Response to consultation on draft regulatory technical standards on independent valuers

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Q2: Do you agree that three years is the appropriate period of time for the purposes of Article 4(5)?

While a period of time of 3 years might be an appropriate time, the wording of Article 4(5) is very general and could potentially lead to a lack of available valuers. Article 3 requires the valuer to be a legal person, while Article 2 requires a sufficient number of resources, suggesting that the most likely valuers would be accounting firms (other than the statutory auditor of the institution who is explicitly excluded in accordance with Article 4(7)) or similar professional services firms.

In large banking groups, it is possible (in some countries even required) that audits are carried out jointly by at least two firms, and small entities in less significant jurisdictions (considered to be affiliates in the sense of Article 4(5)) could be audited by yet another firm. Given an auditor independence requirement, those firms not engaged in the audit might provide tax and legal services to one or more entities of the group or carry out consulting engagements.

Given that Article 4(5) prevents the independent valuer from having ‘offered services or having had business or other relationships with the institution’ and if these could be ‘reasonably perceived to influence their judgement’, this approach could potentially suspend all of the major accounting firms from the position of an independent valuer. This is especially the case as the restriction presumably applies to the legal person, i.e. the whole firm, rather than specific individuals within it.

We believe that there should be more clarity on the interpretation of ‘reasonably perceived’ as a possible interpretation of this aspect could expulse the vast majority of potential valuers.

Q3: Do you agree with the possibility to task the temporary administrator as an independent valuer, subject to the condition set forth in the above provision [art 4(6) of the draft RTS]?

In general we do not have any objections to tasking the temporary administrator as an independent valuer; however, the reservations mentioned under our answer to question 2 equally apply in this case.

Q4: Do you reckon there are other cases of where independence should be ruled out in any case?

One potential additional case could be where the institution in resolution had undergone (in the last 3 years prior to resolution?) a merger / an acquisition and its assets and liabilities (or those of one or more of its affiliates) had been valued for the purposes of this transaction. The valuer that undertook the valuation in this case should also be excluded as a potential independent valuer.

Having said this, both the statutory auditor and the valuer as set out above would already be excluded due to the provisions of Article 4(5), so it is not clear whether point 7 is even needed (especially as the restriction only covers one year, while Article 4(5) would extend to a three-year period).

Q5: Do you agree with the approach outlined in the impact assessment and more specifically, with the elements included in the assessment of costs and benefits?

We agree with the approach outlined.

Name of organisation

Austrian Federal Economic Chamber