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22/10/2019 ESMA71-99-1236 EU enforcers must monitor closely new reporting standards , , Press Release PDF
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27/03/2019 ESMA71-99-1128 EU enforcers focus on new IFRS standards and non-financial information , , Press Release PDF
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26/10/2018 ESMA71-99-1052 European enforcers to focus on new IFRSs and non-financial information in issuers’ 2018 annual reports , , Press Release PDF
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03/04/2018 ESMA71-99-958 ESMA continues to focus on convergence in enforcement of IFRS across the EU , , Press Release PDF
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27/10/2017 ESMA71-99-623 Press Release on 2017 Enforcement Priorities , , , Press Release PDF
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10/04/2017 ESMA71-99-382 ESMA reports on EU accounting enforcement in 2016 Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its annual report on the enforcement and regulatory activities of accounting enforcers within the European Union (EU) in 2016.

ESMA, in 2016, continued strengthening supervisory convergence in the area of financial reporting, to improve the consistency and quality across the EU. ESMA achieves this through coordinating the national enforcers’ decisions, publishing annual enforcement priorities and publishing statements on areas of focus such as the implementation of the new standards IFRS 9 and IFRS 15.

21/12/2016 2016/1682 2016-1682 Press Release on Feedback Statement on ESEF , , , Press Release PDF
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10/11/2016 2016-1564 ESMA prepares for new International Financial Reporting Standard 9 , , , Press Release PDF
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28/10/2016 ESMA/2016/1527 ESMA sets enforcement priorities for listed companies’ 2016 financial statements , , Press Release PDF
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13/10/2016 2016 IFRS Press Release ESMA and IFRS® Foundation strengthen cooperation , , Press Release PDF
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29/03/2016 2016/406 ESMA publishes report on EU accounting enforcement in 2015 , , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its annual report on the enforcement and regulatory activities of accounting enforcers within the European Union (EU) in 2015. ESMA continued strengthening supervisory convergence in the area of financial reporting to improve the consistency and quality across the EU, notably by issuing guidelines, publishing statements on areas of focus and coordinating enforcement decisions.

ESMA and national enforcers examined 189 listed issuers’ compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), across 26 countries, in the areas identified by the 2014 European Common Enforcement Priorities. The examination resulted in enforcement action against 40 (21%) issuers with regulators finding shortcomings in the disclosure of assumptions and judgements related to the:

  • recognition, measurement and disclosures of deferred tax assets arising from tax losses;
  • assessment of control over an entity in the absence of majority equity interest or majority shareholding rights; and
  • classification of joint arrangements.

National enforcers also reviewed the interim or annual financial statements of around 1,200 issuers, representing approximately 20% of issuers of securities listed on EU regulated markets, which led to action against 273 (25%) of those issuers examined. Enforcers found the main deficiencies were related to the presentation of financial statements, impairment of non-financial assets and accounting for financial instruments.

30/06/2015 2015/1068 Press Release- ESMA publishes guidelines for issuers performance measures , , Press Release PDF
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31/03/2015 2015/662 Press release: ESMA sees improved transparency of issuers financial statements – more information needed on forbearance practices and impairment tests , , Press Release PDF
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28/10/2014 2014/1310 Press Release- ESMA sets enforcement priorities for listed companies’ financial statements , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its Public Statement on European Common Enforcement Priorities (Priorities) for 2014. These Priorities identify topics which ESMA, together with European national enforcers, see as a key focus of their examinations of listed companies’ financial statements.The common enforcement priorities encompass the following topics: Preparation and presentation of consolidated financial statements and related disclosures; Financial reporting by entities which have joint arrangements and related disclosures; and Recognition and measurement of deferred tax assets. These topics are important, as they either introduce significant changes to accounting practices following the implementation of new standards, or because the current economic environment poses particular challenges to issuers in the application of certain IFRS requirements, notably when forecasting future taxable profits in periods of low economic growth.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “The aim of the common enforcement priorities is to achieve a high level of harmonisation in enforcement and to contribute to consistency in the application of IFRS across the EU. “In view of the impact of new standards on financial information, ESMA believes that listed companies and their auditors should pay particular attention in the areas of consolidated financial statements, joint arrangements and valuation of deferred tax assets when preparing and auditing their 2014 IFRS financial statements.“This will contribute to ensuring the relevance and reliability of financial information provided to investors, and ultimately contributes to the proper functioning of Europe’s capital markets.”Furthermore, the Public Statement highlights two areas that should be considered in the preparation of the 2014 financial statements. ESMA and the national enforcers expect EU listed banks to provide relevant information in relation to material impacts resulting from the European Central Bank’s Comprehensive Assessment of the banking sector and on any changes in the level of regulatory capital required. In addition, ESMA considers that findings included in the 2013 ESMA Report on comparability of financial statements of financial institutions continue to be of high relevance for the 2014 annual reports.  The Public Statement also encourages listed companies to provide entity-specific disclosures, relevant to their performance and financial situation at the end of the period presented. ESMA believes that the early involvement and commitment of senior management in this respect is vital to ensure that listed companies give relevant and reliable information to investors.Application will be monitored and supervisedESMA and European national enforcers will monitor and supervise the application of the IFRS requirements outlined in the Priorities, with national authorities incorporating them into their reviews and taking corrective actions where appropriate. ESMA will collect data on how European listed entities have applied the Priorities and will publish its findings in early 2016.Notes for editors 2014/1309 ESMA Public Statement  - European common enforcement priorities for 2014 financial statements 2014/1293 ESMA Guidelines on enforcement of financial information 2013/1664 ESMA Review of Accounting Practices -  Comparability of IFRS Financial Statements of Financial Institutions in Europe ESMA is an independent EU Authority that was established on 1 January 2011 and works closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities responsible for banking (EBA), and insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA), and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). 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.

