A recent Luxembourg District Court judgment has confirmed the well-established, flexible and creditor-friendly environment offered by the Collateral Act. The court ruled that the enforcement of a pledge cannot be set aside, except in the case of clearly established fraud. The main takeaway from the decision is the confirmation of the possibility offered by the act to enforce a pledge without any payment default and in case of a breach of a financial covenant.
The Luxembourg financial sector regulator (CSSF) recently published a number of circulars in order to streamline its regulation of IT outsourcing in the financial sector and introduce specific rules for the use of cloud services. In doing so, the CSSF has defined the conditions under which financial service providers may outsource activities without infringing the regulatory principles of central administration and sound governance.
EU Regulation 655/2014 recently became fully applicable, making it possible for creditors in Luxembourg to obtain a preservation order for the bank accounts of a debtor situated in another EU member state and vice versa. The regulation introduces a certain degree of transparency at the EU level with regard to debtors' assets, which is greater than that provided under existing Luxembourg law.
The Luxembourg financial sector regulator (CSSF) recently published frequently asked questions clarifying the criteria that it considers when assessing whether to accept an external expert as a regulated entity's internal auditor. The CSSF also confirmed that the criteria are assessed proportionately, and that it may request further information or interview the relevant parties when determining whether outsourcing an internal audit is possible.
The Luxembourg financial sector regulator has issued Circular 15/631, which provides guidance on the definition and treatment of dormant accounts. According to the circular, professionals should maintain regular contact with their clients and monitor client relationships with vigilance. They must also set out rules to determine clearly when a relationship has become inactive and when an account has become dormant.
The new Markets in Financial Instruments (MiFID) Act, which transposes the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and implements the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, was recently voted into law. Most issues relating to markets in financial instruments are covered by the first part of the act, while the provision of investment services will continue to be governed by the Financial Sector Act, as amended by the second part of the MiFID Act.
Following the adoption of Bill of Law 7022, the new Act on Market Abuse recently entered into force. The act significantly increases the administrative and criminal penalties for infringements of market abuse provisions and designates the Luxembourg financial sector regulator as the competent authority for the purposes of the EU Market Abuse Regulation. It also extends the definition of 'regulated information' provided for in the Act on Transparency Requirements for Issuers.
The Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE) recently introduced a new specific platform for green financial instruments: the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX). Although joining the LGX is optional and green securities can be listed on the LuxSE and recognised as green regardless of whether the issuer chooses to join the LGX, having securities admitted to the LGX will increase investor confidence as to their green nature.
The EU Market Abuse Regulation recently came into force in Luxembourg and a new market abuse regime affecting listed companies has been implemented. In addition, a wider set of rules covering the disclosure of inside information, insider list manager transactions and modifications relating to multilateral trading facility (MTF) platforms – including the Luxembourg Euro MTF market – have been introduced.
A new bill that was recently submitted to the Chamber of Deputies aims to modify several articles of the Labour Code which concern social elections in order to make certain administrative processes paperless within the context of social dialogue. According to the bill, making certain processes paperless will result in a clear simplification of administrative tasks for managing directors and the Inspectorate of Labour and Mines.
A new law has modified various provisions of the Labour Code, including Article L121-6(3) regarding salary payments in the event of illness. Following the issuance of the new rules, the majority of case law in this regard has become redundant. Now, employers must prove whether employees received their work schedule before falling ill.
In a recent Court of Appeal case, an employee initiated various legal actions against his employer, seeking to have the decision to relocate him declared an improper termination of his employment contract for various reasons and his dismissal declared null and void. Although the tribunal found the decision to be a substantial modification of the employment contract which was detrimental to the employee, the Court of Appeal had a different interpretation.
A number of changes pertaining to the free movement of workers recently took effect. A new law partially transposed an EU directive on facilitating the exercising of rights granted to workers in the context of freedom of movement into Luxembourg law and amended the Labour Code to incorporate 'nationality' as a criterion for direct or indirect discrimination prohibited by law. Further, a ministerial regulation updated the minimum pay levels for highly qualified workers.
A new law, which recently came into force, has introduced a number of amendments regarding certain kinds of leave in order to improve the family and work-life balance of employees, while also taking into account existing social realities. The law makes a number of changes to extraordinary leave for personal reasons, post-natal and adoption leave and leave for family reasons.
Luxembourg recently adopted a number of legislative reforms aimed at modernising the rules applicable to commercial companies, including a number of reforms which could affect their restructuring and insolvency. Although the main purpose of these changes is to modernise the rules applicable to commercial companies and the relevant publication formalities, they may also prove useful in the framework of corporate restructuring and the prevention of insolvency.
Following the recent enactment of the act modernising the Company Law 1915, Luxembourg law now officially recognises the possibility for companies to be wound up by means of a simplified procedure. Although a simplified procedure had previously existed in notarial practice, it lacked a clear legal basis. The new procedure is an unquestionably useful tool which will further enhance Luxembourg's business-friendly reputation.
The number of companies declared bankrupt in Luxembourg has increased tremendously since 2009, mainly due to the existing legislation, which is obsolete and no longer suited to modern financial challenges. As such, a bill has been introduced to provide customised tools to help distressed companies to continue their activities and protect stakeholders, notably by favouring restructuring over liquidation.
The Chamber of Deputies recently voted in favour of a law introducing a right to claim back intangible and non-fungible movable assets from a bankrupt company. The law provides greater certainty as to the consequences of the bankruptcy of a cloud services provider regarding the data that it holds, and contributes significantly to Luxembourg's strong reputation as a centre of excellence for IT outsourcing.
A bill has been introduced to Parliament that provides for a right to reclaim intangible and non-fungible movable assets from a bankrupt company. The bill is intended to allow for the recovery of data from a bankrupt provider of distance IT services or cloud computing solutions. The law will provide greater certainty as to the consequences of the bankruptcy of a cloud computing provider for the data in its possession.
The Court of Appeal recently ruled that shareholders have a right to seek an annulment of decisions made by their company's board of directors. This decision sets a precedent for challenging board decisions on the grounds of the Companies Law, thereby increasing legal certainty by filling the gaps left by the law. However, it also marginally limits the scope of such challenges by excluding former shareholders from initiating new proceedings.
The Luxembourg Administrative Court of Appeal and the European Court of Justice (on referral for a preliminary ruling) recently considered whether the Luxembourg law on the procedure applicable to the exchange of information on request in tax matters complied with EU Directive 2011/16/EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In particular, the courts examined whether the Luxembourg law complied with the right to an effective remedy set out in the EU directive and the charter.
The principal way in which managers can protect themselves from liability is by obtaining a grant of discharge from shareholders. The Court of Appeal recently stated that although discharge is voted on at a general shareholders' meeting after the adoption of the company's annual accounts, the mere approval of the accounts does not automatically entail discharge. Rather, the court made clear that a decision to discharge a management body must be subject to a separate deliberation.
Following a recent Luxembourg District Court decision concerning the conditions for the enforcement of a pledge, collaterals consisting in a pledge on the shares of a company can be enforced even outside of a default payment (ie, even if the secured debt is not due and payable). In the case at hand, the pledge agreement provided that the pledge was enforceable in case of non-compliance with a binding financial ratio.
The Luxembourg District Court has clarified the requirements and procedures regarding judicial management reports provided for in the law on commercial companies, as amended. The ruling provides valuable insight into shareholders' right to request information on management decisions. While the reduced threshold suggests a trend in Luxembourg law towards shareholder empowerment, as well as the accountability and transparency of managing bodies, the ruling appears to be pro-management.