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Date Ref. Title Section Type Download Info Summary Related Documents Translated versions
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.
12/09/2012 2012/571 Julie Galbo joins ESMA’s Management Board Press Release PDF
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19/02/2013 2013/240 ESMA recommends EU Code of Conduct for proxy advisor industry , , Press Release PDF
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06/06/2013 2013/684 ESMA and the EBA publish final principles on benchmarks , , Press Release PDF
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04/07/2013 2013/889 ESMA Vice Chair and Management Board Election Results , Press Release PDF
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ESMA Vice Chair and Management Board Election Results Vice Chair Re-elected The Board of Supervisors of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has re-elected Carlos Tavares as its Vice Chair. Mr. Tavares, who is Chairman of the Portuguese Comissão Do Mercado De Valores Mobiliários (CMVM), has completed an initial 2½ year term and will now serve a further term of 2½ years in the position. Management Board Election The terms of three members of ESMA’s Management Board expired and elections were held by the Board of Supervisors to fill the positions for a term of 2½ years. Those elected are: Kostas Botopoulos, Hellenic Capital Markets Commission (HCMC), Greece – new member; Klaus Kumpfmüller, Finanzmarktaufsicht (FMA), Austria – new member; and Martin Wheatley, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), United Kingdom –re-elected for a second term. The outgoing members were Karl-Burkhard Caspari from the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) of Germany and Raul Malmstein of Estonia’s, Finantsinspektsioon. The Management Board, chaired by Steven Maijoor, the ESMA Chair, is responsible for ensuring that the Authority carries out its mission and performs the tasks assigned to it under the Regulation. The Management Board now consists of: Steven Maijoor, European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA); Kostas Botopoulos, Hellenic Capital Markets Commission (HCMC), Greece; Klaus Kumpfmüller, Finanzmarktaufsicht (FMA), Austria; Jean Guill, Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), Luxembourg; Gérard Rameix, Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), France; Julie Galbo, Finanstilsynet, Denmark and Martin Wheatley, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), United Kingdom. Reference 2013/889
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
29/09/2014 2014/1191 ESMA Management Board Election Results , , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority has elected three new members to its Management Board to replace outgoing members whose term will expire in October this year. The election took place at the Board of Supervisors meeting in Rome on 25 September and the successful candidates, who will serve a term of 2½ years beginning on the 1 November 2014, are: • Cyril Roux, Central Bank of Ireland (CBI), Ireland – new member; • Gérard Rameix, Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), France – ending first term and re-elected; and • Marek Szuszkiewicz, Komisja Nadzoru Finanswego (KNF), Poland – new member.
16/02/2015 2015/281 Press Release- ESMA publishes annual report and supervisory focus for CRAs and TRs , , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today an annual report (Report) on its direct supervisory activities in 2014 regarding credit rating agencies (CRAs) and trade repositories (TR). The report summarises the key actions taken during 2014 and outlines ESMA’s supervisory work plans for both sectors for 2015.
21/05/2015 2015/876 Press Release- ESMA publishes response to Capital Markets Union Green Paper , Press Release PDF
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15/06/2015 2018/933 Press release- ESMA launches new strategy and publishes 2014 annual report , Press Release PDF
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26/06/2015 2015/1049 ESMA announces the appointment of new chairs to Standing Committees , , 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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28/01/2016 2016/167 Anneli Tuominen appointed Vice Chair of ESMA , Press Release PDF
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05/02/2016 2016/247 ESMA to focus on governance, strategy, data and fees in 2016 supervision , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today published its 2016 supervisory priorities for credit rating agencies (CRAs) and trade repositories (TRs), as well as its annual report summarising the key supervisory work and actions undertaken during 2015.

2016 Supervisory Priorities

ESMA has seen a number of changes in the CRA and TR industries during 2015, with new applicants for registration in both sectors, and current authorised entities seeking to develop their businesses. This has included CRAs providing credit ratings on new asset classes or in new geographic areas, and TRs offering trade reporting services for other instrument types.

