Working methods

Within ESMA, the Board of Supervisors will take all the policy decisions of ESMA and will approve all work done by ESMA, which will be mainly at level 2, 3 and 4.

The Board of Supervisors is composed of the heads of 28 national authorities, with observers from Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway, from the European Commission, a representative of European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and one representative of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB).

Voting by the Board of Supervisors will be undertaken on a simple majority basis (one vote per national member) for all matters except guidelines and technical standards. In the case of guidelines and standards, voting will be done by qualified majority as set out under the Treaty on European Union. 

Standing Committees and networks

The day-to-day work in developing the proposals for approval by the Board of Supervisors will generally continue to be carried out by the Standing Committees established under CESR. These are chaired by senior national representatives, usually a Member of the Board of Supervisors and bring together the national experts with support from the staff of the Authority, who act as rapporteurs for the Committees.

When considered necessary, ESMA may review the Standing Committees in place and if necessary re-organise or establish new Committees.

On formation, the Standing Committee generally establishes a Consultative Working Group of market participants (practitioners, consumers and end-users) to provide technical advice to the expert group during the drafting process. The market participants are experts drawn from across the European Member States. They are not intended to represent national or a specific firms interest and do not replace the important process of full consultation with all market participants and other stakeholders or the specific role of the Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group as set out in the Regulation.

When a document is ready for public consultation, following approval by the Board of Supervisors, it is published on ESMA's website under the section consultations and a public hearing is often organised. In addition, ESMA will formally consult the Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group and any further competent authorities where necessary.

The purpose of ESMA's Standing Committees and groups is also to strengthen the network of regulators in a given area as agreed in a tailored set of terms of reference. Much of the work is therefore also focused on initiatives carried out at Level 3. These include efforts to strengthen co-operation between national authorities to ensure consistent and effective supervision of financial services activities, and enforcement of securities laws in Europe and additional steps to protect investors. As such, these Standing Committee may, for example, develop standards and guidance or share confidential regulatory information based on legal agreements under the Memorandum of Understanding. Where appropriate, a Standing Committee can invite external parties of other relevant supervisory authorities to participate as an observer. The work of ESMA can therefore be found under each of the pages of the relevant standing committee on our website.