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07/06/2013 2013/700 ESMA approves Dagong Europe as a credit rating agency Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has formally approved the registration of Dagong Europe Credit Rating Srl (Dagong Europe), based in Italy, as a credit rating agency (CRA) under Article 16 of the CRA Regulation. The registration takes effect from 13 June 2013.
30/05/2013 2013/630 ESMA approves EIU as a credit rating agency , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has formally approved the registration of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), based in the United Kingdom, as a credit rating agency (CRA) under Article 16 of the CRA Regulation. The registration takes effect from 3 June 2013. EIU’s registration as a CRA means that its credit ratings can be used for regulatory purposes under EU legislation.
01/07/2013 2013/853 ESMA approves Spread Research as a credit rating agency Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has formally approved the registration of Spread Research SAS, based in France, as a credit rating agency (CRA) under Article 16 of the CRA Regulation. The registration takes effect from 1 July 2013.
03/06/2014 2014/596 ESMA censures Standard & Poor’s for internal control failings , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has 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 breaches of Regulation 1060/2009 (CRA Regulation). The decision by ESMA to issue a public notice results from its investigation into the erroneous publication on 10 November 2011 by S&P, to the subscribers of its Global Credit Portal, of an email stating “France (Republic of) (Unsolicited Ratings): DOWNGRADE”, although S&P’s rating of France had not been downgraded. ESMA found that this incident was the result of a failure by S&P to meet certain organisational requirements set out in the CRA Regulation, relating to sound internal control mechanisms, effective control and safeguard arrangements for information processing systems and decision-making procedures and organisational structures. ESMA, based on the provisions of the CRA Regulation, decided that the relevant breaches warranted a supervisory measure in the form of a public notice. The final decision on the supervisory measure took into account the steps taken by S&P to end the infringement and was considered proportionate to the seriousness of the breach. Case Background S&P, on 10 November 2011 at 15:57 CET, erroneously released to subscribers of its web-based Global Credit Portal (GCP) an email alert which stated in its header “France (Republic of) (Unsolicited Ratings): DOWNGRADE”, although S&P’s credit rating of France had not changed. GCP is one of the methods used by S&P to disseminate its credit ratings and other financial information products. Among other services, it provides an email alert function that a subscriber can customise in order to receive alerts when certain information changes on GCP, e.g. in case S&P decides to change a credit rating on a particular issuer. S&P’s internal database, where it maintained its credit ratings, was also used to store its Banking Industry Country Risk Assessments (BICRAs). BICRAs are not credit ratings but assessments of the banking systems in particular countries and have been published since 2006. S&P later decided to maintain BICRAs in the same centralised internal database as its credit ratings and to display BICRAs on GCP. The relevant technical specifications for this project treated BICRAs as ratings and no effective action was taken to address the implications this could have. This eventually led to the erroneous release when an attempt to change an incorrect display of France’s BICRA on GCP triggered an email alert stating in its header that the rating of France had been downgraded. ESMA’s Role Since July 2011 ESMA has been responsible for the regulation of credit rating agencies in the European Union including their registration and supervision in line with the requirements of the CRA Regulation. ESMA has the power to take appropriate enforcement action where it discovers a breach of the CRA Regulation, ranging from the issuance of public notices to the withdrawal of registration and imposition of fines.
