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11/12/2014 2014/1478 ESMA reviews supervisory practices on MiFID investor information , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has conducted a peer review of how national regulators (national competent authorities or NCAs) supervise MiFID conduct of business rules on providing fair, clear and not misleading information to clients. The peer review focused on NCAs’ organisation, supervisory approaches, monitoring and complaints handling in relation to information and marketing communications under MiFID. The Report found that there was overall a high degree of compliance amongst NCAs with the good practices identified in these key areas. However, a variety of approaches were observed, leading to different intensity of supervision. A number of areas for improvement were identified. They include: enhanced use of on-site inspections and thematic reviews; a specific focus on conduct of business issues in firms’ risk assessments; and greater efforts to detect failings by firms in a timely manner. The review was conducted on the basis of information provided by NCAs in a self-assessment questionnaire and complemented by on-site visits to the NCAs of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “Providing fair, clear and not misleading information to clients is essential for investor protection and should be applied consistently throughout the EU. This review is a major step forward in ensuring that progress is being made towards convergence in this area by national regulators. “The report provides a thorough insight and analysis of national supervisory practices, facilitated by ESMA’s first on-site visits, and includes a number of recommendations which I urge national regulators to consider when reviewing their practices in this area”. Key Findings The review’s key findings covered the following areas: Ex-ante and ex-post supervision – supervisory systems are divided between ex-ante and ex-post reviews of marketing material. Within the ex-post approach there is also divergence in terms of the timeliness with which NCAs review the material following its dissemination and consider complaints made by clients of firms; Direct and indirect supervision – while some NCAs directly supervise firms’ compliance with their obligations relating to the provision of information and marketing material to clients, others rely on annual checks performed by external auditors. The latter approach may make it difficult to detect failings by firms in a timely manner due to the successive sampling process employed by auditors and then the NCA?s concerned; Complaints and Sanctions – a low level of complaints and equally low level of sanctions are reported by NCAs in the area of information and marketing to clients; and Definition of information and marketing communication - There is no precise definition of the term marketing communication in EU law: this would need to be further defined in order to build effective convergence of supervisory practices. Recommendations for future work The Report identifies a number of areas for future work by NCAs and ESMA which could promote a more coherent cross-EU application of the requirements. These include: establishing more robust structures and efficient coordination and cooperation arrangements between different supervisory units within NCAs; defining a clear set of information and marketing material to be supervised; assessing the frequency of NCAs’ monitoring of investor information and marketing; assessing the adequacy of monitoring the distribution channels used by firms including in the cross border provision of services; requiring investment firms to submit to their NCAs details of all information and marketing material to be provided including material used for cross-border business; considering the use of integrated databases to assist in supervision of information and marketing to clients; assessing the frequency and consistency of the use of sanctions by NCAs; and assessing the implementation and effectiveness of the guidelines for complaints-handling for the securities (ESMA) and banking (EBA) sectors. In addition, ESMA should continue its efforts, including the use of Opinions, in promoting the development of a level-playing field regarding the provision of information in an understandable format to clients and the quality of service to clients.
19/12/2014 2014/1574 ESMA provides implementing rules for MiFID II , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today its final technical advice (TA) and launches a consultation on its draft regulatory technical and implementing standards (RTS/ ITS) regarding the implementation of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and Regulation (MiFIR). Both ESMA’s TA and draft RTS translate the MiFID II/MiFIR requirements into practically applicable rules for market participants and national supervisors. The new regulatory framework aims at ensuring that secondary markets are fair, transparent and safe and that investors’ interests are safeguarded when being sold investment products. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:“Today’s implementing rules on both secondary markets and investor protection issues reflect ESMA’s desire to achieve the best outcome for market users and investors, taking into account the extensive submissions received from our stakeholders. The advice now goes to the European Commission to use in preparation of its delegated legislation, while our technical standards are open for a second round of consultation. “Once fully implemented, MiFID II will have a significant impact on the EU’s securities markets, its users and infrastructure providers. It will bring greater transparency and improve the overall functioning of markets thus strengthening investors’ trust in the financial sector.”MiFID II to include most financial instruments, trading venues and techniquesMiFID II/MiFIR introduces changes to the functioning of secondary markets, including transparency requirements for a broad range of asset classes; the obligation to trade derivatives on trading venues; requirements for algorithmic and high-frequency-trading and new supervisory tools for commodity derivatives. The key proposals stemming from ESMA’s TA/draft RTS cover the following issues: •    increased trade transparency, for non-equity instruments, in particular bonds, derivatives, structured finance products and emission allowances;•    a trading obligation for shares and a double volume cap mechanism for shares and equity-like instruments, introducing a major change to the framework for trading these instruments in the Union;•    an obligation to trade derivatives on MiFID venues (regulated markets, multilateral (MTFs) or organised trading facilities (OTFs)) only, in line with G20 requirements;•    newly introduced position limits and reporting requirements for commodity derivatives;•    rules governing high frequency trading, imposing a strict set of organisational requirements on investment firms and trading venues;•    provisions regulating access to central counterparties (CCPs), trading venues and benchmarks, designed to increase competition in the Union; and•    requirements for a consolidated tape of trading data, including rules for tape providers, reporting,  publication and sales of data.MiFID II to improve investor protection ESMA’s TA proposes that the Commission adopts a number of measures that will further the protection of investors across the EU. The main proposals relating to the improved protection of investors, especially retail, include:•    clarifications about the circumstances in which portfolio managers can receive research from third parties;•    clarifications under which circumstances inducements meet the quality enhancement requirement for the provision of advice;•    requirements for investment firms manufacturing and/or distributing financial instruments and structured deposits to have product governance arrangements in place in order to assess the robustness of their manufacture and/or distribution;•    requirements for firms to provide clients with details of all costs and charges related to their investment, including cost aggregations, the timing of disclosure (ex-ante and ex-post); information to non-retail clients; the scope of firms subject to this obligation; information on the cumulative effect of costs on the return; •    organisational requirements for firms providing investments advice on an independent basis; and•    specification of powers for ESMA and national regulators with regards to prohibiting or restricting the marketing and distribution of financial instruments. Next stepsThe TA has been finalised following extensive consultations with stakeholders and will now be sent to the European Commission. ESMA’s draft RTS/ITS, already previously consulted upon, are open for public comment until 2 March 2015. In addition, an open hearing will be held in Paris on 19 February 2015. ESMA will use the input received from the consultations to finalise its draft RTS which will be sent for endorsement to the European Commission by mid-2015, its ITS by January 2016. MiFID II/ MiFIR and its implementing measures will be applicable from 3 January 2017.
25/02/2015 2015/495 ESMA publishes review on best execution supervisory practices under MiFID , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has conducted a peer review on how national regulators (national competent authorities or NCAs) supervise and enforce the MiFID provisions relating to investment firms’ obligation to provide best execution, or obtain the best possible result, for their clients when executing their orders. ESMA found that the level of implementation of best execution provisions, as well as the level of convergence of supervisory practices by NCAs, is relatively low. In order to address this situation a number of improvements were identified, including: . prioritisation of best execution as a key conduct of business supervisory issue; . the allocation of sufficient resources to best execution supervision; and . a more proactive supervisory approach to monitoring compliance with best execution requirements, both desk-based and onsite inspections. The review was conducted on the basis of information provided by 29 NCAs and complemented by on-site visits to the NCAs of France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland and Spain.
01/04/2015 2015/674 Press release- ESMA launches centralised data projects for MiFIR and EMIR , Press Release PDF
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22/12/2015 2015/1872 Press Release Cross Selling Guidelines Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its Guidelines on Cross-Selling Practices under MiFID II (guidelines) to ensure investors are treated fairly when an investment firm offers two or more financial products or services as part of a package.

