BRUSSELS, Oct 3 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on
Thursday it is examining whether to regulate crowdfunding, an
alternative source of financing via the Internet, and has
started to gather views from industry and citizens.
Although any legislation would be unlikely to come before
2015, after the changeover of commissioners in charge of the
EU's executive, the launch of the consultation signals a
continued desire to extend EU rules in finance.
Michel Barnier, the commissioner in charge of regulation,
said that he was considering whether to propose common pan-EU
rules for crowdfunding, which pools money often via the Internet
for projects including company start-ups.
"Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly important," said
Barnier in a statement. "Do we need a single European framework
to support both those who develop crowdfunding platforms and to
reduce the risks to those who make use of such platforms to
finance projects?" he asked.
Any move would likely follow the United States. FINRA, Wall
Street's industry-funded watchdog, said in January it was
working with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to
draft rules that would govern crowdfunding.
However, Barnier's announcement comes a day after the
Commission pledged to pare back new legislation, in an effort to
answer intensifying criticism of what many in member states see
as overregulation by Brussels.
(Reporting by John O'Donnell; Editing by Christina Fincher)