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26/01/2011 2011/35 Call for evidence- Request for technical advice on possible delegated acts concerning the Prospectus Directive (2003/71/EC) as amended by the Directive 2010/73/EU , Consultation Paper PDF
3.85 MB
23/03/2011 2011/82 Press release- ESMA establishes a framework for third country prospectus and applies this new framework to facilitate Israeli issuers access , , Press Release PDF
189.19 KB
15/06/2011 2011/141 Consultation paper- ESMA’s technical advice on possible delegated acts concerning the Prospectus Directive as amended by the Directive 2010/73/EU , Consultation Paper PDF
1.45 MB
14/09/2011 2011/288 Call for evidence- Empty voting , , Consultation Paper PDF
81.13 KB
10/11/2011 2011/373 Consultation paper- Considerations of materiality in financial reporting , Consultation Paper PDF
170.93 KB
13/12/2011 2011/444 ESMA’s technical advice on possible delegated acts concerning the Prospectus Directive as amended by the Directive 2010/73/EU , Consultation Paper PDF
1.15 MB
The purpose of this consultation document from ESMA is to seek comments on the technical advice that ESMA proposes to give to the European Commission on a number of possible delegated acts.
01/03/2012 2012/140 ESMA advises European Commission on Prospectus Directive’s overhaul- Advice covers possible delegated acts , , Press Release PDF
115.14 KB
22/03/2012 2012/212 Discussion Paper- An Overview of the Proxy Advisory Industry. Considerations on Possible Policy Options , Consultation Paper PDF
524.85 KB
This Discussion Paper focuses on the development of the proxy advisory industry in Europe, which mainly serves institutional investors such as asset managers, mutual funds and pension funds. Following its fact-finding work in 2011, ESMA recognises the proxy advisory industry within Europe is, or is expected to be, growing in prominence and investors are, or are expected to be, increasingly using proxy advisor services. In this paper ESMA identifies several key issues related to the proxy advisory market which may have an impact on the proper functioning of the voting process. The range of policy options that ESMA will consider, and on which it seeks further input from market participants, consists of four broad areas, including: 1.    No EU-level action at this stage 2.    Encouraging Member States and/or industry to develop standards 3.    Quasi-binding EU-level regulatory instruments 4.    Binding EU-level legislative instruments ESMA will consider these options based on the feedback it receives from market participants, and, if appropriate, will undertake further policy action, either directly or by providing an opinion to the European Commission. The reason to bring up some policy options is due to the fact that proxy advisors are currently not regulated at a pan-European level. Nevertheless, there are relevant European rules that apply to investors (e.g. for UCITS management companies when exercising voting rights). In addition, there are also well-recognised corporate governance standards that apply to issuers at a national level (based on the “comply or explain approach”) and some complements to improve standards of stewardship among investors. All feedback received from this Discussion Paper will be duly considered. ESMA expects to publish a feedback statement in Q4 of 2012 which will summarise the responses received and will state ESMA’s view on whether there is a need for policy action in this area.
27/03/2012 2012/224 ESMA seeks views on proxy advisors , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA published last Thursday a discussion paper (ESMA/2012/212) on proxy advisors active in the European Union, seeking views of stakeholders. The paper aims at giving an overview of the state and structure of the market, advisor’s methodologies, and on possible policy options. Generally, proxy advisors assist (institutional) investors and asset managers in their voting policy and strategy.  Currently, there are no rules in place on a pan-European basis regarding proxy advisors. ESMA will use the feedback received on this paper to publish a feedback statement in Q4 of 2012, which will also include ESMA’s view on whether there is a need for policy action in the area.
20/06/2012 2012/380 ESMA’s technical advice on possible delegated acts concerning the Prospectus Directive as amended by the Directive 2010/73/EU , Consultation Paper PDF
1.49 MB
Responses to this consultation paper should be submitted online by 20 August 2012.
26/07/2012 2012/483 ESMA publishes review of accounting treatment of Greek sovereign debt , Press Release PDF
122.97 KB

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today published Review of Greek Government Bonds accounting practices in the IFRS Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2011, which sets out the results of the review conducted by ESMA on accounting practices and disclosures regarding exposure to Greek government bonds. The ESMA review considered a sample of 42 European financial institutions, each with significant exposure to Greek government bonds totalling an estimated gross exposure of around €80 billion.

01/10/2012 2012/607 Further amendments to ESMA’s Recommendations for the consistent implementation of the Prospectus Regulation regarding mineral companies , Consultation Paper PDF
481.61 KB
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.

