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Date Ref. Title Section Type Download Info Summary Related Documents Translated versions
16/11/2012 2012/752 Call for expressions of interest: Consultative Working Group for ESMA’s Financial Innovation Standing Committee Reference PDF
141.98 KB
To apply, please use the below Application form
05/07/2013 2013/ITMG/14 Terms of Reference IT Management and Governance Group Reference PDF
46.39 KB
27/03/2014 2014/332 Structured Retail Products- Good practices for product governance arrangements , Opinion PDF
203.1 KB
Legal basis 1.    Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation)  sets out the European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) scope of action, tasks and powers which include “enhancing customer protection”, and “foster[ing] investor protection”.  2.    In order to continue delivering on this investor protection statutory objective, ESMA is issuing this opinion on certain aspects linked to the manufacturing and distribution of structured retail products (SRP). This opinion takes into account relevant work done in this field both at European and interna-tional level.  3.    This opinion is without prejudice to the requirements for the provision of investment services and activities established in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID)  and its implementing measures (notably, Directive 2006/73/EC), the regulatory developments arising from the MiFID review or existing product rules that may apply to SRPs.  4.    ESMA’s competence to deliver an opinion is based on Article 29(1) (a) of the ESMA Regulation. In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation, the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion. Background 5.    In its July 2013 report on ‘Retailisation in the EU’ , ESMA highlighted that, from a consumer protec-tion perspective, retail investors may face difficulties in understanding the drivers of risks and returns of structured products. If retail investors do not properly understand the risk and reward profile of structured products, and if the products are not properly assessed against the risk appetite of retail investors, retail investors might be exposed to unexpected losses and this might lead to complaints, reputational risks for manufacturers and distributors, and a loss of confidence in the regulatory framework and, more broadly, in financial markets. 6.    In 2013, ESMA mapped the measures adopted in the EU Member States in relation to complex products in order to identify issues and to better understand the rationale behind national initiatives (by looking at similarities and differences in the various approaches, and reviewing how complexity has been treated in the different EU Members States). 7.    As a result, ESMA has developed a broad set of non-exhaustive examples of good practices, attached as Annex 1 hereto, illustrating arrangements that firms - taking into account the nature, scale and complexity of their business - could put in place to improve their ability to deliver on investor protection regarding, in particular, (i) the complexity of the SRPs they manufacture or distribute, (ii) the nature and range of the investment services and activities undertaken in the course of that business, and (iii) the type of investors they target. These good practices should also be a helpful tool for competent authorities in carrying out their supervisory action. Opinion 8.    ESMA considers that sound product governance arrangements are fundamental for investor protec-tion purposes, and can reduce the need for product intervention actions by competent authorities. 9.    ESMA considers that, when supervising firms manufacturing or distributing an SRP, competent authorities should promote, in their supervisory approaches, the examples of good practices for firms set out in Annex 1 hereto. 10.    Although the good practices set out in Annex 1 hereto focus on structured products sold to retail investors, ESMA considers that they may also be a relevant reference for other types of financial in-struments (such as asset-backed securities, or contingent convertible bonds), as well as when financial instruments are being sold to professional clients. 11.    The exposure to risk is an intrinsic feature of investment products. The good practices set out in Annex 1 refer to product governance arrangements and do not (and cannot) aim at removing investment risk from products.
27/03/2014 2014/334 ESMA issues good practices for structured retail product governance , Press Release PDF
105.37 KB
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an opinion on structured retail products, setting out good practices for firms when manufacturing and distributing these products.
31/07/2014 2014/944 Potential Risks Associated with Investing in Contingent Convertible Instruments , Statement PDF
106.1 KB
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is issuing this statement to clarify to institutional investors risks from a newly emerging asset class referred to by most market participants as contingent convertibles instruments (CoCos). If they work as intended in a crisis CoCos will play an important role to inhibit risk transfer from debt holders to taxpayers. They along with standards to improve the quality and quantity of bank capital reflect a considerate response to the former regulatory capital framework. However, it is unclear as to whether investors fully consider the risks of CoCos and correctly factor those risks into their valuation. ESMA believes there are specific risks to CoCos and that investors should take those risks into consideration prior to investing in these instruments.