The guidelines include principles on:

  • improving disclosures when different products are cross-sold with one another;
  • requiring firms to provide investors with all relevant information in a timely and clear manner;
  • addressing conflicts of interest arising from remuneration models; and
  • improving client understanding on whether purchasing the individual products offered in a package is possible.

The European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) – EBA, EIOPA and ESMA - initially intended to issue joint guidelines covering all cross-selling practices taking place in the banking, insurance and securities sectors given that cross-selling is often cross-sectoral, and had consulted the stakeholders previously on this basis.

However, in light of legal concerns, the ESAs decided not to issue joint guidelines on cross-selling practices but agreed that ESMA should issue ESMA-only guidelines under MiFID II in order to meet its 3 January 2016 deadline.

While ESMA’s guidelines take into account the results of the ESAs’ joint consultation, the final report focuses on the feedback regarding cross-selling practices under MIFID II. Further, the guidelines are addressed to national regulators supervising the firms which provide MiFID services, when they engage in cross-selling practices.

The ESAs intend to inform the European Commission about the issues encountered and raise the possibility of legislative change to provide a foundation for future joint guidelines.

The guidelines will apply from 3 January 2017.

11/02/2016 2016/284 ESMA publishes first supervisory convergence work programme , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its first Supervisory Convergence Work Programme 2016 (SCWP), which details the activities and tasks it will carry out to promote sound, efficient and consistent supervision across the European Union.

