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05/05/2015 JC/2015/02 ESAs- main risks to EU financial market stability have intensified , , Press Release PDF
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The Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) published its fifth Report on Risks and Vulnerabilities in the EU Financial System. Overall, the report found that in the past six months, risks affecting the EU financial system have not changed in substance, but have further intensified. The EU’s economic performance improved slightly in early 2015, however the financial sector in general continues to be affected by a combination of factors such as low investment demand, economic uncertainty in the Eurozone and its neighbouring countries, a global economic slow-down and a low-interest rate environment. The main risks affecting the financial system remain broadly unchanged from those identified in the report’s previous edition, but have become more entrenched. The major risks include: • Low growth, low inflation, volatile asset prices and their consequences for financial entities; • Search for yield behaviour exacerbated by potential rebounds; • Deterioration in the conduct of business; and • Increased concern about IT risks and cyber-attacks. Despite these risks, a number of ongoing policy and regulatory initiatives are contributing to improving the stability and confidence in the financial system as well as facilitating additional funding channels to the real economy. These include ongoing regulatory reforms in the securities, banking and insurance sectors such as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and Regulation (MiFIR), the work on the implementation of the Capital Requirements Directive and Regulation (CRDIV/CRR), the work on the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD), the Deposit-Guarantee Schemes Directive (DGS) and the Solvency II Directive, as well as the European Commission’s plan for a Capital Markets Union (CMU). Steven Maijoor, Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the current Chairman of the Joint Committee, said: “The Joint Committee has noted some improvement in overall market conditions; however, the recovery is not yet sustained and is exposed to risks related to broad macroeconomic conditions, in particular the low interest environment and resulting search-for-yield behaviour. Additionally regulators continue to have concerns about the operational risks generated by some financial institutions’ inappropriate business conduct, as well as those risks posed by inadequate management of IT risks. “However, recent regulatory initiatives across the banking, insurance and securities sectors, such as the Comprehensive Assessment, the insurance sector stress test and Solvency II along with, the ongoing MiFID, EMIR and PRIPS reforms are contributing to improving the stability and confidence in the EU financial system." Key Risks Identified The identified risks in the Report can be divided into macro risks to the EU financial system and economy and operational risks. Macro Risks The key macro risks identified relate to: 1. Risks from weak economic growth and low inflation environment, which include: • Adverse effect that low interest rates and uncertainties about the economic recovery have had on the outlook for the financial industry; • Higher valuation and market liquidity risk has raised concerns about the outlook for financial entities’ stability in the event of reversals in interest rates and asset prices; 2. Low profitability is motivating financial institutions and other investors to search for yield, which requires increased supervisory attention to the viability of business models, related restructuring activity and adequate management of risks. However, the promotion of sound and innovative business models for market-based funding structures could help to deliver additional stimulus; and 3. Some continued doubts on the comparability and consistency of banks’ calculations of risk weighted assets. Operational Risks The key operational risks relate to: 4. Business conduct risk remains a key concern with the Report recommending that supervisors should include misconduct costs in future stress tests where appropriate, while financial institutions should strengthening product oversight and governance frameworks. Further improvements in the regulatory framework and supervisory practices to address conduct risks are also warranted. In addition, further progress needs to be made on benchmark reforms where continuity and integrity remain a source of concern even if key panels remained stable; and 5. IT operational risk and cyber risk remain of great concern and pose challenges to the the safety and integrity of financial institutions. IT risk increased due to costs pressures, outsourcing, the need for additional capacities and a mounting number of cyber-attacks. The adequate integration of IT risk into overall risk management is a key policy for mitigation.
13/02/2015 EC-15-639 European Commission letter regarding EMIR clearing obligation on Interest Rate Swaps Letter PDF
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29/01/2015 2015/223 Opinion on draft RTS on the Clearing Obligation Opinion PDF
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Legal Basis According to Article 5(2) of Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (EMIR), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) shall develop draft regulatory technical standards specifying the class of OTC derivatives that should be subject to the clearing obligation, the date or dates from which the clearing obligation takes effect, including any phase in and the categories of counterparties to which the obligation applies, and the minimum remaining maturity of the OTC derivative contracts referred to in Article 4(1)(b)(ii) of EMIR. Background and Procedure On 1 October 2014, ESMA submitted a draft regulatory technical standard (RTS) on the clearing obligation to the European Commission pursuant to Article 10(1) of Regulation No (EU) 1095/2010 (the ESMA Regulation) and Article 5(2) of EMIR. This draft RTS covered Interest Rate Swaps. On 18 December 2014, the Commission informed ESMA of its intention to endorse with amendments this draft RTS and submitted to ESMA a modified version of the RTS (the “modified RTS”) introducing, among others, (1) amendments to the date on which the frontloading obligation starts to apply and (2) a new provision on the treatment of non-EU intragroup transactions. Pursuant to Article 10(1) of the ESMA Regulation, this notification from the Commission opens a period of six weeks during which ESMA may amend its draft RTS on the clearing obligation on the basis of the Commission’s proposed amendments and resubmit it to the Commission in the form of a formal opinion. ESMA has to send a copy of its formal opinion to the European Parliament and to the Council. In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation the Board of Supervisors has to adopt a formal opinion. Executive Summary ESMA agrees with the ultimate objectives of the modifications that the European Commission intends to introduce. However, ESMA considers that the tool proposed by the Commission for the matter related to the non-EU intra group transactions is not appropriate from a legal perspective and, in the case that the Commission intention is to define a later application date for those transactions, ESMA stands ready to explore, in coordination with the Commission, a different manner to incorporate that provision. ESMA backs the modifications on the frontloading section, though has a few observations and improvements with respect to several recitals. ESMA proposes to incorporate the suggestion of the Commission to deal with the application of the 8 billion threshold to investment funds for the definitions of types of counterparties as a specific provision in the text of the RTS.