19/02/2013 2013/240 ESMA recommends EU Code of Conduct for proxy advisor industry , , Press Release PDF
140.27 KB
15/03/2013 2013/316 Draft Regulatory Technical Standards on specific situations that require the publication of a supplement to the prospectus , Consultation Paper PDF
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The Consultation Paper sets out a draft Regulatory Technical Standard concerning situations that require the systematic publication of a supplement to the prospectus which the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is obliged to develop in accordance with Article 16(3) of the Prospectus Directive. The listed situations are concrete examples of the general obligation in Article 16(1)  to mention in a supplement every significant new factor, material mistake or inaccuracy relating to information included in the prospectus which is capable of affecting the assessment of the securities. ESMA believes that the test whether a new factor, mistake or inaccuracy qualifies as a triggering event for producing a supplement is the same test as whether information should be included in the prospectus. As a consequence, significance or materiality should be assessed according to the same qualitative and/or quantitative criteria used when drafting the prospectus. In light of this, ESMA has identified a short list comprising 10 situations, which will always require issuers, offerors or persons asking for admission to trading to draw up and publish a supplement to the prospectus.The CP includes a draft Regulatory Technical Standard setting out the situations that would require a systematic publication of a supplement as well as the minimum content of such a supplement. Responses to the consultation should be submitted online by 28 June 2013.
19/07/2013 2013/1013 Guidelines on enforcement of financial information , Consultation Paper PDF
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Responding to this paper The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is seeking comments on all matters covered in this paper and in particular on the specific questions summarised in Annex 1. Comments are most helpful if they: respond to the question stated; indicate the specific question to which the comment relates; contain a clear rationale; and describe any alternatives ESMA should consider. Deadline ESMA will consider all comments received by 15 October 2013. All contributions should be submitted online at www.esma.europa.eu under the heading “Your input - Consultations” Publication of responses All contributions received will be published following the close of the consultation, unless you request otherwise. Please clearly and prominently indicate in your submission any part you do not wish to be publicly disclosed. A standard confidentiality statement in an email message will not be treated as a request for non-disclosure. A confidential response may be requested from us in accordance with ESMA’s rules on access to documents. We may consult you if we receive such a request. Any decision we make not to disclose the response is reviewable by ESMA’s Board of Appeal and the European Ombudsman. Data protection Information on data protection can be found at www.esma.europa.eu under the heading “Legal Notice”. Who should read this paper All interested parties are invited to respond to this consultation paper. It will primarily be of interest to those charged with the governance of issuers preparing financial information, users of financial information, auditors, and other parties who have a particular interest in financial reporting.

11/11/2013 2013/1635 ESMA announces financial statements’ enforcement priorities for 2013 , , Press Release PDF
94.29 KB

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.

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
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

13/02/2014 2014/175 ESMA Guidelines on Alternative Performance Measures , Consultation Paper PDF
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Reasons for publication In October 2005, the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR), ESMA’s predecessor body, published a Recommendation on Alternative Performance Measures (“CESR Recommendation” CESR/05-178b). The CESR Recommendation was issued mainly in order to reinforce the objectives of Regulation (EC) No 1606/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 July 2002 on the application of international accounting standards. Given the CESR Recommendation has now been in force for more than 8 years, ESMA has decided to review it with the objective of strengthening the principles contained in it. ESMA now plans to re-issue the principles as ESMA [draft] guidelines thus ensuring that issuers and NCAs will make every effort to com-ply with them. Contents ESMA is issuing this Consultation Paper (CP) to inform market participants about the background to its decision to revise the CESR Recommendation and seek their views on such revision. Section II “Introduction” indicates the reasons for which ESMA believes that these [draft] guidelines on APMs should be issued. Section III “Scope and purpose of the [draft] guidelines” indicates when the [draft] guidelines apply and how these [draft] guidelines interact with financial statements. Section IV “Compliance and reporting obligations” describes how issuers and NCAs should comply with the [draft] guidelines. Section V “[Draft] Guidelines on APMs (Background)” describes the rationale followed in preparing the [draft] guidelines and explanations on the principles provided, which are included in full in Annex III. ESMA would appreciate any comments and answers from stakeholders on the questions contained in the consultation paper. For your convenience, the questions are summarised in annex II. Next steps ESMA will consider the feedback it receives to this consultation in 2014 and expects to publish final guide-lines in the fourth quarter of 2014.