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27/03/2014 2014/334 ESMA issues good practices for structured retail product governance , Press Release PDF
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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.
22/05/2014 2014/557 ESMA consults on MiFID reforms , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched the consultation process for the implementation of the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and Regulation (MiFIR). This is the first step in the process of translating the MiFID II/MiFIR requirements into practically applicable rules and regulations to address the effects of the financial crisis and to improve financial market transparency and strengthen investor protection.MiFID II/MiFIR introduces changes that will have a large impact on the EU’s financial markets, these include transparency requirements for a broader range of asset classes; the obligation to trade derivatives on-exchange; requirements on algorithmic and high-frequency-trading and new supervisory tools for commodity derivatives. It will also strengthen protection for retail investors through limits on the use of commissions; conditions for the provision of independent investment advice; stricter organisational requirements for product design and distribution; product intervention powers; and the disclosure of costs and charges.MiFID II/MiFIR contains over 100 requirements for ESMA to draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) and Implementing Technical Standards (ITS), and to provide Technical Advice to the European Commission to allow it to adopt delegated acts. In order to ensure that MIFID II achieves its objectives in practice, ESMA is publishing the following documents:1.    Consultation Paper on MiFID/MiFIR Technical Advice – ESMA needs to deliver this advice to the European Commission by December 2014 and is therefore subject to a condensed consultation process for this paper; and2.    Discussion Paper on MiFID/MiFIR draft RTS/ITS – this will provide the basis for a further consultation paper on the draft RTS/ITS which is expected to be issued in late 2014/early 2015. The closing date for responses to both papers is Friday 1 August. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:“The launch of today’s MiFID II/MiFIR consultation process is an important step in the biggest overhaul of financial markets regulation in the EU for a decade. The reform of MiFID is an integral part of the EU’s strategy to address the effects of the financial crisis and aims to bring greater transparency to markets and to strengthen investor protection. These changes are key to restoring trust in our financial markets.“We appreciate the magnitude of this exercise for stakeholders. We strongly encourage all those affected by these reforms to provide their views to ensure that we take them into account in our final proposals.”The main issues covered in the Discussion and Consultation Paper are divided into those addressing the structure, transparency and regulation of financial markets, and those aimed at strengthening investor protection.Financial Markets Structure, Transparency and RegulationThe main proposals in this area cover the following issues: enhanced transparency and trading obligations - increasing pre- and post-trade transparency for many categories of instruments, e.g. shares, ETFs, certificates, bonds and derivatives, limitations to trade shares OTC and new obligations to trade derivatives on trading venues; micro-structural issues – refining the definition of high frequency trading and direct electronic access and specifying the requirements for operating in the market using algorithmic techniques; data publication and access – issues related to the development of the consolidated tape including requirements for tape providers, approved publication arrangements and reporting mechanisms, and the definition of a reasonable commercial basis for data sales; and the access to CCPs,  trading venues and benchmarks; other organisational requirements for trading venues; and commodity derivatives – new regulatory tools, including position limits. Investor ProtectionThe main proposals relating to the improved protection of retail investors include technical advice on: inducements – new limitations on the receipt of commissions (inducements); independent advice – clearly distinguishing independent from non-independent advice; product governance – requirements on the manufacture and distribution of financial products including target market and risk identification; product intervention/banning - introducing powers for both ESMA and national regulators to prohibit or restrict the marketing and distribution of certain financial instruments; and improved information on costs and charges – requirements to provide clients with details of all charges related to their investment (relating to both the investment service and the financial instrument provided) so they can understand the overall cost and its effect on their investment’s return. In addition, the draft regulatory technical standards in the investor protection area relate to the authorisation of investment firms, passporting, and certain best execution obligations.Next StepsESMA will hold three public hearings about secondary markets, investor protection and commodity derivatives issues on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 July. Further details on the hearings will be published on ESMA’s website. 2014/548 2014/549
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.

28/10/2014 2014/1310 Press Release- ESMA sets enforcement priorities for listed companies’ financial statements , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its Public Statement on European Common Enforcement Priorities (Priorities) for 2014. These Priorities identify topics which ESMA, together with European national enforcers, see as a key focus of their examinations of listed companies’ financial statements.The common enforcement priorities encompass the following topics: Preparation and presentation of consolidated financial statements and related disclosures; Financial reporting by entities which have joint arrangements and related disclosures; and Recognition and measurement of deferred tax assets. These topics are important, as they either introduce significant changes to accounting practices following the implementation of new standards, or because the current economic environment poses particular challenges to issuers in the application of certain IFRS requirements, notably when forecasting future taxable profits in periods of low economic growth.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “The aim of the common enforcement priorities is to achieve a high level of harmonisation in enforcement and to contribute to consistency in the application of IFRS across the EU. “In view of the impact of new standards on financial information, ESMA believes that listed companies and their auditors should pay particular attention in the areas of consolidated financial statements, joint arrangements and valuation of deferred tax assets when preparing and auditing their 2014 IFRS financial statements.“This will contribute to ensuring the relevance and reliability of financial information provided to investors, and ultimately contributes to the proper functioning of Europe’s capital markets.”Furthermore, the Public Statement highlights two areas that should be considered in the preparation of the 2014 financial statements. ESMA and the national enforcers expect EU listed banks to provide relevant information in relation to material impacts resulting from the European Central Bank’s Comprehensive Assessment of the banking sector and on any changes in the level of regulatory capital required. In addition, ESMA considers that findings included in the 2013 ESMA Report on comparability of financial statements of financial institutions continue to be of high relevance for the 2014 annual reports.  The Public Statement also encourages listed companies to provide entity-specific disclosures, relevant to their performance and financial situation at the end of the period presented. ESMA believes that the early involvement and commitment of senior management in this respect is vital to ensure that listed companies give relevant and reliable information to investors.Application will be monitored and supervisedESMA and European national enforcers will monitor and supervise the application of the IFRS requirements outlined in the Priorities, with national authorities incorporating them into their reviews and taking corrective actions where appropriate. ESMA will collect data on how European listed entities have applied the Priorities and will publish its findings in early 2016.Notes for editors 2014/1309 ESMA Public Statement  - European common enforcement priorities for 2014 financial statements 2014/1293 ESMA Guidelines on enforcement of financial information 2013/1664 ESMA Review of Accounting Practices -  Comparability of IFRS Financial Statements of Financial Institutions in Europe 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). 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.