08/01/2015 2015/20 ESMA review of CCP colleges under EMIR Final Report PDF
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21/11/2014 2014/1385 ESMA letter to European Commission regarding EMIR clearing obligation Letter PDF
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01/10/2014 2014/1209 Press release- ESMA defines products, counterparties and starting dates for the clearing of interest rate swaps , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today issued final draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) for the central clearing of Interest Rate Swaps (IRS) which it is required to develop under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). The RTS define those types of IRS contracts which will have to be centrally cleared, the types of counterparties covered by the obligation and the dates by which central clearing of IRS will become mandatory for them.

01/10/2014 2014/1185 Consultation Paper on clearing obligation under EMIR- No.3 Consultation Paper PDF
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Who should read this paper All interested stakeholders are invited to respond to this consultation paper. In particular, responses are sought from financial and non-financial counterparties of OTC derivatives transactions which will be subject to the clearing obligation, as well as central counterparties (CCPs). Responding to this paper The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) invites responses to the questions listed in this Consultation Paper on the Clearing Obligation under EMIR (no. 3). All contributions should be submitted online at www.esma.europa.eu under the heading ‘Your input - Consultations’. Please follow the instructions given in the document ‘Reply form for the Consultation Paper on the Clearing Obligation under EMIR (no. 3) also published on the ESMA website . 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. ESMA will consider all comments received by 6 November 2014. Publication of responses All contributions received will be published following the close of the consultation, unless you request otherwise. Please clearly and prominentlyindicate in your submission any part you do not wish to be publically 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’.

