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Freshfields Transactions

| 3 minutes read
Reposted from Freshfields Risk & Compliance

Financial services and capital markets in CEE – key regulatory and legal trends in 2023-2024

In the constantly evolving landscape of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), financial services and capital markets face a vibrant regulatory and legislative environment that can be both challenging and full of opportunities. As we stand on the cusp of 2024, it becomes imperative for incumbent institutions, emerging fintechs, investors and other companies active in CEE to stay ahead of the curve, understanding and proactively adapting to the latest regulatory and legal developments that shape markets in the CEE region.

Reflecting on 2023 and anticipating 2024: a glimpse into the past and a gaze into the future

Our brochure “CEE Finance and Capital Markets 2023-2024: The Impact of Regulation” (see below) offers valuable insights into key regulatory and legislative trends and their effect on financial services and capital markets in CEE. We uncover regulatory and legal milestones that have left an indelible mark this year (up until the editorial deadline in autumn) as we draw lessons that can form the foundation for strategic decision-making and compliance in the year ahead. 

Whether it be updates in financial services and capital markets regulation, changes in AML supervision and enforcement, or shifts in laws with implications for financing and capital raising, our brochure takes you on a tour across CEE, equipping you with a concise and profound understanding of the regulatory and legislative journey and allowing your organisation to be well-informed to navigate the business terrain in this dynamic region. 

Key overarching trends: moving toward EU convergence, exploring new paths in ESG and technological innovation, and overcoming crises

One of the pivotal developments currently shaping the landscape is the gradual alignment of national frameworks with EU standards. As various jurisdictions in CEE move (albeit at a different pace) closer to harmonising their local regimes with EU rules, businesses can anticipate a more streamlined and cohesive regulatory environment.

Technology, being a catalyst for change, also represents a focal point throughout CEE. Looking at regulatory and legislative events that unfolded in 2023, technological innovation took centre stage as lawmakers and authorities sought to incentivise digitalisation while addressing risks therefrom, and we expect this trend to persist as we delve into 2024. Given the crucial role of financial and capital markets in the transition to a more sustainable economy, market participants also increasingly encounter new ESG-related frameworks. Staying abreast of the latest reforms will be key for businesses seeking to thrive in the digital and sustainable age.

In some jurisdictions, measures aimed at preserving financial stability and operational resilience in adverse and uncertain times remain at the forefront of the agenda, in light of geopolitical turbulences and macroeconomic disruptions. Ukraine’s regulatory and legislative framework has witnessed significant changes in response to the pressing need to safeguard against capital outflows and keep the economy afloat amidst the current turmoil, alongside efforts laying the groundwork for post-war modernisation of the financial sector – also creating opportunities for international partners to contribute to the recovery of the Ukrainian economy.

A more detailed snapshot of topics covered in our brochure is set out below:  

  • Baltics – innovative AML regulation: how the Baltics are leading the way in modern and secure remote onboarding; 
  • Bulgaria – reforms of corporate financing laws: introduction of a new Bulgarian company type set to facilitate venture capital and mezzanine financings;
  • Croatia – reorganisation of the pledge registry: how changes to Croatian law could enhance creditor-debtor relations and improve efficiency of security creation and enforcement;
  • Czechia – investment law reforms: how a new investment product could impact the Czech financial services market;
  • Hungary – changes in financing, capital markets, FDI and tax law: which Hungarian legal novelties lenders, investors and asset managers should keep in mind regarding interest, security, fund portfolio composition and beyond;
  • Poland – a new legal framework for CoCo bonds: key features and opportunities for Polish banks and investors;
  • Romania – regulatory change enhancing innovation: which important steps Romanian lawmakers and authorities have taken to enhance digital banking and payment services, where open banking stands in Romania and which chances to expect going forward; 
  • Serbia – a new framework for renewable energies: Serbian regulatory and market initiatives affecting financings based on power purchase agreements;
  • Slovakia – AML regulation and supervision: how Slovakian regulators approach online customer identification, how the market responds thereto and which reforms are recommended;
  • Slovenia – a new framework for restructuring and insolvency: legislative amendments bringing new restructuring tools in Slovenia;
  • Türkiye – regulatory transformation fostering digitalisation: regulatory changes having introduced a new era of payment and e-money services, digital banking and banking-as-a-service in Türkiye as well as potential for partnerships between international and local players; and
  • Ukraine – regulatory reshaping: safeguarding stability amidst the ongoing conflict and paving the way for post-war recovery of Ukraine’s financial services (including payments and crypto) and capital markets.

Stay informed, stay ahead

In putting this brochure together, our Vienna team collaborated with local lawyers from our StrongerTogether network of relationship law firms in CEE who gathered in Vienna for the 2023 edition of our annual CEE Finance and Capital Markets Workshops. Together, we assist our clients in CEE and globally on a wide range of complex and critical topics across all jurisdictions and practice areas, helping businesses to flourish amidst challenges and capitalise on emerging opportunities. We have a close eye on ongoing intricate developments that are poised to impact businesses active in CEE and look forward to providing further updates as the new year evolves. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out on any CEE-related financial services or capital markets questions. We would be happy to discuss and support. 

Read the full brochure here

“In 2023 numerous changes in the regulation of financial services have been introduced across the region. The articles presented in this brochure offer a glimpse into the most critical regulatory and market developments and how these changes are impacting the banking, finance and capital markets sectors across Central and Eastern Europe.”


europe, financial institutions, financing and capital markets, regulatory, sustainability, financial services