The General Regulation of the French financial markets authority (Autorité des marchés financiers, the AMF and the AMF General Regulation) was recently amended to implement into French law the requirements laid down in Directive 2004/109/EC of 15 December 2004 on the harmonization of transparency requirements in relation to information about issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market, as amended (Transparency Directive), and such modifications have been endorsed by the administrative order (arrêté) of 29 December 2020 (Order).
More specifically, these modifications introduced the obligation to prepare annual financial reports in a single electronic information format (1) and the Order modified the relevant articles of the French monetary and financial Code (Code monétaire et financier) in order to define the conditions for the use of a language other than French that is customary in financial matters for certain market infrastructures (2).
1. Single electronic reporting format
Under new article 4, 7. of the Transparency Directive and regarding financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2020, all annual financial reports should be prepared in a single electronic reporting format.
France implemented this obligation at article 222-3 of the AMF General Regulation, which indicates that issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market are required to draw up their annual financial report, for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2020, in accordance with the single electronic reporting format, as defined by Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/815 of 17 December 2018. The AMF General Regulation however uses the exemption provided for by the Transparency Directive, authorizing issuers not to apply this requirement until financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2021, provided that they inform their statutory auditors.
2. Language of markets operating rules approved by the AMF
Pursuant to the amended AMF General Regulation, multilateral trading facilities, organized trading facilities, clearing houses and central securities depositories are now allowed to draft their operating rules in a language other than French and that is customary in the sphere of finance for approbation by the AMF, under certain conditions detailed by the AMF General Regulation - for instance, the relevant entity should accept clients or members established outside France.
The AMF may in addition require these entities to produce and publish on their websites a French translation of these operating rules. This translation should however include a warning on prevalent language indicating that the translation is published for information purposes only, and that it is not legally binding, particularly in the event of a dispute.