The Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) is the public authority responsible for regulating the Italian securities market. As an independent body, CONSOB oversees the transparency and proper functioning of financial markets and the disclosure of complete and accurate information to the investing public.


CONSOB was established in 1974 to supervise the Italian stock exchange and related markets. Headquartered in Rome, it ensures market integrity, transparency, and investor protection. CONSOB is a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

This in-depth article will examine CONSOB’s roles and responsibilities, organizational structure, regulatory powers, international involvement, and impact on financial markets and investors. Key topics include:

  • History and establishment of CONSOB
  • Regulatory scope and objectives
  • Organizational structure and governance
  • Oversight of stock exchanges, financial products, and market participants
  • Disclosure requirements and investor protections
  • Supervision of corporate takeovers
  • International cooperation and engagement
  • Effects on market transparency, efficiency, and confidence

Whether you are an investor looking to understand CONSOB’s protections or a financial professional navigating Italian regulations, this guide will provide indispensable context on this crucial regulatory body.

History and Establishment of CONSOB

CONSOB was established in 1974 under Law 216 to regulate Italy’s stock exchanges, financial markets, and market participants. This law gave CONSOB statutory powers to oversee securities trading, disclosures, and intermediaries.

CONSOB’s creation was spurred by the growing size and complexity of Italy’s financial markets. A single dedicated regulator was needed to enhance oversight and rebuild investor trust after crises.

Early Challenges and Developments

In its early years, CONSOB faced challenges like understaffing and inadequate enforcement powers. But reforms in the 1980s and 1990s expanded CONSOB’s authority.

Key developments included:

  • 1985 – Increased powers to sanction unauthorized intermediaries
  • 1991 – Mandate expanded to oversee government bond markets
  • 1998 – Statutory independence strengthened
  • 1999 – Supervision extended to asset management companies

Over time, CONSOB has evolved into a robust, independent regulator on par with international counterparts.

Regulatory Scope and Objectives

CONSOB has a multifaceted mandate centered on three core objectives:

Investor Protection

CONSOB’s chief aim is to safeguard investors through regulation. Key protections include transparency, prohibiting insider trading and manipulation, and ensuring intermediaries act with diligence and honesty.

Strict disclosure rules and sanctions for misconduct help deter fraud and build investor confidence. CONSOB also provides investor alerts and education resources.

Market Integrity

CONSOB preserves market integrity by detecting and deterring abusive practices. Extensive monitoring, surveillance systems, and data analysis help identify suspicious trading patterns and anomalies that could suggest manipulation.

Strict conduct standards, oversight of intermediaries, and sanctions like fines help uphold ethics and fairness across markets. These safeguards promote efficient price discovery and level playing fields.

Financial Stability

Sound regulation promotes stability and mitigates systemic risks. By ensuring market transparency and reducing misconduct, CONSOB fosters resilient markets that can support Italy’s economy.

CONSOB also coordinates with government agencies and international regulators to monitor risks and pursue financial stability objectives. Its regulatory scope aligns with global standards.

Organizational Structure and Governance

CONSOB operates as an independent statutory body outside the control of the government and financial industry. This autonomy lets CONSOB flexibly respond to market needs without political or industry interference.

Governing Bodies

CONSOB is overseen by a Board of five commissioners appointed to 6-year terms. The Board has extensive powers to issue regulations and take enforcement actions. Commissioners cannot be removed without just cause.

The Chairman of the Board acts as CONSOB’s chief executive and represents it internationally. The current Chairman is Paolo Savona, appointed in 2019.

Operational Organization

CONSOB is operationally organized into five divisions specializing in key competencies:

  • Intermediaries Division – Oversight of intermediaries like brokers, advisors, and asset managers
  • Markets Division – Surveillance of exchanges, trading platforms, and market abuse
  • Corporate Governance Division – Supervision of disclosures, takeovers, and corporate governance
  • Legal Affairs Division – Enforcement, litigation, and appeals proceedings
  • Economic Research and Statistics Division – Data analysis, fintech assessments, and investor education

This structure allows efficient regulation across diverse market segments. CONSOB staff includes financial experts, lawyers, accountants, economists and IT specialists.


As an independent agency, CONSOB is funded through fees paid by supervised entities instead of government appropriations. This avoids reliance on public money or industry support.

Fees are based on the scope of entities’ market activities. In 2020, supervisory levies provided 86% of CONSOB’s funding.

Oversight of Financial Markets and Participants

CONSOB oversees all major segments of Italy’s financial markets. Its broad regulatory remit includes:

Stock Exchanges

CONSOB supervises Italy’s primary stock exchange Borsa Italiana, which operates equity and derivatives markets. Strict oversight maintains orderly, transparent trading and listing standards.

Surveillance systems monitor trading to detect potential manipulation. CONSOB can also suspend trading during volatility.

Trading Platforms

All multilateral trading facilities and systemic internalizers are authorized and supervised by CONSOB. Robust controls ensure transparent price formation and access.

Financial Products

CONSOB regulates dealing and advising across financial instruments like shares, bonds, derivatives, and structured products.

Product governance standards require suitability assessments so products meet investor needs and risk tolerances.


CONSOB authorizes and oversees all entities providing investment services. These include banks, brokers, financial advisors, portfolio managers, and rating agencies.

Strict conduct, organizational, and prudential rules protect clients and maintain high industry standards.

Corporate Disclosures

Listed companies must publish quarterly reports, earnings statements, insider dealings, and material events. CONSOB verifies disclosure accuracy and timeliness.

Financial analysts and rating agencies must also meet transparency standards to avoid conflicts of interest.

Disclosure Requirements and Investor Protections

Comprehensive disclosure requirements enforced by CONSOB help safeguard investors.

Prospectus Requirements

Securities offerings must be accompanied by a CONSOB-approved prospectus with extensive details about the issuer, instrument, risks, and use of proceeds. This ensures investors get complete information.

Ongoing Disclosures

Listed companies must regularly disclose financial statements, ownership changes, insider transactions, strategic plans, and material events that could affect share prices.

Insider Trading Prohibitions

Abusing inside information for trading is strictly prohibited. CONSOB monitors deals by insiders and large shareholders to detect potential insider trading.

Investor Alerts

CONSOB issues public alerts about risky or suspicious activities and entities to warn investors. Alerts are published on the CONSOB website and through communications to intermediaries.

Dispute Resolution

CONSOB provides mediation services to resolve disputes between investors and intermediaries outside of court. This offers a faster and cheaper process for claimants to get restitution.

Supervision of Corporate Takeovers

As an economy heavily centered on small and medium enterprises, Italy relies on an active market for corporate control. Thus, takeover regulation is a key priority for CONSOB.

Disclosure Requirements

Bidders pursuing control of a company must promptly disclose their holdings, intentions, and bid terms. Targets must also reveal arrangements that could thwart takeovers.

Bid Rules

CONSOB governance rules aim to facilitate active yet orderly takeover markets and protect minority shareholders. Requirements include mandatory bids, equal treatment of shareholders, and restrictions on defensive tactics.

Review and Oversight

CONSOB reviews takeover bids to ensure compliance with regulations. Their economists also assess impact on competition and markets. Ongoing monitoring helps detect coercive tactics.

These safeguards allow productive transfers of corporate control while preventing exploitation of investors.

International Cooperation and Engagement

Given today’s interconnected markets, CONSOB prioritizes regulatory coordination and information exchange with foreign counterparts.

Bilateral Ties

CONSOB maintains bilateral relationships with regulators across Europe, the Americas, Middle East, Asia, and Australia. Collaboration focuses on supervision of cross-border entities and investigative assistance.

European Authorities

As an EU member, CONSOB works closely with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and fellow national regulators. Coordination strengthens oversight of pan-European financial institutions and infrastructures.


CONSOB plays an active role in the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), with senior staff serving on major committees. IOSCO sets global regulatory standards.

These partnerships amplify CONSOB’s supervision and help harmonize rules across jurisdictions. Shared insights also inform development of new regulations.

Effects on Financial Markets and Investors

CONSOB oversight provides far-reaching benefits for Italy’s capital markets and investors.

Market Transparency

Expansive disclosure standards and oversight enhance transparency and availability of information. This allows investors to make informed decisions and fosters fair, efficient markets.

Investor Confidence

Protecting investors through regulation promotes participation in the markets. Robust CONSOB oversight provides assurance and confidence.

Market Integrity

Detecting and deterring abusive practices upholds ethics and confidence in the markets. Market integrity is vital for growth, stability, and innovation.

Competition and Efficiency

Proportional regulation prevents excessive burdens while ensuring accountability. This facilitates responsible innovation that serves investors.

Overall, CONSOB cultivates dynamic, prosperous financial markets that support Italian companies and help citizens achieve financial security.


CONSOB plays an indispensable role in overseeing Italy’s financial markets and safeguarding the public interest. Its independent and robust regulatory powers have evolved to match the growing scale and complexity of trading.

By upholding stringent transparency standards, detecting market abuses, and sanctioning misconduct, CONSOB protects the rights of investors large and small. Its oversight enables stable, ethical financial markets that boost confidence and participation. And its international engagement strengthens supervision of cross-border activities.

Looking ahead, CONSOB appears poised to successfully regulate Italy’s capital markets amidst ongoing evolution. Its forward-thinking approach will continue promoting market integrity while harnessing financial innovation for the benefit of the economy and investors.