18/11/2014 2014/1371 Call for expressions of interest: Consultative Working Group for ESMA’s Financial Innovation Standing Committee Reference PDF
210.41 KB
ESMA today launches a process to renew the composition of the Consultative Working Group (‘CWG’) for the Financial Innovation Standing Committee (’FISC’). ESMA is therefore calling for expressions of interest from stakeholders. Application procedure, closing date Relevant stakeholders meeting the required selection criteria and wishing to apply for a position on the CWG are invited to submit, in English: a completed application form (see separate document), and a detailed curriculum vitae (CV), preferably in the EU CV format - the link to the template for this is: http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/europass/home/hornav/Downloads/Europas... It is optional for applicants to attach a motivation letter (2 pages maximum). Unclear or incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications must be submitted by email using the application form by no later than 31 December 2014 to the following email addresses: patrick.armstrong@esma.europa.eu and anne.chone@esma.europa.eu.
18/12/2014 2014/1378 Opinion- Investment-based crowdfunding Opinion PDF
460.92 KB
Crowdfunding is a means of raising finance for projects from ‘the crowd’ often by means of an internet-based platform through which project owners ‘pitch’ their idea to potential backers, who are typically not professional investors.  It takes many forms, not all of which involve the potential for a financial return.  ESMA’s focus is on crowdfunding which involves investment, as distinct from donation, non-monetary reward or loan agreement.  Crowdfunding is relatively young and business models are evolving. EU financial services rules were not designed with the industry in mind. Within investment-based crowdfunding a range of different operational structures are used so it is not straightforward to map crowdfunding platforms’ activities to those regulated under EU legislation. Member States and NCAs have been working out how to treat crowdfunding, with some dealing with issues case-by-case, some seeking to clarify how crowdfunding fits into existing rules and others introducing specific requirements.To assist NCAs and market participants, and to promote regulatory and supervisory convergence, ESMA has assessed typical investment-based crowdfunding business models and how they could evolve, risks typically involved for project owners, investors and the platforms themselves and the likely components of an appropriate regulatory regime. ESMA then prepared a detailed analysis of how the typical business models map across to the existing EU legislation, set out in this document.
18/12/2014 2014/1560 Advice- Investment-based crowdfunding Final Report PDF
482.2 KB
Crowdfunding is a means of raising finance for projects from ‘the crowd’ often by means of an internet-based platform through which project owners ‘pitch’ their idea to potential backers, who are typically not professional investors.  It takes many forms, not all of which involve the potential for a financial return.  ESMA’s focus is on crowdfunding which involves investment, as distinct from donation, non-monetary reward or loan agreement.Crowdfunding is relatively young and business models are evolving. EU financial services rules were not designed with the industry in mind.  Within investment-based crowdfunding a range of different operational structures are used so it is not straightforward to map crowdfunding platforms’ activities to those regulated under EU legislation. Member States and NCAs have been working out how to treat crowdfunding, with some dealing with issues case-by-case, some seeking to clarify how crowdfunding fits into existing rules and others introducing specific requirements.To assist NCAs and market participants, and to promote regulatory and supervisory convergence, ESMA has assessed typical investment-based crowdfunding business models and how they could evolve, risks typically involved for project owners, investors and the platforms themselves and the likely components of an appropriate regulatory regime. ESMA then prepared a detailed analysis of how the typical business models map across to the existing EU legislation, set out in sections 1 to 6 of this document.
18/12/2014 2014/1568 Press Release- Investment-based crowdfunding needs EU-wide common approach , Press Release PDF
155 KB
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an Opinion along with an Advice on Investment-based crowdfunding. The Opinion clarifies the EU rules applicable to crowdfunding, while the Advice highlights issues for consideration by the EU institutions to achieve greater regulatory and supervisory convergence within the EU.The Opinion is addressed to the national competent authorities (NCA) and provides clarity on how crowdfunding business models fit within the existing EU regulatory framework. It outlines how existing EU rules are likely to apply to crowdfunding platforms, depending on the precise business model used. It also provides guidance to NCAs who may be considering how to regulate platforms operating outside the scope of the harmonised EU rules on the key risks inherent to crowdfunding and the key components of a regulatory regime to address them.The Advice, addressed to the EU institutions – Commission, Parliament and Council, highlights the concern that strong incentives currently exist for crowdfunding platforms to structure their business models to fall outside the scope of regulation and asks them to consider policy options to reduce these incentives. Avoiding regulation presents risks to investor protection and makes it harder for platforms to grow their businesses.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA’s aim is to enable crowdfunding to reach its potential as a source of finance, while ensuring that risks to users of crowdfunding platforms are identified and addressed in a proportionate and convergent way across the EU. “We believe that there are benefits both for investors as well as for platforms by operating inside rather than outside the regulated space. Opinion to National Competent AuthoritiesConsidering the diverse business models used within investment-based crowdfunding and depending on the precise structures used different EU legislation may apply. The Opinion sets out an analysis of how the main business models map across existing EU rules, e.g., the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), the Prospectus Directive, the Directive for Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMD) and other financial and banking regulations. In addition, the Opinion outlines what ESMA believes should be the key components of an appropriate regulatory regime for investment-based crowdfunding activities. ESMA’s Advice to the EU InstitutionsThe Advice to the EU institutions highlights gaps and issues in the current applicable regime where policymakers could consider taking action to ensure there is a regime protecting investors while also fit for purpose for crowdfunding platforms. These gaps and issues include: the impact of the Prospects Directive thresholds; capital requirements and the use of the MiFID optional exemption; and the potential development of a specific EU crowdfunding regime, in particular for those platforms that currently operate outside of the scope of MiFID The Opinion and Advice have been prepared in collaboration with and input from the European Banking Authority (EBA) on the regulation that falls within its scope of action, i.e. the Payment Services Directive, and constitute the first output of a co-ordinated programme of work with the next expected output being a publication by EBA on lending-based crowdfunding. In line with their respective remits, ESMA has focused on investment-based crowdfunding, while EBA has focused on lending-based crowdfunding.
22/04/2015 2015/532 Investment using virtual currency or distributed ledger technology Consultation Paper PDF
526.19 KB
ESMA has been monitoring and analysing virtual currency investment over the last 6 months, to understand developments in the market, potential benefits or risks for investors, market integrity or financial stability, and to support the functioning of the EU single market. ESMA’s analysis is set out in this paper. ESMA is seeking to share its analysis in order to promote wider understanding of innovative market developments, and invites market participants and other stakeholders to submit feedback and any additional information on the following topics: Virtual currency investment products, i.e. collective investment schemes or derivatives such as options and CFDs that have virtual currencies (VCs) as an underlying or invest in VC related businesses and infrastructure; Virtual currency based assets/securities and asset transfers, i.e. financial assets such as shares, funds, etc. that are exclusively traded using virtual currency distributed ledgers (also known as block chains);and The application of the distributed ledger technology to securities/investments, whether inside or outside a virtual currency environment.
21/05/2015 2015/856 Ann1 Investment-based crowdfunding- Insights from regulators in the EU Final Report PDF
319.65 KB
01/07/2015 2015/1005 Questions and Answers: Investment-based crowdfunding: money laundering/terrorist financing Q&A PDF
157.73 KB
29/10/2015 2015/1615 Steven Maijoor speech at ECN , Speech PDF
261.75 KB
07/01/2016 2015-12-16 OECD OECD A Blundell-Wignall speech for ESMA FI Day Reference PDF
502.52 KB
07/01/2016 2015/1912 Opening Speech by J Servais, President of FSMA Speech PDF
162.44 KB
07/01/2016 2015/1913 ESMA FI Day- Panel outlines Reference PDF
161.27 KB
07/01/2016 2015/1914 Agenda for ESMA FI Day Reference PDF
170.52 KB
07/01/2016 2015/1915 Closing Speech by V Ross, ESMA FI Day Speech PDF
100.54 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
160.03 KB

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.

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