Much of ESMA’s work is supported by Standing Committees (SC), working groups and task forces, which draw together senior experts from National Competent Authorities (NCAs). The different ESMA SCs are established on a permanent basis. Each Standing Committee is normally chaired by senior representatives of NCAs or by senior ESMA staff and supported by ESMA staff who act as rapporteurs. Most of the Standing Committees also have consultative working groups made up of external stakeholder representatives.
However, the ultimate decision making body of ESMA is the Board of Supervisors, whereas the Management Board deals with the management of the Authority.
In addition to the Standing Committees outlined below,
- the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) established the CCP Supervisory Committee (CCP SC) which is composed of representatives from NCAs supervising CCPs and relevant EU Central Banks of Issue (CBIs), dealing amongst others with EU CCP supervisory convergence and third-country CCP supervision and
- the CCP Recovery and Resolution Regulation (CCP RRR) established the CCP Resolution Committee (CCP RC) which is composed of from designated CCP resolution authorities, dealing among others with promoting the drawing up and coordination of resolution plans and develop methods for the resolution of failing CCPs.
Horizontal Standing Committees
Risk Standing Committee - RSC
The main tasks of the Risk Standing Committee (RSC) are to coordinate financial stability issues and to conduct the assessment of risks and the analysis of market trends.
The RSC focuses on risk monitoring and the analysis of economic, market, and financial stability developments across ESMA’s remit (including macro-prudential risks) with the aim of contributing to ESMA’s strategic priorities in the area of effective markets and financial stability, including through the development of risk indicators and the promotion of joint analytical methods. The RSC also covers the analytical work on market developments trends related to sustainable finance, retail investor protection and financial innovation.
Chair: George Theocharides, Chairman, Επιτροπή Κεφαλαιαγοράς Κύπρου (CySEC), Cyprus
Senior Supervisors Forum - SSF
The Senior Supervisors Forum (SSF) includes, through its alternating three sectoral configurations (Markets, Investment Firms, Investment Funds), the Heads of Supervision from the relevant areas. The SSF provides expertise on common supervisory issues within each sector and ensures consistency in addressing horizontal convergence issues (such as the heatmap and Union Strategic Supervisory Priorities (USSPs)). The SSF also includes a new separate enforcement configuration with the participation of the Heads of Enforcement. Furthermore, the SSF also continues to deal with horizontal issues on a project /task force basis. The main tasks of the SSF include:
- Providing input, direction and advice on key risks and problems, among others, those of cross-cutting and cross-border nature;
- identifying the USSPs that NCAs shall take into account when drawing up their work programmes, and provide input, direction and advice on possible follow-up;
- promoting continuous discussions and the development of an effective EU common supervisory culture, including innovative supervisory and investigative tools and methods, as part of a risk-based and outcome focused approach to supervision; and
Providing strategic direction for the Enforcement Working Group by identifying priority topics and areas as well as providing a critical review of its output, promoting the sharing of good enforcement practices in order to foster a common enforcement culture and contributing to the facilitation of joint enforcement action with the overriding aim of ensuring consistency of outcomes for similar infringements wherever they arise in the Union.
Chair: Jos Heuvelman, Member of the Executive Board, Autoriteit Financiële Markten (AFM), The Netherlands
Supervision Policy Committee - ESPC
ESMA Supervision Policy Committee (ESPC) covers policymaking and supervisory convergence activities related to ESMA’s direct supervisory mandates (Securitisation, TR/STFR, Data reporting service providers, Benchmarks and Credit Rating Agencies), with the exception of CCPs.
ESPC functions in a horizontal configuration and dedicated sectoral configurations when specific sectoral issues are being discussed, initially on benchmark administrators and CRAs. The ESPC also covers convergence work related to supervisory mandates which are shared between ESMA and NCAs (e.g., benchmark administrators).
Investor Protection Standing Committee - IPSC
The Investor Protection Standing Committee (IPSC) has been established in order to drive ESMA’s new strategic objective on retail investors and further build on the work of the Investor Protection and Intermediaries Standing Committee (IPISC).
