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Date Ref. Title Section Type Download Info Summary Related Documents Translated versions
14/11/2013 2013/1650 ESMA begins preparatory work for new Market Abuse Regime , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA begins preparatory work for new Market Abuse Regime The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Discussion Paper setting out its initial views on the implementing measures it will have to develop for the new Market Abuse Regulation (MAR). MAR aims to enhance market integrity and investor protection. It will achieve this by updating and strengthening the existing market abuse framework, by extending its scope to new markets and trading strategies, and by introducing new requirements. The Discussion Paper presents positions and regulatory options on those issues where ESMA will have to develop MAR implementing measures, likely to include Regulatory Technical Standards, Delegated Acts and Guidelines. These implementing measures are of fundamental importance to the new regime, as they set out how MAR’s enlarged scope is to be implemented in practice by market participants, trading platforms, investors, issuers and persons related to financial markets. In developing these regulatory options ESMA, where similar requirements already exist under the current Market Abuse Directive (MAD), has taken into consideration the existing MAD Level 2 texts and ESMA/CESR guidelines to set out the DP positions in light of the extended scope of MAR. This Discussion Paper is based on the version of the MAR Level 1 text agreed by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission on 24 June 2013. The closing date for responses is Monday 27 January 2014. MAR Policy Areas The DP covers ten sections of MAR where ESMA is expected to have to provide input, these include: • conditions to be met by buyback programmes and stabilization measures to benefit from the exemption from market abuse prohibitions; • arrangement and procedures required for market soundings, from the perspective of both the sounding and the sounded market participants; • indicators and signals of market manipulation; • criteria to establish Accepted Market Practices; • arrangement, systems and procedures to put in place for the purpose of suspicious transactions and order reporting as well as its content and format; • issues relating to public disclosure of inside information and the conditions for delay; • format for insider lists; • issues concerning the reporting and public disclosure of managers’ transactions; • arrangements for fair presentation and disclosure of conflicts of interests by producers and disseminators of investment recommendations; • reporting of violations and related procedures. Next steps ESMA will consider the feedback it receives to this consultation in Q1 2014 and incorporate it in to its full consultation papers on both its draft Technical Standards and Technical Advice to the Commission. The dates for these consultations are will depend on the publication of the final version of MAR. Notes for editors 1. 2013/1649 Discussion Paper - ESMA’s policy orientations on possible implementing measures under the Market Abuse Regulation 2. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on insider dealing and market manipulation (market abuse) (MAR) 3. 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). 4. 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. Press Release 2013/1650 Discussion Paper 2013/1649
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.
29/09/2014 2014/1191 ESMA Management Board Election Results , , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority has elected three new members to its Management Board to replace outgoing members whose term will expire in October this year. The election took place at the Board of Supervisors meeting in Rome on 25 September and the successful candidates, who will serve a term of 2½ years beginning on the 1 November 2014, are: • Cyril Roux, Central Bank of Ireland (CBI), Ireland – new member; • Gérard Rameix, Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), France – ending first term and re-elected; and • Marek Szuszkiewicz, Komisja Nadzoru Finanswego (KNF), Poland – new member.
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.
22/05/2015 2015/884 Press Release- ESMA calls for modification of UCITS Directive , Press Release PDF
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26/06/2015 2015/1049 ESMA announces the appointment of new chairs to Standing Committees , , Press Release PDF
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01/07/2015 2015/1005 Questions and Answers: Investment-based crowdfunding: money laundering/terrorist financing Q&A PDF
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23/07/2015 2015/1193 ESMA consults on UCITS remuneration guidelines , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched a consultation on proposed Guidelines on sound remuneration policies under the UCITS V Directive and AIFMD. The Directive includes rules that UCITS must comply with when establishing and applying a remuneration policy for certain staff categories and the proposed UCITS Remuneration Guidelines further clarify the Directive’s provisions. The proposed Guidelines aim to ensure a convergent application of the remuneration provisions and will provide guidance on issues such as proportionality, governance of remuneration, requirements on risk alignment and disclosure. The final Guidelines will apply to UCITS management companies and national competent authorities.
30/07/2015 2015/1238 ESMA advises on extension of AIFMD passport to non-EU jurisdictions , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its Advice in relation to the application of the AIFMD (Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive) passport to non-EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMs) and Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) and its Opinion on the functioning of the passport for EU AIFMs and the national private placement regimes (NPPRs). The Advice and Opinion, required under AIFMD, will now be considered by the European Commission, Parliament and Council. ESMA Advice – Extension of AIFMD Passport to non-EU AIFMs and AIFs The Advice relates to the possible extension of the passport, currently only available to EU entities, to non-EU AIFMs and AIFs which are currently subject to EU NPPRs. ESMA conducted a country-by-country assessment, as this allowed it flexibility to take into account the different circumstances of each non-EU jurisdiction regarding the regulatory issues to be considered i.e. investor protection, competition, potential market disruption and the monitoring of systemic risk. ESMA assessed six jurisdictions – Guernsey, Hong Kong, Jersey, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States of America (USA) – who were selected based on a number of factors including the amount of activity already being carried out by entities from these countries under the NPPRs, EU national authorities’ knowledge and experience of dealing with their counterparts and the efforts by stakeholders from these countries to engage with ESMA’s process. The Advice concludes that no obstacles exist to the extension of the passport to Guernsey and Jersey, while Switzerland will remove any remaining obstacles with the enactment of pending legislation. No definitive view has been reached on the other three jurisdictions due to concerns related to competition, regulatory issues and a lack of sufficient evidence to properly assess the relevant criteria. Next Steps The Advice and Opinion have been sent to the Commission, Parliament and Council for their consideration on whether to activate the relevant provision in the AIFMD extending the passport through a Delegated Act. However, the institutions may wish to consider waiting until ESMA has delivered positive advice on a sufficient number of non-EU countries, before introducing the passport in order to avoid any adverse market impact that a decision to extend the passport to only a few non-EU countries might have. ESMA aims to finalise the assessments of Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA as soon as practicable and to assess further groups of non-EU countries until it has provided advice on all the non-EU countries that it considers should be included in the extension of the passport. ESMA Opinion – Functioning of the EU AIFMD passport and NPPRs The opinion on the functioning of the EU passport and the NPPRs contains ESMA’s preliminary assessment of the operation of these two mechanisms. Its preliminary view is that, given the short time period that has elapsed since the implementation of the AIFMD in Member States, a definitive assessment of their functioning is difficult and would recommend preparing a further opinion after a longer period.
11/11/2015 JC/2015/078 ESAs consult on PRIIPs key information for retail investors , , Press Release PDF
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02/02/2016 2016/138 ESMA updates on supervisory work on closet index tracking , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Statement providing details of its work on closet index tracking funds.

