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03/02/2017 ESMA80-1467488426-27 Supervision Annual Report 2016 and Work Programme 2017 , Report PDF
2.49 MB
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
29.29 KB
27/03/2012 2012/224 ESMA seeks views on proxy advisors , , Press Release PDF
170.89 KB
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
140.27 KB
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.
21/03/2014 2014/302 ESMA consults on major shareholders disclosures , Press Release PDF
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ESMA consults on major shareholders disclosures The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched a consultation on draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) under the revised Transparency Directive relating to the notification of major shareholdings and the indicative list of financial instruments subject to notification requirements. The consultation runs until 30 May 2014. The revised Directive harmonises transparency requirements relating to information about issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on an EU regulated market. This harmonisation aims to enhance transparency in respect of the ownership structure of an issuer, to improve legal certainty and reduce the administrative burden for cross-border investors. The revised Transparency Directive also addresses the issue of the disclosure regime for new types of financial instruments that expose investors to an economic risk similar to when holding shares. The draft RTS support these objectives by facilitating the creation of a harmonised regime regarding the aggregation of holdings of shares and financial instruments, the calculation of notification thresholds and the exemptions from notification requirements. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “Transparency is essential for ensuring that markets function properly and investors are afforded adequate protection when making investment decisions. “Today’s proposals support the aims of the Transparency Directive to improve the effectiveness of the transparency regime on corporate ownership. Clarity on this issue will ensure that shareholders and potential investors are in possession of the information needed to make informed investment decisions.” Draft Regulatory Technical Standards The draft RTS on the major shareholding notifications addresses the following issues: • Method of calculation of 5% threshold exemption regarding trading books and market makers; • Calculation method regarding a basket of shares or an index; • Methods for determining the ‘delta’ for calculating voting rights; and • Exemptions regarding notification of financial instruments. The Consultation Paper also sets out the proposed content of an indicative list of financial instruments which should be subject to the notification requirements laid down in the Directive, and outlines the processes for updating that list. The input from stakeholders will help ESMA in drafting the final report and determining the content of the draft RTS. Comments to this consultation can be submitted via ESMA’s website and the deadline for submission is 30 May 2014.
03/12/2015 2015/1835 ESMA seeks candidates for its stakeholder representative group , Press Release PDF
88.54 KB
18/12/2015 2015/1871 Proxy advisors take steps towards increased transparency , , Press Release PDF
157.9 KB
01/07/2016 2016/1066 ESMA appoints new Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group , Press Release PDF
156.76 KB

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.

21/12/2016 2016/1668 2016-1668 ESMA feedback statement on ESEF , , Report PDF
6.98 MB
21/12/2016 2016/1682 2016-1682 Press Release on Feedback Statement on ESEF , , , Press Release PDF
225.03 KB
05/02/2016 2016/234 ESMA’s supervision of credit rating agencies and trade repositories- 2015 annual report and 2016 work plan. , Report PDF
2.08 MB

The European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) annual report and work programme has been prepared according to Article 21 of Regulation 1060/2009 on credit rating agencies as amended (the CRA Regulation) and Article 85 of Regulation 648/2012 on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (EMIR). It highlights the direct supervisory activities carried out by ESMA during 2015 regarding credit rating agencies (CRAs) and trade repositories (TRs) and outlines ESMA’s main priorities in these areas for 2016.

ESMA adopts a risk-based approach to the supervision of CRAs and TRs in accordance with its overall objectives of promoting financial stability and orderly markets and enhancing investor protection. This risk-based approach requires the analysis of information from a variety of sources and the application of multiple supervisory tools including day-to-day supervision, cycle of engagement meetings with supervised entities, on-site inspections and dedicated investigations.

In order to build on the expertise that ESMA has developed through its supervision of CRAs and TRs, ESMA created a single Supervision Department in November 2015. ESMA intends to draw on the best practices identified from the supervision of both types of entity to further enhance its supervisory effectiveness in future.

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.

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.

01/07/2016 2016/SMSG/009 SMSG End of Term Report 2016 Report PDF
1.55 MB
17/07/2020 ESMA22-105-2740 SMSG- End of Term Report 2020 Report PDF
723.28 KB
26/03/2019 ESMA22-106-1683 SMSG advice on integrating sustainability risks and factors in MIFID, the UCITS Directive and AIFMD Report PDF
142.78 KB
25/03/2019 ESMA22-106-1684 SMSG advice on draft RTS amending the PRIIPs Delegated Regulation Report PDF
96.91 KB