Bloomberg News

Belgian Regulator Ends Short-Selling Ban Amid ‘Lower Volatility’

February 15, 2012

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Belgium lifted a ban on the short- selling of financial stocks, the country’s markets regulator said today.

The FSMA said its decision reflected “the lower volatility of the markets” and a consistent approach with other authorities, the regulator said on its website today. A ban on so-called naked short selling would remain in place, it said. France confirmed today that it hasn’t renewed a similar short- selling ban.

The Belgian curbs are replaced by requirements for traders to report on their activities and to have a “reasonable expectation” that they can obtain the securities that they sell short, the FSMA said.

Authorities in Belgium, France, Spain and Italy moved to ban short selling in August in an effort to stabilize markets after European banks including Societe Generale SA hit their lowest levels since the credit crisis of 2008.

Short-sellers sell borrowed shares with plans to buy them back later at a lower price, a practice politicians and some investors blame for roiling markets. The practice is known as “naked” when sellers haven’t first taken steps to ensure that they can borrow the securities.

--Editors: Peter Chapman

To contact the reporters on this story: Jim Brunsden in Brussels at jbrunsden@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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