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27/03/2019 ESMA32-63-672 Enforcement and Regulatory Activities of European Accounting Enforcers in 2018 , Report PDF
1.29 MB
17/07/2018 ESMA32-51-522 ESMA response to the European Commission consultation on the Fitness Check on the EU Framework for public reporting by companies , Report PDF
625.18 KB
03/04/2018 ESMA32-63-424 Enforcement and Regulatory Activities of Accounting Enforcers in 2017 , Report PDF
955.19 KB
12/07/2017 ESMA32-67-284 Review of Fair Value Measurement in the IFRS financial statements , Report PDF
1.58 MB
10/04/2017 ESMA32-51-382 Enforcement and Regulatory Activities of Accounting Enforcers in 2016 Report PDF
657.13 KB

The report provides an overview of the activities of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the accounting enforcers in the European Economic Area (EEA), hereafter ‘European enforcers’, when examining compliance of financial information provided by issuers with IFRS in 2016. It also provides an overview of the main activities performed at European level, quantitative information on enforcement activities in Europe as well as ESMA’s contribution to the development of the single rulebook in the area of financial reporting. In addition, it also outlines ESMA’s activities for 2017 in the area of corporate reporting following its Supervisory Convergence Work Programme.

21/12/2016 2016/1668 2016-1668 ESMA feedback statement on ESEF , , Report PDF
6.98 MB
28/07/2016 2016/1170 Report on EEA prospectus activity in 2015 , Report PDF
674.63 KB
29/03/2016 2016/410 ESMA Report on Enforcement and Regulatory Activities of Accounting Enforcers in 2015 , , Report PDF
692.52 KB

Executive Summary

This report provides an overview of the activities of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the accounting enforcers in the European Economic Area (EEA), thereafter, ‘European enforcers’, when examining compliance of financial information provided by issuers listed on regulated markets with the applicable financial reporting framework in 2015. It also provides an overview of the main activities performed at European level, quantitative information on enforcement activities in Europe as well as ESMA’s contribution to the development of the single rule book in the area of financial reporting. In addition, it also outlines ESMA’s activities for 2016 in the area of corporate reporting following its Supervisory Convergence Work Programme.

Supervisory Convergence

Following the implementation of the ESMA Guidelines on enforcement of financial information (hereafter the Guidelines on enforcement), ESMA and European enforcers have further strengthened supervisory convergence in the area of enforcement of financial information. The Guidelines on enforcement significantly contributed to the alignment of supervisory approaches/procedures through the use of harmonised key concepts for examinations, of a common set of enforcement priorities, of common rules for enforcement actions and of a single set of criteria for identifying accounting matters for which coordination at European level within ESMA is needed. In the last area, the number of accounting issues discussed by the enforcers before taking enforcement decisions increased significantly (65 emerging issues in 2015 vs 47 in 2014) and contributed to enhancing supervisory convergence as enforcers should take into account the outcome of these discussions when taking decisions .

In 2015 ESMA and European enforcers evaluated the level of compliance with IFRS in the areas identified as common enforcement priorities for the 2014 annual financial statements on a sample of 189 issuers. This assessment resulted in 40 enforcement actions being taken on shortcomings in the disclosures of assumptions and judgements supporting the recognition of deferred tax assets arising from tax losses, when assessing control or classifying joint arrangements.

As in previous years, ESMA together with European enforcers identified and included in their supervisory practices a set of common enforcement priorities significant for European issuers when preparing their 2015 IFRS financial statements. These priorities include the impact of the financial markets’ conditions in IFRS financial statements, presentation of the statement of cash flows and related disclosures as well as the fair value measurement of non-financial assets and related disclosures. Specific references to some of the 2014 common priorities and to the new IFRS requirements, notably on IFRS 9 Financial Instruments and IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers are also part of these priorities.

As a response to increased concerns in the markets, ESMA issued Guidelines on Alternative Performance Measures (hereafter the Guidelines on APMs) which are aimed at contributing to the publication of transparent, unbiased and comparable information by European issuers on their financial performance. The Guidelines on APMs will apply to APMs disclosed by issuers when publishing regulated information or persons responsible for the prospectus. European enforcers had to adapt their supervisory procedures and declare their compliance to these guidelines.

Also as part of the supervisory convergence activities, ESMA issued an Opinion on the application of the IFRS requirements on the cash contributions to Deposit Guarantee Schemes (DGS) in order to address the divergence in the application and enforcement in the accounting treatment applicable to these contributions and to prevent it from becoming widespread.