17/06/2013 2013/743 ESMA clarifies boundary of CRA Regulation Press Release PDF
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17/11/2017 ESMA71-99-642 ESMA clarifies endorsement regime for third-country credit ratings 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
13/02/2014 2014/174 ESMA consults on Guidelines for issuers performance measures , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched a consultation on Guidelines on Alternative Performance Measures (APMs). The aim of the guidelines is to encourage European issuers to publish transparent, unbiased and comparable information on their financial performance in order to provide users with a better understanding of their performance. Some examples of APMs include EBIT (Earnings Before Interest & Tax), EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation), free cash flow, underlying profit or net-debt. The Consultation Paper follows on from ESMA’s decision to review and replace the 2005 CESR Recommendation on APMs with Guidelines under Article 16 of the ESMA Regulation to tackle concerns about APMs used by issuers. Those relate mainly to APMs being used in such a manner as to present a confusing or optimistic picture of their performance by removing certain negative aspects, or even where this is not the case, APMs can be misleading if they are inconsistently calculated or presented. The proposed guidelines set out the principles that issuers should follow when presenting APMs, and are based on the requirements applicable to financial statements, as required by the IAS Regulation, mainly referring to their labelling, calculation, presentation and comparability.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “The proposed guidelines aim to improve the transparency and comparability of financial information published by issuers. APMs presented in an appropriate way may reduce information asymmetry among the users of financial statements.“These guidelines will ensure that APMs are used and presented in a coherent fashion across the EU, which will in turn contribute to restoring confidence in the accuracy and usefulness of financial information and improve investor protection.” The proposed guidelines would apply to issuers with securities traded on regulated markets and all competent authorities and other bodies in the EU that undertake enforcement activities under the Transparency Directive. The proposed guidelines are aligned with other regulations and guidance issued by securities regulators in the United States, Australia and Canada on this matter. The closing date for responses to this consultation is 14 May 2014 and ESMA expects to publish the final guidelines in the fourth quarter of 2014.

21/03/2014 2014/302 ESMA consults on major shareholders disclosures , Press Release PDF
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ESMA consults on major shareholders disclosures The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched a consultation on draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) under the revised Transparency Directive relating to the notification of major shareholdings and the indicative list of financial instruments subject to notification requirements. The consultation runs until 30 May 2014. The revised Directive harmonises transparency requirements relating to information about issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on an EU regulated market. This harmonisation aims to enhance transparency in respect of the ownership structure of an issuer, to improve legal certainty and reduce the administrative burden for cross-border investors. The revised Transparency Directive also addresses the issue of the disclosure regime for new types of financial instruments that expose investors to an economic risk similar to when holding shares. The draft RTS support these objectives by facilitating the creation of a harmonised regime regarding the aggregation of holdings of shares and financial instruments, the calculation of notification thresholds and the exemptions from notification requirements. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “Transparency is essential for ensuring that markets function properly and investors are afforded adequate protection when making investment decisions. “Today’s proposals support the aims of the Transparency Directive to improve the effectiveness of the transparency regime on corporate ownership. Clarity on this issue will ensure that shareholders and potential investors are in possession of the information needed to make informed investment decisions.” Draft Regulatory Technical Standards The draft RTS on the major shareholding notifications addresses the following issues: • Method of calculation of 5% threshold exemption regarding trading books and market makers; • Calculation method regarding a basket of shares or an index; • Methods for determining the ‘delta’ for calculating voting rights; and • Exemptions regarding notification of financial instruments. The Consultation Paper also sets out the proposed content of an indicative list of financial instruments which should be subject to the notification requirements laid down in the Directive, and outlines the processes for updating that list. The input from stakeholders will help ESMA in drafting the final report and determining the content of the draft RTS. Comments to this consultation can be submitted via ESMA’s website and the deadline for submission is 30 May 2014.
11/02/2014 2014/165 ESMA consults on new CRA transparency requirements Press Release PDF
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19/12/2017 ESMA71-99-916 ESMA consults on securitisation requirements , Press Release PDF
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03/04/2018 ESMA71-99-958 ESMA continues to focus on convergence in enforcement of IFRS across the EU , , Press Release PDF
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15/11/2016 2016/1577 ESMA finalises Guidelines on the validation and review of Credit Rating Agencies’ methodologies , Press Release PDF
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01/06/2017 ESMA71-99-466 ESMA fines Moody’s €1.24 million for credit ratings breaches , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has fined Moody’s Deutschland GmbH (Moody’s Germany) €750,000 and Moody’s Investors Service Limited (Moody’s UK) €490,000, and issued a public notice, for two negligent breaches of the Credit Rating Agencies Regulation (CRAR).

ESMA found that Moody’s Germany and Moody’s UK negligently committed two infringements of the CRAR regarding their public announcement of certain ratings and their public disclosure of methodologies used to determine those ratings. These failures concern nineteen ratings issued between June 2011 and December 2013 for nine supranational entities including the European Investment Bank, the European Investment Fund, the European Stability Mechanism, the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Union.

