FINANCIAL AND BANKING LAW
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Intermediated securities are a phenomenon at the juncture, not only of national boundaries due to a considerable increase in cross-border transactions, but also of a variety of legal and operational issues. At a time when securities were still primarily held and traded in the form of certificates, markets were largely national and traditional legal concepts could be applied to these tangible assets. This has changed dramatically due to the development over the past decades of the intermediated system and the immobilization or dematerialization of securities, which went hand in hand with a steep increase in the volume of government and corporate securities held and traded in globalized markets.
From a legal point of view, which is also the perspective of this book, the new, multifaceted phenomenon of intermediated securities required novel approaches in the fields of contractual, property, corporate, insolvency, regulatory, and international private law. Each jurisdiction came up with its own solutions, leading to a variety of holding systems based on different legal approaches. It should also be borne in mind that the legal environment is closely related to issues of taxation, accounting, and the technological and operational set-up of each intermediated system. Developing a comprehensive legal framework able to operate both domestically and in the context of the transnational holding and transfer of securities therefore remains a challenge.
The importance of such a framework is, however, paramount. The intertwined cash and securities markets are at the core of the global financial system and, as the recent financial crisis has made clear, of the socio-economic structure of many States. To name but a few applications of securities, they are a principal means of funding for governments and corporate entities, one of the foundations on which central banks base their monetary policy operations, and they are frequently used as collateral in the context of commercial banking and investment activities.
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