ESMA published a Statement referring to principles relevant for improving the quality of disclosures as a response to concerns expressed by users on the overload, lack of completeness or relevance of the information provided in the financial statements.

Finally, European enforcers examined the interim or annual financial statements of approximately 1,200 issuers representing an average examination rate of 20% of all IFRS issuers with securities listed on regulated markets, out of which 14% related to unlimited scope examinations and 6% to focused examinations. As a result of these activities, European enforcers took actions addressing material departures against 273 issuers, representing around 25% of the selected sample. The main deficiencies were identified in the areas of financial statements presentation, impairment of non-financial assets and accounting for financial instruments.

Single Rule Book

ESMA actively participated to the accounting standard setting process by providing European enforcers’ positions on all major new standards issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and by contributing to the discussions in the EFRAG Board and the Technical Expert Group (EFRAG TEG) meetings. Notably, ESMA provided specific input to the due process and endorsement advices on IFRS 9, in aspects related to investor protection and financial stability as well as on its interaction with IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts. In addition, ESMA also contributed to the consistent application of IFRS by engaging with the IASB and the IFRS Interpretations Committee (IFRS IC) when relevant issues were identified by enforcers and where a lack of clarity in IFRS could contribute to their divergent application.

In accordance with its mandate under the Transparency Directive, ESMA has submitted to the European Commission for endorsement the draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on the European Electronic Access Point (EEAP) and published the consultation paper on the draft RTS on European Single Electronic Format (ESEF).

Next Steps

ESMA published its Supervisory Convergence Work Programme which covers, among other topics, the activities of accounting enforcers. In addition to the regular activities, ESMA envisages to start carrying out peer reviews on some of the ESMA Guidelines on enforcement, to publish statements on the implementation of new major IFRS and to develop supervisory briefings to align procedures of European enforcers when monitoring and enforcing the Guidelines on APMs and disclosures in the financial statements.

25/09/2015 2015/1463 ESMA Consultation Paper on ESEF , , Consultation Paper PDF
2.34 MB
08/06/2015 2015/920 Impact of the Best Practice Principles for Providers of Shareholder Voting Research and Analysis , Consultation Paper PDF
337.08 KB
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.
26/09/2014 2014/1186 Consultation paper on draft RTS on prospectus related issues under the Omnibus II Directive , Consultation Paper PDF
670.42 KB
ESMA invites comments on all matters in this paper and in particular on the specific questions summarised in Annex I. Comments are most helpful if they:•    respond to the question stated;•    indicate the specific question to which they relate;•    contain a clear rationale; and•    describe any alternatives ESMA should consider.ESMA will consider all comments received by 19 December 2014. 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 consultation, 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 paper This document will be of interest to all stakeholders. It would primarily be of interest to investors, issuers, offerors or persons asking for admission to trading on a regulated market, as well as to any market participant who is affected by Directive 2003/71/EC of 4 November 2003 (the Prospectus Directive) as amended by Directive 2010/73/EU and Directive 2010/78/EU and its Regulation (Commission Regulation (EC) No 809/2004) and Delegated Regulations (Commission Delegated Regulation (EC) No 486/2012, No 862/2012, No 759/2013 and No 1392/2014.
21/03/2014 2014/300 Draft Regulatory Technical Standards on major shareholdings and indicative list of financial instruments subject to notification requirements under the revised Transparency Directive , Consultation Paper PDF
883.94 KB
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 Transparency Directive 2013/50/EC (TD) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 6 November 2013 and entered into force on 27 November 2013. ESMA is required to submit certain draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTSs) on major shareholdings (for details on each RTS, see the relevant section) to the European Commission (Commission or EC) by 27 November 2014. According to Articles 10 and 15 of Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing ESMA (ESMA Regulation), ESMA must conduct a public consultation before submitting draft RTSs to the Commission. This Consultation Paper (CP) therefore seeks stakeholders’ views on proposals for such RTSs. The input from stakeholders will help ESMA finalise the draft RTSs. Respondents to this CP are encouraged to consider the costs and benefits that the draft RTSs would imply and provide the relevant data to support their arguments or proposals. The CP also seeks stakeholders’ views on the proposed content of an indicative list of financial instru-ments referenced to shares and with economic effect similar to holding shares and entitlements to acquire shares. To respond
13/02/2014 2014/175 ESMA Guidelines on Alternative Performance Measures , Consultation Paper PDF
319.12 KB

