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21/05/2015 2015/838 ESMA's opinion on the composition of CCP colleges under EMIR Opinion PDF
131.98 KB
22/05/2015 2015/880 ESMA Opinion to the EU institutions on the impact of EMIR on UCITS Opinion PDF
208.55 KB
29/06/2015 2015/1066 ESMA Opinion on emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under short selling regulation Opinion PDF
93.83 KB
01/07/2015 2015/1015 ESMA assessment of Israeli laws and regulations on prospectuses Opinion PDF
173.89 KB
07/07/2015 2015/1104 ESMA Opinion on the renewal of emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under the Short Selling Regulation , Opinion PDF
108.42 KB
OPINION Renewal of emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under Section 1 of Chapter V of Regulation No 236/2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps I. Legal basis 1. According to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps (the Regulation), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) shall within 24 hours of the notification having been made by a competent authority under Article 26 of the Regulation issue an opinion on whether it considers the measure or proposed measure necessary to address the exceptional circumstances. 2. ESMA’s competence to deliver an opinion is based on Article 29(1) (a) of Regulation (EC) No 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation). In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion. II. Background 3. In accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation, the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC) originally notified ESMA and competent authorities on the 29th of June 2015 of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and to introduce an emergency measure under Article 20 of the Regulation. 4. The original emergency measure consisted of a temporary prohibition of transactions in any financial instrument that create, or increase, a net short position on any of the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is HCMC. 5. The original measure concerned the following financial instruments: all shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, as well as all related instruments included in the calculation of the net short position in accordance with Regulation (EU) N0 236/2012 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012 of 5 July 2012 (see in particular Annex I, Part I thereof). It applied to any person irrespective of their country of residence, and did not envisage any exemption for market maker activities. 6. In the original notification, the HCMC indicated that the measure was a complementary action to the ones already established on the 29th of June 2015 by the Greek Authorities, namely: • closure of the ATHEX regulated market and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” until the 6th of July (included); • closure of The Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds operated for the same period; • suspension of redemption of mutual funds’ units; • suspension of operation of ATHEXClear for the securities traded on the Greek market and the MTF “EN.A”; • suspension of the settlement of securities traded on the Greek market by the Hellenic Central Securities Depository; • trading suspension of all the securities of listed companies covered by the above measures, as well as the related financial instruments (the trading suspension is effective also in other Member States). 7. The reason for proposing a temporary prohibition for the creation, or increase, of net short position on the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and on “EN.A” was that the HCMC deemed it necessary for the protection of the investors and the preservation of financial stability. In fact, such prohibition was considered a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities. The HCMC also stated that given that the main liquidity and trading activity on those instruments normally is located within Greece, the measure would have not created disproportionate negative effects, since it would have affected a fairly small part of the EU overall market. 8. Following the issuance by ESMA of a positive opinion pursuant to Article 27 of the Regulation on the 29th of June, the original measure by the HCMC entered into force at 00:00:01 hours (CET) on 30th June 2015, and applied for a period of seven days, ending at 24:00:00 (CET) on 6th July 2015. 9. On the 6th of July 2015, the measures described in paragraph 6 were renewed by the Greek authorities and the bank holiday in Greece was also extended. On the same day, the HCMC proposed a renewal of the short selling measure, notifying ESMA and competent authorities accordingly. 10. In the notification for the renewal, the HCMC explains that it believes the circumstances that justified the imposition of the original measure did not improve during the last week and therefore the measure should be renewed. Moreover, all the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities were renewed or extended, and the short selling measure remains a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other ones. 11. The proposed renewal would concern the same financial instruments of the original measure (see paragraph 5), but the HCMC specified in the new notification that although the ban covers all transactions in the financial instruments listed in Part I of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012, transactions in index-related instruments and ETFs are included to the extent that the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” of which the relevant Competent Authority is the HCMC represent more than 5% of the total value (or composition) of these instruments. 12. The renewed measure shall apply for a period of seven days and shall be in force as of 00:00:01 hours (CET) on 7th July 2015 until 24:00:00 (CET) on 13th of July 2015. III. Opinion 13. ESMA is adopting the following opinion on the notified measure, on the basis of Article 27(2) of Regulation 236/2012 on Short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps: On the adverse events or developments ESMA considers that adverse developments which constitute a serious threat to market confidence in the Greek market still persist. On the appropriateness and proportionality of the measure ESMA considers that the measure is appropriate and proportionate to address the above mentioned threats that persist in the Hellenic Republic. On the duration of the measure ESMA considers that the duration of the measure is justified and appreciates HCMC’s statement in its notification of intent that the measure may be lifted before the end of the established period or renewed in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 if circumstances that justified the imposition of the measure improve, persist or worsen.
13/07/2015 2015/1131 ESMA Opinion on the renewal of emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under short selling regulation , Opinion PDF
110.11 KB
OPINION Renewal of emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under Section 1 of Chapter V of Regulation No 236/2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps I. Legal basis 1. According to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps (the Regulation), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) shall within 24 hours of the notification having been made by a competent authority under Article 26 of the Regulation issue an opinion on whether it considers the measure or proposed measure necessary to address the exceptional circumstances. 2. ESMA’s competence to deliver an opinion is based on Article 29(1) (a) of Regulation (EC) No 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation). In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion. II. Background 3. On the 29th of June 2015, ESMA issued an opinion on the emergency measure introduced by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC) under Article 20 of the Regulation. The measure consisted of a temporary prohibition of transactions in any financial instrument that create, or increase, a net short position on any of the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is HCMC and was applied from 30th June 2015 at 00.00.01 CET to the 6th July 2015 at 24:00:00 (CET). 4. The measure concerned the following financial instruments: all shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, as well as all related instruments included in the calculation of the net short position in accordance with Regulation (EU) N0 236/2012 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012 of 5 July 2012 (see in particular Annex I, Part I thereof). It applied to any person irrespective of their country of residence, and did not envisage any exemption for market maker activities. 5. In the original notification to ESMA, the HCMC indicated that the measure was a complementary action to the ones already established on the 29th of June 2015 by the Greek Authorities, namely: • closure of the ATHEX regulated market and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” until the 6th of July (included); • closure of The Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds operated for the same period; • suspension of redemption of mutual funds’ units; • suspension of operation of ATHEXClear for the securities traded on the Greek market and the MTF “EN.A”; • suspension of the settlement of securities traded on the Greek market by the Hellenic Central Securities Depository; • trading suspension of all the securities of listed companies covered by the above measures, as well as the related financial instruments (the trading suspension is effective also in other Member States). 6. The reason for proposing a temporary prohibition for the creation, or increase, of net short position on the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and on “EN.A” was that the HCMC deemed it necessary for the protection of the investors and the preservation of financial stability. In fact, such prohibition was considered a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities. The HCMC also stated that given that the main liquidity and trading activity on those instruments normally is located within Greece, the measure would have not created disproportionate negative effects, since it would have affected a fairly small part of the EU overall market. 7. On the 6th of July 2015, the measures described in paragraph 5 were renewed by the Greek authorities and the bank holiday in Greece was also extended. On the same day, the HCMC notified ESMA and competent authorities of its intention to renew the short selling measure and ESMA issued a positive opinion concerning this first renewal pursuant to Article 27 of the Regulation. 8. The first renewal concerned the same financial instruments of the original measure (see paragraph 5), but the HCMC specified in the related notification that although the ban covers all transactions in the financial instruments listed in Part I of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012, transactions in index-related instruments and ETFs are included to the extent that the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” of which the relevant Competent Authority is the HCMC represent more than 5% of the total value (or composition) of these instruments. 9. This renewal entered into force at 00:00:01 hours (CET) on 7th July 2015 and will expire at 24:00:00 (CET) on 13th July 2015. 10. On the 13th of July 2015, the measures described in paragraph 5 were renewed again by the Greek authorities and the bank holiday in Greece was also extended. On the same day, in accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation, the HCMC has notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and to renew again the current emergency measure under Article 20 of the Regulation. 