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18/01/2011 2011/27 Press release- ESMA finds diversity across Europe in regulators’ contingency measures for financial crisis situations , Press Release PDF
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07/07/2011 2011/195 Press release- ESMA investigates how Member States have implemented the Transparency Directive , Press Release PDF
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26/04/2012 2012/272 ESMA identifies divergence in Member States’ use of sanctions under the Market Abuse Directive , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a report on the use of administrative and criminal sanctions by European Union (EU) national regulators under the Market Abuse Directive (MAD).  The report provides a comparison of the use of administrative sanctioning powers across 29 EEA Member States for 2008-2010.  The results of the report will provide input to the legislative process on the new market abuse regime.
24/05/2012 2012/330 ESMA finds high level of consistency in EU national regulators’ practices for the approval of investment prospectuses , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today “Prospectus Directive – Good Practices in the approval process“,  a peer review report on the application of regulatory good practices by national supervisory authorities - competent authorities (CA)  when approving investment prospectuses.The review was conducted using good practice criteria that ESMA developed on selected areas of the Prospectus Directive dealing with the approval process for investment prospectuses.  The prospectuses provide investors with easy to understand and relevant information on investment products.  Peer review reports on national regulators’ procedures contribute to ESMA’s objective of fostering supervisory convergence and achieving a level playing field between jurisdictions.
15/04/2013 ESMA/2013/475 Press Release ESMA finds divergence in national supervision of money market funds Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a peer review report examining whether EU securities supervisors correctly apply ESMA’s guidelines on money market funds (MMFs).  The review compared supervisory and enforcement practices for MMFs of 30 supervisory authorities across the European Economic Area (EEA). ESMA reviewed those 20 jurisdictions that had transposed the guidelines into their national rules. 
01/07/2013 2013/852 ESMA review finds good compliance with EU market abuse rules , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a peer review of the supervisory practices EEA national competent authorities (NCAs) apply in enforcing the requirements of the Market Abuse Directive (MAD).  The Directive deals with the prevention of the dissemination of misleading information, the breach of reporting obligations and market abuse.  
14/11/2013 2013/1650 ESMA begins preparatory work for new Market Abuse Regime , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA begins preparatory work for new Market Abuse Regime The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Discussion Paper setting out its initial views on the implementing measures it will have to develop for the new Market Abuse Regulation (MAR). MAR aims to enhance market integrity and investor protection. It will achieve this by updating and strengthening the existing market abuse framework, by extending its scope to new markets and trading strategies, and by introducing new requirements. The Discussion Paper presents positions and regulatory options on those issues where ESMA will have to develop MAR implementing measures, likely to include Regulatory Technical Standards, Delegated Acts and Guidelines. These implementing measures are of fundamental importance to the new regime, as they set out how MAR’s enlarged scope is to be implemented in practice by market participants, trading platforms, investors, issuers and persons related to financial markets. In developing these regulatory options ESMA, where similar requirements already exist under the current Market Abuse Directive (MAD), has taken into consideration the existing MAD Level 2 texts and ESMA/CESR guidelines to set out the DP positions in light of the extended scope of MAR. This Discussion Paper is based on the version of the MAR Level 1 text agreed by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission on 24 June 2013. The closing date for responses is Monday 27 January 2014. MAR Policy Areas The DP covers ten sections of MAR where ESMA is expected to have to provide input, these include: • conditions to be met by buyback programmes and stabilization measures to benefit from the exemption from market abuse prohibitions; • arrangement and procedures required for market soundings, from the perspective of both the sounding and the sounded market participants; • indicators and signals of market manipulation; • criteria to establish Accepted Market Practices; • arrangement, systems and procedures to put in place for the purpose of suspicious transactions and order reporting as well as its content and format; • issues relating to public disclosure of inside information and the conditions for delay; • format for insider lists; • issues concerning the reporting and public disclosure of managers’ transactions; • arrangements for fair presentation and disclosure of conflicts of interests by producers and disseminators of investment recommendations; • reporting of violations and related procedures. Next steps ESMA will consider the feedback it receives to this consultation in Q1 2014 and incorporate it in to its full consultation papers on both its draft Technical Standards and Technical Advice to the Commission. The dates for these consultations are will depend on the publication of the final version of MAR. Notes for editors 1. 2013/1649 Discussion Paper - ESMA’s policy orientations on possible implementing measures under the Market Abuse Regulation 2. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on insider dealing and market manipulation (market abuse) (MAR) 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 2013/1650 Discussion Paper 2013/1649
