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02/06/2016 2016/743 ESMA assesses usefulness of distributed ledger technologies , , Press Release PDF
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15/02/2016 2016/291 ESMA consults on implementation of the Benchmarks Regulation , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today published a Discussion Paper (DP) regarding the technical implementation of the incoming Benchmarks Regulation (BR). ESMA is seeking stakeholder’s input to inform its future proposals on draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) and Technical Advice (TA) to the European Commission.

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

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

Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:

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

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

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

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

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

Next steps

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

18/12/2014 2014/1568 Press Release- Investment-based crowdfunding needs EU-wide common approach , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an Opinion along with an Advice on Investment-based crowdfunding. The Opinion clarifies the EU rules applicable to crowdfunding, while the Advice highlights issues for consideration by the EU institutions to achieve greater regulatory and supervisory convergence within the EU.The Opinion is addressed to the national competent authorities (NCA) and provides clarity on how crowdfunding business models fit within the existing EU regulatory framework. It outlines how existing EU rules are likely to apply to crowdfunding platforms, depending on the precise business model used. It also provides guidance to NCAs who may be considering how to regulate platforms operating outside the scope of the harmonised EU rules on the key risks inherent to crowdfunding and the key components of a regulatory regime to address them.The Advice, addressed to the EU institutions – Commission, Parliament and Council, highlights the concern that strong incentives currently exist for crowdfunding platforms to structure their business models to fall outside the scope of regulation and asks them to consider policy options to reduce these incentives. Avoiding regulation presents risks to investor protection and makes it harder for platforms to grow their businesses.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA’s aim is to enable crowdfunding to reach its potential as a source of finance, while ensuring that risks to users of crowdfunding platforms are identified and addressed in a proportionate and convergent way across the EU. “We believe that there are benefits both for investors as well as for platforms by operating inside rather than outside the regulated space. Opinion to National Competent AuthoritiesConsidering the diverse business models used within investment-based crowdfunding and depending on the precise structures used different EU legislation may apply. The Opinion sets out an analysis of how the main business models map across existing EU rules, e.g., the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), the Prospectus Directive, the Directive for Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMD) and other financial and banking regulations. In addition, the Opinion outlines what ESMA believes should be the key components of an appropriate regulatory regime for investment-based crowdfunding activities. ESMA’s Advice to the EU InstitutionsThe Advice to the EU institutions highlights gaps and issues in the current applicable regime where policymakers could consider taking action to ensure there is a regime protecting investors while also fit for purpose for crowdfunding platforms. These gaps and issues include: the impact of the Prospects Directive thresholds; capital requirements and the use of the MiFID optional exemption; and the potential development of a specific EU crowdfunding regime, in particular for those platforms that currently operate outside of the scope of MiFID The Opinion and Advice have been prepared in collaboration with and input from the European Banking Authority (EBA) on the regulation that falls within its scope of action, i.e. the Payment Services Directive, and constitute the first output of a co-ordinated programme of work with the next expected output being a publication by EBA on lending-based crowdfunding. In line with their respective remits, ESMA has focused on investment-based crowdfunding, while EBA has focused on lending-based crowdfunding.
18/12/2014 2014/1378 Opinion- Investment-based crowdfunding Opinion PDF
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Crowdfunding is a means of raising finance for projects from ‘the crowd’ often by means of an internet-based platform through which project owners ‘pitch’ their idea to potential backers, who are typically not professional investors.  It takes many forms, not all of which involve the potential for a financial return.  ESMA’s focus is on crowdfunding which involves investment, as distinct from donation, non-monetary reward or loan agreement.  Crowdfunding is relatively young and business models are evolving. EU financial services rules were not designed with the industry in mind. Within investment-based crowdfunding a range of different operational structures are used so it is not straightforward to map crowdfunding platforms’ activities to those regulated under EU legislation. Member States and NCAs have been working out how to treat crowdfunding, with some dealing with issues case-by-case, some seeking to clarify how crowdfunding fits into existing rules and others introducing specific requirements.To assist NCAs and market participants, and to promote regulatory and supervisory convergence, ESMA has assessed typical investment-based crowdfunding business models and how they could evolve, risks typically involved for project owners, investors and the platforms themselves and the likely components of an appropriate regulatory regime. ESMA then prepared a detailed analysis of how the typical business models map across to the existing EU legislation, set out in this document.
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.
27/03/2014 2014/332 Structured Retail Products- Good practices for product governance arrangements , Opinion PDF
