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Date Ref. Title Section Type Download Info Summary Related Documents Translated versions
09/11/2018 ESMA35-36-1262 Technical Q&As on product intervention measures on CFDs and binary options Q&A PDF
147.84 KB
12/07/2019 ESMA35-36-1743 Statement Product Intervention Statement PDF
104.99 KB
15/12/2017 ESMA71-99-910 Statement on preparatory work of the European Securities and Markets Authority in relation to CFDs and binary options offered to retail clients , Statement PDF
209.47 KB
30/05/2018 ESMA71-99-991 Statement of the EBA and ESMA on the treatment of retail holdings of debt financial instruments subject to the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive , Statement PDF
926.71 KB
13/01/2021 ESMA35-43-2509 Reminder to firms of the MiFID II rules on ‘reverse solicitation’ in the context of the recent end of the UK transition period , Statement PDF
151.2 KB
06/05/2020 ESMA35-43-2391 Reminder of firms’ MiFID II conduct of business obligations in the context of increasing retail investor activity , Statement PDF
118.75 KB
21/02/2012 2012/113 Questions and Answers- A Common Definition of European Money Market Funds- updated February 2012 Q&A PDF
83.79 KB
The purpose of this document is to promote common supervisory approaches and practices in the application of the guidelines on a Common Definition of European Money Market Funds developed by CESR by providing responses to questions posed by the general public and competent authorities. The content of this document is aimed at competent authorities to ensure that in their supervisory activities their actions are converging along the lines of the responses adopted by ESMA. However, the answers are also intended to help management companies by providing clarity as to the content of CESR’s guidelines on a Common Definition of European Money Market Funds, rather than creating an extra layer of requirements.
21/11/2016 2016/1586 Questions and Answers on UCITS Directive Q&A PDF
454.07 KB
09/11/2020 ESMA31-67-127 Question and answers on Transparency Directive (TD) , , , , Q&A PDF
352.79 KB
28/05/2021 ESMA35-43-349 Q&As on MiFID II and MiFIR investor protection topics , Q&A PDF
1005.17 KB
31/03/2017 ESMA35-36-794 Q&A Relating to the provision of CFDs and other speculative products to retail investors under MiFID Q&A PDF
948.76 KB
16/07/2021 ESMA34-43-392 Q&A on the application of the UCITS Directive Q&A PDF
722.03 KB
31/05/2016 2016/774 Q&A on the Application of the EuSEF and EuVECA Regulations Q&A PDF
212.93 KB
16/07/2021 ESMA34-32-352 Q&A on the Application of the AIFMD , Q&A PDF
688.52 KB
02/02/2016 2016/165 Public Statement- Supervisory work on potential closet index tracking Statement PDF
258.17 KB

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is issuing this statement to inform stakeholders and especially investors about the potential for some European collective investment funds to be ‘closet index trackers’, and to give details on the work that ESMA has been doing in this context.

Introduction

  1. ESMA’s attention was drawn to an alleged practice in the European collective investment management industry whereby asset managers claim, according to their fund rules and investor information documentation, to manage their funds in an active manner while the funds are, in fact, staying very close to a benchmark and therefore implementing an investment strategy which requires less input from the investment manager. At the same time, it is alleged that these funds charge management fees in line with those of funds that are considered to be actively managed[1]. This practice is commonly referred to as ‘closet indexing’ or ‘index hugging’.
  2. In many EU Member States, NCAs have launched or are in the process of launching specific investigations, in addition to their regular monitoring and supervisory functions, to determine the potential extent of closet indexing in their jurisdictions, with a focus on equity funds at this stage. At the same time, the issue has been the subject of considerable attention by investor protection groups and the media throughout the European Union.

Reasons for issuing this statement

  1. The issues around ‘closet indexing’ form part of a broader issue on the effectiveness of investor disclosure and the legitimate expectations of investors in respect of the service provided by some asset managers. Nonetheless, the potential practice of closet indexing in Europe raises questions that merit closer analysis. The analysis carried out by ESMA (see paragraphs 9 to 16 for more details) indicates that there might be a small, but not insignificant number of funds in the EU equity fund sector that may be closet index trackers. If the existence of this practice were to be confirmed by further supervisory scrutiny carried out at national level, this could mean that:
  1. investors could be making investment decisions based on an expectation that they will be provided with a more active fund management service than they receive in practice and, therefore, may be paying higher management fees than that usually envisaged for a passive/not significantly active management service;
  2. investors may be exposed to a different risk/return profile than they expect; and
  3. some asset managers may not provide clear descriptions of how funds are managed in key disclosure documents such as the fund’s Prospectus and Key Investor Information Document (KIID).
  1. ESMA considers it important that fund managers take their commitments in disclosure documents seriously. Managers should expect supervisory consequences where evidence for incorrect disclosures is proven.
 

[1] ESMA recognises that management fees may depend on a number of factors.

21/07/2021 ESMA35-43-2748 Public statement- Results of the 2020 Common Supervisory Action (CSA) on MiFID II suitability requirements Statement PDF
161.08 KB
27/03/2020 ESMA31-67-742 Public statement on publication deadlines under the Transparency Directive , Statement PDF
88.72 KB
09/07/2020 ESMA34-39-109 Public statement on external support within the meaning of Article 35 of the MMF Regulation , Statement PDF
118.34 KB
28/06/2017 ESMA35-36-885 Product Intervention- General Statement , Statement PDF
123.04 KB

This statement provides an update on the European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) work in relation to the sale of contracts for differences (CFDs), binary options and other speculative products to retail investors.

 

ESMA has been concerned about the provision of speculative products such as CFDs, rolling spot forex and binary options to retail investors for a considerable period of time and has conducted ongoing monitoring and supervisory convergence work in this area. In this context, ESMA has previously published a number of Q&As on CFDs and other speculative products[1] to foster supervisory convergence, having established a CFD Task Force in July 2015, and also issued a further investor warning on the sale of CFDs, binary options and other speculative products in July 2016[2].

 

However, ESMA remains concerned that these supervisory convergence tools may not be sufficiently effective to ensure that the risks to consumer protection are sufficiently controlled or reduced. ESMA is therefore discussing the possible use of its product intervention powers under Article 40 of MiFIR to address investor protection risks in relation to CFDs, rolling spot forex and binary options.

 

ESMA is in the process of discussing the possible use of its product intervention powers under Article 40 of MiFIR, the possible content of any such measures, and how they could be applied. However, ESMA can confirm that the measures being discussed for (i) CFDs and rolling spot forex and (ii) binary options include proposals that take into account a number of measures that have been adopted or publicly consulted on by EU National Competent Authorities. These measures include leverage limits, guaranteed limits on client losses, and / or restrictions on the marketing and distribution of these products.

 

In accordance with Article 40 of MiFIR, any intervention measures must be approved by the ESMA Board of Supervisors and can only come into effect from 3 January 2018 at the earliest[3].

30/01/2019 ESMA71-99-1095 New IMSC Chair , Statement PDF
85.59 KB