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14/09/2011 2011/288 Call for evidence- Empty voting , , Consultation Paper PDF
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12/10/2011 2011/339 Press release- ESMA Stakeholder Group elects Guillaume Prache as chair, Judith Hardt and Peter de Proft as vice-chairs , Press Release PDF
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22/03/2012 2012/212 Discussion Paper- An Overview of the Proxy Advisory Industry. Considerations on Possible Policy Options , Consultation Paper PDF
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This Discussion Paper focuses on the development of the proxy advisory industry in Europe, which mainly serves institutional investors such as asset managers, mutual funds and pension funds. Following its fact-finding work in 2011, ESMA recognises the proxy advisory industry within Europe is, or is expected to be, growing in prominence and investors are, or are expected to be, increasingly using proxy advisor services. In this paper ESMA identifies several key issues related to the proxy advisory market which may have an impact on the proper functioning of the voting process. The range of policy options that ESMA will consider, and on which it seeks further input from market participants, consists of four broad areas, including: 1.    No EU-level action at this stage 2.    Encouraging Member States and/or industry to develop standards 3.    Quasi-binding EU-level regulatory instruments 4.    Binding EU-level legislative instruments ESMA will consider these options based on the feedback it receives from market participants, and, if appropriate, will undertake further policy action, either directly or by providing an opinion to the European Commission. The reason to bring up some policy options is due to the fact that proxy advisors are currently not regulated at a pan-European level. Nevertheless, there are relevant European rules that apply to investors (e.g. for UCITS management companies when exercising voting rights). In addition, there are also well-recognised corporate governance standards that apply to issuers at a national level (based on the “comply or explain approach”) and some complements to improve standards of stewardship among investors. All feedback received from this Discussion Paper will be duly considered. ESMA expects to publish a feedback statement in Q4 of 2012 which will summarise the responses received and will state ESMA’s view on whether there is a need for policy action in this area.
27/03/2012 2012/224 ESMA seeks views on proxy advisors , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA published last Thursday a discussion paper (ESMA/2012/212) on proxy advisors active in the European Union, seeking views of stakeholders. The paper aims at giving an overview of the state and structure of the market, advisor’s methodologies, and on possible policy options. Generally, proxy advisors assist (institutional) investors and asset managers in their voting policy and strategy.  Currently, there are no rules in place on a pan-European basis regarding proxy advisors. ESMA will use the feedback received on this paper to publish a feedback statement in Q4 of 2012, which will also include ESMA’s view on whether there is a need for policy action in the area.
12/11/2013 2013/1645 ESMA clarifies shareholder cooperation in takeover situations , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA clarifies shareholder cooperation in takeover situations The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a statement on practices governed by the Takeover Bid Directive (TBD), focused on shareholder cooperation issues relating to acting in concert and the appointment of board members. The statement contains a White List of activities that shareholders can cooperate on without the presumption of acting in concert. It also contains information on how shareholders may cooperate in order to secure board member appointments by setting out factors that national authorities may take into account when considering whether shareholders are acting in concert. The statement is in response to a request by the European Commission for clarity on these issues, following its 2012 report on the application of the TBD. It is based on information collected about the TBD’s application and common practices across the European Economic Area (EEA). The statement was prepared by the Takeover Bids Network, a permanent working group, under ESMA’s auspices, that promotes the exchange of information on practices and application of the TBD across EEA. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “Today’s statement means that shareholders can now be confident that they can expect authorities to take a consistent approach across the EEA to their cooperative activities. This consistency should in turn provide the reassurance needed by shareholders for the effective, sustainable engagement that is one of the cornerstones of listed companies’ corporate governance model allowing them to hold their boards to account. “ESMA believes that ensuring a consistent and convergent supervisory approach to this issue will be instrumental in affording equality of treatment to shareholders and investors across the EEA.” National competent authorities will have regard to the White List when determining whether shareholders are persons acting in concert under national takeover rules, but will also take into account all other relevant factors in making their decisions. Shareholder cooperation and acting in concert - The White List When shareholders cooperate to engage in any of the activities listed below, that cooperation will not, in and of itself, lead to a conclusion that the shareholders are acting in concert: 1. entering into discussions with each other about possible matters to be raised with the company’s board; 2. making representations to the company’s board about company policies, practices