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Crowdfunding is a type of intermediation where the service provider operates a platform (e.g. website) open to the public. The purpose of that platform is to match enterprises seeking financing with prospective investors. The enterprises typically receive small amounts of money from many investors (usually natural persons), via lending (lending-based crowdfunding) or investment into shares (investment-based crowdfunding). Some of the best-known crowdfunding platforms are Kickstarter or Indiegogo. By introducing a single European regulatory framework, the uncertain Hungarian legal environment might change, potentially giving a boost to the crowdfunding market.

A law implementing, among others, Directive (EU) 2019/878 amending Directive (EU) 2013/36 (Capital Requirements Directive - CRD V) has been passed by the Austrian Parliament and Federal Council, and has been published in the Federal Gazette. CRD V (as part of the package together with Regulation (EU) 2019/876 amending Regulation (EU) 575/2013 – CRR II) aims to close regulatory gaps in the existing financial regulatory framework and, while adding prudential measures as to capital requirements, requires certain entities to comply with new licensing obligations.

Hungary was one of the last EU countries to introduce a register of ultimate beneficial owners. While the provisions of the Fourth and Fifth AML Directives were already implemented in the Hungarian AML Act, the technical conditions on the actual operation of the UBO register were only adopted by Act XLIII of 2021 ("UBO Register Act") and are in force as of 22 May 2021.

The Vienna office of Schoenherr has advised joint lead managers Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale, Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg, and Raiffeisenbank International AG, on the placement of EUR 500 million 0.5% mortgage covered notes due 2041 issued by Raiffeisen-Landesbank Steiermark AG. Wolf Theiss reportedly advised the issuer.

Hungary is one of the first countries in CEE to fully implement Directive 2019/790 on Copyright in the Digital Single Market ("CDSM Directive") and Directive 2019/789 ("SatCab 2.0 Directive"). The so-called "Copyright Reform Act" (Act XXXVII of 2021) was published in the Official Gazette on 6 May 2021, and the majority of the new rules will be effective as of 1 June 2021.

The Vienna Stock Exchange was founded in 1771, during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa. Initially launched as a market for state-issued bonds – only bonds, bills of exchange, and foreign currencies could be traded – it expanded rapidly. In 1818, the Austrian central bank – which had itself been founded only two years earlier – became the first joint-stock company to be listed on the exchange (and one of the first shareholders was Ludwig van Beethoven, who bought eight shares in 1819). In 1863, the Suez Canal Company had become the first foreign company to be listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange, and in 1865, there was a further foreign listing with premium bonds issued to fund Turkish railway lines (“Turkenlose”). When the Frankfurter Bankverein applied for a listing of the Turkenlose bonds on the VSE, the Exchange Chamber decided to introduce rules for the admission of foreign securities, and thus, in 1873, the “Italian bond” became the first official foreign listing by means of a formal application. In December 1997, the Vienna Stock Exchange Chamber was merged with the Austrian Futures and Options Exchange to form a new exchange operating company, Wiener Borse AG, and in subsequent years the business spectrum of the Vienna Stock Exchange broadened to include market data dissemination and index calculation as well as IT services and central securities depository services.

A new competition act will come into force in Slovakia on 1 June 2021, replacing the former competition act applicable since 2001. The completely new act was adopted because the Slovak competition authority wanted a fresh start for the Slovak competition legislation and not just adopt its 11 amendments due to the need to implement the ECN+ directive.

“The pandemic has overwritten any expectations we had at the end of 2019,” says Schoenherr Budapest Partner Gergely Szaloki. “We were very optimistic, and the market was booming, but the pandemic changed many things.” He underlines the frequent switch to a home-office working environment as being a particular source of change for the real estate market. “Not only the office spaces,” he says, “but I can imagine that flats will also be designed in a way so that it’s possible to establish at least a working corner at home.”

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Schoenherr is a leading full-service law firm providing local and international companies stellar advice that is straight to the point. With 15 offices and 4 country desks Schoenherr has a firm footprint in Central and Eastern Europe. Our lawyers are recognised leaders in their specialised areas and have a track record of getting deals done with a can-do, solution-oriented approach. Quality, flexibility, innovation and practical problem-solving in complex commercial mandates are at the core of our philosophy.

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