02/12/2013 2013/1790 ESMA identifies deficiencies in CRAs sovereign ratings processes Press Release PDF
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ESMA identifies deficiencies in CRAs sovereign ratings processes The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Report identifying a number of deficiencies in the processes for producing and issuing sovereign ratings at the three largest credit rating agencies (CRAs), Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s. The Report follows an investigation carried out by ESMA into the sovereign rating processes at the three CRAs, between February and October 2013. The investigation was prompted by concerns about potential conflicts of interests, the impact of sovereign ratings on other types of ratings, CRAs’ capacity to cope with the number of rating actions during a period of high volatility, the use of bulk rating actions, and issues around the confidentiality and timing of rating actions. The investigation focused on the governance and organisation of sovereign rating activities, the adequacy and expertise of allocated human resources, the disclosure of rating information to the public, and ensuring its confidentiality before disclosure. ESMA identified deficiencies and issues for improvement in the following areas: • Independence and avoidance of conflicts of interests; • Confidentiality of sovereign rating information; • Timing of publication of rating actions; and • Resources allocated to sovereign ratings. ESMA has not determined whether any of the Report’s findings constitute a breach of the CRA Regulation, and may take action as appropriate in due course. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA’s investigation revealed shortcomings in the sovereign ratings process which could pose risks to the quality, independence and integrity of the ratings and of the rating process. “The focus on the sovereign rating process in this investigation stems from their increased volatility over the past few years, the importance of sovereign ratings from a credit market and financial stability perspective, and their impact on other rated entities and products. “The impact which changes in these ratings can have on financial markets, and sovereign states, can be significant. Therefore, it is imperative that users can have confidence that the CRAs have adequate systems and controls in place to ensure that ratings are rigorous, free from conflicts of interest and timely. “The CRAs who were subject to this investigation still need to make improvements in their working practices to ensure their full compliance with the CRA Regulation and to eradicate inadequate practices from the past.” Investigation Findings The key areas where ESMA identified deficiencies requiring remedial actions by the CRAs included the following areas and related issues: 1. Independence and avoidance of conflicts of interests: ESMA has concerns that in a number of areas associated with conflicts of interest and independence, the actual failings or potential risks identified might compromise the independence of the ratings process and the quality of the credit ratings. These include: • the type of involvement of senior management in sovereign rating activities; • the independent review function’s participation in the sovereign rating process; • the research publication activities carried out by CRAs; • the involvement by certain non-rating functions (e.g. communication) in the rating process; and • the implementation of the appeal procedure. 2. Confidentiality of sovereign rating information The investigation identified deficiencies in the way confidential rating information is managed, in particular how access to information on upcoming rating actions on sovereigns is controlled. These include: • the disclosure of upcoming rating actions to an unauthorised third party; • inadequate controls in place for the circulation of rating information within the CRA(s); • the controls around the use of external communication consultants; and • inappropriate permissions and controls to secure access to rating information. 3. Timing of publication of rating actions: The investigation found that there had been instances of significant and frequent delays in the publication of sovereign ratings. ESMA also observed deficiencies in the advance notification to rated entities about upcoming rating actions. 4. Resources allocated to sovereign ratings: ESMA has concerns on the resources dedicated to sovereign ratings, in particular: • the lack of an adequate mechanism to assess the adequacy of resources; • assigning lead analyst responsibilities to junior or newly hired staff; • reliance on junior support staff; and • unclear definitions of functions and responsibilities. A number of good practices were also identified amongst the surveyed firms including analytical training programmes, practices designed to improve challenge in rating committees, and to ensure continuity in the allocation of analysts to sovereign portfolios. ESMA has required the CRAs to put in place remedial action plans to address the issues identified, and will monitor their progress against these plans as part of its on-going supervision.
22/03/2012 2012/220 ESMA issues a report on its first examinations of credit rating agencies , Press Release PDF
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ESMA today publishes a report (ESMA/2012/207) on the supervision of Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) registered in the European Union (EU). The report provides an overview of ESMA’s supervisory activity and summarises the results of the first examinations ESMA conducted in December 2011 of three groups of CRAs, namely Fitch Ratings (Fitch), Moody’s Investor Services (Moody’s) and Standard and Poor’s Rating Services (S&P).
