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|27/03/2012||2012/224||ESMA seeks views on proxy advisors||Press Releases, Corporate Governance, Corporate Disclosure||Press Release||PDF
|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.|
|20/04/2012||2012/236||ESMA's Technical Advice on possible delegated acts of the short-selling and certain aspects of CDS||Short Selling, Market Integrity||Technical Advice||PDF
|19/02/2013||2013/240||ESMA recommends EU Code of Conduct for proxy advisor industry||Press Releases, Corporate Governance, Corporate Disclosure||Press Release||PDF
|12/11/2013||2013/1645||ESMA clarifies shareholder cooperation in takeover situations||Corporate Disclosure, Corporate Governance, Press Releases||Press Release||PDF
|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|
|14/11/2013||2013/1650||ESMA begins preparatory work for new Market Abuse Regime||Market Abuse, Market Integrity, Press Releases||Press Release||PDF
|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|
|27/03/2014||2014/334||ESMA issues good practices for structured retail product governance||MiFID - Investor Protection, Innovation and Products||Press Release||PDF
|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||Innovation and Products, Press Releases||Press Release||PDF
|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||Corporate Finance, Corporate Governance, Press Releases||Press Release||PDF
|05/02/2016||2016/234||ESMA’s supervision of credit rating agencies and trade repositories- 2015 annual report and 2016 work plan.||Credit Rating Agencies, Trade Repositories||Report||PDF
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||Credit Rating Agencies, Press Releases, Trade Repositories||Press Release||PDF
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:
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:
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:
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.
|15/02/2016||2016/291||ESMA consults on implementation of the Benchmarks Regulation||Market Integrity, Press Releases, Benchmarks||Press Release||PDF
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:
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:
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.
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.
|31/03/2016||2016/468||ESMA fines DTCC Derivatives Repository Limited €64,000 for data access failures||Press Releases, Trade Repositories||Press Release||PDF
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:
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||Innovation and Products, Press Releases, Risk Analysis & Economics - Markets Infrastructure Investors||Press Release||PDF
|13/07/2016||2016/1130||Final Report on the Market Abuse Regulation Guidelines||Market Abuse, Market Integrity||Report||PDF
|12/01/2017||ESMA71-844457584-322||ESMA calls for consistent application of MiFIR product intervention powers||Innovation and Products||Press Release||PDF
|02/02/2017||ESMA71-844457584-339||Press Release ESMA Supervision 2016 annual report and 2017 work programme||Credit Rating Agencies, Trade Repositories||Press Release||PDF
|03/02/2017||ESMA80-1467488426-27||Supervision Annual Report 2016 and Work Programme 2017||Credit Rating Agencies, Trade Repositories||Report||PDF
|05/04/2017||ESMA31-54-435||Report on shareholder identification and communication systems||Corporate Finance, Corporate Governance||Report||PDF
|07/06/2017||ESMA50-158-457||ESMA response to the Commission Consultation Paper on Fintech: A more competitive and innovative financial sector||Innovation and Products||Report||PDF
|13/11/2017||ESMA71-99-649||Press Release ICO Statements||Innovation and Products, Press Releases, Warnings and publications for investors||Press Release||PDF