11. In the notification for this second renewal, the HCMC explains that it believes the circumstances that justified the imposition of the original measure and of the first renewal did not improve yet and therefore the measure should be extended again. Moreover, all the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities were extended, and the short selling measure remains a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other ones. 12. The proposed second renewal would concern exactly the same instruments as of the first renewal. 13. The renewed measure shall apply for a period of seven days and shall be in force as of 00:00:01 hours (CET) on 14th July 2015 until 24:00:00 (CET) on 20th of July 2015. III. Opinion 14. ESMA is adopting the following opinion on the notified measure, on the basis of Article 27(2) of Regulation 236/2012 on Short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps: On the adverse events or developments ESMA considers that adverse developments which constitute a serious threat to market confidence in the Greek market still persist. On the appropriateness and proportionality of the measure ESMA considers that the measure is appropriate and proportionate to address the above mentioned threats that persist in the Hellenic Republic. On the duration of the measure ESMA considers that the duration of the measure is justified and appreciates HCMC’s statement in its notification of intent that the measure may be lifted before the end of the established period or renewed in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 if circumstances that justified the imposition of the measure improve, persist or worsen.
21/07/2015 2015/1139 ESMA Opinion on the renewal of emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under the Short Selling Regulation , Opinion PDF
114.23 KB
OPINION Renewal of emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under Section 1 of Chapter V of Regulation No 236/2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps I. Legal basis 1. According to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps (the Regulation), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) shall within 24 hours of the notification having been made by a competent authority under Article 26 of the Regulation issue an opinion on whether it considers the measure or proposed measure necessary to address the exceptional circumstances. 2. ESMA’s competence to deliver an opinion is based on Article 29(1) (a) of Regulation (EC) No 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation). In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion. II. Background 3. On the 29th of June 2015, ESMA issued an opinion on the emergency measure introduced by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC) under Article 20 of the Regulation. The measure consisted of a temporary prohibition of transactions in any financial instrument that create, or increase, a net short position on any of the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is HCMC and was applied from 30th June 2015 at 00.00.01 CET to the 6th July 2015 at 24:00:00 (CET). 4. The measure concerned the following financial instruments: all shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, as well as all related instruments included in the calculation of the net short position in accordance with Regulation (EU) N0 236/2012 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012 of 5 July 2012 (see in particular Annex I, Part I thereof). It applied to any person irrespective of their country of residence, and did not envisage any exemption for market maker activities. 5. In the original notification to ESMA, the HCMC indicated that the measure was a complementary action to the ones already established on the 29th of June 2015 by the Greek Authorities, namely: • closure of the ATHEX regulated market and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” until the 6th of July (included); • closure of The Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds operated for the same period; • suspension of redemption of mutual funds’ units; • suspension of operation of ATHEXClear for the securities traded on the Greek market and the MTF “EN.A”; • suspension of the settlement of securities traded on the Greek market by the Hellenic Central Securities Depository; and • trading suspension of all the securities of listed companies covered by the above measures, as well as the related financial instruments (the trading suspension is effective also in other Member States). 6. The reason for proposing a temporary prohibition for the creation, or increase, of net short position on the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and on “EN.A” was that the HCMC deemed it necessary for the protection of the investors and the preservation of financial stability. In fact, such prohibition was considered a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities. The HCMC also stated that given that the main liquidity and trading activity on those instruments normally is located within the Hellenic Republic, the measure would have not created disproportionate negative effects, since it would have affected a fairly small part of the EU overall market. 7. On the 6th and 13th of July 2015, the measures described in paragraph 5 were renewed by the Greek authorities and the bank holiday in the Hellenic Republic was also extended. On the same days, the HCMC notified ESMA and competent authorities of its intention to renew the short selling measure and ESMA issued in both cases a positive opinion concerning these renewals pursuant to Article 27 of the Regulation. 8. The renewals concerned the same financial instruments of the original measure (see paragraph 5), but the HCMC specified in the related notification that although the ban covers all transactions in the financial instruments listed in Part I of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012, transactions in index-related instruments and ETFs are included to the extent that the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” of which the relevant Competent Authority is the HCMC represent more than 5% of the total value (or composition) of these instruments. 9. The renewal notified on the 13th July entered into force at 00:00:01 hours (CET) on 14th July 2015 and will expire at 24:00:00 (CET) on 20th July 2015. 10. On the 20th of July 2015, the measures described in paragraph 5 were renewed again by the Greek authorities. On the same day, in accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation, the HCMC has notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and to renew again the current emergency measure under Article 20 of the Regulation. 11. In the notification for this third renewal, the HCMC explains that it believes the circumstances that justified the imposition of the original measure and of the previous renewals did not improve yet and therefore the measure should be extended again. Moreover, all the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities were extended, and the short selling measure remains a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other ones. 12. The proposed third renewal would concern exactly the same instruments as of the previous renewals. In the latest notification to ESMA and competent authorities, the HCMC revised its wording to the benefit of legal certainty regarding the nature of the emergency measure and the scope of the financial instruments concerned. In particular, the HCMC latest notification refers to short sales of shares under Article 20(2)(a) and any transaction referred to in Article 20(2)(b) of the Regulation (EU) N0 236/2012. The notification also lists explicitly all the categories of financial instruments relating to the concerned shares to which the measure will apply, rather than identifying these related instruments by cross referring to the Annex of Commission Regulation No 918/2012. Thus, the following financial instruments under MiFID are included: options, covered warrants, futures, index-related instruments, contracts for difference, shares/units of exchange-traded funds, swaps, spread bets, packaged retail or professional investment products, complex derivatives, certificates linked to shares, and global depositary receipts. 13. The renewed measure shall apply for a period of seven days and shall be in force as of 00:00:01 hours (CET) on 21st July 2015 until 24:00:00 (CET) on 27Th of July 2015. III. Opinion 14. ESMA is adopting the following opinion on the notified measure, on the basis of Article 27(2) of Regulation 236/2012 on Short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps: On the adverse events or developments ESMA considers that adverse developments which constitute a serious threat to market confidence in the Greek market still persist. Comparing the current situation in the Hellenic Republic with related events over the past few years, the threat to financial stability and investor protection at least in the Hellenic Republic is obvious. Despite the partial reopening of credit institutions on 20 July 2015, the situation of fragility in the financial system and in the broader Greek economy persists. The relation between this situation and the financial markets is clear, as evidenced by the closure of Greek financial markets. On the appropriateness and proportionality of the measure ESMA considers that the measure is appropriate and proportionate to address the above mentioned threats that persist in the Hellenic Republic. Allowing short positions to be built at this stage could exacerbate the threats to financial stability, especially as regards the financial sector. Besides, the inclusion of short positions built through related instruments is appropriate and proportionate since tolerating the build-up of over-the-counter (OTC) short positions and short positions through related instruments would put retail investors at a disadvantage compared to professional investors (who can access OTC wholesale markets more easily), given the main markets are still closed for trading, and would ultimately undermine the overall efficiency of the measure. On the duration of the measure ESMA considers that the duration of the measure is justified. It is a relatively short renewal period that indicates that the measure is linked with specific events and allows its reconsideration at short intervals, which ensures that the assessment of the risks is also performed frequently. Besides, ESMA appreciates HCMC’s statement in its notification of intent that the measure may be lifted before the end of the established period or renewed in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 if circumstances that justified the imposition of the measure improve, persist or worsen.
28/07/2015 2015/1218 ESMA Opinion on the renewal of emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under the Short Selling Regulation , Opinion PDF
