Today, legislators, courts, financial regulators and other actors at the EU and national level face major new challenges in safeguarding public and private interests in an increasingly digital and sustainability-minded environment surrounding financial markets. Innovative ways of addressing tensions between the common good and the individual preferences of market actors are needed to address these challenges. However, at present, the efforts to develop workable solutions are seriously hampered by the gap between the two areas of law that profoundly shape the financial markets—financial regulation and private law—in the current European policy discourse and legal scholarship. This article is an attempt to systematically rethink the role of private law in the regulatory and enforcement landscape for financial markets and its relationship with public regulation more generally. It argues that financial regulation and private law are not two parallel universes, but rather two sides of the same coin, each of which has a critical role to play in safeguarding public and private interests. Examining EU financial regulation through the ‘private law’ lens would enable us to unveil a complex interplay between the regulatory dimension, contractual settings and private law remedies that we need to better understand in order to be able to better regulate financial markets. Conversely, examining national private law through the European ‘regulatory’ lens would allow us to unpack the potential of traditional private law to contribute to the objectives of EU financial regulation, while at the same time realising justice between private parties.