The IPSC supports horizontal investor protection coordination across all ESMA activities, such as the work related to the costs charged to investors. The IPSC also fulfils the role of the “Consumer Protection and Financial Innovation Committee” referred to in the ESMA Regulation. Its remit includes:
- Matters of retail investor protection within ESMA’s remit and all relevant aspects of distribution of financial products by intermediaries to retail investors; alongside the coordination of financial education activities; and
- Policy and convergence aspects of financial innovation in the retail space (such as dealing with innovative products and distribution channels) and sustainability that have a direct impact on retail investors.
The IPSC also continues to focus on regulatory issues related to the provision of investment services and activities by investment firms and credit institutions, notably with regards to conduct of business rules, distribution of investment products, investment advice and suitability.
Chair: Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani, Chair, Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), France
Sustainability Standing Committee - SSC
The Sustainability Standing Committee (SSC) has a dual role as (i) a “consultative” and coordination group providing internal advice and expertise to sectoral SCs on files for which Sustainable Finance (SF) expertise is required and (ii) the primary responsible group on SF files which are transversal by nature (such as taxonomy and greenwashing) as well as new or upcoming topics (e.g. EU Green Bonds Standards Regulation, ESG Ratings). Policy development directly related to ESMA supervisory powers, however, belong to the remit of the ESMA Supervisory Policy Committee (ESPC). The SSC also promotes the coordination of regulatory, supervisory and enforcement initiatives across securities regulators in the EU and across ESMA activities, in the field of sustainable finance.
Chair: Thorsten Pötzsch, Chief Executive Director, Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin), Germany
Digital Finance Standing Committee - DFSC
The Digital Finance Standing Committee (DFSC) has been established to support ESMA’s work related to digital innovation across the different subject areas. The DFSC in particular enables the effective undertaking of the relevant policy and convergence work in the area of Digital Finance (legislative proposals such as MiCA, DORA, DLT pilot regime, and areas such as Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity) and reflect the importance of technological innovation for securities and derivatives markets in line with the new ESMA strategy.
Chair: Carlo Comporti, Commissioner, Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB), Italy
IT Standing Committee - ITSC
The IT Standing Committee (ITSC), formerly referred to as the IT Management and Governance Committee (ITMG) remains in place focusing on work on IT governance, exchange of data & information between NCAs and ESMA.
Data Standing Committee - DSC
The scope of the Data Standing Committee (DSC) has been extended to cover all ESMA mandates related to data reporting, data disclosure (including those which are currently in scope of the sectoral committees and the ESPC) and data quality. Data quality policy work related to ESMA’s direct supervision mandates (such as work on data quality related to trade repositories or data requirements of securitisation repositories) is also covered by the DSC. The focus of DSC is inter alia:
- to work on topics relating to reporting/record keeping of transactions, trades, positions, orders, instrument reference data and issuers’ disclosures (in cooperation with ISC). The objectives of this group are to enhance the quality, comparability and interoperability of the market data reported to EU National Authorities and the public and to foster supervisory convergence among the national authorities in its area of competence; and
- to elaborate technical standards, guidelines, Q&As and technical instructions relating to the data reporting and disclosure requirements resulting from all sectoral legislation within ESMA’s remit. The aim is to foster digitalisation, consistency and efficiency of data reporting, information disclosure and their use by, among others, avoiding reporting conflicts or overlaps between different regimes.
Chair: Armi Taipale, Head of Deparment, Finanssivalvonta (FIN-FSA), Finland
Sectoral Standing Committee
Issuers Standing Committee - ISC
The Issuers Standing Committee (ISC) works on various regulatory aspects of issuer information and combines the scopes of the previous Corporate Reporting Standing Committee (CRSC) and Corporate Finance Standing Committee (CFSC), with a focus on discussions looking at different regulatory aspects of issuer information, including how to improve issuers information to the market – especially in relation to the development of the sustainability reporting standards. The scope of the ISC includes contributing to and/or monitoring of regulatory developments as well as ensuring appropriate supervisory convergence on issues such as:
- Financial and Sustainability Reporting as defined by the Transparency Directive, Accounting Directive, IAS Regulation and Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD);
- The prospectus regime, as defined by the Prospectus Regulation, as well as specific aspects related to Take-Over bids, and major shareholding reporting; as well as
- The area of corporate governance, as well as the new Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive.
