Preference shares are one of the financial products sold by banks in Spain. Spain’s Stock Market Authority, the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV), has acknowledged in a variety of official documents that these are complex shares with limited liquidity and profitability. They are, moreover, perpetual shares which are bought and sold on the derivatives market, so it is advisable for holders to know a certain amount about finance before purchasing them.
Bankia, a product of the biggest bank merger in Spain’s history, was one of the Spanish banking institutions marketing these shares. Bankia was also a leading figure in the biggest stock market float in the past five years as it sought to make itself self-financing. With complaints being received from people in various parts of Spain, it seems clear that marketing in the preference shares case was dishonest. In a majority of cases, their marketing did not comply with conditions regarding provision of necessary information on the product.
1. How is it that Spain was able to rescue Bankia by injecting approximately EUR 20 000 million in funds, but is not capable of refunding the savings of people hit by the problem with the same bank’s preference shares?
2. Does the Commission believe that controls exercised by the European Central Bank, the Bank of Spain and the CNMV have failed in regard to the purchase of financial products with dubious liquidity?
3. One of the solutions being considered is recourse to an arbitration procedure. What would this involve?
4. Does the Commission believe that the marketing methods employed in this case have breached consumer protection laws in force in the EU?