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Legal basis 1.    Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation)  sets out the European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) scope of action, tasks and powers which include “enhancing customer protection”, and “foster[ing] investor protection”.  2.    In order to continue delivering on this investor protection statutory objective, ESMA is issuing this opinion on certain aspects linked to the manufacturing and distribution of structured retail products (SRP). This opinion takes into account relevant work done in this field both at European and interna-tional level.  3.    This opinion is without prejudice to the requirements for the provision of investment services and activities established in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID)  and its implementing measures (notably, Directive 2006/73/EC), the regulatory developments arising from the MiFID review or existing product rules that may apply to SRPs.  4.    ESMA’s competence to deliver an opinion is based on Article 29(1) (a) of the ESMA Regulation. In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation, the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion. Background 5.    In its July 2013 report on ‘Retailisation in the EU’ , ESMA highlighted that, from a consumer protec-tion perspective, retail investors may face difficulties in understanding the drivers of risks and returns of structured products. If retail investors do not properly understand the risk and reward profile of structured products, and if the products are not properly assessed against the risk appetite of retail investors, retail investors might be exposed to unexpected losses and this might lead to complaints, reputational risks for manufacturers and distributors, and a loss of confidence in the regulatory framework and, more broadly, in financial markets. 6.    In 2013, ESMA mapped the measures adopted in the EU Member States in relation to complex products in order to identify issues and to better understand the rationale behind national initiatives (by looking at similarities and differences in the various approaches, and reviewing how complexity has been treated in the different EU Members States). 7.    As a result, ESMA has developed a broad set of non-exhaustive examples of good practices, attached as Annex 1 hereto, illustrating arrangements that firms - taking into account the nature, scale and complexity of their business - could put in place to improve their ability to deliver on investor protection regarding, in particular, (i) the complexity of the SRPs they manufacture or distribute, (ii) the nature and range of the investment services and activities undertaken in the course of that business, and (iii) the type of investors they target. These good practices should also be a helpful tool for competent authorities in carrying out their supervisory action. Opinion 8.    ESMA considers that sound product governance arrangements are fundamental for investor protec-tion purposes, and can reduce the need for product intervention actions by competent authorities. 9.    ESMA considers that, when supervising firms manufacturing or distributing an SRP, competent authorities should promote, in their supervisory approaches, the examples of good practices for firms set out in Annex 1 hereto. 10.    Although the good practices set out in Annex 1 hereto focus on structured products sold to retail investors, ESMA considers that they may also be a relevant reference for other types of financial in-struments (such as asset-backed securities, or contingent convertible bonds), as well as when financial instruments are being sold to professional clients. 11.    The exposure to risk is an intrinsic feature of investment products. The good practices set out in Annex 1 refer to product governance arrangements and do not (and cannot) aim at removing investment risk from products.
07/02/2014 2014/152 ESMA tells firms to improve their selling practices for complex financial products , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an Opinion on practices to be observed by investment firms when selling complex financial products to investors. ESMA is issuing this opinion to remind national supervisors and investment firms about the importance of requirements governing selling practices under MiFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive).ESMA is issuing this Opinion as it is concerned that firms’ compliance with the MiFID selling practices when selling complex products may have fallen short of expected standards. The concerns relate mainly to the suitability and appropriateness of complex products that are increasingly within the grasp of retail investors. The Opinion sets out ESMA’s minimum expectations with respect to the conduct of firms when selling complex products to retail investors.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “Investment firms increasingly sell complex financial products such as warrants, different types of structured bonds, derivatives and asset-backed securities, which were previously accessible mainly to professional investors, to retail investors.“ESMA is concerned that this trend greatly increases the risk that customers do not understand the risks, costs and expected returns of the products they are buying. Therefore, we believe that it is crucial that investment firms act responsibly and in the best interest of their clients.“The level of concern regarding the risk posed by these products to investor protection when MiFID rules are not fully respected is such that we have also issued an EU-wide warning to investors in order to raise awareness about the risks arising from investing in these types of complex products.” The marketing and sale of complex financial products, in particular to retail investors, is an important investor protection area where ESMA wants to ensure a consistent approach to the application of the MiFID conduct business rules - thereby improving supervisory convergence.The areas covered by the Opinion relate to: firms’ organisation and internal controls; the assessment of the suitability or appropriateness of certain products; disclosures and communications in relation to products; and compliance monitoring of the sales functions.
07/02/2014 2014/146 MiFID practices for firms selling complex products , Opinion PDF
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28/06/2013 2013/845 Joint Committee of ESAs holds its first Consumer Protection Day Press Release PDF
