With the launch of Equity Market trading and settlement system together with surveillance, risk management and other surrounding systems, first phase of the “transformation with technology program” named BISTECH by Borsa Istanbul, is now live as of November 30, 2015. BISTECH has been developed in cooperation with NASDAQ. There have been several transformations in the Turkish market since the enforcement of the new Capital Markets Law (Law No. 6362) on December 31, 2012 through the opening of new markets and the introduction of new products and BISTECH is the last edition of such upgrades.
Borsa Istanbul announces Derivatives, Debt Securities, and Precious Metals and Diamond Markets to be next to go-live in the second phase. Various markets that currently run on separate systems will begin to operate on a single and common platform.
Borsa Istanbul (Istanbul Stock Exchange) has adopted one of the most advanced exchange technologies in the world in cooperation with NASDAQ
Regulation on E-commerce in Turkey
The Law on the Regulation of Electronic Commerce (Law No. 6563) (Official Gazette dated November 5, 2014 and numbered 29166) (the “Law”) came into force on May 1, 2015. The main objective of the Law is to regulate principles and procedures on all activities regarding electronic commerce. The Law is based on the EU Directive on Electronic Commerce (2000/31/EC). Following the enforcement of the Law, the Regulation regarding Commercial Communication and Electronic Commercial Massages (Official Gazette dated July 15, 2015 and numbered 29417) (the “Regulation”) has been issued in order to regulate mainly unsolicited commercial communication.
The Law and Regulation impose an obligation to the service provider (real or legal entity carrying out electronic commercial activity) to obtain prior consent of the consumer for sending e-commerce messages to consumers. This consent does not always have to be in written form and can also be obtained in other forms of electronic communication. At any point in time the consumer may refuse to accept further e-commerce messages without stipulating any reason in which case the service provider must cease to communicate any further e-commerce messages to the consumer.
Even though one might argue that this new legislation could have a negative impact on electronic commerce, it is a huge step towards data protection rights in Turkiye ensuring the privacy of consumers’ personal information. Since its enforcement, the Law and Regulation have thus been an important point of discussion among lawyers and will surely spur more debate for days to come.
New Regulations on Repo and Reverse Repo
Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA) and Capital Markets Board (CMB) recently introduced two new regulations on repo and reverse repo transactions.
CMB’s Communique on Repo and Reverse Repo Transactions to be executed by Brokerage Firms (published at the Official Gazette dated December 6, 2015, No. 29554) (Communique No. III-45.2) regulates repo and reverse repo transactions executed by and between (i) brokerage firms and (ii) brokerage firms and their customers (real persons or legal entities). Repo and reverse repo transactions can only be carried out by brokerage firms with brokerage licenses (işlem aracılığı lisansı) or portfolio brokerage licenses (portföy aracılığı lisansı).
Whereas BRSA’s Regulation on Repo and Reverse Repo Transactions to be executed by Banks (published at the Official Gazette dated December 6, 2015, No. 29554) regulates repo and reverse repo transactions executed by and between (i) banks and (ii) banks and their customers (real persons or legal entities). These activities can be carried out by banks with a permission to engage in repo and reverse repo activities.
These Regulations introduce new transaction limits, interest rate and settlement principles, and pricing and collateralization rules.
Comparative Advertisement Permitted
The Consumer Protection Law (Law No. 6502) (published at the Official Gazette dated November 28, 2013, No. 28835) (Law) came into force on November 28 2014. The Law states that one can make comparative advertisement by using competitor’s goods and services that meet the same needs or same purposes.
In early 2015, the Regulation on Commercial Advertisement and Unfair Commercial Practices (published at the Official Gazette dated January 10, 2015, No. 29232) (Regulation) was published and it regulates comparative advertisements in detail in Article 8.
From December 31, 2016 onward, Article 8 of Regulation will apply, enabling advertisements to include “competitors’ title, trademark, logo or other distinguishing marks or phrases and commercial names and company names”, provided they meet the following requirements:
The advertisement shall not be false or misleading,
The advertisement shall not cause unfair competition,
The advertisement shall involve goods or services which meet the same needs or which are intended for the same purpose as the compared goods or services,
The advertisement shall compare aspects [of such goods and services] which are beneficial to consumers,
The advertisement shall objectively compare goods or services based on at least one point which is substantive, essential, and certifiable (comparison can also be made based on characteristic features and prices),
If a claim is based on objective, measurable and numeric data, this shall be proved by scientific tests, reports or documents,
The advertisement shall not infringe upon a competitor’s intellectual property rights,
If the origin of the goods and services is specified, compared goods and services must be from the same geographical origin; and
The advertisement shall not denigrate or discredit competitors’ intellectual and industrial property rights, company names, and other distinguishing marks, goods, services, operations or other features.
Comparative advertising is allowed provided that these circumstances are met. It is, however, recommended that the market should wait for its practice to develop beyond December 31, 2016. In the meantime, the advertisers should act with caution and comply with the conditions stated herein above. The Advertisement Board is very strict in overseeing the market and does not refrain from imposing steep fines in the event of an incompliance. Advertisers should also note that the burden of proof is with the advertiser, who must must prove the claimed facts with reports obtained from universities or approved testing and evaluation firms.