Closet indexing, also known as index hugging, refers to the practice of fund managers claiming to manage portfolios actively when in reality the fund stays close to a benchmark. ESMA is concerned the practice may harm investors as they are not receiving the service or risk/return profile they expect based on the fund’s disclosure documents while potentially paying higher fees compared to those typically charged for passive management.

ESMA conducted research on a sample of 2,600 funds for the period 2012-2014 to determine whether it could find any indication of closet indexing at an EU-wide level. Quantitative metrics, such as the percentage of a UCITS’ portfolio that does not coincide with the underlying equity benchmark, indicated between 5 and 15% of UCITS equity funds could potentially be closet indexers. ESMA then reviewed the investor disclosure documents of the funds concerned, to see how they described their management strategy, and found they tended to confirm the quantitative analysis results.

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.

31/03/2016 2016/472 ESMA publishes UCITS remuneration guidelines , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its final Guidelines on sound remuneration policies under the UCITS Directive and AIFMD. ESMA has also written to the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament on the proportionality principle and remuneration rules in the financial sector.

UCITS Remuneration Guidelines

The UCITS Remuneration Guidelines provide clarity on the requirements under the UCITS Directive for management companies when establishing and applying a remuneration policy for key staff. The Guidelines will ensure a convergent application of these provisions and provide guidance on the governance of remuneration, requirements on risk alignment and disclosure. The Guidelines will apply to UCITS management companies and national competent authorities from 1 January 2017.