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.
13/02/2014 2014/174 ESMA consults on Guidelines for issuers performance measures , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched a consultation on Guidelines on Alternative Performance Measures (APMs). The aim of the guidelines is to encourage European issuers to publish transparent, unbiased and comparable information on their financial performance in order to provide users with a better understanding of their performance. Some examples of APMs include EBIT (Earnings Before Interest & Tax), EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation), free cash flow, underlying profit or net-debt. The Consultation Paper follows on from ESMA’s decision to review and replace the 2005 CESR Recommendation on APMs with Guidelines under Article 16 of the ESMA Regulation to tackle concerns about APMs used by issuers. Those relate mainly to APMs being used in such a manner as to present a confusing or optimistic picture of their performance by removing certain negative aspects, or even where this is not the case, APMs can be misleading if they are inconsistently calculated or presented. The proposed guidelines set out the principles that issuers should follow when presenting APMs, and are based on the requirements applicable to financial statements, as required by the IAS Regulation, mainly referring to their labelling, calculation, presentation and comparability.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “The proposed guidelines aim to improve the transparency and comparability of financial information published by issuers. APMs presented in an appropriate way may reduce information asymmetry among the users of financial statements.“These guidelines will ensure that APMs are used and presented in a coherent fashion across the EU, which will in turn contribute to restoring confidence in the accuracy and usefulness of financial information and improve investor protection.” The proposed guidelines would apply to issuers with securities traded on regulated markets and all competent authorities and other bodies in the EU that undertake enforcement activities under the Transparency Directive. The proposed guidelines are aligned with other regulations and guidance issued by securities regulators in the United States, Australia and Canada on this matter. The closing date for responses to this consultation is 14 May 2014 and ESMA expects to publish the final guidelines in the fourth quarter of 2014.