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OPINION Renewal of emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under Section 1 of Chapter V of Regulation No 236/2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps I. Legal basis 1. According to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps (the Regulation), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) shall within 24 hours of the notification having been made by a competent authority under Article 26 of the Regulation issue an opinion on whether it considers the measure or proposed measure necessary to address the exceptional circumstances. 2. ESMA’s competence to deliver an opinion is based on Article 29(1) (a) of Regulation (EC) No 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation). In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion. II. Background 3. On the 29th of June 2015, ESMA issued an opinion on the emergency measure introduced by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC) under Article 20 of the Regulation. The measure consisted of a temporary prohibition of transactions in any financial instrument that create, or increase, a net short position on any of the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is HCMC and was applied from 30th June 2015 at 00.00.01 CET to the 6th July 2015 at 24:00:00 (CET). 4. The measure concerned the following financial instruments: all shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, as well as all related instruments included in the calculation of the net short position in accordance with Regulation (EU) N0 236/2012 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012 of 5 July 2012 (see in particular Annex I, Part I thereof). It applied to any person irrespective of their country of residence, and did not envisage any exemption for market maker activities. 5. In the original notification to ESMA, the HCMC indicated that the measure was a complementary action to the ones already established on the 29th of June 2015 by the Greek Authorities, namely: • closure of the ATHEX regulated market and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” until the 6th of July (included); • closure of The Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds operated for the same period; • suspension of redemption of mutual funds’ units; • suspension of operation of ATHEXClear for the securities traded on the Greek market and the MTF “EN.A”; • suspension of the settlement of securities traded on the Greek market by the Hellenic Central Securities Depository; • trading suspension of all the securities of listed companies covered by the above measures, as well as the related financial instruments (the trading suspension is effective also in other Member States). 6. The reason for proposing a temporary prohibition for the creation, or increase, of net short position on the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and on “EN.A” was that the HCMC deemed it necessary for the protection of the investors and the preservation of financial stability. In fact, such prohibition was considered a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities. The HCMC also stated that given that the main liquidity and trading activity on those instruments normally is located within the Hellenic Republic, the measure would have not created disproportionate negative effects, since it would have affected a fairly small part of the EU overall market. 7. On the 6th, the 13th and the 20th of July 2015, the measures described in paragraph 5 were renewed by the Greek authorities. On the same days, the HCMC notified ESMA and competent authorities of its intention to renew the short selling measure and ESMA issued in all cases a positive opinion concerning these renewals pursuant to Article 27 of the Regulation. 8. The renewals concerned the same financial instruments of the original measure (see paragraph 5), but the HCMC specified in the related notification that although the ban covers all transactions in the financial instruments listed in Part I of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012, transactions in index-related instruments and ETFs are included to the extent that the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” of which the relevant Competent Authority is the HCMC represent more than 5% of the total value (or composition) of these instruments. 9. The renewal notified on the 20th of July entered into force at 00:00:01 hours (CET) on the 21th of July 2015 and will expire at 24:00:00 (CET) on the 27th of July 2015. 10. On the 27th of July 2015, while the measures described in paragraph 5 were still in force. in accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation, the HCMC has notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and to renew again the current emergency measure under Article 20 of the Regulation. 11. In the notification for this fourth renewal, the HCMC explains that it believes the circumstances that justified the imposition of the original measure and of the previous renewals did not improve yet and therefore the measure should be extended again. Moreover, being the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities still in force, the short selling measure remains a relevant component to ensure their effectiveness. 12. The proposed fourth renewal would concern exactly the same instruments as of the previous renewals. The latest notification featured the same wording used in the 20th of July 2015 notification to ESMA and competent authorities, where the HCMC revised its previous wording to the benefit of legal certainty regarding the nature of the emergency measure and the scope of the financial instruments concerned. In particular, the HCMC latest notification refers to short sales of shares under Article 20(2)(a) and any transaction referred to in Article 20(2)(b) of the Regulation (EU) No 236/2012. The notification also lists explicitly all the categories of financial instruments relating to the concerned shares to which the measure will apply, rather than identifying these related instruments by cross referring to the Annex of Commission Regulation No 918/2012. Thus, the following financial instruments under MiFID are included: options, covered warrants, futures, index-related instruments, contracts for difference, shares/units of exchange-traded funds, swaps, spread bets, packaged retail or professional investment products, complex derivatives, certificates linked to shares, and global depositary receipts. 13. The renewed measure shall apply for a period of seven days and shall be in force as of 00:00:01 hours (CET) on the 28th of July 2015 until 24:00:00 (CET) on the 3rd of August 2015. III. Opinion 14. ESMA is adopting the following opinion on the notified measure, on the basis of Article 27(2) of Regulation 236/2012 on Short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps: On the adverse events or developments ESMA considers that adverse developments which constitute a serious threat to market confidence in the Greek market still persist. Comparing the current situation in the Hellenic Republic with related events over the past few years, the threat to financial stability and investor protection at least in the Hellenic Republic is obvious. Despite the partial reopening of credit institutions on 20 July 2015, the situation of fragility in the financial system and in the broader Greek economy persists. The relation between this situation and the financial markets is clear, as evidenced by the continued closure of Greek financial markets. On the appropriateness and proportionality of the measure ESMA considers that the measure is appropriate and proportionate to address the above mentioned threats that persist in the Hellenic Republic. Allowing short positions to be built at this stage could exacerbate the threats to financial stability, especially as regards the financial sector. Besides, the inclusion of short positions built through related instruments is appropriate and proportionate since tolerating the build-up of over-the-counter (OTC) short positions and short positions through related instruments would put retail investors at a disadvantage compared to professional investors (who can access OTC wholesale markets more easily), given that the main markets are still closed for trading, and would ultimately undermine the overall efficiency of the measure. On the duration of the measure ESMA considers that the duration of the measure is justified. It is a relatively short renewal period that indicates that the measure is linked with specific events and allows its reconsideration at short intervals, which ensures that the assessment of the risks is also performed frequently. Besides, ESMA appreciates HCMC’s statement in its notification of intent that the measure may be lifted before the end of the established period or renewed in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 if circumstances that justified the imposition of the measure improve, persist or worsen.
30/07/2015 2015/1235 ESMA's opinion to the European Parliament, Council and Commission and responses to the call for evidence on the functioning of the AIFMD EU passport and of the National Private Placement Regimes Opinion PDF
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AIFMD and the request to ESMA for an Opinion In accordance with Articles 36 and 42 of the AIFMD, non-EU AIFMs and non-EU AIFs managed by EU AIFMs are subject to the NPPR of each of the Member States where the AIFs are marketed or managed. However, the AIFMD makes provision for the passport, which is currently reserved to EU AIFMs and AIFs, to be potentially extended in future. Article 67(1) of the AIFMD establishes that, by 22 July 2015, ESMA shall issue to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission the following: An opinion on the functioning of the passport for EU AIFMs pursuant to Articles 32 and 33 of the AIFMD and on the functioning of the national private placement regimes set out in Articles 36 and 42 of the AIFMD. Advice on the application of the passport to non-EU AIFMs and AIFs in accordance with the rules set out in Article 35 and Articles 37 to 41 of the AIFMD. Within three months of receipt of positive advice and an opinion from ESMA, and taking into account the criteria of Article 67(2) and the objectives of the AIFMD, the Commission should adopt a delegated act specifying the date when the rules set out in Article 35 and 37 to 41 of the AIFMD become applicable in all Member States. As a consequence, the EU passport would be extended to non-EU AIFs and non-EU AIFMs. In order to produce this opinion and advice, ESMA must look into the elements listed in Article 67(2) and (4) of the AIFMD , notably on the basis of the information provided by the national competent authorities (NCAs) about the EU and non-EU AIFMs under their supervision. Indeed, Article 67(3) of the AIFMD requires NCAs to provide information to ESMA quarterly as from 22 July 2013. ESMA has received input from NCAs for the periods covering 22 July 2013 to 31 March 2014, 1 April to 30 June 2014, 1 July to 30 September 2014, 1 October to 31 December 2014, and 1 January to 31 March 2015. In order to supplement the input provided by NCAs via the quarterly surveys, ESMA launched a call for evidence in November 2014 aimed at gathering information from EU and non-EU stakeholders on the functioning of the EU passport, the NPPRs and the potential extension of the AIFMD passport to non-EU countries. ESMA received 67 responses (including 15 confidential responses), from 13 non-EU Authorities, 21 EU and non-EU trade associations of asset managers, 17 EU and non-EU asset managers, and 16 other trade associations and private firms (e.g. providers of services for funds, law firms etc). Summary of the opinion In relation to the timing of the assessment of the functioning of the EU passport, ESMA considers that the delay in the implementation of the AIFMD together with the delay in the transposition in some Member States make a definitive assessment difficult. ESMA would see merit in the preparation of another opinion on the functioning of the passport after a longer period of implementation in all Member States. However, even at this early stage, ESMA has identified several issues in relation to the use of the EU passport. These issues include: i) divergent approaches with respect to marketing rules, including heterogeneity of fees charged by the NCAs where the AIFs are marketed and the definition of what constitutes a “professional investor”; ii) varying interpretations of what activities constitute “marketing” and “material changes” under the AIFMD passport in the different Member States. With that in mind, ESMA sees merit in greater convergence in the definition of these terms. Nevertheless, ESMA is of the view that there is insufficient evidence to indicate that the AIFMD EU passport has raised major issues in terms of the functioning and implementation of the AIFMD framework. In relation to the timing of the assessment of the functioning of the NPPRs, ESMA considers that the delay in the implementation of the AIFMD together with the delay in transposition in some Member states make a definitive assessment difficult. ESMA would see merit in the preparation of another opinion on the functioning of the NPPR Regime after a longer period of implementation has passed in all Member States (although this is linked to the decision to be taken by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on whether to extend the passport to one or more non-EU countries in the meantime). ESMA is of the view that there is insufficient evidence to indicate that the NPPRs have raised major issues in terms of the functioning and implementation of the AIFMD framework.
