Category Archives: Uncategorized

START-UP–NEWS

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Transfer restrictions in the articles of association of Start-Ups

When founding a limited liability company, the establishment of articles of association is mandatory. In these articles of association extensive rights and obligations of the shareholders including change-of-control clauses or clauses concerning pre-emption rights and rights of assignment, can be regulated.

In accordance with the wishes of the shareholders such transfers may be subject to approval rights of the other shareholders. An unpleasant partner can be prevented by the existing shareholders. Hence, corresponding regulations in the articles of association are of crucial importance. Nevertheless, they should be negotiated carefully with start-ups and adapted according to the company’s growth plan.

Recently, I was mandated by two groups of invesetors with regard to two different start-ups. Both companies are still in an early-stage phase with a relatively low company valuation. Due to a large number of already existing direct and indirect national and international investors the clauses in the two articles of association proved to be exaggerated and disadvantageous for the shareholders.

The complex rules in the articles of association caused disproportionate transaction costs which consequently reduced the company valuation.

Hence, articles of association should be proactively adapted step-by-step to the respective growth phase of the company.

MiFID-2 AND CROWDFUNDING

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MiFID-2 AND CROWDFUNDING

In contrast to financial services, which with MiFID and now MiFID 2 are subject to a uniform regulation under European law, the area of crowdfunding continues to be subject to local regulations in the Member States. The operation of cross-border platforms therefore entails legal risks and high costs. On the basis of a proposal by the European Commission, crowdfunding service providers are now to be expressly exempted from the obligations of the MiFID 2 Directive.

The amendments are to be welcomed in principle. However, it should be ensured that the information provided by the Commission on the risks associated with crowdfunding, the disclaimers and the knowledge test are sufficient to deny civil liability.

For further information: GL@GEORGESLESER.COM

https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/180308-proposal-crowdfunding_en

 

 

FinTech – Regulatory Sandboxes

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FinTech

The European Commission is convinced that Europe’s financial markets will be more integrated, safer and easier to access thanks to steps mapped out by the Commission in its FinTech action plan. According to the Commission the plan shall help the financial industry to make use of the rapid advances in technology such as blockchain and other IT applications and strengthen cyber resilience. Consumers, investors, banks and new market players shall benefit.

Based on specific guidelines of the European Financial Market Authorities the European Commission will provide a plan for Fintechs with regulatory sandboxes.

A regulatory sandbox is a regulatory framework that enables FinTech start-ups and other innovators to conduct live experiments in a controlled environment under the supervision of a regulator. Regulatory sandboxes are gaining popularity, especially in the developed financial markets.

For further information: GL@GEORGESLESER.COM

https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/180308-proposal-crowdfunding_en

#crowdfunding #mifid2 #georgesleser

Limitation PERIOD IN INVESTMENT PROCEEDINGS (German Language)

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Limitation PERIOD IN INVESTMENT PROCEEDINGS (German Language)

Bei Beratungsfehlern in Bezug auf Veranlagungs- bzw Finanzierungskonzepte, die eine Kombination von Fremdwährungskrediten mit verschiedenen Tilgungsträgern vorsehen, ist nach gesicherter Rsp des OGH für den Beginn der Verjährung entscheidend, zu welchem Zeitpunkt der Geschädigte die Risikoträchtigkeit des Gesamtkonzepts erkennt, ihm also bewusst ist, dass das Gesamtkonzept den erweckten Erwartungen oder den Zusagen nicht entsprochen hat. Dies ist dann der Fall, wenn der Anleger vor Augen geführt erhält, dass das von ihm gewählte Veranlagungsmodell – aufgrund der tatsächlichen Entwicklungen von Wechselkurs und Tilgungsträgern – nicht oder nicht im zugesagten Ausmaß risikolos ist.

In case of questions: GL@GEORGESLESER.COM

(c) LexisNexis, Sabine Kriwanek, Barbara Tuma, OGH 26. 1. 2018, 8 Ob 150/17t

Constitutional Court: Limitation of Liability regarding former Hypo Alpe Adria Bank (German Language)

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Constitutional Court: Limitation of Liability regarding former Hypo Alpe Adria Bank (German Language)

Der Rückkauf der Schuldtitel der früheren Kärntner Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank-International AG (nunmehr HETA ASSET RESOLUTION AG) erfolgte im Herbst 2016. Eine qualifizierte Mehrheit der Gläubiger (99,55 % der Inhaber vorrangiger Schuldtitel, 89,42 % der Inhaber nachrangiger Schuldtitel) nahm das Angebot an, während die nunmehrigen Antragsteller vor dem VfGH die Rückkaufangebote des Kärntner Ausgleichszahlungs-Fonds (KAF) ablehnten.

Auch sie sind allerdings von der Beschränkung des § 2a Abs 5 FinStaG betroffen: Die Durchsetzbarkeit auch ihres Haftungsanspruchs ist auf die im Angebot genannte Ausgleichszahlung beschränkt.

In case of questions: GL@GEORGESLESER.COM

 

(c) LexisNexis (Barbara Tuma), VfGH 14. 3. 2018, G 248/2017, G 2/2018, G 55/2018, G 56/2018

VIRTUAL CURRENCIES – INITIAL COIN OFFERING (ICO) / INITIAL TOKEN OFFERING (ITO)

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VIRTUAL CURRENCIES – INITIAL COIN OFFERING (ICO) / INITIAL TOKEN OFFERING (ITO)

Similar to IPOs potential investors of ICOs/ITOs are offered “Coins” or “Tokens” in return for their (virtual) capital. While Tokens are based on an already existing Blockchain (Smart Contracts) Coins are based on a newly developed Blockchain.

