Category: Banking & Finance

05 Dec 2022

Miloš Petaković Discussed Banking and Finance at CEE Legal Matters Round Table

Our Senior Associate Miloš Petaković took part in a round table on the Status of Banking and Finance in the CEE Region recently organized by the preeminent regional legal publication CEE Legal Matters, joined by colleagues from eminent law firms throughout the region.   Miloš drew from his substantial experience in the sector and explained the current situation in Serbia with the industry’s numerous changes. Among other things, Miloš said: “Serbia is in a similar situation to most of the (CEE) markets – the majority of banks are EU-based and are part of the bigger EU banking groups. Still, we do have banks […]

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09 Sep 2022

September Interest Rate Hike by NBS

At today’s session, the Executive Board of the NBS decided to again raise key interest rates by 50 basis points, to 3.5% ,, the deposit facility rate – to 2.5% and the credit facility rate – to 4.5%. The NBS had previously increased the key interest rate as per the decision of the Executive Board on August 11, this year. The NBS’s Executive Board continued to tighten the monetary policy.,attributing this trend to increasingly rising inflationary pressure. According to the NBS, the Executive Board assessed that, in the conditions of continued price pressures, as well as the growth of imported […]

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15 Aug 2022

NBS – New Measures to Curb Inflation

As we discussed last week, the National Bank of Serbia (“NBS”) decided to hike the interest rate to 3%. In addition to this decision, several other measures were introduced aimed at reducing the growing inflationary pressures affecting the economy of Serbia.  One of the measures is the decision that all banks that have increased their fees for payment services since January 1, 2021, will reduce those fees by 30% starting September 1 or reduce these fees prior levels.  According to the NBS, the aggregate benefit of this measure to individual clients will amount to 7 billion dinars. In addition, NBS […]

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30 Mar 2022

US defines its digital asset priorities

In times of crisis, cryptocurrencies found new roles in financial markets. We witness different forms in which cryptocurrencies are used to transfer value when the regular financial flows fail (or are just too laggy).  It seems crypto is here to stay and governments are taking stock and developing plans. This March, US President Joe Biden was determined to find a regulatory solution for crypto by kickstarting the legislative machine of the US with the Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets (“EO”). The EO recognizes the explosive growth of digital assets as an opportunity to reinforce American leadership […]

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07 Mar 2022

One step closer to the digital dollar

The US Federal Reserve published a document titled Money and Payments: The U.S. Dollar in the Age of Digital Transformation (“Paper”) in January.  The Paper points out the pros and cons of creating the digital dollar in the form of a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency), to determine whether it could improve the US payment system. As we explained in earlier texts on this subject, CBDCs are virtual records of existing fiat currencies.  They represent the complete equivalents of currencies such as the euro, dollar, dinar, etc. The Paper points out that the digital dollar would be a liability of […]

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24 Jan 2022

Green bonds in Serbia

Environmental awareness has been a pressing topic for decades. In the past, international treaties were signed to put words into action. One of these key treaties was the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.   The reasoning behind this protocol was evident; countries needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (“GHG”). Back in 2008, Serbia had ratified this agreement and prescribed mandatory targets for the reduction of harmful emissions in the period between 2008-2012.  The Amendment from Doha confirmed the second binding period of the Kyoto Protocol, between 2013-2020, including new obligations in GHG emissions reduction.  However, perhaps the most crucial treaty was the Paris […]

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17 Jan 2022

Stablecoins run the world?

Technological development influenced capital markets far more than expected in the last decade.  Decentralized currencies, central bank digital currencies and digital tokens are all huge news in the world of finance. And so are stablecoins. What are stablecoins and how do they “work”? Stablecoins are a unique kind of decentralized digital assets, developed to “bring the best of both worlds”.  They have all the characteristics of decentralized currencies but also solve the problems of volatility and uncertainty.  That makes them similar to centralized currencies.  Stablecoins are unique because they are backed by real reserves.  They are either backed by fiat […]

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13 Jan 2022

New Capital Market Act in Serbia

The end of 2021 was marked by changes in the legislation of the Republic of Serbia, which included the adoption of a new Capital Market Act (“Act”) that entered into force on January 5 this year. The objective of the Act is to introduce greater transparency and responsibility in business, the introduction and development of financial instruments offered on the Serbian capital market, creating a more attractive environment for both domestic and foreign investors. It was adopted following the government’s Capital Market Development Strategy 2021-2026, and the Action Plan for its implementation. The law will start to apply after one […]