03/08/2015 2015/1243 ESMA Opinion on the renewal of emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under the Short Selling Regulation , Opinion PDF
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OPINION Renewal of emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under Section 1 of Chapter V of Regulation No 236/2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps I. Legal basis 1. According to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps (the Regulation), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) shall within 24 hours of the notification having been made by a competent authority under Article 26 of the Regulation issue an opinion on whether it considers the measure or proposed measure necessary to address the exceptional circumstances. 2. ESMA’s competence to deliver an opinion is based on Article 29(1) (a) of Regulation (EC) No 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation). In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion. II. Background 3. On the 29th of June 2015, ESMA issued an opinion on the emergency measure introduced by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC) under Article 20 of the Regulation. The measure consisted of a temporary prohibition of transactions in any financial instrument that create, or increase, a net short position on any of the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is HCMC and was applied from 30th June 2015 at 00.00.01 CET to the 6th July 2015 at 24:00:00 (CET). 4. The measure concerned the following financial instruments: all shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, as well as all related instruments included in the calculation of the net short position in accordance with Regulation (EU) N0 236/2012 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012 of 5 July 2012 (see in particular Annex I, Part I thereof). It applied to any person irrespective of their country of residence, and did not envisage any exemption for market maker activities. 5. In the original notification to ESMA, the HCMC indicated that the measure was a complementary action to the ones already established on the 29th of June 2015 by the Greek Authorities, namely: • closure of the ATHEX regulated market and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” until the 6th of July (included); • closure of the Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds operated for the same period; • suspension of redemption of mutual funds’ units; • suspension of operation of ATHEXClear for the securities traded on the Greek market and the MTF “EN.A”; • suspension of the settlement of securities traded on the Greek market by the Hellenic Central Securities Depository; • trading suspension of all the securities of listed companies covered by the above measures, as well as the related financial instruments (the trading suspension is effective also in other Member States). 6. The reason for proposing a temporary prohibition for the creation, or increase, of net short position on the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and on “EN.A” was that the HCMC deemed it necessary for the protection of the investors and the preservation of financial stability. In fact, such prohibition was considered a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities. The HCMC also stated that given that the main liquidity and trading activity on those instruments normally is located within the Hellenic Republic, the measure would have not created disproportionate negative effects, since it would have affected a fairly small part of the EU overall market. 7. On the 6th, the 13th, the 20th and the 27th of July 2015, the measures described in paragraph 5 were renewed by the Greek authorities. On the same days, the HCMC notified ESMA and competent authorities of its intention to renew the short selling measure and ESMA issued in all cases a positive opinion concerning these renewals pursuant to Article 27 of the Regulation. 8. The renewals concerned the same financial instruments of the original measure (see paragraph 5), but the HCMC specified in the related notifications that although the ban covers all transactions in the financial instruments listed in Part I of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012, transactions in index-related instruments and ETFs are included to the extent that the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” of which the relevant Competent Authority is the HCMC represent more than 5% of the total value (or composition) of these instruments. 9. The renewal notified on the 27th of July entered into force at 00:00:01 hours (CET) on the 28th of July 2015 and will expire at 24:00:00 (CET) on the 3rd of August 2015. 10. On the 3rd of August 2015, following and due to the Decision of the Greek Minister of Finance “Lifting of the restrictions of the Act of Legislative Content of 18.07.2015 (A’84) regarding transactions in financial instruments on Greek regulated markets”, the HCMC decided to reopen the ATHEX regulated market, the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, the Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds, and to restart the operations of settlement of securities traded in Greek regulated markets, by the Hellenic Central Securities Depository. 11. On the same day, in accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation, the HCMC has notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and to renew again the current emergency measure under Article 20 of the Regulation. 12. In the notification for this fifth renewal, the HCMC explains that since the Athens Exchange and the MTF “EN.A” have reopened after a period of more than one month, domestic capital market activity and securities’ prices are expected to be volatile. In particular, given that the markets will reopen after such an unprecedented closure and time may be necessary until their complete normalisation, additional pressure on stock valuations due to net short positions would pose a significant risk of deterioration of market conditions. 13. The proposed fifth renewal would concern exactly the same instruments as of the previous renewals. The latest notification featured the same wording used in the 20th of July 2015 notification to ESMA and competent authorities, where the HCMC revised its previous wording to the benefit of legal certainty regarding the nature of the emergency measure and the scope of the financial instruments concerned. In particular, the HCMC latest notification refers to short sales of shares under Article 20(2)(a) and any transaction referred to in Article 20(2)(b) of the Regulation (EU) No 236/2012. The notification also lists explicitly all the categories of financial instruments relating to the concerned shares to which the measure will apply, rather than identifying these related instruments by cross referring to the Annex of Commission Regulation No 918/2012. Thus, the following financial instruments under MiFID are included: options, covered warrants, futures, index-related instruments, contracts for difference, shares/units of exchange-traded funds, swaps, spread bets, packaged retail or professional investment products, complex derivatives, certificates linked to shares, and global depositary receipts. 14. The proposed fifth renewal of the short selling measure would apply to any natural or legal person, irrespective of their country of residence, but would be subject to the exemption for market making activities, provided that short positions have been entered into for hedging purposes. The exemption for market makers is a new element of this latest renewal of the short position ban, and it is justified by the fact that the Greek financial markets are now open and market making activities are important providers of liquidity for the Greek shares, as well as for warrants, derivatives, index derivatives and ETF related to Greek shares. 15. The renewed measure shall apply for a period of twenty-eight days and shall be in force as of 00:00:01 hours (CET) on the 4th of August 2015 until 24:00:00 (CET) on the 31st of August 2015. The proposed renewal is longer than the previous ones, which all were of seven days each. The HCMC justified such a longer renewal explaining that upon reopening of Greek financial markets, considerable pressure is anticipated: capital controls are still in force and the return to normality will probably require a longer period of time. As a result, HCMC considers the short selling measure as an important element for the transitional period. III. Opinion 16. ESMA is adopting the following opinion on the notified measure, on the basis of Article 27(2) of Regulation 236/2012 on Short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps: On the adverse events or developments ESMA considers that adverse developments which constitute a serious threat to market confidence in the Greek market still persist. Comparing the current situation in the Hellenic Republic with related events over the past few years, the threat to financial stability and investor protection at least in the Hellenic Republic is obvious. Despite the partial reopening of credit institutions on 20 July 2015, and the reopening on 3 August 2015 of the ATHEX regulated market, the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, and of the Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds, the situation of fragility in the financial system and in the Greek economy persists, as highlighted by the extreme volatility already experienced on the ATHEX in the course of the first hours of reopening. On the appropriateness and proportionality of the measure ESMA considers that the measure is appropriate and proportionate to address the above mentioned threats that persist in the Greek financial markets. Allowing short positions to be built at this stage could exacerbate the threats to financial stability, especially as regards the financial sector. The new exemption foreseen for market making activities is justified by the fact that Greek financial markets are now open, and therefore market makers should be allowed to properly carry out their activity, thus enhancing the liquidity on the Greek shares and related instruments, and contributing to the normalisation of the activities on the Greek financial markets. On the duration of the measure ESMA considers that the duration of the measure is justified. In the previous extensions, measures were always proposed for a seven day period each, considering that the moment in which the Greek financial markets would have reopened was not known at that time. This is no longer the case, since Greek financial markets have reopened after more than one month. An unusual degree of volatility on the Greek financial markets is therefore anticipated in the short term. Such expectation is exacerbated considering that the month of August is generally characterised by lower volumes of transactions. Under these circumstances, ESMA considers it is necessary and appropriate for HCMC to impose a net short position ban that would last until the end of the month, in view of supporting the proper functioning of the Greek financial markets in this transitional period. Besides, ESMA takes into consideration HCMC’s statement in its notification of intent that the measure may be lifted before the end of the established period or renewed in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 if circumstances that justified the imposition of the measure improve, persist or worsen.
01/09/2015 2015/1304 ESMA Opinion on emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under the Short Selling Regulation , Opinion PDF
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OPINION Emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under Section 1 of Chapter V of Regulation No 236/2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps I. Legal basis 1. According to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps (the Regulation), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) shall within 24 hours of the notification having been made by a competent authority under Article 26 of the Regulation issue an opinion on whether it considers the measure or proposed measure necessary to address the exceptional circumstances. 2. ESMA’s competence to deliver an opinion is based on Article 29(1) (a) of Regulation (EC) No 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation). In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion. II. Background 3. On the 29th of June 2015, ESMA issued an opinion on the emergency measure introduced by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC) under Article 20 of the Regulation. The measure consisted of a temporary prohibition of transactions in any financial instrument that create, or increase, a net short position on any of the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is HCMC and was applied from 30th June 2015 at 00.00.01 CET to the 6th July 2015 at 24:00:00 (CET). 4. The measure concerned the following financial instruments: all shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, as well as all related instruments included in the calculation of the net short position in accordance with Regulation (EU) N0 236/2012 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012 of 5 July 2012 (see in particular Annex I, Part I thereof). It applied to any person irrespective of their country of residence, and did not envisage any exemption for market maker activities. 5. In the original notification to ESMA, the HCMC indicated that the measure was a complementary action to the ones already established on the 29th of June 2015 by the Greek Authorities, namely: • closure of the ATHEX regulated market and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” until the 6th of July (included); • closure of the Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds operated for the same period; • suspension of redemption of mutual funds’ units; • suspension of operation of ATHEXClear for the securities traded on the Greek market and the MTF “EN.A”; • suspension of the settlement of securities traded on the Greek market by the Hellenic Central Securities Depository; • trading suspension of all the securities of listed companies covered by the above measures, as well as the related financial instruments (the trading suspension is effective also in other Member States). 6. The reason for proposing a temporary prohibition for the creation, or increase, of a net short position on the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and on “EN.A” was that the HCMC deemed it necessary for the protection of investors and the preservation of financial stability. In fact, such prohibition was considered a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities. The HCMC also stated that given that the main liquidity and trading activity on those instruments normally is located within the Hellenic Republic, the measure would have not created disproportionate negative effects, since it would have affected a fairly small part of the EU overall market. 7. On the 6th, the 13th, the 20th and the 27th of July and on the 3rd of August 2015, some of the measures described were renewed by the Greek authorities. On the same days, the HCMC notified ESMA and competent authorities of its intention to renew the short selling measure and ESMA issued in all cases a positive opinion concerning these renewals pursuant to Article 27 of the Regulation. 8. The renewals concerned the same financial instruments of the original measure (see paragraph 4), but the HCMC specified in the related notifications that although the ban covers all transactions in the financial instruments listed in Part I of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012, transactions in index-related instruments and ETFs are included to the extent that the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” of which the relevant Competent Authority is the HCMC represent more than 5% of the total value (or composition) of these instruments. 9. The renewal notified on the 3rd of August entered into force at 00:00:01 hours (CET) on the 4th of August 2015 and expires at 24:00:00 (CET) on the 31st of August 2015. 10. On the 31st of August 2015, in accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation, the HCMC has notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and to introduce an emergency measure under Article 20 of the Regulation which is however of a different nature than the one previously introduced and renewed five times which is expiring on the 31st of August. 11. The proposed measure consists in a ban on short selling of shares and units of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is the HCMC. It will also concern all depository receipts (ADRs, GDRs) representing shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange). This ban would include sales which are covered with subsequent intraday purchases. 12. The proposed short selling measure would apply to any natural or legal person, irrespective of their country of residence, but would be subject to the exemption for market making activities, provided that short selling transactions are conducted for hedging purposes. 13. The measure shall apply for a period of thirty calendar days and shall be in force until 24:00:00 (CET) on the 30th of September 2015. 14. In the notification, the HCMC explains that despite the reopening of the Athens Exchange and the MTF “EN.A” on the 3rd of August after a period of more than one month, there are still conditions on the Greek capital market which prevent its smooth functioning: • the imposition of capital controls and the restrictions of transfers in the acquisition of financial instruments (i.e. restrictions on the buy side) for Greek investors based on Article 5 of Law. 3606/2007 (A 195) through regulated markets and multilateral trading facilities or professionals who have such financial instruments as UCITS; • the political developments namely the forthcoming parliamentary elections that will take place on the 20th of September 2015; • the forthcoming recapitalisation of the four Greek “systemic” credit institutions. 15. The reason for proposing a temporary ban on short selling is that the HCMC deemed it necessary for the protection of investors and the preservation of financial stability. In fact, such prohibition is considered by the HCMC a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities. The HCMC also stated that given that the main liquidity and trading activity on the instruments concerned by the measures normally is located within the Hellenic Republic, the measure would not create disproportionate negative effects, since it would have affected a fairly small part of the EU overall market. III. Opinion 16. ESMA is adopting the following opinion on the notified measure, on the basis of Article 27(2) of Regulation 236/2012 on Short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps: On the adverse events or developments ESMA considers that adverse developments which constitute a serious threat to market confidence in the Greek market still persist. Comparing the current situation in the Hellenic Republic with related events over the past few years, the threat to financial stability and investor protection at least in the Hellenic Republic is obvious. Despite the partial reopening of credit institutions on 20 July 2015, and the reopening on 3 August 2015 of the ATHEX regulated market, the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, and of the Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds, the situation of fragility in the financial system and in the Greek economy persists, as highlighted by the high volatility already experienced on the ATHEX in the course of the first days after reopening. However, ESMA considers that the severity of the market events is lower than in previous weeks. On the appropriateness and proportionality of the measure ESMA considers that the measure means in practice a partial lifting of the previous ban on short position, both in terms of the instruments covered and of the general restriction to operate on Greek underlyings. Therefore, ESMA considers that the measure is appropriate and proportionate to address the above mentioned threats that persist in the Greek financial markets. Short sales in shares and units of ETFs could still exacerbate the threats to financial stability, especially as regards the financial sector. However the new measure, with a smaller scope, is not restricting the activities of the derivative markets. In that respect, ESMA understands that the measure accompanies the gradual normalization of financial conditions in Greece. The exemption foreseen for market making activities is justified by the fact that market makers should be allowed to properly carry out their activity, thus enhancing the liquidity on the Greek shares and ETFs units, and contributing to the adequate functioning of Greek financial markets. On the duration of the measure ESMA considers that the duration of the measure is justified, taking into account that the capital controls are still in place, the on-going recapitilisation process and the electoral calendar. Under these circumstances, ESMA considers it is necessary and appropriate for HCMC to impose a short selling ban on shares and ETFs units that would last until the end of September, in view of supporting the proper functioning of the Greek financial markets in this transitional period. Besides, ESMA takes into consideration HCMC’s statement in its notification of intent that the measure may be lifted before the end of the established period or renewed in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 if circumstances that justified the imposition of the measure improve, persist or worsen.

