Austria: Significantly Wider Scope Of Application Of The Austrian Act On Financial Collateral

The Austrian Act on Financial Collateral (Finanzsicherheiten-Gesetz; FinSG), which regulates the granting and enforcement of financial collateral arrangements between participants in the financial markets, has recently been amended with effect from 30 June 2011. Changes include the extension of the scope of application of the law.

Accordingly, the FinSG – and the benefits of easy establishment of the security right, efficient enforceability of collateral, and certain exemptions from insolvency law provisions – is likely to apply to a significantly wider range of transactions. The amendment of the FinSG implements EU Directive 2009/44/EC, which amended the existing EU Financial Collateral Directive.

Former legal framework

Prior to the amendment, the personal scope of application of the FinSG was limited to certain professional market participants and was hence restricted to the interbank market. In terms of the substantive scope of application, financial collateral exclusively comprised cash (ie, money that is represented by a credit to a designated account but not physical cash) and financial instruments (ie, shares, bonds and other securities).

Extension of the personal scope

Following the amendment of the FinSG, either the collateral taker or the collateral provider of a transaction under the FinSG regime must be a professional market participant. Professional market participants particularly include public authorities, supranational financial market entities, financial institutions subject to supervision, central counterparties, settlement agents, clearing houses, and certain legal entities acting as trustees or representatives (eg, on behalf of bondholders). The counterparty on the other side may now be any legal person, sole proprietorships (Einzelunternehmer), or partnership (Personengesellschaft) outside of the banking industry (extension beyond the interbank market).

Extension of the substantive scope

From 30 June 2011, financial collateral to be provided under the FinSG regime may include not only cash and financial instruments but also credit claims. Such credit claims are defined as monetary claims resulting from an agreement whereby a financial institution grants credit, except cases in which the debtor to the agreement is a consumer, a micro, or a small enterprise.

Credit claims may now effectively be used for the provision of collateral and increase the pool of available collateral. Depending on the creditworthiness of the underlying debtor, security by way of credit claims may be attractive for a collateral taker.

No application of lex commissoria

An important practical aspect is that under the FinSG regime, the lex commissoria does not apply. Accordingly, in the security agreement the parties may agree that a collateral taker may acquire (appropriate) the financial collateral and set off the value of the collateral against the secured obligations. The parties need to agree on the valuation of the financial collateral. In contrast, in connection with regular pledges, such an acceleration clause would not be permissible under Austrian law. The extension of the scope of application of the FinSG may thus also increase the practical application of such enforcement arrangements.

Insolvency law aspects

Prior to the amendment, the FinSG was in particular used in transactions regarding repurchase agreements (repos), securities lendings, and OTC-derivatives. Given that the FinSG was initially enacted due to special practical needs of the financial markets for safety and stability (in respect of certain financial business segments), the extension of the scope of application to non-professional market participants can be criticised. On the one hand, large companies whose treasury departments engage in hedging of foreign exchange, interest, and commodity risks via derivatives may now rightly be enabled to directly participate in the financial collateral regime provided by the FinSG and, compared to the conventional civil law regime of pledges, may therewith reduce their transaction costs. On the other hand, since the extension of application beyond professional market participants does not provide for any limitations towards particular business segments, the FinSG now also applies to the whole credit business (if the type of security is subject to the FinSG).

In particular, the FinSG regime provides for the option to agree on an immediate realisation of the pledge if an insolvency, liquidation, or reorganisation proceeding is opened against the collateral provider or the secured party. The same applies for close out netting, which, under the FinSG, is protected from certain insolvency related interventions.The extension of the benefits regarding insolvency law related exemptions is deemed justified by the needs of the financial markets (even if in part contrary to the general principle of equal treatment of creditors within insolvency proceedings). A collateral agreement may still be challenged under the Austrian Insolvency Code.


In light of the above, the significantly wider (substantive and personal) scope of application of the FinSG is in general justified and desirable under practical economic and legal rationales.

This article was originally published in the schoenherr roadmap`11 - if you would like to receive a complimentary copy of this publication, please visit:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions