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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.
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.
05/01/2016 2015/1791 Peer Review Report Compliance with SSR as regards Market Making activities Report PDF
615.09 KB
16/02/2016 2016/297 Follow-up MMF , Report PDF
882.13 KB
29/03/2016 2016/410 ESMA Report on Enforcement and Regulatory Activities of Accounting Enforcers in 2015 , , Report PDF
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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.

11/01/2017 ESMA42-1643088512-2962 ESMA42-1643088512-2962 Follow-up Report to the Peer Review on Best Execution , , Report PDF
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12/01/2017 ESMA50-1215332076-23 Opinion on the impact of the exclusion of fund management companies from the scope of the MiFIR intervention powers Opinion PDF
224.29 KB
18/05/2017 ESMA42-113-627 Follow-up Report to the Peer Review on MiFID Conduct of Business rules relating to fair, clear and not misleading information Report PDF
960.69 KB
31/05/2017 ESMA42-110-433 General Principles to support supervisory convergence in the context of the UK withdrawing from the EU , Opinion PDF
182.68 KB

The European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) competence to deliver an opin-ion is based on Article 29(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council (ESMA Regulation).  In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation, the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion.

07/06/2017 ESMA50-158-457 ESMA response to the Commission Consultation Paper on Fintech: A more competitive and innovative financial sector Report PDF
712.26 KB
  1. ESMA welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Commission Consultation paper on Fintech: a more competitive and innovative financial sector (hereafter “the Consultation”).
  2. Fintech and, technological innovation in general, have been the drivers of a number of developments in the financial sector in recent years. Indeed, new forms of services and businesses such as automated advice or crowdfunding have emerged. ESMA sees these developments as a positive evolution as long as they are aimed at improving consumer financial experience and facilitate financial inclusion. ESMA would also want to stress that it adheres to the core principles (technological neutrality, proportionality and market integrity) highlighted by the Commission and agrees that any EU policies aiming to ensure the financial sector takes advantage of cutting-edge technologies, while remaining sound and safe for investors, need to integrate these principles.
  3. In this response, ESMA wishes to share with the Commission some reflections on a number of topics mentioned in the Consultation which appear relevant to ESMA:
    • Artificial intelligence and big data analytics for automated advice and businesses;
    • Crowdfunding;
    • Reg Tech;
    • Outsourcing and cloud computing;
    • Distributed ledger technology;
    • Role of regulation and supervisors; and
    • Role of industry: standards and interoperability
13/07/2017 ESMA35-45-344 Opinion to support supervisory convergence in the area of investment management in the context of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union , , Opinion PDF
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13/07/2017 ESMA35-43-762 Opinion to support supervisory convergence in the area of investment firms in the context of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union , , Opinion PDF
236.23 KB
13/07/2017 ESMA70-154-270 Opinion to support supervisory convergence in the area of secondary markets in the context of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union , , Opinion PDF
181.69 KB
18/07/2017 ESMA42-111-4138 Peer Review on Guidelines on Enforcement of Financial Information , Report PDF
1.86 MB
07/02/2018 ESMA42-114-540 Supervisory Convergence Work Programme 2018 Report PDF
611.01 KB
07/01/2019 JC 2018 74 Joint ESA report on Regulatory sandboxes and innovation hubs , Report PDF
478.79 KB
09/01/2019 ESMA50-157-1391 Advice on Initial Coin Offerings and Crypto-Assets Report PDF
882.48 KB
04/02/2019 ESMA20-95-1105 2019 Regulatory Work Programme , , Report PDF
308.68 KB
03/06/2019 ESMA70-156-835 Supervisory Briefing PreTradeTransparency Non-Equity Instruments , Report PDF
148.65 KB
12/07/2019 ESMA50-164-2430 Report on the Licensing of FinTech business models Report PDF
585.36 KB