25/09/2015 2015/1462 ESMA opinion on accounting for Deposit Guarantee Scheme , Opinion PDF
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30/09/2015 2015/1489 ESMA Opinion on emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under the Short Selling Regulation , Opinion PDF
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Emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under Section 1 of Chapter V of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps I. Legal basis 1. According to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps (the Regulation), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) shall within 24 hours of the notification having been made by a competent authority under Article 26 of the Regulation issue an opinion on whether it considers the measure or proposed measure necessary to address the exceptional circumstances. 2. ESMA’s competence to deliver an opinion is based on Article 29(1) (a) of Regulation (EC) No 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation). In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion. II. Background 3. On the 29th of June 2015, ESMA issued an opinion on the emergency measure introduced by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC) under Article 20 of the Regulation. The measure consisted of a temporary prohibition of transactions in any financial instrument that create, or increase, a net short position on any of the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is HCMC and was applied from 30th June 2015 at 00.00.01 CET to the 6th July 2015 at 24:00:00 (CET). 4. The measure concerned the following financial instruments: all shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, as well as all related instruments included in the calculation of the net short position in accordance with the Regulation and Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012 of 5 July 2012 (see in particular Annex I, Part I thereof). It applied to any person irrespective of their country of residence, and did not envisage any exemption for market making activities. 5. In the original notification to ESMA, the HCMC indicated that the measure was a complementary action to the ones already established on the 29th of June 2015 by the Greek Authorities, namely: • closure of the ATHEX regulated market and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” until the 6th of July (included); • closure of the Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds operated for the same period; • suspension of redemption of mutual funds’ units; • suspension of operation of ATHEXClear for the securities traded on the Greek market and the MTF “EN.A”; • suspension of the settlement of securities traded on the Greek market by the Hellenic Central Securities Depository; • trading suspension of all the securities of listed companies covered by the above measures, as well as the related financial instruments (the trading suspension is effective also in other Member States). 6. The reason for proposing a temporary prohibition for the creation, or increase, of a net short position on the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and on “EN.A” was that the HCMC deemed it necessary for the protection of investors and the preservation of financial stability. In fact, such prohibition was considered a relevant component to ensure the effectiveness of the other measures adopted by the Greek authorities. The HCMC also stated that given that the main liquidity and trading activity on those instruments normally is located within the Hellenic Republic, the measure would not create disproportionate negative effects, since it would affect a fairly small part of the EU overall market. 7. On the 6th, the 13th, the 20th and the 27th of July and on the 3rd of August 2015, some of the measures described were renewed by the Greek authorities. On the same days, the HCMC notified ESMA and competent authorities of its intention to renew the short selling measure and ESMA issued in all cases a positive opinion concerning these renewals pursuant to Article 27 of the Regulation. 8. The renewals concerned the same financial instruments of the original measure (see paragraph 4), but the HCMC specified in the related notifications that although the ban covered all transactions in the financial instruments listed in Part I of Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) No 918/2012, transactions in index-related instruments and ETFs were included to the extent that the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, of which the relevant Competent Authority is the HCMC, represented more than 5% of the total value (or composition) of these instruments. 9. On the 31st of August 2015, in accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation, the HCMC introduced a new emergency measure under Article 20 of the Regulation consisting in a ban on short selling of shares and units of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is the HCMC. It also concerned all depository receipts (ADRs, GDRs) representing shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange). The short selling measure applied to any natural or legal person, irrespective of their country of residence, but contained the exemption for market making activities, provided that short selling transactions are conducted for hedging purposes. The ban adopted on August 31st expires at 24:00:00 (CET) on the 30th of September 2015. 10. On the 30th of September 2015, in accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation, the HCMC notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and introduced a new emergency measure under Article 20 of the Regulation. 11. The proposed measure consists in a ban on short selling of shares of five credit institutions admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and comprising the FTSE/Athex Banks Index, irrespective of the venue where the transaction is executed. The temporary prohibition includes sales of shares covered by subsequent intraday purchases. The temporary prohibition of short selling applies to all depository receipts (ADRs, GDRs) and warrants representing shares of such credit institutions admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and comprising the FTSE/Athex Banks Index. 12. The above mentioned credit institutions are: - Alpha Bank A.E. (ISIN GRS015013006) - Attica Bank S.A. (ISIN GRS001003003) - National Bank of Greece S.A. (ISIN GRS003003019) - Eurobank Ergasias S.A. (ISIN GRS323003004) - Piraeus Bank S.A. (ISIN GRS014003008) 13. In the notification, the HCMC explains the reason for proposing this measure is that in July 2015 the Eurogroup agreed on a specific package of measures regarding the development of the Greek Economy, the most important element of the Eurogroup agreement being that 25 billion euros would be earmarked for the recapitalisation needs of the Greek Banking system. Nevertheless, the amount of funds needed to secure the capital adequacy of the Greek banks, and most importantly, the legal framework that would apply in relation to such recapitalisation and including whether some incentives for private shareholders will be provided or not, have not been officially disclosed until present. This has generated an apparent uncertainty to the investment community, since very important information on listed credit institutions seriously affecting the valuation of their securities, has not been made known yet, adding to both macroeconomic and market uncertainty. 14. Within this context the HCMC deems that not imposing a ban on short sales on bank shares would tend to strengthen price volatility on listed credit institutions that will perpetuate market uncertainty. HCMC also deems that adverse circumstances persist in the Greek capital market, as regards mainly to the recapitalisation of the systemic credit institutions that is expected to take place in the next two to three months and the relevant impact on the banking sector outlook, resulting mainly in persistent market uncertainty that poses threats to the financial stability and the general level of market confidence. 15. In the notification, the HCMC also explains that the proposed limited temporary ban of short-selling concerning shares of credit institutions admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange is not expected to significantly impair price discovery and therefore market efficiency. 16. The imposition of capital controls and the restrictions of transfers in the acquisition of financial instruments (i.e. restrictions on the buy side) for Greek investors based on Article 5 of Law. 3606/2007 (A 195) through regulated markets and multilateral trading facilities or professionals who have such financial instruments as UCITS is still in force at the time of the proposal of the present measure. III. Opinion 17. ESMA is adopting the following opinion on the notified measure, on the basis of Article 27(2) of the Regulation: On the adverse events or developments ESMA considers that adverse developments which constitute a serious threat to market confidence in Greece still persist. Despite the partial reopening of credit institutions on 20 July 2015, and the reopening on 3 August 2015 of the ATHEX regulated market, the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A”, and of the Electronic Secondary Market “HDAT” for government bonds, fragility in the financial system and in the Greek economy still persists due to the situation of the banking sector in Greece. The successful conclusion of the Greek banks’ recapitalisation and the relevant restructuring process is important in order to safeguard the stability of the financial system and of the Greek capital market. On the appropriateness and proportionality of the proposed measure ESMA considers that the proposed measure means in practice a partial lifting of the previous ban on short selling, in terms of the instruments covered. ESMA considers that the proposed measure is appropriate and proportionate to address the above mentioned threats that persist in the Greek financial markets. Short sales in the shares of the five Greek credit institutions admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and comprising the FTSE/Athex Banks Index could still exacerbate the threats to financial stability, especially considering the upcoming recapitalisation of the Greek Banking system. Market volatility might render the recapitalization more difficult and more costly. At the same time, the proposed measure, relating only to Greek credit institutions, is clearly meant to accompany the gradual normalisation of financial conditions in Greece. The exemption foreseen for market making activities is justified by the fact that market makers should be allowed to properly carry out their activity, thus enhancing the liquidity on the above mentioned shares and contributing to the adequate functioning of Greek financial markets. On the duration of the proposed measure ESMA considers that the duration of the proposed measure is justified, taking into account the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing recapitalization and restructuring process of the systemic credit institutions in Greece. Under these circumstances, ESMA considers it is necessary and appropriate for HCMC to impose a short selling ban on the mentioned Greek credit institutions admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and comprising the FTSE/Athex Banks Index that would last until the 9th of November 2015, with a view to reducing price volatility in the course of this process. Besides, ESMA takes into consideration HCMC’s statement in its notification of intent that the proposed measure may be lifted before the end of the established period should the circumstances allow for it, though not excluding a renewal of the proposed measure in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation, should the recapitalisation and restructuring process not be concluded by its expiry date.
09/11/2015 2015/1638 Opinion on emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under short selling regulation Opinion PDF
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21/12/2015 2015/1900 Opinion on emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under short selling regulation Opinion PDF
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11/01/2016 2016/28 Emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under Section 1 of Chapter V of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps , Opinion PDF
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OPINION