11/12/2014 2014/1478 ESMA reviews supervisory practices on MiFID investor information , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has conducted a peer review of how national regulators (national competent authorities or NCAs) supervise MiFID conduct of business rules on providing fair, clear and not misleading information to clients. The peer review focused on NCAs’ organisation, supervisory approaches, monitoring and complaints handling in relation to information and marketing communications under MiFID. The Report found that there was overall a high degree of compliance amongst NCAs with the good practices identified in these key areas. However, a variety of approaches were observed, leading to different intensity of supervision. A number of areas for improvement were identified. They include: enhanced use of on-site inspections and thematic reviews; a specific focus on conduct of business issues in firms’ risk assessments; and greater efforts to detect failings by firms in a timely manner. The review was conducted on the basis of information provided by NCAs in a self-assessment questionnaire and complemented by on-site visits to the NCAs of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “Providing fair, clear and not misleading information to clients is essential for investor protection and should be applied consistently throughout the EU. This review is a major step forward in ensuring that progress is being made towards convergence in this area by national regulators. “The report provides a thorough insight and analysis of national supervisory practices, facilitated by ESMA’s first on-site visits, and includes a number of recommendations which I urge national regulators to consider when reviewing their practices in this area”. Key Findings The review’s key findings covered the following areas: Ex-ante and ex-post supervision – supervisory systems are divided between ex-ante and ex-post reviews of marketing material. Within the ex-post approach there is also divergence in terms of the timeliness with which NCAs review the material following its dissemination and consider complaints made by clients of firms; Direct and indirect supervision – while some NCAs directly supervise firms’ compliance with their obligations relating to the provision of information and marketing material to clients, others rely on annual checks performed by external auditors. The latter approach may make it difficult to detect failings by firms in a timely manner due to the successive sampling process employed by auditors and then the NCA?s concerned; Complaints and Sanctions – a low level of complaints and equally low level of sanctions are reported by NCAs in the area of information and marketing to clients; and Definition of information and marketing communication - There is no precise definition of the term marketing communication in EU law: this would need to be further defined in order to build effective convergence of supervisory practices. Recommendations for future work The Report identifies a number of areas for future work by NCAs and ESMA which could promote a more coherent cross-EU application of the requirements. These include: establishing more robust structures and efficient coordination and cooperation arrangements between different supervisory units within NCAs; defining a clear set of information and marketing material to be supervised; assessing the frequency of NCAs’ monitoring of investor information and marketing; assessing the adequacy of monitoring the distribution channels used by firms including in the cross border provision of services; requiring investment firms to submit to their NCAs details of all information and marketing material to be provided including material used for cross-border business; considering the use of integrated databases to assist in supervision of information and marketing to clients; assessing the frequency and consistency of the use of sanctions by NCAs; and assessing the implementation and effectiveness of the guidelines for complaints-handling for the securities (ESMA) and banking (EBA) sectors. In addition, ESMA should continue its efforts, including the use of Opinions, in promoting the development of a level-playing field regarding the provision of information in an understandable format to clients and the quality of service to clients.
25/02/2015 2015/495 ESMA publishes review on best execution supervisory practices under MiFID , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has conducted a peer review on how national regulators (national competent authorities or NCAs) supervise and enforce the MiFID provisions relating to investment firms’ obligation to provide best execution, or obtain the best possible result, for their clients when executing their orders. ESMA found that the level of implementation of best execution provisions, as well as the level of convergence of supervisory practices by NCAs, is relatively low. In order to address this situation a number of improvements were identified, including: . prioritisation of best execution as a key conduct of business supervisory issue; . the allocation of sufficient resources to best execution supervision; and . a more proactive supervisory approach to monitoring compliance with best execution requirements, both desk-based and onsite inspections. The review was conducted on the basis of information provided by 29 NCAs and complemented by on-site visits to the NCAs of France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland and Spain.
05/02/2016 2016/247 ESMA to focus on governance, strategy, data and fees in 2016 supervision , , Press Release PDF
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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.