The publication of the SCWP expands on the high-level objective outlined in the Annual Work Programme 2016 and fulfils a key commitment in ESMA’s Strategic Orientation 2016-2020 to outline how it would refocus its resources from single rulebook to supervisory convergence work.

29/03/2016 2016/406 ESMA publishes report on EU accounting enforcement in 2015 , , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its annual report on the enforcement and regulatory activities of accounting enforcers within the European Union (EU) in 2015. ESMA continued strengthening supervisory convergence in the area of financial reporting to improve the consistency and quality across the EU, notably by issuing guidelines, publishing statements on areas of focus and coordinating enforcement decisions.

ESMA and national enforcers examined 189 listed issuers’ compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), across 26 countries, in the areas identified by the 2014 European Common Enforcement Priorities. The examination resulted in enforcement action against 40 (21%) issuers with regulators finding shortcomings in the disclosure of assumptions and judgements related to the:

  • recognition, measurement and disclosures of deferred tax assets arising from tax losses;
  • assessment of control over an entity in the absence of majority equity interest or majority shareholding rights; and
  • classification of joint arrangements.

National enforcers also reviewed the interim or annual financial statements of around 1,200 issuers, representing approximately 20% of issuers of securities listed on EU regulated markets, which led to action against 273 (25%) of those issuers examined. Enforcers found the main deficiencies were related to the presentation of financial statements, impairment of non-financial assets and accounting for financial instruments.

04/04/2016 2016/566 ESMA not to exempt ETD under MiFID II , Press Release PDF
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07/04/2016 2016/582 ESMA finds room for improvement in national supervision of investment advice to retail clients , , Press Release PDF
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02/05/2016 2016/566 Press release MiFID II RTS , Press Release PDF
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30/05/2016 2016/742 ESMA issues opinion on MiFID II standards on ancillary activities , Press Release PDF
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02/06/2016 2016/903 ESMA reminds firms of responsibilities when selling bail-in securities Press Release PDF
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30/06/2016 2016/1047 Press Release Prospectus Peer Review , Press Release PDF
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25/07/2016 2016/1167 Press release- ESMA issues warning on sale of speculative products to retail investors Press Release PDF
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03/10/2016 2016/1425 ESMA consults on consolidated tape for non-equity products , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued today a consultation paper on its draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) regarding the creation of a consolidated tape for non-equity instruments which is required under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II). The new MiFID II framework, which covers equity-like and non-equity instruments traded on trading venues, introduces provisions for establishing a central source of post-trade prices or consolidated tape.

ESMA, having already issued its draft RTS on an equity tape, is seeking feedback on its draft RTS for the non-equity tape. In order to create the non-equity tape, trading venues and approved publication arrangements (APAs) will send real-time post-trade data to consolidated tape providers (CTPs), who will consolidate this data in real-time and make the data available to the public.

05/10/2016 2016/1438 ESMA consults on product governance guidelines to safeguard investors , Press Release PDF
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10/11/2016 2016/1570 ESMA consults on transparency rules for package orders under MiFID II Press Release PDF
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09/02/2017 ESMA71-844457584-345 ESMA publishes 2017 Supervisory Convergence Work Programme , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its 2017 Supervisory Convergence Work Programme (SCWP), which details the activities and tasks it will carry out to promote sound, efficient and consistent supervision across the European Union.

ESMA and national competent authorities (NCAs) will focus their supervisory convergence work on the following priorities:

  • the implementation of MiFID II/MiFIR and MAR including the underlying IT projects;
  • improving the quality to data collected by NCAs;
  • investor protection in the context of cross-border provision of services; and
  • convergence in the supervision of European Union CCPs.

These priorities have been developed taking into account different factors, including the market environment, legislative and regulatory developments, and NCAs’ supervisory priorities.

05/04/2017 ESMA71-99-386 Press release: ESMA clarifies market structure issues under MiFID II Press Release PDF
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31/05/2017 ESMA71-99-469 ESMA issues principles on supervisory approach to relocations from the UK , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an Opinion setting out general principles aimed at fostering consistency in authorisation, supervision and enforcement related to the relocation of entities, activities and functions from the United Kingdom. The opinion is addressed to national competent authorities (NCAs), in particular of the 27 Member States that will remain in the EU (EU27).

The opinion is a practical tool to support supervisory convergence in the context of increased requests from UK financial market participants seeking to relocate to the EU27. It covers all legislation referred to in the ESMA Regulation, in particular the AIFMD, the UCITS Directive, MiFID I and MiFID II.