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Date Ref. Title Section Type Download Info Summary Related Documents Translated versions
12/10/2011 2011/339 Press release- ESMA Stakeholder Group elects Guillaume Prache as chair, Judith Hardt and Peter de Proft as vice-chairs , Press Release PDF
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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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06/06/2013 2013/684 ESMA and the EBA publish final principles on benchmarks , , 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
12/12/2013 2013/1909 ESMA appoints new Securities Markets Stakeholders Group members , Press Release PDF
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ESMA appoints new Securities Markets Stakeholders Group members The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has announced the composition of its Securities Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) following its approval by ESMA’s Board of Supervisors. These individuals will begin a term of 2½ years on 1 January 2014 and will replace the group whose mandate expires on 31 December 2013. The new SMSG will be composed of 30 individuals drawn from across 17 Member States and representing ESMA’s key stakeholder constituencies – consumer representatives (4), users of financial services (5), financial market participants (10), financial institution employees (2), small and medium sized enterprises (1) and academics (8). A number of the incoming members have previously served in the first SMSG. The SMSG was set up to facilitate consultation with key financial market stakeholders on all aspects of ESMA’s work. The SMSG provides ESMA with opinions and advice on policy workstreams and must be consulted on technical standards and guidelines and recommendations. In addition, the Stakeholder Group is expected to notify ESMA of any inconsistent application of European Union law as well as inconsistent supervisory practices in the Member States. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “The SMSG makes an important contribution to ESMA’s policy development, providing us with timely and valuable input on how our regulatory activities may potentially affect the different users of financial markets. “We have enjoyed a very good working relationship with the outgoing members of the SMSG who, as well as contributing their views and experience to our policymaking discussions, have been pioneers in developing the role of their group as part of the new European System of Financial Supervision. I look forward to working with the SMSG’s new members on a host of challenging issues.” The SMSG meets at least four times a year, and in addition meets twice with ESMA’s Board of Supervisors. Their advice and opinions are published on ESMA’s website.
25/02/2014 2014/225 ESMA Stakeholder Group elects Chair and Vice-Chairs , Press Release PDF
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ESMA Stakeholder Group elects Chair and Vice-Chairs The Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has elected Jesper Lau Hansen as its new Chair, and Judith Hardt and Peter De Proft, as its Vice-Chairs. The election took place at the first meeting of its new membership on 29 January 2014, following their appointment by ESMA’s Board of Supervisors in November 2013. The new Chair, Dr. Jesper Lau Hansen, is currently Professor of Company Law and Financial Markets Law at Copenhagen University and represents the academic constituency. The two Vice-Chairs, Judith Hardt, Director General, Federation of European Stock Exchanges (FESE), and Peter De Proft, Director General, European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), represent financial market participants. Dr. Jesper Lau Hansen, SMSG Chair, said: “I look forward to chairing the SMSG and, together with the Vice-Chairs, representing all securities markets stakeholders by ensuring that those who are directly affected by ESMA’s regulations have their voice heard in their preparation.” Mr. Peter De Proft, SMSG Vice-Chair said: “I am honoured to be appointed Vice Chair of this group for a second term, together with my colleague and Vice Chair, Judith Hardt and looking forward to working as a team with the Chair. “Our mandate is straightforward, but crucial. We must continue to ensure ongoing engagement with industry stakeholders. We are there to provide timely and insightful advice for ESMA and to support them in their mission of protecting investors while promoting stable and well-functioning financial markets in the European Union”. Ms. Judith Hardt, SMSG Vice-Chair said: “The securities markets stakeholder group has a strategic role to play in advising ESMA on the implementation of level 1 measures. Our priority is to help the group formulate timely and useful advice for ESMA at a critical time. I look forward to working together with the Chair and my colleague Peter De Proft.” The SMSG Chair and Vice-Chairs will serve for a period of 2½ years to coincide with the Group’s mandate.
03/12/2015 2015/1835 ESMA seeks candidates for its stakeholder representative group , Press Release PDF
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18/12/2015 2015/1871 Proxy advisors take steps towards increased transparency , , Press Release PDF
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15/02/2016 2016/291 ESMA consults on implementation of the Benchmarks Regulation , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today published a Discussion Paper (DP) regarding the technical implementation of the incoming Benchmarks Regulation (BR). ESMA is seeking stakeholder’s input to inform its future proposals on draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) and Technical Advice (TA) to the European Commission.