Emergency measure by the Greek HCMC under Section 1 of Chapter V of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps

 

I.Legal basis

  1. According to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 on short selling and certain aspects of credit default swaps (the Regulation), the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) shall within 24 hours of the notification having been made by a competent authority under Article 26 of the Regulation issue an opinion on whether it considers the measure or proposed measure necessary to address exceptional circumstances.
  2. ESMA’s competence to deliver an opinion is based on Article 29(1)(a) of Regulation (EC) No 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation). In accordance with Article 44(1) of the ESMA Regulation the Board of Supervisors has adopted this opinion.

II.Previous measures adopted by the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC)

  1. On the 29th of June 2015, ESMA issued an opinion on an emergency measure proposed by the HCMC under Article 20 of the Regulation. The measure consisted of a temporary prohibition of transactions in any financial instrument that create, or increase, a net short position on any of the shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is HCMC and was applied from 30th June 2015 at 00.00.01 CET to the 6th July 2015 at 24:00:00 (CET).
  2. The HCMC indicated that the measure was a complementary action to the ones already established on the 29th of June 2015 by the Greek Authorities in order to tackle the broader Greek financial system crisis.
  3. On the 6th, the 13th, the 20th and the 27th of July and on the 3rd of August 2015, some of the measures adopted by the Greek authorities were renewed until the 30th of August 2015.
  4. On the 31st of August 2015, in accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation, the HCMC introduced a new emergency measure under Article 20 of the Regulation consisting in a ban on short selling of shares and units of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange) of which the relevant Competent Authority is the HCMC. It also concerned all depository receipts (ADRs, GDRs) representing shares admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and the Multilateral Trading Facility of “EN.A” (Alternative Market of the Athens Exchange). The short selling measure applied to any natural or legal person, irrespective of their country of residence, but contained the exemption for market making activities, provided that short selling transactions were conducted for hedging purposes. The emergency measure adopted on August 31st expired at 24:00:00 (CET) on the 30th of September 2015.
  5. In respect of all the above cases, the HCMC notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to impose/renew the relevant short selling measures in accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation and ESMA issued in all cases a positive opinion concerning the imposition/renewal of the relevant short selling measure pursuant to Article 27(2) of the Regulation.

III.Present measure

  1. On the 30th of September 2015, in accordance with Article 26 of the Regulation, the HCMC notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and to introduce a new emergency measure under Article 20 of the Regulation.
  2. The measure consisted in a ban on short selling of shares of five credit institutions admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and comprising the FTSE/Athex Banks Index, irrespective of the venue where the transaction was executed. The temporary prohibition included sales of shares covered by subsequent intraday purchases. The temporary prohibition of short selling applied to all depository receipts (ADRs, GDRs) and warrants representing shares of such credit institutions admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange and comprising the FTSE/Athex Banks Index.
  3. The above mentioned credit institutions were:
  • Alpha Bank A.E. (ISIN GRS015013006)
  • Attica Bank S.A. (ISIN GRS001003003)
  • National Bank of Greece S.A. (ISIN GRS003003019)
  • Eurobank Ergasias S.A. (ISIN GRS323003004)
  • Piraeus Bank S.A. (ISIN GRS014003008)
  1. In the notification, the HCMC explained the reason for the measure was that in July 2015 the Eurogroup agreed on a specific package of measures regarding the development of the Greek Economy, the most important element of the Eurogroup agreement being that 25 billion euros would be earmarked for the re-capitalisation needs of the Greek Banking system. Nevertheless, the amount of funds needed to secure the capital adequacy of the Greek banks, and most importantly, the legal framework that would apply in relation to such re-capitalisation, including whether some incentives for private shareholders will be provided or not, had not been officially disclosed at the time.
  2. On the 30th of September 2015, ESMA issued a positive opinion (ESMA/2015/1489) regarding this new emergency measure. The measure entered into force as of 00:00:01 hours (CET) on the 1st of October 2015 and the original expiring date was the 9th of November 2014 24:00:00 hours (CET).
  3. On the 9th of November 2015 and on 7th of December 2015, the HCMC notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and to renew the emergency measure originally introduced on the 30th of September 2015. On the same days ESMA issued positive opinions regarding these renewals (ESMA/2015/1638 and ESMA/2015/1854), which expired on the 21st of December 2015 at 24:00:00 (CET).
  4. The proposed renewals in November and December 2015 concerned exactly the same instruments as the original measure (see paragraph 9 and 10), foreseeing an exemption for market making activities in the affected financial instruments.
  5. In the notifications for the renewals, the HCMC considered that adverse circumstances were persisting in the Greek capital market, including also the existence of capital controls in respect of stock exchange transactions, but mainly in connection with the re-capitalisation of the systemic credit institutions that was not finalised yet, resulting in persistent market uncertainty that posed threats to the financial stability and the general level of market confidence
  6. The HCMC explained that the re-capitalisation of the Greek Banking System, that the law voted by the Greek Parliament on October 31st 2015 provides for, was actually in progress and had not been yet concluded for all credit institutions. Moreover, considering that the trading in the new shares issued from the relevant capital raising had not yet been started in all cases, the HCMC argued that, the lifting of the ban on short sales would tend to increase price volatility on listed credit institutions and would increase market uncertainty.  
  7.  Taking into consideration that the market behaviour of banking sector securities has traditionally played a very important role in driving overall market valuations, concerns remained as regards unexpected sudden and significant swings in market confidence and therefore in relevant asset prices. The HCMC added that the successful conclusion of the aforementioned bank re-capitalisation and restructuring process as well as the commencement of trading of the new shares of all credit institutions were thus absolutely necessary, in order to safeguard the stability of the financial system and of the Greek capital market.
  8. On the 21st December 2015, the HCMC notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and to renew the current emergency measure introduced on the 30th of September 2015 once more, but this time with a limited scope.
  9. The renewed measure consisted of a ban on short selling limited only to the shares of Attica Bank S.A. (ISIN GRS001003011) admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange, irrespective of the venue where the transaction is executed. The temporary prohibition included sales of shares covered by subsequent intraday purchases. The temporary prohibition of short selling applied to all depository receipts (ADRs, GDRs) and warrants representing shares of Attica Bank S.A. (ISIN GRS001003011) admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange. As for previous bans, an exemption for market making activities in the affected financial instruments would be foreseen.
  10. In the notification for the partial renewal, the HCMC explained that the re-capitalisation of the Greek Banking System, based on the law 4340/2015 voted by the Greek Parliament on October 31st 2015, was still not fully concluded. Re-capitalisation of Attica Bank was still on-going. HCMC indicated that the capital increase was to be concluded at the latest by the 31st of December 2015 and that, subject to the successful completion of the issue, the trading of the new shares of Attica Bank was expected early January 2016, and thus the effect on the share price of this credit institution and on the volatility this trading might impose, had not yet been fully evaluated by market participants.
  11. The HCMC considered that the lifting of the ban on short sales on Attica Bank shares would tend to increase price volatility on the institution and would increase market uncertainty. Within this context, the HCMC argued that, as done previously for the other banks for which the short selling ban applied during the re-capitalisation process and also covered a few trading days of the new shares, the proposed renewal should be limited to Attica Bank and should expire on the 11th of January 2016.
  12. In the notification, the HCMC also explained that the proposed limited temporary ban of short-selling concerning shares of Attica Bank admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange was not expected to significantly impair price discovery and therefore market efficiency. Given that the main liquidity and trading activity on those instruments normally is located within Greece, the HCMC believed the proposed renewal would not create disproportionate negative effects, since it would affect a fairly small part of the EU overall market.
  13. On the 21st of December 2015, ESMA issued a positive opinion regarding the renewal of the emergency measure (ESMA/2015/1900), which is expiring on the 11st of January 2016 at 24:00:00 (CET).
  14. On the 11th January 2016, the HCMC notified ESMA and other competent authorities of its intention to make use of its powers of intervention in exceptional circumstances and to renew the emergency measure introduced on the 21st of December renewal as described in paragraph 19 above, namely Attica Bank.
  15. In the notification of renewal of the measure for Attica Bank, the HCMC indicated that the re-capitalisation of the Greek banking system is not yet fully completed, the one of Attica Bank still being in progress. Even though the capital increase of Attica Bank was finalised since the end of December 2015, the trading of the new shares has not started yet. Both the dates of the delivery of the new shares to the beneficiaries of the capital increase and of their admission to trading remain to be announced by Attica Bank and the Stock Market operator. The HCMC expects this will take place within the next week following the relevant decision of the Athens Exchange.
  16. Within this context, the HCMC argues that the short selling ban on Attica Bank should be extended to also cover a few trading days of the new shares to ensure equal treatment with the banks that had undertaken and concluded the re-capitalisation process before. Furthermore, the HCMC considers that such an extension would mitigate any possible risk of market volatility of the shares of Attica Bank and respond to any possibility of market uncertainty.
  17. In the notification, the HCMC also explained that the proposed limited temporary ban of short-selling concerning shares of Attica Bank admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange was not expected to significantly impair price discovery and therefore market efficiency. The proposed renewal of the emergency measure should be in force as of 00:00:01 hours (CET) on the 11th January 2016 until 24:00:00 (CET) on the 25 January 2016.

