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Date Ref. Title Section Type Download Info Summary Related Documents Translated versions
20/07/2011 2011/223 Press release- ESMA consults on systems and controls for highly automated trading , Press Release PDF
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09/12/2011 2011/431 Global regulators discuss OTC derivatives regulation , Press Release PDF
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Leaders and senior representatives of the authorities responsible for the regulation of the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets in Canada, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the United Statesmet met yesterday in Paris.  
22/12/2011 2011/457 ESMA outlines future automated trading regime for trading platforms, investment firms and competent authorities , Press Release PDF
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24/02/2012 2012/128 ESMA readies guidelines on automated trading – application deadline starts , Press Release PDF
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ESMA today publishes the official translations of its final “Guidelines on systems and controls in an automated trading environment for trading platforms, investment firms and competent authorities” (ESMA/2011/456), first published on 21 December 2011. High Frequency Trading (HFT) is one form of automated trading.   By having translated the guidelines into all the official languages of the EU, today’s publication triggers a transitional period of two months within which national supervisors have to declare whether they intend to comply with the guidelines or otherwise explain the reasons for non-compliance which would be made public by ESMA. According to the ESMA Regulation national supervisors have to make every effort to comply with the Guidelines.
06/06/2013 2013/684 ESMA and the EBA publish final principles on benchmarks , , Press Release PDF
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27/03/2014 2014/332 Structured Retail Products- Good practices for product governance arrangements , Opinion PDF
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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
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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.
22/05/2014 2014/557 ESMA consults on MiFID reforms , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched the consultation process for the implementation of the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and Regulation (MiFIR). This is the first step in the process of translating the MiFID II/MiFIR requirements into practically applicable rules and regulations to address the effects of the financial crisis and to improve financial market transparency and strengthen investor protection.MiFID II/MiFIR introduces changes that will have a large impact on the EU’s financial markets, these include transparency requirements for a broader range of asset classes; the obligation to trade derivatives on-exchange; requirements on algorithmic and high-frequency-trading and new supervisory tools for commodity derivatives. It will also strengthen protection for retail investors through limits on the use of commissions; conditions for the provision of independent investment advice; stricter organisational requirements for product design and distribution; product intervention powers; and the disclosure of costs and charges.MiFID II/MiFIR contains over 100 requirements for ESMA to draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) and Implementing Technical Standards (ITS), and to provide Technical Advice to the European Commission to allow it to adopt delegated acts. In order to ensure that MIFID II achieves its objectives in practice, ESMA is publishing the following documents:1.    Consultation Paper on MiFID/MiFIR Technical Advice – ESMA needs to deliver this advice to the European Commission by December 2014 and is therefore subject to a condensed consultation process for this paper; and2.    Discussion Paper on MiFID/MiFIR draft RTS/ITS – this will provide the basis for a further consultation paper on the draft RTS/ITS which is expected to be issued in late 2014/early 2015. The closing date for responses to both papers is Friday 1 August. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:“The launch of today’s MiFID II/MiFIR consultation process is an important step in the biggest overhaul of financial markets regulation in the EU for a decade. The reform of MiFID is an integral part of the EU’s strategy to address the effects of the financial crisis and aims to bring greater transparency to markets and to strengthen investor protection. These changes are key to restoring trust in our financial markets.“We appreciate the magnitude of this exercise for stakeholders. We strongly encourage all those affected by these reforms to provide their views to ensure that we take them into account in our final proposals.”The main issues covered in the Discussion and Consultation Paper are divided into those addressing the structure, transparency and regulation of financial markets, and those aimed at strengthening investor protection.Financial Markets Structure, Transparency and RegulationThe main proposals in this area cover the following issues: enhanced transparency and trading obligations - increasing pre- and post-trade transparency for many categories of instruments, e.g. shares, ETFs, certificates, bonds and derivatives, limitations to trade shares OTC and new obligations to trade derivatives on trading venues; micro-structural issues – refining the definition of high frequency trading and direct electronic access and specifying the requirements for operating in the market using algorithmic techniques; data publication and access – issues related to the development of the consolidated tape including requirements for tape providers, approved publication arrangements and reporting mechanisms, and the definition of a reasonable commercial basis for data sales; and the access to CCPs,  trading venues and benchmarks; other organisational requirements for trading venues; and commodity derivatives – new regulatory tools, including position limits. Investor ProtectionThe main proposals relating to the improved protection of retail investors include technical advice on: inducements – new limitations on the receipt of commissions (inducements); independent advice – clearly distinguishing independent from non-independent advice; product governance – requirements on the manufacture and distribution of financial products including target market and risk identification; product intervention/banning - introducing powers for both ESMA and national regulators to prohibit or restrict the marketing and distribution of certain financial instruments; and improved information on costs and charges – requirements to provide clients with details of all charges related to their investment (relating to both the investment service and the financial instrument provided) so they can understand the overall cost and its effect on their investment’s return. In addition, the draft regulatory technical standards in the investor protection area relate to the authorisation of investment firms, passporting, and certain best execution obligations.Next StepsESMA will hold three public hearings about secondary markets, investor protection and commodity derivatives issues on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 July. Further details on the hearings will be published on ESMA’s website. 2014/548 2014/549
