New rules making it easier and cheaper for people to invest throughout Europe have come into effect. Instead of being restricted to their home countries, firms selling investments can now operate anywhere across the 27 European Union countries as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
David Wright, the European Commission’s head of financial services policy, explained: “Until 1st November, any member state could require all of its trading of shares to be carried out on a stock exchange. From 1st November that changes, there’s competition between exchanges, new types of platforms, and investment firms themselves who can compete for that order flow, that’s a big change.”
The European Commission said its Markets in Financial Instruments Directive – MiFID – should create more competition and lower costs for buying and selling shares. However several EU countries, including Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, are not yet ready to put the directive into force.