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06/06/2013 2013/684 ESMA and the EBA publish final principles on benchmarks , , Press Release PDF
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28/02/2013 2013/266 ESMA and the EBA warn investors about contracts for difference , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) have published a warning to retail investors about the dangers of investing in contracts for difference (CFDs).The two authorities are concerned that during the current period of low investment returns, inexperienced retail investors across the EU are being tempted to invest in complex financial products, which they may not fully understand and which can end up costing them money they cannot afford to lose.Andrea Enria and Steven Maijoor, Chairs of the EBA and ESMA, warned:“Retail investors across the EU should be aware of all the risks arising from investing in CFDs.  These products appear to promise investors substantial returns at a low cost but may ultimately cost them far more than they may have intended or could afford to lose.“CFDs are complex products that are not suitable for all types of investors, therefore you should always make sure that you understand how the product you are buying works, that it does what you want it to do and that you are in a position to take the loss if it fails.”Investors trading CFDs should protect themselvesInvestors should only consider trading in CFDs if they have extensive experience of trading in volatile markets, if they fully understand how these operate and have sufficient time to manage their investment on an active basis.Investors should carefully read their agreement or contract with the CFD provider before making a trading decision.  They should make sure that they at least understand the following: •    the costs of trading CFDs with the CFD provider,  •    whether the CFD provider will disclose the margins it makes on their trades, •    how the prices of the CFDs are determined by the CFD provider, •    what happens if they hold their position open overnight,  •    whether the CFD provider can change or re-quote the price once an investor places an order, •    whether the CFD provider will execute investor’s orders even if the underlying market is closed, •    whether there is an investor or deposit protection scheme in place in the event of counterparty or client asset issues.If investors do not understand what’s on offer, they should not trade. Further information Always check if the CFD provider is authorised to do investment business in your country.  You can check this on the website of the CFD provider’s national regulator.  A list of all the national regulatory authorities, and their websites, is also available from:•    ESMA at http://www.esma.europa.eu/investor-corner; and •    EBA at http://www.eba.europa.eu/Publications/Consumer-Protection-Issues.aspx.The investor warning on CFDs will be translated into the official EU languages.Concurrently with the publication of this warning, the EBA is addressing an internal Opinion under Art. 29 of the EBA Regulations to national supervisory authorities on the prudential supervision of CFDs. Notes for editors1.    ESMA/2013/267 Investor Warning – Contracts for Difference (CFDs)2.    ESMA and the EBA are independent EU Authorities that were established on 1 January 2011 and work closely with the European other European Supervisory Authority responsible for insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA).3.    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.4.    The EBA has a broad remit in the areas of banking, payments and e-money regulation, as well as on issues related to corporate governance, auditing and financial reporting. Its tasks include the protection of consumers and depositors, preventing regulatory arbitrage, guaranteeing a level playing field (especially by building a single rule book for the European banking system) strengthening international supervisory coordination, promoting supervisory convergence and providing advice to EU institutions. Further information:Reemt SeibelESMA Communications Officer Tel:   +33 (0)1 58 36 4272Mob: +33 6 42 48 55 29Email: reemt.seibel@esma.europa.eu David CliffeESMA Senior Communications OfficerTel:   +33 (0)1 58 36 43 24Mob: +33 6 42 48 29 06Email: david.cliffe@esma.europa.euRomain SadetEBA Communications Officer Tel:   +44 (0) 207 997 5914Mob: +44 (0) 7785 463278  Email: romain.sadet@eba.europa.eu     Franca CongiuEBA Communications OfficerTel:   +44 (0) 207 382 1781Mob: +44 (0) 7771 376395Email: francarosa.congiu@eba.europa.eu
29/11/2010 10-217 Press release- CESR finds Member States broadly compliant with Prospectus Directive Press Release PDF
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16/11/2010 10-1429 Press Release- SEC and CESR Members announce efforts to continue close cooperation as national securities regulators implement new regulatory reform initiatives Press Release PDF
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26/10/2010 10-1314 Press release- CESR sees improvements in financial instruments disclosures by European financial institutions in 2009 accounts Press Release PDF
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13/10/2010 10-1169 Press release- CESR completes its review of MiFID by issuing advice on OTC derivatives trading, post-trade transparency standards and client categorisation Press Release PDF
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13/10/2010 10-1169 Press release- CESR completes its review of MiFID by issuing advice on OTC derivatives trading, post-trade transparency standards and client categorisation Press Release PDF
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23/09/2010 10-1150 Press release- CESR review identifies improvements in financial information throughout Europe in 2009 Press Release PDF
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22/09/2010 3L3 22-09-10 PR Press release- 3L3 Committees welcome European Parliament landmark vote to reform financial supervision in Europe Press Release PDF
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15/09/2010 10-1128 CESR Chair Tavares welcomes the two new proposals by the Commission for the regulation of derivatives markets and short selling Press Release PDF
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02/08/2010 10-943 Press Release- CESR announces next steps on European access to financial information disclosed by listed companies Press Release PDF
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