18/12/2014 2014/1378 Opinion- Investment-based crowdfunding Opinion PDF
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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 2014/1568 Press Release- Investment-based crowdfunding needs EU-wide common approach , Press Release PDF
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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.
19/12/2014 2014/1574 ESMA provides implementing rules for MiFID II , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today its final technical advice (TA) and launches a consultation on its draft regulatory technical and implementing standards (RTS/ ITS) regarding the implementation of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and Regulation (MiFIR). Both ESMA’s TA and draft RTS translate the MiFID II/MiFIR requirements into practically applicable rules for market participants and national supervisors. The new regulatory framework aims at ensuring that secondary markets are fair, transparent and safe and that investors’ interests are safeguarded when being sold investment products. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:“Today’s implementing rules on both secondary markets and investor protection issues reflect ESMA’s desire to achieve the best outcome for market users and investors, taking into account the extensive submissions received from our stakeholders. The advice now goes to the European Commission to use in preparation of its delegated legislation, while our technical standards are open for a second round of consultation. “Once fully implemented, MiFID II will have a significant impact on the EU’s securities markets, its users and infrastructure providers. It will bring greater transparency and improve the overall functioning of markets thus strengthening investors’ trust in the financial sector.”MiFID II to include most financial instruments, trading venues and techniquesMiFID II/MiFIR introduces changes to the functioning of secondary markets, including transparency requirements for a broad range of asset classes; the obligation to trade derivatives on trading venues; requirements for algorithmic and high-frequency-trading and new supervisory tools for commodity derivatives. The key proposals stemming from ESMA’s TA/draft RTS cover the following issues: •    increased trade transparency, for non-equity instruments, in particular bonds, derivatives, structured finance products and emission allowances;•    a trading obligation for shares and a double volume cap mechanism for shares and equity-like instruments, introducing a major change to the framework for trading these instruments in the Union;•    an obligation to trade derivatives on MiFID venues (regulated markets, multilateral (MTFs) or organised trading facilities (OTFs)) only, in line with G20 requirements;•    newly introduced position limits and reporting requirements for commodity derivatives;•    rules governing high frequency trading, imposing a strict set of organisational requirements on investment firms and trading venues;•    provisions regulating access to central counterparties (CCPs), trading venues and benchmarks, designed to increase competition in the Union; and•    requirements for a consolidated tape of trading data, including rules for tape providers, reporting,  publication and sales of data.MiFID II to improve investor protection ESMA’s TA proposes that the Commission adopts a number of measures that will further the protection of investors across the EU. The main proposals relating to the improved protection of investors, especially retail, include:•    clarifications about the circumstances in which portfolio managers can receive research from third parties;•    clarifications under which circumstances inducements meet the quality enhancement requirement for the provision of advice;•    requirements for investment firms manufacturing and/or distributing financial instruments and structured deposits to have product governance arrangements in place in order to assess the robustness of their manufacture and/or distribution;•    requirements for firms to provide clients with details of all costs and charges related to their investment, including cost aggregations, the timing of disclosure (ex-ante and ex-post); information to non-retail clients; the scope of firms subject to this obligation; information on the cumulative effect of costs on the return; •    organisational requirements for firms providing investments advice on an independent basis; and•    specification of powers for ESMA and national regulators with regards to prohibiting or restricting the marketing and distribution of financial instruments. Next stepsThe TA has been finalised following extensive consultations with stakeholders and will now be sent to the European Commission. ESMA’s draft RTS/ITS, already previously consulted upon, are open for public comment until 2 March 2015. In addition, an open hearing will be held in Paris on 19 February 2015. ESMA will use the input received from the consultations to finalise its draft RTS which will be sent for endorsement to the European Commission by mid-2015, its ITS by January 2016. MiFID II/ MiFIR and its implementing measures will be applicable from 3 January 2017.
01/04/2015 2015/674 Press release- ESMA launches centralised data projects for MiFIR and EMIR , Press Release PDF
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01/07/2015 2015/1005 Questions and Answers: Investment-based crowdfunding: money laundering/terrorist financing Q&A PDF
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18/12/2015 2015/1871 Proxy advisors take steps towards increased transparency , , Press Release PDF
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15/02/2016 2016/291 ESMA consults on implementation of the Benchmarks Regulation , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today published a Discussion Paper (DP) regarding the technical implementation of the incoming Benchmarks Regulation (BR). ESMA is seeking stakeholder’s input to inform its future proposals on draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) and Technical Advice (TA) to the European Commission.