Proportionality Issue

ESMA, while finalising its UCITS Remuneration Guidelines, had to balance the alignment with the AIFMD Remuneration Guidelines and the obligation to closely cooperate with the European Banking Authority (EBA) in order to ensure consistency with requirements developed for other financial services sectors, in particular credit institutions and investment firms.

The UCITS Directive prescribes that proportionality shall apply to the full set of remuneration principles set out under this Directive. However, the Guidelines do not include guidance on the possibility of dis-applying certain specific requirements on the pay-out process. This follows recent work and legal analysis, including the EBA’s Guidelines under CRD IV, which have called into question the existing understanding that the proportionality provisions as set out under the UCITS Directive and AIFMD may lead to a result:

  1. where – under specific circumstances – the requirements on the pay-out process i.e. the requirements on variable remuneration in instruments, retention, deferral and ex post incorporation of risk for variable remuneration are not applied; or
  2. where it is possible to apply lower thresholds whenever minimum quantitative thresholds are set for the pay-out requirements e.g. the requirement to defer at least 40% of variable remuneration.

ESMA considers that these scenarios should remain possible in certain situations and, in its letter to the European institutions, suggests that further legal clarity on this possibility could be beneficial to all the interested parties. Legislative changes in the relevant asset management legislation could be one way to further clarify the applicable regulatory framework.

ESMA believes that it would be inappropriate for the following fund managers to be subject in all circumstances to the requirements on the pay-out process:

  1. smaller fund managers (in terms of balance sheet or size of assets under management);

 

  1. fund managers with simpler internal organisation or nature of activities; or

 

  1. fund managers whose scope and complexity of activities is more limited.

 

ESMA also considers that it would be disproportionate to apply the requirements to relatively small amounts of variable remuneration and to apply certain requirements to certain staff when this would not result in an effective alignment of interests between the staff and the investors in the funds.

AIFMD Remuneration Guidelines

The amended AIFMD guidelines will come into force on 1 January 2017. The amendment to the AIFMD guidelines relates to the section of these guidelines dealing with the application of the remuneration rules in a group context and is intended to acknowledge the potential outreach of the CRD rules in a banking group.

The current AIFMD Guidelines will not be amended to bring them into line with the UCITS Guidelines pending clarification on the application of the proportionality principle.

Next Steps

The Guidelines in Annexes III and IV will be translated into the official languages of the European Union and the final texts published on the ESMA website. The deadline for compliance notifications will be two months after the publication of the translations.

07/04/2016 JC/2016/21 PR Joint Press Release draft RTS on PRIIPs , , Press Release PDF
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31/05/2016 2016/774 Q&A on the Application of the EuSEF and EuVECA Regulations Q&A PDF
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02/06/2016 2016/743 ESMA assesses usefulness of distributed ledger technologies , , Press Release PDF
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19/07/2016 2016/1138 ESMA advises on extension of funds passport to 12 non-EU countries Press Release PDF
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29/09/2016 2016/1407 ESMA consults on future rules for financial benchmarks , Press Release PDF
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11/10/2016 2016/1458 ESMA to focus on supervisory convergence issues in 2017 , , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its 2017 Work Programme which sets out its priorities and areas of focus for 2017 in support of its mission to enhance investor protection and promote stable and orderly financial markets.

The programme reflects the shift in focus of ESMA’s work, from building the single rulebook, towards ensuring its consistent application across the European Union (EU), as outlined in its 2016-2020 Strategic Orientation. The key areas of focus under ESMA’s activities of supervisory convergence, assessing risks, single rulebook and direct supervision will be:

  • Converging supervisory practices on the implementation of MiFIDII/MiFIR ;
  • Focusing on data quality;
  • Level 2 work on the Benchmarks Regulation and on various initiatives under the umbrella of the Capital Markets Union; and
  • Directly supervising credit rating agencies (CRA) and trade repositories (TR), with a particular focus on their ancillary activities given the trend of combining ancillary and core services.
10/11/2016 2016-1567 ESMA finalises advice on future rules for financial benchmarks Press Release PDF
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