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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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18/07/2017 ESMA71-99-521 ESMA recommends improvements in financial information enforcement , , 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.

27/10/2015 2015/1607 Improve quality of disclosures in financial statements , Press Release PDF
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27/10/2015 2015/1606 Common enforcement priorities for 2015 financial statements , Press Release PDF
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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.

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

11/11/2013 2013/1637 Keynote Speech at Financial Reporting Outlook (Ernst & Young) Conference, London , Speech PDF
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Steven Maijoor, Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), delivered the keynote speech at the Ernst & Young Financial Reporting Outlook Conference in London.

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.

19/07/2013 2013/1014 ESMA consults on accounting enforcement guidelines , Press Release PDF
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ESMA consults on accounting enforcement guidelines The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched a consultation on Guidelines on the enforcement of financial information published by listed entities in the European Union (EU). The Guidelines aim to strengthen and promote greater supervisory convergence in existing enforcement practices amongst EU national authorities, thereby ensuring the proper and rigorous enforcement of financial information disclosure practices in the EU. The Guidelines establish the principles to be followed in the enforcement process, by clearly defining: • enforcement and its scope; • expected characteristics of the enforcer; • acceptable selection techniques and other aspects of enforcement methodology; • the types of enforcement actions that may be available to enforcers; and • how enforcement activities are coordinated within ESMA. The Guidelines also propose that the coordination of European enforcers by ESMA should involve the development of coordinated views on accounting matters prior to national enforcement actions, the identification of common enforcement priorities and common responses to the accounting standard setter to ensure consistent application of the financial reporting framework. The proposed Guidelines apply to all competent authorities and any other bodies from the EU undertaking enforcement responsibilities under the Transparency Directive, and IFRS Regulation. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA believes that in order to achieve a proper and rigorous enforcement there is a need for a common EU approach to the enforcement of financial information disclosures. These proposed Guidelines, if applied consistently across the EU, will promote uniform application of the financial reporting standards, help avoid regulatory arbitrage by issuers and promote investor confidence in financial markets.” The closing date for responses to this consultation is 15 October 2013 and ESMA expects to publish the final guidelines in 2014.

20/12/2012 2012/854 ESMA issues statement on forbearance practices , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA issues statement on forbearance practicesThe European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued a Public Statement on the Treatment of Forbearance Practices in IFRS Financial Statements of Financial Institutions.  The statement deals with the definition of forbearance practices, their impact on the impairment of financial assets and the specific disclosures relating to forbearance activities that listed financial institutions should include in their IFRS financial statements for the year ending 31 December 2012.The statement results from ESMA’s concerns that a lack of consistency amongst issuers in this area raises issues over the transparency and accuracy of their financial statements.  ESMA believes that the consistent application of IFRS principles promotes comparability among listed financial institutions’ financial statements.This forms part of broader work on forbearance practices undertaken by regulators, including the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), who are examining the issue in the context of prudential reporting and macro-economic risks respectively.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair said:“ESMA and national authorities have become concerned at the lack of clarity in financial issuers’ financial statements regarding their treatment of forbearance-related practices, and the potential impact this might have on issuer’s financial performance and position, with consequences for investors and markets.“We have seen the impact of an inadequate approach to forbearance and impairment in previous financial crises and our aim is to avoid a similar situation developing here in the EU.  We believe that by promoting an appropriate and consistent approach to the definition of forbearance, measurement of impairment and related disclosures, investors can be confident that issuers’ financial statements accurately reflect credit risk exposures and the credit quality of their financial assets.”“A uniformly consistent approach on this issue in the EU will contribute to the proper functioning of financial markets, the maintenance of financial stability in the European Union and improved investor protection.”Forbearance and objective evidence of impairmentForbearance occurs when the borrower is considered to be unable to meet the terms and conditions of the contract due to financial difficulties and ,based on these difficulties, it decides to modify the terms and conditions of the contract to allow the borrower sufficient ability to service the debt or refinance.  Therefore, forbearance measures constitute objective evidence of impairment under IFRS.Forbearance and asset impairmentAs forbearance measures are extended due to the financial difficulties of the borrower, ESMA expects that issuers would have  when assessing the impairment of those loans:•    identified whether a loss event has had an impact on the estimated future cash flows;•    based impairment calculations on the estimated future cash flows and not the contractual cash flows; and•    applied a heightened level of scepticism when estimating the future cash flows, as well as other parameters used. Required disclosures in the year-end IFRS financial statementsThe disclosures to be provided by financial institutions, regarding their forbearance practices in their annual IFRS financial statements, should include the following qualitative aspects:•    details of the types of forbearance practices undertaken during the reporting period;•    description of the risks related to the forbearance practices undertaken, and how these risks are managed and monitored for internal management purposes;•    accounting policies applied in respect of the forborn assets; and•     description of any changes in these aspects from the prior period.The issuers should also provide quantitative disclosures in order to enable users to evaluate the impact of forbearance measures on the credit risk profile of their loan portfolios and their financial position and performance. ESMA expects such quantitative disclosures to be included in the 2012 financial statements as far as possible, and in any event they should be implemented and reflected in 2013’s annual financial statements.Next StepsESMA, together with EU national competent authorities, will continue to monitor the level of transparency that issuers provide in their financial statements on forbearance related measures and their impact on impairment, and will consider whether further action is required.  The statement complements ESMA’s common enforcement priorities for the 2012 year-end IFRS financial statements which were published in November 2012.

12/11/2012 2012/730 ESMA announces enforcement priorities for 2012 financial statements , Press Release PDF
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