19/07/2013

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched a consultation on Guidelines on the enforcement of financial information published by listed entities in the European Union (EU).

The Guidelines aim to strengthen and promote greater supervisory convergence in existing enforcement practices amongst EU national authorities, thereby ensuring the proper and rigorous enforcement of financial information disclosure practices in the EU. The Guidelines establish the principles to be followed in the enforcement process, by clearly defining:

• enforcement and its scope;

• expected characteristics of the enforcer;

• acceptable selection techniques and other aspects of enforcement methodology;

• the types of enforcement actions that may be available to enforcers; and

• how enforcement activities are coordinated within ESMA.

The Guidelines also propose that the coordination of European enforcers by ESMA should involve the development of coordinated views on accounting matters prior to national enforcement actions, the identification of common enforcement priorities and common responses to the accounting standard setter to ensure consistent application of the financial reporting framework.

The proposed Guidelines apply to all competent authorities and any other bodies from the EU undertaking enforcement responsibilities under the Transparency Directive, and IFRS Regulation.

Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:

“ESMA believes that in order to achieve a proper and rigorous enforcement there is a need for a common EU approach to the enforcement of financial information disclosures. These proposed Guidelines, if applied consistently across the EU, will promote uniform application of the financial reporting standards, help avoid regulatory arbitrage by issuers and promote investor confidence in financial markets.”

The closing date for responses to this consultation is 15 October 2013 and ESMA expects to publish the final guidelines in 2014.

Press Release (Ref. 2013/1014)

Consultation Paper - Guidelines on enforcement of financial information (Ref. 2013/1013)