30/09/2014 2014/1179 Letter to Commission Barnier- Postponement of reports due by ESMA under Article 85.3 of EMIR Letter PDF
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23/09/2014 2014/1164 Statement by Steven Maijoor, Chair, European Securities and Markets Authority at the ECON Committee, European Parliament 23 September 2014 Statement PDF
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Dear Members of the European Parliament, Ladies and gentlemen, First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your election or re-election as a Member of the European Parliament and as a member of this important committee. Call it a “Single Capital Market” or “Capital Market Union”, the financial regulatory reform in the European Union (EU) in the last five years has made solid progress and is a decisive step towards the aim of completing the single market in financial services. This is not only a necessity to tackle failures exposed by the financial crisis, it is also a crucial part of realising the overriding objective of securing economic recovery in the EU. However, it will only reach its full potential if the single rule book is applied consistently and supervised adequately so that all stakeholders can benefit from it in daily practice. ESMA plays a key role in achieving this objective, by enhancing investor protection and by promoting stable and orderly financial markets in the EU. Since its inception three and a half years ago, ESMA has contributed to the creation of an EU single rulebook by developing technical standards and guidelines, and by assisting the European Institutions, and the European Commission in particular, in providing technical advice on such areas as: over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, hedge funds and private equity, short selling, high frequency trading, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), investment advice and financial information. In the last 12 months, ESMA finalised 22 technical standards and pieces of technical advice to the European Commission, as well as seven sets of guidelines, in order to complete the legal framework in areas such as Credit Rating Agencies, prospectuses, market infrastructures, European Social Entrepreneurship Funds and European Venture Capital Funds. We are currently translating the recently agreed MiFID II/MiFIR requirements into practically applicable rules. I will not run through all the work we have done on the single rulebook in that time as you can find an overview and some statistics in the Annex to my Statement which was distributed to you. I would like to stress that throughout the entire policy process we engage as much as possible with all relevant stakeholders – through hearings, direct meetings and consultations. We have – and will continue – to interact with many stakeholder associations representing consumers, investors and market participants - and solicit the views of ESMA’s Securities and Markets Stakeholders Group (SMSG). To mention two examples, right now we are assessing the almost 800 responses we have received to our MiFID II discussion and consultation papers and ESMA has received more than 1500 questions on the implementation of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). ESMA has successfully developed a regime of direct supervision at EU level. We supervise 23 credit rating agencies by conducting thematic investigations, on-site visits, analysing the information CRAs provide to the public and by monitoring the implementation of remedial action plans. In June this year, ESMA concluded its first enforcement action and issued a public notice censuring Standard & Poor’s Credit Market Services France SAS and Standard & Poor’s Credit Market Services Europe Limited (S&P) for failing to meet certain organisational requirements. EMIR brings more transparency to derivatives markets by introducing mandatory reporting to trade repositories (TRs). Since November 2013, six repositories have been registered and are now supervised by ESMA. Since reporting under EMIR went live, derivatives trade data has flowed into the repositories: as of 30 June 2014, more than 1 billion new trades have been reported to the TRs. Regulators now have access, or are in the process of establishing access, to derivatives data which should help in providing a clearer picture on the risks associated with those markets. On identifying risks to investor protection and stability, ESMA has substantially improved its data and intelligence gathering capabilities. Risks in securities markets are, for example regularly, identified and reported on in ESMA’s Trend, Risk and Vulnerabilities Report. Concerning the convergence of supervisory practices we have employed a range of instruments, including Q&As, opinions and peer reviews. Regarding peer reviews, we have strengthened our methodology, including the more frequent use of on-site visits. More generally, with the reform of financial markets moving from legislation to implementation, supervisory convergence will become a higher priority in ESMA’s activities and we will increase our resources allocated to this area. That brings me to the last topic I would like to raise, which I also brought to this Committee’s attention last year, the need for a stable budget. Today, our funding comes from a combination of the EU budget, levies on the financial market entities that we supervise directly, and the Member States’ national competent authorities. We are concerned that an increasing budget contribution from national competent authorities might pose undue difficulties to their functioning. This would run counter to the reinforcement of securities markets regulation and supervision at both EU and national level as envisaged in the regulatory reform programme. ESMA’s funding should guarantee its independence and not create potential undue influence. Therefore, we believe that the co-legislators should consider increasing the funding ESMA receives from financial market entities which require ESMA’s intervention and to increase the Union’s share in ESMA’s budget through an independent budget line directly adopted by the co-legislators. Thank you for your attention.
17/07/2014 JC/2b D(2014) 2392454 European Commission response to ESMA letter regarding frontloading requirement under EMIR Letter PDF
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11/07/2014 2014/800 Consultation paper Clearing Obligation no2 CDS Consultation Paper PDF
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With the overarching objective of reducing systemic risk, EMIR introduces the obligation to clear certain classes of OTC derivatives in central clearing houses (CCPs) that have been authorised (European CCPs) or recognised (third-country CCPs) under its framework.Following a first consultation paper on the IRS classes to be subject to central clearing, in this second paper ESMA defined the CDS classes to be subject to the clearing obligation based on the analysis of all CDS classes which are currently offered for clearing by European CCPs. ESMA’s draft RTS propose to subject the following class: untranched European index CDS, for two indices. The clearing obligation will take effect following a phased implementation depending on the types of counterparties.Responding to this paperThe European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) invites responses to the specific questions listed in the consultation paper on the clearing obligation no.1. Please use this “form to reply”Details on EMIR and the clearing obligation can be found at the following link: http://www.esma.europa.eu/page/OTC-derivatives-and-clearing-obligation