20/12/2012 2012/854 ESMA issues statement on forbearance practices , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA issues statement on forbearance practicesThe European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued a Public Statement on the Treatment of Forbearance Practices in IFRS Financial Statements of Financial Institutions.  The statement deals with the definition of forbearance practices, their impact on the impairment of financial assets and the specific disclosures relating to forbearance activities that listed financial institutions should include in their IFRS financial statements for the year ending 31 December 2012.The statement results from ESMA’s concerns that a lack of consistency amongst issuers in this area raises issues over the transparency and accuracy of their financial statements.  ESMA believes that the consistent application of IFRS principles promotes comparability among listed financial institutions’ financial statements.This forms part of broader work on forbearance practices undertaken by regulators, including the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), who are examining the issue in the context of prudential reporting and macro-economic risks respectively.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair said:“ESMA and national authorities have become concerned at the lack of clarity in financial issuers’ financial statements regarding their treatment of forbearance-related practices, and the potential impact this might have on issuer’s financial performance and position, with consequences for investors and markets.“We have seen the impact of an inadequate approach to forbearance and impairment in previous financial crises and our aim is to avoid a similar situation developing here in the EU.  We believe that by promoting an appropriate and consistent approach to the definition of forbearance, measurement of impairment and related disclosures, investors can be confident that issuers’ financial statements accurately reflect credit risk exposures and the credit quality of their financial assets.”“A uniformly consistent approach on this issue in the EU will contribute to the proper functioning of financial markets, the maintenance of financial stability in the European Union and improved investor protection.”Forbearance and objective evidence of impairmentForbearance occurs when the borrower is considered to be unable to meet the terms and conditions of the contract due to financial difficulties and ,based on these difficulties, it decides to modify the terms and conditions of the contract to allow the borrower sufficient ability to service the debt or refinance.  Therefore, forbearance measures constitute objective evidence of impairment under IFRS.Forbearance and asset impairmentAs forbearance measures are extended due to the financial difficulties of the borrower, ESMA expects that issuers would have  when assessing the impairment of those loans:•    identified whether a loss event has had an impact on the estimated future cash flows;•    based impairment calculations on the estimated future cash flows and not the contractual cash flows; and•    applied a heightened level of scepticism when estimating the future cash flows, as well as other parameters used. Required disclosures in the year-end IFRS financial statementsThe disclosures to be provided by financial institutions, regarding their forbearance practices in their annual IFRS financial statements, should include the following qualitative aspects:•    details of the types of forbearance practices undertaken during the reporting period;•    description of the risks related to the forbearance practices undertaken, and how these risks are managed and monitored for internal management purposes;•    accounting policies applied in respect of the forborn assets; and•     description of any changes in these aspects from the prior period.The issuers should also provide quantitative disclosures in order to enable users to evaluate the impact of forbearance measures on the credit risk profile of their loan portfolios and their financial position and performance. ESMA expects such quantitative disclosures to be included in the 2012 financial statements as far as possible, and in any event they should be implemented and reflected in 2013’s annual financial statements.Next StepsESMA, together with EU national competent authorities, will continue to monitor the level of transparency that issuers provide in their financial statements on forbearance related measures and their impact on impairment, and will consider whether further action is required.  The statement complements ESMA’s common enforcement priorities for the 2012 year-end IFRS financial statements which were published in November 2012.

09/01/2020 ESMA71-99-1272 ESMA key priorities 2020-22 , , Press Release PDF
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10/07/2013 2013/924 ESMA launches consultation on implementation of new CRA Regulation , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Discussion Paper dealing with the implementation of the CRA3 Regulation, which entered into force on 20 June 2013.The Regulation, which complements the existing regulatory framework for credit rating agencies (CRAs), requires ESMA to draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on:•    disclosure requirements on structured finance instruments (SFIs);•    the European Rating Platform (ERP); and•    the periodic reporting on fees charged by CRAs.ESMA is seeking views from all interested parties in order to assist in its preparation of the draft RTS to be published for consultation in early 2014.  ESMA must submit the draft RTS to the European Commission by 21 June 2014.
03/02/2022 ESMA71-99-1819 ESMA launches its new STS register Press Release PDF
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