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In today's financial markets, investors no longer hold securities physically. Instead, securities such as shares or bonds are mostly held through intermediaries and transferred by way of book-entries on securities accounts.
However, there are remarkable conceptual differences between the various jurisdictions with regard to the legal treatment of intermediated securities. It is widely agreed that this patchwork creates considerable legal risks, especially in cross-border situations. Two initiatives are in place to reduce these risks. In 2009, the UNIDROIT Convention on Substantive Rules for Intermediated Securities (the 'Geneva Securities Convention') was adopted, aimed at harmonisation on the international level.
The EU Commission is also running a legislative project, to achieve harmonisation at the regional level. This book compares both initiatives and analyses their impact on the securities laws of selected European jurisdictions.