Reasons for publication In October 2005, the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR), ESMA’s predecessor body, published a Recommendation on Alternative Performance Measures (“CESR Recommendation” CESR/05-178b). The CESR Recommendation was issued mainly in order to reinforce the objectives of Regulation (EC) No 1606/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 July 2002 on the application of international accounting standards. Given the CESR Recommendation has now been in force for more than 8 years, ESMA has decided to review it with the objective of strengthening the principles contained in it. ESMA now plans to re-issue the principles as ESMA [draft] guidelines thus ensuring that issuers and NCAs will make every effort to com-ply with them. Contents ESMA is issuing this Consultation Paper (CP) to inform market participants about the background to its decision to revise the CESR Recommendation and seek their views on such revision. Section II “Introduction” indicates the reasons for which ESMA believes that these [draft] guidelines on APMs should be issued. Section III “Scope and purpose of the [draft] guidelines” indicates when the [draft] guidelines apply and how these [draft] guidelines interact with financial statements. Section IV “Compliance and reporting obligations” describes how issuers and NCAs should comply with the [draft] guidelines. Section V “[Draft] Guidelines on APMs (Background)” describes the rationale followed in preparing the [draft] guidelines and explanations on the principles provided, which are included in full in Annex III. ESMA would appreciate any comments and answers from stakeholders on the questions contained in the consultation paper. For your convenience, the questions are summarised in annex II. Next steps ESMA will consider the feedback it receives to this consultation in 2014 and expects to publish final guide-lines in the fourth quarter of 2014.

19/07/2013 2013/1013 Guidelines on enforcement of financial information , Consultation Paper PDF
540.55 KB

Responding to this paper The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is seeking comments on all matters covered in this paper and in particular on the specific questions summarised in Annex 1. Comments are most helpful if they: respond to the question stated; indicate the specific question to which the comment relates; contain a clear rationale; and describe any alternatives ESMA should consider. Deadline ESMA will consider all comments received by 15 October 2013. 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 consultation, unless you request otherwise. Please clearly and prominently indicate in your submission any part you do not wish to be publicly 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 paper All interested parties are invited to respond to this consultation paper. It will primarily be of interest to those charged with the governance of issuers preparing financial information, users of financial information, auditors, and other parties who have a particular interest in financial reporting.

15/03/2013 2013/316 Draft Regulatory Technical Standards on specific situations that require the publication of a supplement to the prospectus , Consultation Paper PDF
672.89 KB
The Consultation Paper sets out a draft Regulatory Technical Standard concerning situations that require the systematic publication of a supplement to the prospectus which the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is obliged to develop in accordance with Article 16(3) of the Prospectus Directive. The listed situations are concrete examples of the general obligation in Article 16(1)  to mention in a supplement every significant new factor, material mistake or inaccuracy relating to information included in the prospectus which is capable of affecting the assessment of the securities. ESMA believes that the test whether a new factor, mistake or inaccuracy qualifies as a triggering event for producing a supplement is the same test as whether information should be included in the prospectus. As a consequence, significance or materiality should be assessed according to the same qualitative and/or quantitative criteria used when drafting the prospectus. In light of this, ESMA has identified a short list comprising 10 situations, which will always require issuers, offerors or persons asking for admission to trading to draw up and publish a supplement to the prospectus.The CP includes a draft Regulatory Technical Standard setting out the situations that would require a systematic publication of a supplement as well as the minimum content of such a supplement. Responses to the consultation should be submitted online by 28 June 2013.
01/10/2012 2012/607 Further amendments to ESMA’s Recommendations for the consistent implementation of the Prospectus Regulation regarding mineral companies , Consultation Paper PDF
481.61 KB
20/06/2012 2012/380 ESMA’s technical advice on possible delegated acts concerning the Prospectus Directive as amended by the Directive 2010/73/EU , Consultation Paper PDF
1.49 MB
Responses to this consultation paper should be submitted online by 20 August 2012.
22/03/2012 2012/212 Discussion Paper- An Overview of the Proxy Advisory Industry. Considerations on Possible Policy Options , Consultation Paper PDF
524.85 KB
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.
13/12/2011 2011/444 ESMA’s technical advice on possible delegated acts concerning the Prospectus Directive as amended by the Directive 2010/73/EU , Consultation Paper PDF
1.15 MB
The purpose of this consultation document from ESMA is to seek comments on the technical advice that ESMA proposes to give to the European Commission on a number of possible delegated acts.
10/11/2011 2011/373 Consultation paper- Considerations of materiality in financial reporting , Consultation Paper PDF
170.93 KB