11/07/2014 2014/799 Consultation paper Clearing Obligation no1 IRS Consultation Paper PDF
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With the overarching objective of reducing systemic risk, EMIR introduces the obligation to clear certain classes of OTC derivatives in central clearing houses (CCPs) that have been authorised (European CCPs) or recognised (third-country CCPs) under its framework.ESMA defined the IRS classes to be subject to central clearing following an analysis of all IRS classes which are currently offered for clearing by European CCPs. ESMA’s draft RTS propose to subject the following four classes: Basis swaps, fixed-to-float interest rate swaps, forward rate agreements and overnight index swaps on a range of currencies and maturities. The clearing obligation will take effect following a phased implementation depending on the types of counterparties.Responding to this paperThe European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) invites responses to the specific questions listed in the consultation paper on the clearing obligation no.1. Please use this “form to reply”Details on EMIR and the clearing obligation can be found at the following link: http://www.esma.europa.eu/page/OTC-derivatives-and-clearing-obligation

28/05/2014 2014/576 Voting Procedures for CCP colleges under EMIR Opinion PDF
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08/05/2014 2014/483 Letter to the European Commission- Frontloading requirement under EMIR Letter PDF
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This letter to the European Commission advances ESMA's intention to ease certain frontloading requirement under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).  Frontloading is a term that refers to the clearing obligation under EMIR, which will oblige counterparties to centrally clear certain derivative trades through clearing houses (CCP). ESMA believes that the frontloading procedure creates uncertainties for derivatives end-users while the exact terms of the clearing obligation has not been defined which could have adverse impacts on risk hedging and financial stability. Therefore, ESMA informs the European Commission that it intends to establish the frontloading requirement in a manner that will minimise uncertainty. The clearing requirement began to apply with the first authorisation of an EU-based CCP which happened on 18 March 2014. Following the first CCP approval, EMIR requires ESMA to draft within six months technical standards which will define the derivatives classes subject to central clearing.  However, compulsory central clearing will only start with the entry-into-force of the technical standards which creates the need to ‘frontload’ those derivate trades since 18 March 2014.

01/04/2014 2014/336 Trade Repository Supervision Work Plan 2014 Reference PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is publishing a summary of its 2014 supervisory work plan in relation to trade repositories (TRs) with the aim of enhancing the transparency of its actions regarding TRs in the European Union. TRs centrally collect and maintain the records of derivative trades and play a central role in enhancing the transparency of derivative markets and reducing risks to financial stability. In November 2013, ESMA registered six TRs. The obligation for counterparties to report their derivative trades to registered TRs began on 12 February 2014. Under Titles VI and VII of Regulation EU 648/2012 (EMIR), the direct supervision of TRs has been entrusted to ESMA, who has started to supervise the six registered TRs. Supervision of TRs by ESMA is crucial to ensuring that TRs comply on an on-going basis with all EMIR requirements, thereby enabling regulators to access data and details of derivative contracts in order for them to fulfil their respective mandates.

30/01/2014 2014/123 ESMA Technical advice on equivalence of Japan for CCP II- Commodities CCPs Technical Advice PDF
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ESMA delivers second set of advice on EMIR equivalence Following its technical advice published on 9 September 2013, the European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) has published a supplement to its advice to the European Commission on the equivalence of the regulatory regime for central counterparties (CCPs) of Japan with the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). This supplement to the September 2013 Final report sets out ESMA’s advice to the European Commission is in respect of the equivalence between the Japanese regulatory regime for commodity CCPs and the regulatory regime for CCPs under EMIR. ESMA proposes conditional equivalence As for ESMA’s advice to the Commission in respect of Japan for CCPs which clear transactions relating to securities, currencies, interest rates, credit, weather, GDP and other indices, ESMA considers that the Japanese regulatory regime for commodity CCPs contains legal provisions and involves supervision and enforcement similar to that of EMIR. The Commission is expected to use ESMA’s technical advice to prepare possible equivalence decisions. Where it adopts such a decision, certain provisions of EMIR may be disapplied in favour of equivalent third-country rules. In particular, ESMA may recognise within the EU a CCP which is authorised outside the EU. The different pieces of advice are available on ESMA’s website.

20/12/2013 2013/SMSG/018 Advice on Discussion Paper – The Clearing Obligation under EMIR SMSG Advice PDF
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20/12/2013 2013/SMSG/017 Advice on Consultation Paper – Draft Regulatory Technical Standards on contracts having a direct, substantial and foreseeable effect within the Un-ion and non-evasion of provisions of EMIR SMSG Advice PDF
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18/11/2013 2013/1657 Draft technical standards under EMIR on contracts with a direct, substantial and foreseeable effect within the Union and non-evasion Technical Standards PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued final draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) related to derivative transactions by non-European Union (EU) counterparties. The RTS implement provisions of the Regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (EMIR).

15/11/2013 2013/1655 ESMA reply to Commission letter on the reporting of exchange traded derivatives under EMIR Letter PDF
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