or particular actions that the company might consider taking; 3. other than in relation to the appointment of board members, exercising shareholders’ statutory rights; 4. other than in relation to a resolution for the appointment of board members and insofar as such a resolution is provided for under national company law, agreeing to vote the same way on a particular resolution put to a general meeting. If shareholders cooperate in an activity not included on the White List, this will also not result in an automatic assumption that they are acting in concert. Each case will be determined on its own particular facts. Cooperation in relation to the appointment of members of the board of a company The White List does not include any activity relating to cooperation on board appointments, due to differences in Member State approaches towards determining whether shareholders who cooperate in relation to board appointments are acting in concert. However, shareholders may wish to cooperate in order to secure board members’ appointment in a company in which they have invested. This cooperation might take the form of: 1. entering into an agreement or arrangement (informal or formal) to exercise their votes in the same way in order to support the appointment of one or more board members; 2. tabling a resolution to remove one or more board members and replace them with one or more new board members; or 3. tabling a resolution to appoint one or more additional board members. The statement therefore indicates which factors may be considered when assessing whether such cooperation is indeed an act of acting in concert. ESMA will keep the public statement under review in order to ensure that it continues to reflect accurately the practices and application of the TBD in the Member States. 2013/1642 Public Statement - Information on shareholder cooperation and acting in concert under the Takeover Bids Directive. 2013/1643 Cover Note to the Public Statement
12/12/2013 2013/1909 ESMA appoints new Securities Markets Stakeholders Group members , Press Release PDF
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ESMA appoints new Securities Markets Stakeholders Group members The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has announced the composition of its Securities Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) following its approval by ESMA’s Board of Supervisors. These individuals will begin a term of 2½ years on 1 January 2014 and will replace the group whose mandate expires on 31 December 2013. The new SMSG will be composed of 30 individuals drawn from across 17 Member States and representing ESMA’s key stakeholder constituencies – consumer representatives (4), users of financial services (5), financial market participants (10), financial institution employees (2), small and medium sized enterprises (1) and academics (8). A number of the incoming members have previously served in the first SMSG. The SMSG was set up to facilitate consultation with key financial market stakeholders on all aspects of ESMA’s work. The SMSG provides ESMA with opinions and advice on policy workstreams and must be consulted on technical standards and guidelines and recommendations. In addition, the Stakeholder Group is expected to notify ESMA of any inconsistent application of European Union law as well as inconsistent supervisory practices in the Member States. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “The SMSG makes an important contribution to ESMA’s policy development, providing us with timely and valuable input on how our regulatory activities may potentially affect the different users of financial markets. “We have enjoyed a very good working relationship with the outgoing members of the SMSG who, as well as contributing their views and experience to our policymaking discussions, have been pioneers in developing the role of their group as part of the new European System of Financial Supervision. I look forward to working with the SMSG’s new members on a host of challenging issues.” The SMSG meets at least four times a year, and in addition meets twice with ESMA’s Board of Supervisors. Their advice and opinions are published on ESMA’s website.
19/02/2013 2013/240 ESMA recommends EU Code of Conduct for proxy advisor industry , , Press Release PDF
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28/02/2013 2013/266 ESMA and the EBA warn investors about contracts for difference , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) have published a warning to retail investors about the dangers of investing in contracts for difference (CFDs).The two authorities are concerned that during the current period of low investment returns, inexperienced retail investors across the EU are being tempted to invest in complex financial products, which they may not fully understand and which can end up costing them money they cannot afford to lose.Andrea Enria and Steven Maijoor, Chairs of the EBA and ESMA, warned:“Retail investors across the EU should be aware of all the risks arising from investing in CFDs.  These products appear to promise investors substantial returns at a low cost but may ultimately cost them far more than they may have intended or could afford to lose.“CFDs are complex products that are not suitable for all types of investors, therefore you should always make sure that you understand how the product you are buying works, that it does what you want it to do and that you are in a position to take the loss if it fails.”Investors trading CFDs should protect themselvesInvestors should only consider trading in CFDs if they have extensive experience of trading in volatile markets, if they fully understand how these operate and have sufficient time to manage their investment on an active basis.Investors should carefully read their agreement or contract with the CFD provider before making a trading decision.  