11/02/2016 2016/284 ESMA publishes first supervisory convergence work programme , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its first Supervisory Convergence Work Programme 2016 (SCWP), which details the activities and tasks it will carry out to promote sound, efficient and consistent supervision across the European Union.

The publication of the SCWP expands on the high-level objective outlined in the Annual Work Programme 2016 and fulfils a key commitment in ESMA’s Strategic Orientation 2016-2020 to outline how it would refocus its resources from single rulebook to supervisory convergence work.

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.

29/03/2016 2016/406 ESMA publishes report on EU accounting enforcement in 2015 , , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its annual report on the enforcement and regulatory activities of accounting enforcers within the European Union (EU) in 2015. ESMA continued strengthening supervisory convergence in the area of financial reporting to improve the consistency and quality across the EU, notably by issuing guidelines, publishing statements on areas of focus and coordinating enforcement decisions.

ESMA and national enforcers examined 189 listed issuers’ compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), across 26 countries, in the areas identified by the 2014 European Common Enforcement Priorities. The examination resulted in enforcement action against 40 (21%) issuers with regulators finding shortcomings in the disclosure of assumptions and judgements related to the:

  • recognition, measurement and disclosures of deferred tax assets arising from tax losses;
  • assessment of control over an entity in the absence of majority equity interest or majority shareholding rights; and
  • classification of joint arrangements.

National enforcers also reviewed the interim or annual financial statements of around 1,200 issuers, representing approximately 20% of issuers of securities listed on EU regulated markets, which led to action against 273 (25%) of those issuers examined. Enforcers found the main deficiencies were related to the presentation of financial statements, impairment of non-financial assets and accounting for financial instruments.

31/03/2016 2016/468 ESMA fines DTCC Derivatives Repository Limited €64,000 for data access failures , Press Release PDF
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ESMA fines DTCC Derivatives Repository Limited €64,000 for data access failures

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has fined the trade repository DTCC Derivatives Repository Limited (DDRL) €64,000, and issued a public notice, for negligently failing to put in place systems capable of providing regulators with direct and immediate access to derivatives trading data. This is a key requirement under the European Markets and Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) in order to improve transparency and facilitate the monitoring of systemic risks in derivatives markets.

This is the first time ESMA has taken enforcement action against a trade repository registered in the European Union (EU). DDRL is the largest EU registered trade repository.

ESMA found that DDRL failed to provide direct and immediate access to derivatives data from 21 March 2014 to 15 December 2014, a period of about nine months in which access delays increased from two days to 62 days after reporting and affected 2.6 billion reports. This was due to its negligence in:

  • failing to put in place data processing systems that were capable of providing regulators with direct and immediate access to reported data;
  • failing, once they became aware, to inform ESMA in a timely manner of the delays that were occurring; and
  • taking three months to establish an effective remedial action plan even while delays were worsening.

DDRL’s failures caused delays to regulators accessing data, revealed systemic weaknesses in its organisation particularly its procedures, management systems or internal controls and negatively impacted the quality of the data it maintained.

07/04/2016 2016/582 ESMA finds room for improvement in national supervision of investment advice to retail clients , , Press Release PDF
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30/06/2016 2016/1047 Press Release Prospectus Peer Review , Press Release PDF
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02/02/2017 ESMA71-844457584-339 Press Release ESMA Supervision 2016 annual report and 2017 work programme , Press Release PDF
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09/02/2017 ESMA71-844457584-345 ESMA publishes 2017 Supervisory Convergence Work Programme , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its 2017 Supervisory Convergence Work Programme (SCWP), which details the activities and tasks it will carry out to promote sound, efficient and consistent supervision across the European Union.

ESMA and national competent authorities (NCAs) will focus their supervisory convergence work on the following priorities:

  • the implementation of MiFID II/MiFIR and MAR including the underlying IT projects;
  • improving the quality to data collected by NCAs;
  • investor protection in the context of cross-border provision of services; and
  • convergence in the supervision of European Union CCPs.

These priorities have been developed taking into account different factors, including the market environment, legislative and regulatory developments, and NCAs’ supervisory priorities.

31/05/2017 ESMA71-99-469 ESMA issues principles on supervisory approach to relocations from the UK , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an Opinion setting out general principles aimed at fostering consistency in authorisation, supervision and enforcement related to the relocation of entities, activities and functions from the United Kingdom. The opinion is addressed to national competent authorities (NCAs), in particular of the 27 Member States that will remain in the EU (EU27).

The opinion is a practical tool to support supervisory convergence in the context of increased requests from UK financial market participants seeking to relocate to the EU27. It covers all legislation referred to in the ESMA Regulation, in particular the AIFMD, the UCITS Directive, MiFID I and MiFID II.

13/07/2017 ESMA71-99-526 ESMA issues sector-specific principles on relocations from the UK to the EU27 , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published three Opinions setting out sector-specific principles in the areas of investment firms, investment management and secondary markets, aimed at fostering consistency in authorisation, supervision and enforcement related to the relocation of entities, activities and functions from the United Kingdom .

The opinions, building on the general opinion issued in May, are practical tools to support supervisory convergence in the context of requests from UK financial market participants seeking to relocate to the EU27. They are addressed to national competent authorities (NCAs) and are relevant for market participants considering relocating.

They provide guidance to NCAs aimed at ensuring a consistent interpretation of the requirements relating to authorisation, supervision and enforcement in order to avoid the development of regulatory and supervisory arbitrage risks.