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Crypto and money laundering? FATF updates its rules

Does blockchain technology carry risks of money laundering and terrorist financing?  The Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) responds affirmatively.  In October 2021, FATF published an Updated Guidance for a Risk-Based Approach (“Guidance”), as a result of crypto market monitoring.  The Guidance is based on the assessment of the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing regarding the regulation and supervision of virtual assets (“VA“) and Virtual Assets Service Providers (“VASP“). The amendments to the Guidance are the result of the FATF’s ongoing work and oversight of the VA and VASP sectors and their development, to prevent money laundering and terrorist […]

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13 Oct 2021

What is ESG and why is it important?

Multinational entities and governments are pushing for more action regarding Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. As a result, enterprises increasingly integrate the ever-changing social and environmental factors into their business strategies. The concept of business success has changed and so must the actions they take. But what exactly is ESG? ESG is a set of standards to guide corporate policies to ensure sustainable development in the fields of environment, social and corporate governance. How Did We Get to ESG? Only twenty years ago, if one would ask a group of individuals with a business background about the main objective […]

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07 Oct 2021

Gecić Law Expands with ESG Practice Launch

Gecić Law is pleased to announce that we have become the first independent law firm in the region to expand into the sphere of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) by launching a new practice that will focus on the needs of businesses in this increasingly prominent area.   The practice will be co-headed by Partner | Head of Corporate/M&A Ognjen Colić and Head of Operations Hristina Kosec. The formal development of the ESG practice is a natural expansion of our corporate law activities and complements existing practices at Gecić Law.  Our firm’s multijurisdictional, holistic, and cross-disciplinary approach will be coupled with […]

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27 Sep 2021

China sends shockwaves across global markets

China again demonstrated the potential of its impact on the global economy as its actions and signals sent ripples through world markets last week. China’s central bank reiterated last Friday that all cryptocurrency-related transactions are illegal and will be outlawed, delivering the clearest signal yet of the country’s determination to crack down on the industry to “preserve economic, financial and social order”. The move comes after Chinese authorities banned cryptocurrency mining earlier this year. Chinese authorities have said they will coordinate their efforts to ensure the end of cryptocurrency trading.  The People’s Bank of China stated that cryptocurrencies may not […]

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20 Aug 2021

(Un)limited possibilities for digital assets placement

We live in the era of digitalization.  Changes in technology inevitably affect our lives.  One such innovation in Serbia are digital assets, which can be virtual / cryptocurrencies or digital tokens.  Although the local legislation has only recently recognized this institute, an increasing number of companies that operate in Serbia now work in the sphere of cryptocurrencies.  The Digital Assets Act (the “Act”) provides options and opens many doors for the use of digital assets, primarily cryptocurrencies. Therefore, the question whether cryptocurrencies are our future or our present arises.  Opportunities for the use of cryptocurrencies are yet to be fully […]

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03 Aug 2021

Cryptocurrencies, digital currencies – changes in financial systems, or a whole new world?

Cryptocurrencies, digital currencies, electronic money… are the talk of the world.  A common question these days is what cryptocurrencies are and how they work.  This question now has a more recent addition – what are digital currencies?  Is digital currency a synonym for cryptocurrency?  If not, what is the difference?  If you are a fintech enthusiast, you may think that this is a great time to be alive.  But if you are not, it is perfectly ok to be confused, even a bit scared by the changes happening this fast.  The only thing we can do is to keep up […]

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08 Jul 2021

Cryptocurrencies: Our future or our present?

Crypto, crypto, crypto…Wherever you go, whoever you talk to, crypto must be mentioned.  In the last few years, and especially in the last few months, virtual currencies and digital tokens have seen a true expansion.  More and more people are getting interested in crypto and are starting to trade in them.  As a result, the importance of cryptocurrencies is rising. “New” business and new earnings? Naturally, corporate giants recognized the upward trend and did not want to miss this “historical moment” to create a completely new way of doing business by entering a new market that generates huge profits. Recently, […]