18/11/2013 2013/1665 ESMA- Financial institutions must improve financial statement disclosures , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA - Financial institutions must improve financial statement disclosures The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Review of the comparability and quality of disclosures in 2012 IFRS financial statements of listed financial institutions. The Review makes recommendations aimed at enhancing the transparency of financial statements through the improvement of disclosures in certain key areas including: credit risk and impact of forbearance practices; liquidity and funding risk; asset encumbrance and fair value measurement of financial instruments. ESMA, while finding that the required disclosures under IFRS were generally observed, also identified broad variations in the quality of the information provided, and found some cases where that was insufficient or insufficiently structured to allow comparability among financial institutions. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA has identified a number of areas where financial institutions can improve the information that they provide in their financial statements, particularly on issues such as credit risk and forbearance. “We expect that financial institutions and their auditors will take into account our recommendations when preparing and auditing the IFRS financial statements for 2013. “ESMA believes that accurate and comparable financial statements play a key role in maintaining both investor and market confidence, which in turn contributes to financial stability and promotes sound economic growth.” The Review ESMA decided to undertake a review of some of the key areas of the financial statements prepared by listed financial institutions across the EU in order to assess their comparability and the quality of disclosures. The review was based on a sample of 39 large European financial institutions from 16 jurisdictions, mostly consisting of banks that were included in the latest EBA stress-test exercise, most of which will move under the ECB supervision in 2014. The review focused on the following areas: • Structure and content of the income statement; • Liquidity and funding risk including the effects of asset encumbrance; • Hedging and the use of derivatives; • Credit risk with a focus on credit risk management, forbearance practices, non-performing loans and country concentration risk; and • Criteria used to assess impairment of equity securities classified as available-for-sale. Conclusions and Recommendations Some financial institutions provided disclosures that were not specific enough, lacked links between quantitative and narrative information, or provided disclosures that could not be reconciled to the primary financial statements. In particular, ESMA found: • it difficult to compare the income statements of the financial institutions, due to differences in their structure, the line items content and lack of comprehensive accounting policy disclosures; • that in many cases financial statements did not include sufficient information on the use of derivatives. The link between the business purpose and the classification in the financial statements was often unclear; and • significant divergence in the application of the significant or prolonged criteria when assessing impairment of the equity securities classified as available-for-sale. As a result of the conclusions and recommendations included in this review, ESMA expects enhanced disclosures to be provided in 2013 on exposures to credit risk, its mitigation e.g. by collateral, guarantees or credit default swaps, analysis of specific concentrations of credit risk and disclosure of impairment policies in order to enable investors to assess the overall credit risk. While progress was seen in the disclosures relating to forbearance practices following ESMA’s Public Statement in 2012, with more financial institutions providing information on forborne financial assets, ESMA expects financial institutions to provide more granular quantitative information on the effects of forbearance. This would enable investors to assess the level of credit risk related to forborne assets and their impact on the financial position and performance. Furthermore, ESMA believes that improving the level of transparency in the area of liquidity and funding risk, asset encumbrance and fair value measurement of financial instruments is needed as indicated in the ESMA Public Statement on the 2013 European Common Enforcement Priorities. Next Steps ESMA expects that national competent authorities will take appropriate enforcement actions where material breaches of the IFRS requirements have been identified as part of the review and will monitor their progress. As announced in the ESMA Public Statement on the 2013 European Common Enforcement Priorities, ESMA and national competent authorities will focus in the review of 2013 financial statements on a number of areas that are particularly relevant for financial institutions. ESMA will also provide suggestions to the IASB on those areas where it believes additional IFRS guidance can improve the quality and transparency of financial statements. Notes for editors 1. 2013/1664 Review of Accounting Practices - Comparability of IFRS Financial Statements of Financial Institutions in Europe. 2. 2013-1634 Public Statement - European common enforcement priorities for 2013 financial statements. 3. ESMA is an independent EU Authority that was established on 1 January 2011 and works closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities responsible for banking (EBA), and insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA), and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). 4. 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. Press Release 2013/1665 Final Report 2013/1664

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
11/11/2013 2013/1635 ESMA announces financial statements’ enforcement priorities for 2013 , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its European Common Enforcement Priorities (Priorities) for 2013. These Priorities are to be used by European Economic Area (EEA) national authorities in their assessment of listed companies’ 2013 financial statements. ESMA has defined these Priorities in order to promote the consistent application of IFRS across the EEA. Listed companies and their auditors should take account of the areas set out in the Priorities when preparing and auditing the IFRS financial statements for the year ending 31 December 2013. The Priorities identified refer to the application of IFRS in relation to: • Impairment of non-financial assets; • Measurement and disclosure of post-employment benefit obligations; • Fair value measurement and disclosure; • Disclosures related to significant accounting policies, judgements and estimates; and • Measurement of financial instruments and disclosure of related risks. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA, in setting out these enforcement priorities for listed companies financial statements, aims to ensure that the IFRS recognition, measurement and disclosure principles are consistently applied across the EEA. “Consistent application of accounting standards is a key factor in ensuring the transparency and accuracy of the financial information which investors rely upon, and ultimately contributes to the proper functioning of Europe’s capital markets. “Finally, considering the focus on asset quality in the financial sector, listed financial institutions and their auditors should pay particular attention to properly measuring financial instruments and the accurate disclosure of related risks.” ESMA and the national competent authorities will monitor the application of the IFRS requirements outlined in the Priorities, with national authorities incorporating them into their reviews and taking corrective actions where appropriate. In addition to these Priorities, national authorities may also focus on other locally relevant areas as part of their review. Therefore, national enforcement processes may not be limited to the specific issues contained in this statement. ESMA will collect data on how European listed entities have applied the Priorities and will publish its findings on these Priorities in early 2015. It expects to publish its findings on the 2012 Priorities in early 2014.

19/02/2013 2013/240 ESMA recommends EU Code of Conduct for proxy advisor industry , , Press Release PDF
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