- Capital markets — Financial regulation
In accordance with the EU's traditional focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) financing and its more recent attempt to support SME access to capital markets, Directive 2014/65/EU (MiFID II) has introduced the new category of SME Growth Markets (GMs). Aimed at preserving the status quo, in which SMEs prefer second-tier exchange-regulated markets, typically in the form of multilateral trading facilities (MTFs), the MiFID II rules employ a ‘light touch’ approach. Under the new regime SME GMs: (1) constitute an optional feature of the MTF regime intended to result in a ‘specific quality label’, and (2) are subject to the rules established by each Member State as applied by the local national competent authority, within the very broad framework provided by MiFID II. This chapter argues that the MiFID II regulation pertaining to SME GMs represents a missed opportunity, if not a source of potential harm to the capital-raising efforts of SMEs.