IV.Opinion

  1. ESMA is adopting the following opinion on the measure notified on the 11 January  2016, on the basis of Article 27(2) of the Regulation:

On the adverse events or developments

ESMA considers that adverse developments which constitute a serious threat to market confidence in Greece could be understood as having considerably decreased with the successful completion of the share capital increase of Attica bank as announced by that bank on the 30th December 2015. Attica Bank has been the last of the five banks to undertake the re-capitalisation process envisaged under Greek law. It represented less than 1 % of the total market capitalisation of the 5 re-capitalised banks before the Attica capital increase and less than 7% after the increase. It also stands for a very small fraction of the Greek banking sector. Not surprisingly, and unlike the other banks mentioned in paragraph 10 above, Attica Bank is not a significant supervised entity under the direct supervision of the ECB.

Although acknowledging that the successful and full conclusion of all the Greek banks’ re-capitalisation is important in order to safeguard the stability of the financial system as a whole and of the Greek capital market, as well as the protection of investors, ESMA considers that given that the capital increase of Attica Bank is agreed, priced, subscribed and publicly announced on the 30th of December 2015, the threat to the financial stability of the bank, and more widely to the financial stability of the Greek financial market, is much less acute than in December 2015.

ESMA notes that the trading of the newly issued shares further to the completed capital increase has not started yet and thus there is a risk of increased volatility in the relevant market and that the confidence in the concerned bank could be affected if price movements were extreme. However, the evolution of the stock price of Attica Bank during the last month does not point towards, on average, a significant downward pressure on the prices. The volatility observed on Attica Bank is relative to the currently volatile stock markets in the EU.

In the trading figures of Attica Bank shares since late November 2015, it is evident that the trading volumes have reduced progressively but the price of the stock has not suffered from a downward price spiral. Only in one occasion (10 December2015) the stock price fell more than 10% in a single session. In general, looking at the last 30 trading sessions, the price has increased by 37%. In the last 10 trading sessions, the price has moved in an overall range (counting intraday minimum and maximum values) of 13% around the average closing price of the period. In terms of closing prices, the maximum fluctuation has been -3,97% since 22 December (observed on January 7 2016). Putting these moves in the context of quite volatile EU stock markets, linked to the international market trends, it is questionable whether the volatility of the stock price of Attica Bank could be qualified as extreme or even high. Obviously, one could argue that the price has found a support thanks, among other things, to the existing ban on short sales. While it is extremely difficult to isolate the price effect of the short selling ban with current data, it is ESMA’s view that, all in all, the pricing history of the stock does not give the impression of a highly fragile situation.

The main risk related with extreme volatility in a re-capitalisation exercise arises when the issuance price of the new shares and the allotment of the volume to be subscribed is not yet complete. In that scenario, significant (downward) price movements can dis-incentivise the investors that were considering to subscribe to new shares or can affect the issuance price in a manner that the re-capitalisation (in terms of the effective amount of funds to be received by the bank) can be put at risk. Once the pricing and the subscription are firm, price moves have a much lower impact on the success prospects of a re-capitalisation. They mainly affect the willingness of the new investors to hold their new shares or to sell them when the new shares start to trade. But the effects of this process on the financial stability of the entity are much less direct than when the volatility scenario precedes the establishment of the price and of the allotment of the capital increase. The latter was the prevalent scenario in most of the other occasions in which the measures of the HCMC was extended and on which ESMA issued positive opinions in the past. In ESMA’s opinion, such scenarios should be distinguished from the case at hand.

The question of whether the risk of falling prices on Attica Bank shares (which has not yet been observed) would endanger the orderly functioning of the whole Greek financial market and its integrity is not evident to ESMA, due to the small size of this particular institution and to the fact that the only pending element is the formal admission to trading of the new shares.

On the appropriateness and proportionality of the proposed measure

ESMA considers that the renewal of the emergency measure limited to the shares of Attica Bank is not appropriate and proportionate to address the above mentioned potential threat stemming from the volatility of the price of the market of Attica Bank shares. Given that the share capital increase of Attica Bank is firm and definitive as well as publicly known, ESMA considers that the prohibition of short sales in the shares of Attica Bank admitted to trading on the Athens Exchange will only serve the purpose of assisting in reducing market volatility until the final admission of the new shares and the first days of their trading. While this may be a positive goal, ESMA notes that the situation of Attica Bank is very different from the ones of the other Greek banks both in terms of quantitative significance with respect to financial stability (much smaller in the case of Attica Bank) and in terms of the timing in the process of re-capitalisation (given that only the final listing of the new shares is pending, as opposed to the fixing of the issuance price and the allotment of the subscriptions).

ESMA is thus of the view that there are alternative tools and measures, including those provided by Article 23 of the Short Selling Regulation consisting in a short term restriction of short selling in case of a significant fall in price, to address extreme market volatility concerns, should this volatility materialise in the coming days and more specifically risks of a downward spiral of the price of Attica shares. Those measures would be in ESMA’s opinion more appropriate and proportionate to address the risks that would arise from that situation than a total ban on short sales.

On the duration of the proposed measure

Considering the above negative opinion on the appropriateness and proportionality of the measure, ESMA is not further assessing the duration of the proposed renewal.

 

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