They should make sure that they at least understand the following: •    the costs of trading CFDs with the CFD provider,  •    whether the CFD provider will disclose the margins it makes on their trades, •    how the prices of the CFDs are determined by the CFD provider, •    what happens if they hold their position open overnight,  •    whether the CFD provider can change or re-quote the price once an investor places an order, •    whether the CFD provider will execute investor’s orders even if the underlying market is closed, •    whether there is an investor or deposit protection scheme in place in the event of counterparty or client asset issues.If investors do not understand what’s on offer, they should not trade. Further information Always check if the CFD provider is authorised to do investment business in your country.  You can check this on the website of the CFD provider’s national regulator.  A list of all the national regulatory authorities, and their websites, is also available from:•    ESMA at http://www.esma.europa.eu/investor-corner; and •    EBA at http://www.eba.europa.eu/Publications/Consumer-Protection-Issues.aspx.The investor warning on CFDs will be translated into the official EU languages.Concurrently with the publication of this warning, the EBA is addressing an internal Opinion under Art. 29 of the EBA Regulations to national supervisory authorities on the prudential supervision of CFDs. Notes for editors1.    ESMA/2013/267 Investor Warning – Contracts for Difference (CFDs)2.    ESMA and the EBA are independent EU Authorities that were established on 1 January 2011 and work closely with the European other European Supervisory Authority responsible for insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA).3.    ESMA’s mission is to enhance the protection of investors and promote stable and well-functioning financial markets in the European Union (EU).  As an independent institution, ESMA achieves this aim by building a single rule book for EU financial markets and ensuring its consistent application across the EU. ESMA contributes to the regulation of financial services firms with a pan-European reach, either through direct supervision or through the active co-ordination of national supervisory activity.4.    The EBA has a broad remit in the areas of banking, payments and e-money regulation, as well as on issues related to corporate governance, auditing and financial reporting. Its tasks include the protection of consumers and depositors, preventing regulatory arbitrage, guaranteeing a level playing field (especially by building a single rule book for the European banking system) strengthening international supervisory coordination, promoting supervisory convergence and providing advice to EU institutions. Further information:Reemt SeibelESMA Communications Officer Tel:   +33 (0)1 58 36 4272Mob: +33 6 42 48 55 29Email: reemt.seibel@esma.europa.eu David CliffeESMA Senior Communications OfficerTel:   +33 (0)1 58 36 43 24Mob: +33 6 42 48 29 06Email: david.cliffe@esma.europa.euRomain SadetEBA Communications Officer Tel:   +44 (0) 207 997 5914Mob: +44 (0) 7785 463278  Email: romain.sadet@eba.europa.eu     Franca CongiuEBA Communications OfficerTel:   +44 (0) 207 382 1781Mob: +44 (0) 7771 376395Email: francarosa.congiu@eba.europa.eu
28/06/2013 2013/845 Joint Committee of ESAs holds its first Consumer Protection Day Press Release PDF
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18/07/2013 2013/992 ESMA finalises supervisory co-operation agreements for alternative investment , , Press Release PDF
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07/02/2014 2014/152 ESMA tells firms to improve their selling practices for complex financial products , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an Opinion on practices to be observed by investment firms when selling complex financial products to investors. ESMA is issuing this opinion to remind national supervisors and investment firms about the importance of requirements governing selling practices under MiFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive).ESMA is issuing this Opinion as it is concerned that firms’ compliance with the MiFID selling practices when selling complex products may have fallen short of expected standards. The concerns relate mainly to the suitability and appropriateness of complex products that are increasingly within the grasp of retail investors. The Opinion sets out ESMA’s minimum expectations with respect to the conduct of firms when selling complex products to retail investors.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “Investment firms increasingly sell complex financial products such as warrants, different types of structured bonds, derivatives and asset-backed securities, which were previously accessible mainly to professional investors, to retail investors.“ESMA is concerned that this trend greatly increases the risk that customers do not understand the risks, costs and expected returns of the products they are buying. Therefore, we believe that it is crucial that investment firms act responsibly and in the best interest of their clients.“The level of concern regarding the risk posed by these products to investor protection when MiFID rules are not fully respected is such that we have also issued an EU-wide warning to investors in order to raise awareness about the risks arising from investing in these types of complex products.” The marketing and sale of complex financial products, in particular to retail investors, is an important investor protection area where ESMA wants to ensure a consistent approach to the application of the MiFID conduct business rules - thereby improving supervisory convergence.The areas covered by the Opinion relate to: firms’ organisation and internal controls; the assessment of the suitability or appropriateness of certain products; disclosures and communications in relation to products; and compliance monitoring of the sales functions.
