • Data Protection

France - Submission of the Gauvain Report on the protection of companies against extraterritorial laws and measures

The Gauvain Report was submitted to the Prime Minister on 26 June 2019. In order to restore France's sovereignty and protect French and European companies from extraterritorial measures implemented by the United States in particular, the report makes several proposals including: creating a corporate lawyer status to protect the confidentiality of corporate legal opinions, modernizing the law restricting the communication of sensitive documents to foreign public authorities( "loi de blocage"), and extending the GDPR to legal persons' data in order to prevent the transfer of such data outside of an administrative or judicial mutual assistance context.

France - Administrative fine of 400,000 euro for breach of data security and non-compliance with retention periods

By decision of 28 May 2019, the CNIL imposed an administrative fine of 400,000 euro on the real estate management company SERGIC, as well as the publication of the corresponding decision. These measures sanctioned the company's failure to implement technical and organizational measures to ensure data security in accordance with Article 32 of the GDPR, as well as the disproportionate period of time for which the data was retained. Indeed, it had been found that a slight modification of the URL address by a user allowed him to freely access, from his personal account, documents downloaded by other people, such as copies of identity cards, social security cards ("cartes Vitale"), or tax returns.

France - Administrative fine of 20,000 euro against a very small business for excessive CCTV surveillance of employees

By decision of 13 June 2019, the CNIL imposed an administrative fine of 20,000 euro on a very small translation agency, as well as the publication of the corresponding decision. The agency filmed its employees without interruption and without prior notification of such surveillance to them. These measures also sanctioned a breach of the obligation to ensure data security and confidentiality, for example due to a poor password management policy.

  • Insurance

France – Institutions for occupational retirement provision - Transposition into French law of the EU Directive 2016/2341 on IORPs

The ordinance n° 2019-575 dated 12 June 2019 relating to the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision (the "Ordinance") was published in the Official Journal of the French Republic on 13 June 2019.

This Ordinance, adopted on the basis of the law dated 22 June 2019 relating to the growth and transformation of companies (so-called PACTE law), transposes into French law the EU directive 2016/2341 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision (the "IORP2 directive").

The Ordinance is completed by a decree n° 2019-576 dated 12 June 2019 and an order dated 27 June 2019 on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision.

These texts introduce several general provisions in the French Insurance Code, regarding in particular:

  1. the obligation for these entities to appoint a depositary in charge of safe-keeping the assets managed by the entity as well as the professional conduct rules applicable to this depositary;
  2. the information which must be communicated to the policyholders and beneficiaries during the lifetime of the policies offered by these entities;
  3. the conditions of exercise on the French territory of institutions for occupational retirement provision established in another member state of the EU or EEA;
  4. the portfolio transfer procedure between an institution for occupational retirement provision and another institution for occupational retirement provision established in a different member state of the EU or the EEA;

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