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.
16/02/2015 2015/281 Press Release- ESMA publishes annual report and supervisory focus for CRAs and TRs , , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today an annual report (Report) on its direct supervisory activities in 2014 regarding credit rating agencies (CRAs) and trade repositories (TR). The report summarises the key actions taken during 2014 and outlines ESMA’s supervisory work plans for both sectors for 2015.
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.
31/03/2015 2015/662 Press release: ESMA sees improved transparency of issuers financial statements – more information needed on forbearance practices and impairment tests , , Press Release PDF
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01/04/2015 2015/674 Press release- ESMA launches centralised data projects for MiFIR and EMIR , Press Release PDF
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30/06/2015 2015/1068 Press Release- ESMA publishes guidelines for issuers performance measures , , Press Release PDF
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13/08/2015 2015/1260 ESMA recommends changes to EMIR framework , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published four reports focused on how the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) framework has been functioning and providing input and recommendations to the European Commission’s (EC) EMIR Review. Three of the reports are required under Article 85 of EMIR, and cover non-financial counterparties (NFCs), pro-cyclicality and the segregation and portability for CCPs. The fourth report responds to the EC’s Review including recommendations on amending EMIR in relation to the clearing obligation, the recognition of third country CCPs and the supervision and enforcement procedures for trade repositories. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “EMIR is a key component of the EU’s regulatory reform package in response to the financial crisis affecting many elements of OTC derivatives markets. While its implementation is still underway we recommend a number of changes, based on our experiences, to improve and streamline the regulatory and supervisory framework and to ensure that the objectives of stability and investor protection are met.” ESMA’s Response to European Commission EMIR Review This report provides input to the EC’s consultation on the EMIR review with recommendations to amend the EMIR framework in a number of areas including: • Clearing obligation - in order to strengthen the EMIR framework and to better respond to changing market conditions, ESMA proposes amending EMIR in order to streamline the process for determining clearing obligations and to introduce tools allowing the suspension of the clearing obligation when certain market conditions arise. It also proposes removing the frontloading requirement; • Recognition of third country CCPs - regarding the recognition of third-country CCPs, ESMA is proposing to rethink the entire equivalence and recognition process to increase its efficiency and effectiveness and to better respond to regulatory differences between third countries. ESMA proposes that the jurisdiction decision be governed by Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) and that any recognition process should also include additional risk-based considerations allowing it to deny or suspend the recognition of a third country CCP; and • Trade Repositories (TRs) – in order to improve the supervision of TRs, the report makes proposals for changes to ESMA’s supervisory and enforcement powers and procedures including increases in fine levels, broadening the enforcement decisions available to ESMA, appropriate timeframes to consider applications in the registration process and clarifying TRs’ obligations in relation to data quality and reconciliation and supervisory reporting. ESMA’s Reports under Article 85 of EMIR • Non-Financial counterparties (Report No.1) ESMA recommends removing the hedging criteria from EMIR and to use other measures to determine the systemic relevance of NFCs, as this would allow regulators to identify the few NFCs with the highest systemic importance while greatly simplifying the process and reduce the compliance costs for the majority of small and medium NFCs, which pose limited risks to the system overall. • Limiting Pro-cyclicality (Report No.2) ESMA recommends further specifying the rules for implementing the counter-cyclical tools adopted by CCPs for margins and collateral, including regular testing and transparency on the results to further improve their effectiveness. • Segregation and Portability (Report No.3) ESMA has identified some differences in CCP practices in the implementation of the relevant provisions. In order to promote convergent practices and achieve a level playing field, it recommends introducing clarifications and more detailed requirements by RTS along with incentives related to margin period of risk depending on the safety of the chosen account structure. ESMA also proposes monitoring the take-up of the different types of account models to confirm adequacy and efficiency.

27/10/2015 2015/1607 Improve quality of disclosures in financial statements , Press Release PDF
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27/10/2015 2015/1606 Common enforcement priorities for 2015 financial statements , 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.

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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14/04/2016 2016/625 ESMA announces EU-wide stress tests for CCPs , Press Release PDF
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29/04/2016 2016/644 ESMA publishes results of EU central counterparties stress test , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today the results of its first EU-wide stress test exercise regarding Central Counterparties (CCPs). The exercise is aimed at assessing the resilience and safety of the European CCP sector as well as to identify possible vulnerabilities. The results of the test shows that the system of EU CCPs can overall be assessed as resilient to the stress scenarios used to model extreme but plausible market developments.

ESMA has also issued a Q&A document which explains in more detail the overall scope of the stress tests exercise, the different scenarios and methodologies applied.

 

02/05/2016 2016/566 Press release MiFID II RTS , Press Release PDF
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