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Date Ref. Title Section Type Download Info Summary Related Documents Translated versions
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.
19/02/2013 2013/240 ESMA recommends EU Code of Conduct for proxy advisor industry , , Press Release PDF
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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
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.
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.
18/12/2015 2015/1871 Proxy advisors take steps towards increased transparency , , Press Release PDF
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05/02/2016 2016/234 ESMA’s supervision of credit rating agencies and trade repositories- 2015 annual report and 2016 work plan. , Report PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) annual report and work programme has been prepared according to Article 21 of Regulation 1060/2009 on credit rating agencies as amended (the CRA Regulation) and Article 85 of Regulation 648/2012 on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (EMIR). It highlights the direct supervisory activities carried out by ESMA during 2015 regarding credit rating agencies (CRAs) and trade repositories (TRs) and outlines ESMA’s main priorities in these areas for 2016.

ESMA adopts a risk-based approach to the supervision of CRAs and TRs in accordance with its overall objectives of promoting financial stability and orderly markets and enhancing investor protection. This risk-based approach requires the analysis of information from a variety of sources and the application of multiple supervisory tools including day-to-day supervision, cycle of engagement meetings with supervised entities, on-site inspections and dedicated investigations.

In order to build on the expertise that ESMA has developed through its supervision of CRAs and TRs, ESMA created a single Supervision Department in November 2015. ESMA intends to draw on the best practices identified from the supervision of both types of entity to further enhance its supervisory effectiveness in future.

05/02/2016 2016/247 ESMA to focus on governance, strategy, data and fees in 2016 supervision , , Press Release PDF
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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.

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.

02/06/2016 2016/743 ESMA assesses usefulness of distributed ledger technologies , , Press Release PDF
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12/01/2017 ESMA71-844457584-322 ESMA calls for consistent application of MiFIR product intervention powers 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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03/02/2017 ESMA80-1467488426-27 Supervision Annual Report 2016 and Work Programme 2017 , Report PDF
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05/04/2017 ESMA31-54-435 Report on shareholder identification and communication systems , Report PDF
1.09 MB
07/06/2017 ESMA50-158-457 ESMA response to the Commission Consultation Paper on Fintech: A more competitive and innovative financial sector Report PDF
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  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
13/11/2017 ESMA71-99-649 Press Release ICO Statements , , Press Release PDF
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11/01/2018 ESMA80-196-954 Thematic Report- On fees charged by Credit Rating Agencies and Trade Repositories , Report PDF
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11/01/2018 ESMA71-99-919 PR on CRA/TR Fees Thematic Report Press Release PDF
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15/03/2018 15-3-18 ESAs weigh benefits and risks of Big Data , Press Release PDF
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07/01/2019 JC 2018 74 Joint ESA report on Regulatory sandboxes and innovation hubs , Report PDF
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