Finally, the ISC contributes to the development of issuers’ electronic reporting, the storage of regulated information as well as the audit of financial and non-financial regulated information in cooperation with the DSC.
Chair: Karen Dortea Abelskov, Deputy Director General, Finanstilsynet, Denmark
Markets Standing Committee - MSC
The Markets Standing Committee (MSC) includes the work previously done in the Secondary Markets Standing Committee (SMSC), the Market Integrity Standing Committee (MISC), the Post Trading Standing Committee (PTSC) and the Commodity Derivatives Task Force (CDTF) with a focus on different regulatory aspects of market and market infrastructure. This includes market monitoring, policy and convergence work in the respective areas (defined i.a. by MiFID, MiFIR, EMIR, CSDR, as well as MAR and SSR). The focus of the MSC includes work on:
- the structure, transparency and efficiency of secondary markets for financial instruments, including trading platforms and OTC markets (including regulated markets, MTFs, systematic internalisers or other platforms);
- issues relating to market integrity and surveillance, the enforcement of securities laws, the facilitation of co-operation of national authorities and the exchange of information in market abuse investigations;
- post-trading market infrastructures or post-trading processes or operations, such as the clearing and settlement of transactions in financial instruments;
- the monitoring and analysis of regulatory and industry developments in the field of commodity derivative markets; and
- the managing of the co-operation between financial regulators/ESMA and other regulatory and supervisory authorities such as the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and national energy regulators within the scope of wholesale energy markets.
Chair: Rodrigo Buenaventura, Chair, Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV), Spain
Investment Management Standing Committee - IMSC
The Investment Management Standing Committee (IMSC) continues its work with the scope that it currently has. Consequently, the IMSC continues to deal with matters relating to the UCITS, AIFMD and MMF legislations which relate to investment management and investment funds. Its focus continues to include work on issues relating to collective investment management, covering both harmonised and non-harmonised investment funds.
Chair: Derville Rowland, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Ireland, Ireland
CCP Standing Committees
CCP Policy Committee - CCP PC
The scope and tasks of the CCP Policy Committee (CCP PC), which contributes to ESMA’s mission by addressing issues related to the assessment of risks to investors, markets and financial stability, including, the promotion of supervisory convergence and the development of technical advice related to CCP matters are also not subject to change. These include:
- Developing/updating technical/implementing standards, preparing advice to the EC or developing Q&As, Guidelines, Opinions and Recommendations on CCP related matters under EMIR or under any other EU legislation related to CCPs; and
- Developing reports assessing the implementation, the revision or potential extensions of EMIR or similar reports related to other EU legislation for matters affecting CCPs.
Proportionality and Coordination Committee
Proportionality and Coordination Committee - PCC
The Proportionality and Coordination Committee (PCC) works on certain transversal “institutional” tasks previously handled by the Supervisory Convergence Standing Committee (SCSC), such as supervisory independence of NCAs as well as the development of a system to support information exchange on fitness and propriety, as well as the tasks previously attributed to the International Relations Network (IRN), i.a., equivalence monitoring and international cooperation. The PCC also meets the obligations of the Advisory Committee on Proportionality (ACP) which was established following the 2019 review of the ESMA Regulation, with the task of advising ESMA on how to take into account differences in the sector with regard to nature, scale and complexity of risks, of business models and practices. The PCC thus has a role in providing recommendations on ESMA’s future work programme (which includes new regulatory products as well as the assessment of existing ESMA regulatory products that are subject to review).
Chair: Christopher Buttigieg, Chief Officer, Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), Malta