ESMA identifies its supervisory priorities on the basis of risk assessment exercises conducted throughout the year. In 2015 these identified high levels of governance and strategy risk, and operational risk in the CRA industry and high levels of risk associated with TRs’ data and systems. Therefore, in 2016 ESMA will focus its supervisory activities on:

  • CRA governance and strategy and the quality of credit ratings;
  • TR data quality and data access;
  • Fees charged and information security for all supervised entities.

Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:

“The credit rating and trade repository industries continue to evolve and develop. We are receiving new applications for registration and existing entities are seeking to develop their businesses by expanding into new areas. ESMA supports these developments where they contribute to the maintenance of stable and orderly financial markets.

“For this reason, in 2016 ESMA will focus its work on the quality of the services being provided by supervised entities. This means we will concentrate on issues surrounding CRA governance, strategy and ratings quality, along with data quality and access to TRs’ data with a broad focus on the fee structures and information security in both industries.”

2015 Annual Supervisory Review – CRAs and TRs

In 2015, following its risk-based approach, ESMA focused its supervisory efforts on CRAs’ governance, risk management and internal decision making and on CRAs’ business development processes. Some notable achievements were:

  • investigating the techniques being applied to validate credit rating methodologies by some CRAs and using the differences identified to encourage industry-wide debate about appropriate validation standards;
  • conducting an IT risk assessment which identified that CRAs are facing serious risks in several areas including IT operations and information security;
  • investigating the process of issuing credit ratings followed by one CRA and raising concerns about the preparation of issue ratings, the workloads of credit rating analysts and their involvement in the provision of ancillary services; and
  • concluding an enforcement case against DBRS Ratings Ltd for internal control failings and imposing a €30,000 fine for past record-keeping breaches. The case highlighted the need for CRAs to establish clear decision-making procedures, organisational structures and effective compliance functions.

The key risks TR supervision focused on in 2015 related to the quality of TRs’ data, access to data held by TRs and the operation and performance of TRs’ systems. In 2015, ESMA continued working with TRs to implement the data quality action plan established in September 2014 including:

  • harmonising TRs’ data validation;
  • monitoring the inter-TR reconciliation process; and
  • ensuring the harmonisation of the aggregate data made available on TRs’ websites.

ESMA has also been monitoring National Competent Authorities’ (NCAs) access to TR data. It has entered into a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to help third country regulatory authorities access TR data and is developing an IT system to allow NCAs to submit data queries through a centralised web portal.

11/02/2016 2016/284 ESMA publishes first supervisory convergence work programme , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its first Supervisory Convergence Work Programme 2016 (SCWP), which details the activities and tasks it will carry out to promote sound, efficient and consistent supervision across the European Union.

The publication of the SCWP expands on the high-level objective outlined in the Annual Work Programme 2016 and fulfils a key commitment in ESMA’s Strategic Orientation 2016-2020 to outline how it would refocus its resources from single rulebook to supervisory convergence work.

15/02/2016 2016/291 ESMA consults on implementation of the Benchmarks Regulation , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today published a Discussion Paper (DP) regarding the technical implementation of the incoming Benchmarks Regulation (BR). ESMA is seeking stakeholder’s input to inform its future proposals on draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) and Technical Advice (TA) to the European Commission.

Benchmarks are used in financial markets as a reference to price financial instruments and to measure performance of investment funds, as well as being an important element of many financial contracts and their integrity is critical to financial markets and to investors in particular. The BR’s objective is to improve the governance and control over the benchmark process, thereby ensuring their reliability and protecting users. The changes aim to:

  • improve the quality of the input data and methodologies used by benchmark administrators;
  • ensure that benchmark contributors provide adequate data and are subject to proper controls; and
  • ensure the supervision and viability of critical benchmarks.

Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:

“The Benchmark Regulation, once implemented, will ensure the accuracy, robustness and integrity of benchmarks and the benchmark setting process by clarifying the behaviours and standards expected of administrators and contributors. These requirements will ensure that benchmarks are produced in a transparent and reliable manner and so contribute to well-functioning and stable markets, and investor protection.

“ESMA, in preparing for its work on regulatory technical standards and technical advice, is keen to ensure that all affected stakeholders have their views heard on this important topic and we hope that all interested parties will take this opportunity to contribute.”

The DP is seeking stakeholder’s feedback in the following areas:

  • definition of benchmarks;
  • requirements for the benchmark oversight function;
  • requirements for the benchmark input data;
  • governance and control requirements for supervised benchmark contributors;
  • authorisation and registration of an administrator; and
  • transparency requirements regarding the benchmark methodology.

The exact date when the Benchmarks Regulation will enter into force is still unknown as it has not yet been published in the Official Journal of the EU.

Next steps

ESMA will hold an open hearing on the DP on 29 February 2016 in Paris. It will use the responses to its DP to develop detailed implementing measures on which it will publish a follow-up consultation in Q3 2016.

17/02/2016 2016/300 Warning- Unauthorised use of ESMA’s identity and logo , Press Release PDF
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Unauthorised use of ESMA’s identity and logo

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has been informed that its identity and logo have been used in communications targeting company employees in order to request the transfer of company money.

In addition, ESMA has been informed that attempts were made to use the name of a senior member of ESMA staff also for the purpose of fraudulent scams targeting a savings bank and a listed issuer.

Please note that all references to ESMA or any ESMA employees in these communications, which do not originate from ESMA, are entirely false and have been made without ESMA’s knowledge or consent.

In order to protect yourself against these unauthorised communications, ESMA advises you:

  • To check whether the e-mail received is genuine;
  • To inform your superior in case of suspicious e-mails;
  • To contact ESMA if any suspicion arises;
  • To contact the police;

Be aware that fraudsters might use ESMA’s name, logo or the name of an ESMA staff member, a bogus website which appears to be that of ESMA, and/or make bogus references to people said to work in ESMA. Be aware of the following when making your checks:

  • ESMA is a European Supervisory Authority established by a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council;
  • ESMA is based in Paris, France and has no affiliates or branch offices elsewhere;
  • ESMA’s emails end with the address @esma.europa.eu;
  • ESMA’s telephone number begins with the prefix +33 for France, no other prefix is valid;
  • ESMA’s official website can be found at www.esma.europa.eu
31/03/2016 2016/468 ESMA fines DTCC Derivatives Repository Limited €64,000 for data access failures , Press Release PDF
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ESMA fines DTCC Derivatives Repository Limited €64,000 for data access failures

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has fined the trade repository DTCC Derivatives Repository Limited (DDRL) €64,000, and issued a public notice, for negligently failing to put in place systems capable of providing regulators with direct and immediate access to derivatives trading data. This is a key requirement under the European Markets and Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) in order to improve transparency and facilitate the monitoring of systemic risks in derivatives markets.

This is the first time ESMA has taken enforcement action against a trade repository registered in the European Union (EU). DDRL is the largest EU registered trade repository.

ESMA found that DDRL failed to provide direct and immediate access to derivatives data from 21 March 2014 to 15 December 2014, a period of about nine months in which access delays increased from two days to 62 days after reporting and affected 2.6 billion reports. This was due to its negligence in:

  • failing to put in place data processing systems that were capable of providing regulators with direct and immediate access to reported data;
  • failing, once they became aware, to inform ESMA in a timely manner of the delays that were occurring; and
  • taking three months to establish an effective remedial action plan even while delays were worsening.

DDRL’s failures caused delays to regulators accessing data, revealed systemic weaknesses in its organisation particularly its procedures, management systems or internal controls and negatively impacted the quality of the data it maintained.

03/08/2016 2016/300 Warning- Unauthorised use of ESMA’s identity and logo Investor Warning PDF
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29/09/2016 2016/1407 ESMA consults on future rules for financial benchmarks , Press Release PDF
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