Benchmarks are used in financial markets as a reference to price financial instruments and to measure performance of investment funds, as well as being an important element of many financial contracts and their integrity is critical to financial markets and to investors in particular. The BR’s objective is to improve the governance and control over the benchmark process, thereby ensuring their reliability and protecting users. The changes aim to:

  • improve the quality of the input data and methodologies used by benchmark administrators;
  • ensure that benchmark contributors provide adequate data and are subject to proper controls; and
  • ensure the supervision and viability of critical benchmarks.

Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:

“The Benchmark Regulation, once implemented, will ensure the accuracy, robustness and integrity of benchmarks and the benchmark setting process by clarifying the behaviours and standards expected of administrators and contributors. These requirements will ensure that benchmarks are produced in a transparent and reliable manner and so contribute to well-functioning and stable markets, and investor protection.

“ESMA, in preparing for its work on regulatory technical standards and technical advice, is keen to ensure that all affected stakeholders have their views heard on this important topic and we hope that all interested parties will take this opportunity to contribute.”

The DP is seeking stakeholder’s feedback in the following areas:

  • definition of benchmarks;
  • requirements for the benchmark oversight function;
  • requirements for the benchmark input data;
  • governance and control requirements for supervised benchmark contributors;
  • authorisation and registration of an administrator; and
  • transparency requirements regarding the benchmark methodology.

The exact date when the Benchmarks Regulation will enter into force is still unknown as it has not yet been published in the Official Journal of the EU.

Next steps

ESMA will hold an open hearing on the DP on 29 February 2016 in Paris. It will use the responses to its DP to develop detailed implementing measures on which it will publish a follow-up consultation in Q3 2016.

04/04/2016 2016/566 ESMA not to exempt ETD under MiFID II , Press Release PDF
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02/05/2016 2016/666 Opinion on draft RTS 2 non-equity transparency Opinion PDF
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02/05/2016 2016/666 ANNEX Annex- Opinion on draft RTS 2 non-equity transparency Opinion PDF
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02/05/2016 2016/668 Opinion on draft RTS 21 position limits Opinion PDF
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02/05/2016 2016/668 ANNEX Annex- Opinion on draft RTS 21 position limits Opinion PDF
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