25/02/2014 2014/225 ESMA Stakeholder Group elects Chair and Vice-Chairs , Press Release PDF
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ESMA Stakeholder Group elects Chair and Vice-Chairs The Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has elected Jesper Lau Hansen as its new Chair, and Judith Hardt and Peter De Proft, as its Vice-Chairs. The election took place at the first meeting of its new membership on 29 January 2014, following their appointment by ESMA’s Board of Supervisors in November 2013. The new Chair, Dr. Jesper Lau Hansen, is currently Professor of Company Law and Financial Markets Law at Copenhagen University and represents the academic constituency. The two Vice-Chairs, Judith Hardt, Director General, Federation of European Stock Exchanges (FESE), and Peter De Proft, Director General, European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), represent financial market participants. Dr. Jesper Lau Hansen, SMSG Chair, said: “I look forward to chairing the SMSG and, together with the Vice-Chairs, representing all securities markets stakeholders by ensuring that those who are directly affected by ESMA’s regulations have their voice heard in their preparation.” Mr. Peter De Proft, SMSG Vice-Chair said: “I am honoured to be appointed Vice Chair of this group for a second term, together with my colleague and Vice Chair, Judith Hardt and looking forward to working as a team with the Chair. “Our mandate is straightforward, but crucial. We must continue to ensure ongoing engagement with industry stakeholders. We are there to provide timely and insightful advice for ESMA and to support them in their mission of protecting investors while promoting stable and well-functioning financial markets in the European Union”. Ms. Judith Hardt, SMSG Vice-Chair said: “The securities markets stakeholder group has a strategic role to play in advising ESMA on the implementation of level 1 measures. Our priority is to help the group formulate timely and useful advice for ESMA at a critical time. I look forward to working together with the Chair and my colleague Peter De Proft.” The SMSG Chair and Vice-Chairs will serve for a period of 2½ years to coincide with the Group’s mandate.
03/12/2015 2015/1835 ESMA seeks candidates for its stakeholder representative group , Press Release PDF
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18/12/2015 2015/1871 Proxy advisors take steps towards increased transparency , , Press Release PDF
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08/06/2015 2015/920 Impact of the Best Practice Principles for Providers of Shareholder Voting Research and Analysis , Consultation Paper PDF
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Responding to this Call for Evidence ESMA invites comments on all matters in this paper and in particular on the specific questions presented throughout the paper. Comments are most helpful, if they:a.    respond to the question stated;b.    indicate the specific question to which they relate; andc.    contain a clear rationale.  ESMA will consider all comments received by 27 July 2015. All contributions should be submitted online at www.esma.europa.eu under the heading ‘Your input - Consultations’. Publication of responses All contributions received will be published following the close of the Call for Evidence, unless you request otherwise.  Please clearly and prominently indicate in your submission any part you do not wish to be publically disclosed. A standard confidentiality statement in an email message will not be treated as a request for non-disclosure. A confidential response may be requested from us in accordance with ESMA’s rules on access to documents. We may consult you, if we receive such a request. Any decision we make not to disclose the response is reviewable by ESMA’s Board of Appeal and the European Ombudsman.Data protection Information on data protection can be found at www.esma.europa.eu under the heading Legal Notice.Who should read this Call for Evidence This Call for Evidence will be of relevance to persons and entities participating in the voting chain, particularly proxy advisors, investors, companies listed in Europe, proxy solicitors and consultants.
01/07/2016 2016/1066 ESMA appoints new Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published the new list of members of its Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) following its approval by its Board of Supervisors. The selected individuals begin a 2½ year term on 1 July 2016 and will replace the group whose mandate expired on 30 June 2016.

The new SMSG will be composed of 30 individuals drawn from across 13 Member States and representing ESMA’s key stakeholder constituencies – financial market participants (10), employee representatives (2), consumer representatives (6), users of financial services (3), small and medium sized enterprises (2) and academics (7). The new SMSG will feature 27 new members. A number of the incoming members have served in the previous SMSG.

The SMSG was established according to ESMA’s founding regulation and facilitates consultation between ESMA and its key financial market stakeholders on its work. The SMSG provides ESMA with opinions and advice on its policy work and must be consulted on technical standards and guidelines and recommendations. Additionally, it can inform ESMA of any inconsistent application of European Union law as well as inconsistent supervisory practices in Member States.

03/02/2020 ESMA70-156-1757 Consultation Paper- MiFIR report on SI Consultation Paper PDF
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25/09/2020 ESMA70-156-2013 Consultation Paper on the functioning of Organised Trading Facilities , Consultation Paper PDF
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04/02/2020 ESMA70-156-2188 Consultation paper on Review Report Transparency Equity DVC TOS Consultation Paper PDF
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10/03/2020 ESMA70-156-2189 Consultation paper on Review Report on Transparency for Non-equity TOD Consultation Paper PDF
7.93 MB