In case a company intends the issuance of Coins or Tokens various aspects have to be considered. Such aspects may be divided into (1) Technology; (2) Legal; (3) Business and (4) Marketing.

In our current blog we will deal with “Legal” and “Marketing”. The reason for combining those two subjects is that under Austrian/European capital market regulations marketing (brochures, internet, TV, etc) for investments is restricted to some extent.

Issuers must check whether the respective ICO/ITO is to be regarded as a public offer which requires a capital market prospectus. While the Austrian Financial Market Authority currently does not qualify Coins/Tokens as securities/financial instruments in general, they already have intervened with previous ICOs/ITOs.

Irrespective of the qualification of Coins/Tokens as securities by the Austrian FMA issuers also have to consider legal aspects on Austrian civil law. For instance, from a civil law perspective Whitepapers could be qualified as capital market prospectuses with respect to prospectus liability.

Hence, particularly liability regulations with respect to prospectus liability should be considered. Due to our extensive experience we can help you to examine and reduce risks regarding ICOs/ITOs.

We would be happy to assist you by:

  • Review and Examination of your business model regarding current banking and capital market regulations comprising statement on potential future regulation risks.
  • Support regarding discussions on the business model with the Austrian Financial Market Authority;
  • Legal Advisory of your company during the ICO-/ITO-process including our network of auditors, IT-specialists, PR-consultants.
  • Support in potential supervisory-, civil or criminal proceedings with a team of domestic and foreign specialized lawyers (e.g. commercial criminal law), auditors and litigation-media-experts.

In case of individual questions, we would be happy to invite you to a personal meeting to discuss your needs and to show you how we can assist you.

Simply send us an e-mail to: GL@GEORGESLESER.COM

DIGITAL / VIRTUAL CURRENCIES

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DIGITAL/VIRTUAL CURRENCIES –Regulatory Approaches of Authorities

The classification of Virtual Currencies (VC) in Austria is not clear yet. However, approaches of the FMA as competent authority seem to come up. The Swiss FINMA emphasizes the respective qualifications of the Tokens with regard to ICOs. The German BaFin discusses different services with regard to VCs and verifies under certain circumstances its responsibility on a case-by-case-basis. Based on that a potential qualification of VC as financial instruments in Austria as well as the qualification of the FMA as competent Authority is likely.

We would be happy to assist you by:

  • Review and Examination of your business model regarding current banking and capital market regulations comprising statement on potential future regulation risks.
  • Support with regard to discussions on the business model with the Austrian Financial Market Authority;
  • Support in potential supervisory-, civil or criminal proceedings with a team of domestic and foreign specialized lawyers (e.g. commercial criminal law), auditors and litigation-media-experts.

In case of questions: GL@GEORGESLESER.COM

DIGITAL CURRENCIES – Regulatory Approaches

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DIGITAL CURRENCIES – Regulatory Approaches

The business newspaper “Economist” recently wrote an article about the efforts of Switzerland to reinvent itself as a financial and banking centre. Therefore, the Swiss Financial Market Authority FINMA has got an economic liberal approach towards Bitcoins and Digital Currencies in general. Quite the contrary the European Commission is rather sceptical with regard to Digital Currencies and intends to regulate them in the near future.

On this occasion we would like to show various aspects of the legal qualification of digital currencies in the next blogs. The following article is available in German language on:

http://georgesleser.com/german/digitale-wahrungen-regulierungsansatze

We would be happy to assist you by:

  • Review and Examination of your business model regarding current banking and capital market regulations comprising statement on potential future regulation risks.
  • Support with regard to discussions on the business model with the Austrian Financial Market Authority;
  • Support in potential supervisory-, civil or criminal proceedings with a team of domestic and foreign specialized lawyers (e.g. commercial criminal law), auditors and litigation-media-experts.

In case of questions: GL@GEORGESLESER.COM

OPTIOMENT: BITCOIN & PONZI SCHEME

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OPTIOMENT: BITCOIN & PONZI SCHEME

Austrian newspapers already reported about the criminal complaint of the Austrian Financial Market Authority against the Bitcoin-Investment platform “OPTIOMENT” with regard to the suspicion about investment fraud, violations against Austrian capital market regulations as well as the suspicion about Ponzi Scheme. Based on the Austrian newspaper “Die Presse” there shall be up to 10.000 victims of OPTIOMENT.

We recommend OPTIOMENT-victims the legal examination as well as the civil- and/or criminal enforcement of their claims. We are happy to assist you in this regard and can offer you on a case by case basis flat-rate fees.

In case of any questions please do not hesitate to contact us: GL@GEORGESLESER.COM

www.georgesleser.com

MiFID-2-Lotse bei der AFPA

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Die AFPA ist der Branchenverband der selbständigen Versicherungsvermittler und Finanzberater Österreichs.

Mit Jänner 2018 habe ich bei der AFPA die Funktion des MiFID-2-Lotsen übernommen. Meine Kanzlei unterstützt die AFPA Mitglieder jetzt noch intensiver bei der praktischen Umsetzung des WAG 2018. In dieser Funktion hielt ich bereits letzte Woche mein erstes Webinar zum Thema „Anlegerprofil“. Am 21.2.2018 findet für Mitglieder das nächste Webinar zum Thema „Interessenkonflikte“ statt.

Für weitere Informationen:

https://www.afpa.at/cms12/mifid-2-lotse.html

www.georgesleser.com

Für Rückfragen: GL@GEORGESLESER.COM