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28 Jun 2021

The end of LIBOR

This year will bring big changes, at least when it comes to financial markets.  Namely, 2021 is when the long-awaited abolition of LIBOR will take place.  Although there was a lot of talk about technical obstacles that need to be overcome, change was seemingly inevitable. LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) is the daily reference interest rate at which banks lend to each other on the interbank market.  It gained in importance in the 1990s, when the British Banking Association (“BBA”) settled relevant standards of regulation, the collection and analysis of data obtained, which will serve as a basis for calculating […]

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19 Jan 2021

Act on Digital Assets – creating a new market

Digital assets. A somewhat contradictory notion, but for a short period of time, the digital assets managed to put to question the millennial legal perception of assets as something purely material. And that would not be so interesting if it were not for the digital assets’ ability to financially transform into money. Mining and cryptocurrencies have been filling newspaper columns for years now and the first thing that catches the eye is their monetary value. Behind these terms is a legally unregulated business creating a significant fortune for individuals who, as simple as it gets, just sit in front of […]

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06 Nov 2020

The digital euro in Serbia

Autumn on the European money market has sparked discussion on digital money. The rapid development and use of digital technology increased the volume of online/e-payments due to COVID-19, but also competition coming from digital currencies developed by other central banks, such as the Chinese central bank, from cryptocurrencies and digital currencies developed by tech giants, are some of the reasons that spurred the European Central Bank (ECB) i.e. Eurosystem to publish the Report on a digital euro. The Report analyses potential options and conditions under which the digital euro could operate, reflecting clear caution from its introduction as a means […]

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10 Sep 2020

Apple Pay set to become king of the hill in Serbia (also)?

Everyday life in the 21st century is awash with change, change mostly dictated by modern technologies and their constant evolution. Mobile payment apps are the latest (and most innovative) addition to the stable of convenience services, allowing users to pay quickly and securely.  The COVID-19 pandemic has pressed home the advantages of paying through mobile phone apps, considering that this method of payment minimizes physical contact between merchants and customers, Apple Pay, a mobile payment application, was launched in Serbia at the end of June 2020. We spoke with Nikola Mehandžić, Business Development Director for the Western Balkans at MasterCard, […]

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26 Aug 2020

The Register of ultimate beneficial owners – a step closer to money flows in Western Balkans

Money laundering – a crime that is not victimless In a globalized world where modern technology allows the rapid flow of funds, fighting money laundering has never been a more important and urgent need.  Trillions of dollars are laundered each year and these funds fuel serious organized crime activities such as drug trade, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, terrorism, etc.  Money laundering is far from a victimless crime, and, moreover, it harms society in a more perfidious manner than other crimes. The Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) is the leading global money laundering and terrorist financing “watchdog”.  As a policy-making body, […]

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06 Jan 2020

Serbia’s financial system reforms receive European Commission stamp of approval

The National Bank of Serbia is making inroads into harmonizing local legislation with European Union (“EU”) legislation, especially into amending regulations governing the operation of banks and other financial institutions. The European Commission (“EC”) adopted a decision of importance for the Republic of Serbia, which was published on 18 December 2019 in the Official Journal of the EU. Serbia’s push to amend the regulatory and supervisory framework concerning banks’ operations and in particular to amend anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulation has borne fruit and is a step in the right direction for building a stable financial system. This decision […]

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25 Oct 2019

Ognjen Colić in panel discussion at Winter Vivaldi CFO Forum 2019

It is our great pleasure to announce that our Senior Counsel Ognjen Colić will be a panelist at the Winter Vivaldi CFO & LEGAL Forum, which will take place from 27th to 29th November 2019 in Mokra Gora. This year’s Forum will focus on Financial and Legal Security topics. Speakers and panelists of various profiles and industry sectors will present some of the major challenges and risks faced by companies. Ognjen Colić will participate in the closing panel discussion named “How to Avoid the Balkan Spy Scenario”*, where alongside other colleagues from the legal sector he will take an in-depth […]

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19 Apr 2019

Gecić Law Continues Its Bullish Run in the Legal 500 Rankings

Gecić Law is delighted to announce yet another commendation by The Legal 500 EMEA, one of the most eminent and prestigious directories of the legal world.     Our Banking & Finance practice continues its bullish run to the national top.   Its head Nikola Aksić was named to the guide’s  “Leading Individuals” elite list of outstanding lawyers in the country, only one year after being recommended by the guide.   The practice also went up in the overall rankings, securing a Tier 2 recognition. And we haven’t stopped there.  Our Corporate/M&A practice is not lagging behind.  The practice head Ognjen Colić […]

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