The last decades have been characterised by financial liberalisation and internationalisation of financial markets. Still, the financial sector has remained more tightly regulated than most others. Due to financial institutions‟, and especially banks‟, crucial position within financial markets and their systemic nature, financial liberalisation has walked hand in hand with stricter industry regulation.
In the EU a certain overall level of harmonisation is sought in all Member States, also within the financial sector, extending to Norway through its EEA Membership and the EEA Agreement. An important part of this harmonisation, although often set aside in favour of the more pressing questions of capital adequacy and liquidity ratios, is the regulation of the taking-up of businesses and pursuit of holdings within the financial sector. Through a long line of Internal Market directives the European Commission has attempted to provide harmonised prudential assessment regulation and authorisation practices for the taking up and pursuit of businesses within the sector.
This article discusses Norwegian private ownership regulation in regards to the taking up and pursuit of the businesses of credit institutions and (life) insurance undertakings and its legitimacy under EEA law. In chapters 2 and 3 we review the legal method of interpretation and the relevant regulatory scenery. Subsequently, chapter 4 discusses Norwegian assessment practice relating to pursuit of the business of financial institutions, while chapter 5 discusses the assessment practice relating to the taking up of these businesses, as well as the Norwegian public offering rules for credit institutions and insurance undertakings.