Former Bank Lobbyist Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani to Become Chair of France’s Financial Markets Authority

Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani will lead France’s Financial Markets Authority after lawmakers voted in favour of her appointment.
Image source: Rafael Garcin/ Unsplash

Quick take:

  • Barbat-Layani is set to replace Robert Ophèle as chair of Financial Markets Authority.
  • She will oversee the registration of crypto companies as well as TradFi institutions in France.
  • She was previously the director of the French Banking Federation,

Former bank lobbyist Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani has been appointed the head of France’s Financial Markets Authority (autorité des marchés financiers/AMF) today after two houses of the parliament voted 55-28 in favour of her appointment.

She is currently Secretary-General at the French economics and finance ministry and will replace  Robert Ophèle – whose term ended in July – as chair of AMF. In her new non-renewable five-year role, she will be responsible for overseeing the registration of crypto companies as well as TradFi institutions in France.

Barbat-Layani’s work in the public sector began as a financial attaché in France’s permanent representation office for the European Union from 1997-1999 followed by assistant head of office, then deputy director at the French Treasury. She has also worked in the private sector as the managing director of the French Banking Federation.

The French government is keen on seeing the country become a crypto hub and has set up Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA), one of the first crypto licensing regimes in the European Union, which could take effect in 2024.

Regarding the challenges that AMF will face in the coming years, former AMF head Robert Ophèle said that the European regulatory framework “is all the more necessary as the French registration system for PSANs shows its limits and as the experiments carried out on the use of the blockchain to carry out financial transactions have proved to be promising.”

Last week, France granted Société Générale regulatory approval to offer digital asset services while was given the green light to operate as a digital asset service provider in September. Binance was granted a digital asset service provider license in May.

Coindesk reported that Barbat-Layani said crypto companies could have their licenses revoked and that it is an intended feature of the system. 

French crypto company Bykep had its license revoked by the AMF in September for failure to adhere to anti-money-laundering regulations. According to Coindesk, Bykep had protested AMF’s move, saying that the accusations did not justify having its license taken away.

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