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

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

Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:

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

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

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

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

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

Next steps

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

01/07/2016 2016/SMSG/009 SMSG End of Term Report 2016 Report PDF
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01/07/2016 2016/1066 ESMA appoints new Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published the new list of members of its Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) following its approval by its Board of Supervisors. The selected individuals begin a 2½ year term on 1 July 2016 and will replace the group whose mandate expired on 30 June 2016.

The new SMSG will be composed of 30 individuals drawn from across 13 Member States and representing ESMA’s key stakeholder constituencies – financial market participants (10), employee representatives (2), consumer representatives (6), users of financial services (3), small and medium sized enterprises (2) and academics (7). The new SMSG will feature 27 new members. A number of the incoming members have served in the previous SMSG.

The SMSG was established according to ESMA’s founding regulation and facilitates consultation between ESMA and its key financial market stakeholders on its work. The SMSG provides ESMA with opinions and advice on its policy work and must be consulted on technical standards and guidelines and recommendations. Additionally, it can inform ESMA of any inconsistent application of European Union law as well as inconsistent supervisory practices in Member States.

29/09/2016 2016/1407 ESMA consults on future rules for financial benchmarks , Press Release PDF
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10/11/2016 2016-1567 ESMA finalises advice on future rules for financial benchmarks Press Release PDF
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29/03/2017 ESMA70-145-48 Draft technical standards under the Benchmarks Regulation Report PDF
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30/03/2017 ESMA71-99-374 ESMA publishes final rules to ensure integrity of EU financial benchmarks , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its final report containing the draft regulatory and implementing technical standards (RTS/ITS) under the Benchmarks Regulation (BMR). These contain the detailed rules to implement the new European regulatory framework aimed at ensuring the accuracy and integrity of benchmarks across the European Union.

05/04/2017 ESMA31-54-435 Report on shareholder identification and communication systems , Report PDF
1.09 MB
04/05/2017 ESMA71-99-398 Joint Public Statement FSMA-ESMA regarding EURIBOR Press Release PDF
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In September 2016, the FSMA, as the national competent authority for Belgium, established the Euribor college and chaired its inaugural meeting. The college includes ESMA, the national competent authorities of the various banks contributing to the Euribor, as well as the national competent authorities of Member States for which the Euribor presents a systemic character because of its importance for their real economy, for the financing of households and enterprises, or for consumers in general. The Euribor college, chaired by the FSMA, currently consists of 17 national supervisory authorities and ESMA. The ECB has attended its meetings as an invited expert.

In 2015, EMMI developed a methodology that would ground the Euribor entirely on transactions (“Euribor+”) and has subsequently carried out a “pre-live verification” exercise, based on data gathered from 31 banks over a period running from September 2016 to February 2017. On May 4th 2017, after consultation with the FSMA and as a result of its pre-live verification exercise, EMMI published its decision not to pursue a transition to the proposed Euribor+ methodology in the short term.

The college of Euribor takes note of this decision and will continue to engage with EMMI on alternative plans for Euribor reform and transition.

02/06/2017 ESMA70-143-5 Methodological framework for mandatory benchmarks contributions Report PDF
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21/09/2017 ESMA71-99-595 New Working Group on a Risk-Free Reference Rate for the Euro Area Press Release PDF
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Today, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission announce the launch of a new working group tasked with the identification and adoption of a "risk-free overnight rate" which can serve as a basis for an alternative to current benchmarks used in a variety of financial instruments and contracts in the euro area.

The working group, chaired by a private sector representative and with the Secretariat to be provided by the ECB, will regularly consult market participants and end-users, as well as gather feedback from other public authorities. Its terms of reference will be made public and the group will regularly report on its meetings. This is to ensure transparency on all steps in the identification and adoption of a new risk free rate.