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01/07/2013 2013/853 ESMA approves Spread Research as a credit rating agency Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has formally approved the registration of Spread Research SAS, based in France, as a credit rating agency (CRA) under Article 16 of the CRA Regulation. The registration takes effect from 1 July 2013.
10/07/2013 2013/891 Discussion Paper on CRA3 Implementation Consultation Paper PDF
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The Discussion Paper deals with the implementation of the CRA3 Regulation, which entered into force on 20 June 2013.The Regulation, which complements the existing regulatory framework for credit rating agencies (CRAs), requires ESMA to draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on:•    disclosure requirements on structured finance instruments (SFIs);•    the European Rating Platform (ERP); and•    the periodic reporting on fees charged by CRAs.ESMA is seeking views from all interested parties by 10 October 2013 in order to assist in its preparation of the draft RTS to be published for consultation in early 2014.  ESMA must submit the draft RTS to the European Commission by 21 June 2014.
09/07/2013 2013/918 Draft Regulatory Technical Standards on information requirements for assessment of acquisitions and increases in holdings in investment firms (MiFID) Consultation Paper PDF
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Executive summary Reasons for publication Article 10b(4) of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID ) requires Member States to make publicly available the information necessary to carry out the assessment of a proposed acquirer of an investment firm. This information must be provided at the time of the initial notification. This information is aimed at ensuring that competent authorities are provided with adequate and proportionate information in order to assess the acquisition. Article 10a of MiFID, as amended by Article 6(4) of the Omnibus Directive , requires ESMA to draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) to establish an exhaustive list of information referred to in Article 10b(4) of MiFID. ESMA is required to submit the draft RTS to the European Commission (Commission) by 1 January 2014.   Contents The proposed RTS set out in this Consultation Paper (CP) are based on the CEBS, CESR and CEIOPS ‘Guidelines for the prudential assessment of acquisitions and increases in holdings in the financial sector required by Directive 2007/44/EC’ (3L3 Guidelines), as well as the report issued by the Commission (in February 2013) to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of Regions on the application of Directive on acquisitions and increase of holdings in the financial sector. Section II explains the background to the proposals; Section III describes the proposals on the exhaustive list of information to be included by proposed acquirers in their notification. Annex I sets out the legislative mandate to develop draft RTS; Annex II sets out the cost-benefit analysis related to the draft RTS; Annex III lists the questions contained in this CP; and Annex IV sets out the full text of the draft RTS. Next steps ESMA will consider the responses it receives to this CP in Q4, and will finalise the draft RTS for submission to the Commission by 1 January 2014 for endorsement.
10/07/2013 2013/924 ESMA launches consultation on implementation of new CRA Regulation , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Discussion Paper dealing with the implementation of the CRA3 Regulation, which entered into force on 20 June 2013.The Regulation, which complements the existing regulatory framework for credit rating agencies (CRAs), requires ESMA to draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on:•    disclosure requirements on structured finance instruments (SFIs);•    the European Rating Platform (ERP); and•    the periodic reporting on fees charged by CRAs.ESMA is seeking views from all interested parties in order to assist in its preparation of the draft RTS to be published for consultation in early 2014.  ESMA must submit the draft RTS to the European Commission by 21 June 2014.
23/01/2013 2013/97 ESMA sets out its 2013 CRA work programme , Press Release PDF
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29/09/2014 2014/1188 Consultation paper on draft Implementing Technical Standards on main indices and recognised exchanges under the Capital Requirements Regulation Consultation Paper PDF
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Responding to this paper The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) invites comments on all matters set out in this consultation paper and, in particular, on the specific questions listed in Annex 1. Comments are most helpful if they: ·         indicate the number of the question to which the comment relates; ·         respond to the question stated; ·         contain a clear rationale, including on any related costs and benefits; and ·         describe any alternatives ESMA should consider. Comments should reach us by November 1st 2014. All contributions should be submitted online at www.esma.europa.eu under the heading ‘Your input/Consultations’. Publication of responses  All contributions received will be published following the end of the consultation period, unless otherwise requested. Please clearly and prominently indicate in your submission any part you do not wish to be publically disclosed. A standard confidentiality statement in an email message will not be treated as a request for non-disclosure. Note also that a confidential response may be requested from us in accordance with ESMA’s rules on access to documents. We may consult you if we receive such a request. Any decision we make is reviewable by ESMA’s Board of Appeal and the European Ombudsman. Data protection  Information on data protection can be found at www.esma.europa.eu by following the link ‘Data protection’. Who should read this paper? All interested stakeholders are invited to respond to this consultation paper. It will primarily be of interest to credit institutions and investment firms who need to calculate their credit risk exposure under the Capital Requirements Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 of 26 June 2013.
29/09/2014 2014/1189 Consultation paper on draft guidelines on the application of C6 and C7 of Annex I of MiFID Consultation Paper PDF
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07/11/2014 2014/1345 ESMA certifies HR Ratings de México to operate in the EU Statement PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has formally approved the certification in the European Union of HR Ratings de México, S.A. de C.V. (HR Ratings), a Mexican credit rating agency (CRA), under Article 16 of the CRA Regulation. The certification takes effect from 7 November 2014.
24/11/2014 2014/1399 Public Statement- ESMA approves Moody’s Investors Service EMEA Limited as a credit rating agency Statement PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has approved the registration of Moody’s Investors Service EMEA Limited, based in the UK, as a credit rating agency (CRA) under Article 16 of the CRA Regulation. The registration takes effect from 24th November 2014. Moody’s Investors Service EMEA Limited’s registration as a CRA means that its credit ratings can be used for regulatory purposes under EU legislation. This is the seventh entity in the Moody’s Investors Service group to be registered as an EU Registered Credit Rating Agency.
12/12/2014 2014/1486 Public Statement- ESMA certifies Egan-Jones Ratings Co. to operate in the EU Statement PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has formally approved the certification in the European Union of Egan-Jones Ratings Co. (EJR), an U.S. American credit rating agency (CRA), under Article 16 of the CRA Regulation. The certification takes effect from 12 December 2014.EJR is headquartered in Haverford (Pennsylvania, USA) and is subject to registration, supervision and enforcement by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a “Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization”.
11/02/2014 2014/150 Consultation Paper on CRA3 Implementation Consultation Paper PDF
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The consultation paper seeks stakeholders’ views on the draft RTS ESMA is required to adopt under the CRA3 Regulation. The input from stakeholders will help ESMA in drafting the final report. Respondents to this consultation are encouraged to provide the relevant data to support their arguments or proposals. Responding to this paper ESMA invites comments on all matters in this paper. Comments are most helpful if they: contain a clear rationale; include quantitative elements to support any concern; and describe any alternatives ESMA should consider, including alternative drafts. ESMA will consider all comments received by 11 April 2014.All contributions should be submitted online on the Consultation Page.   Hearing ESMA is seeking input from users, producers of credit ratings, those involved in the issuance of structured finance instruments (issuers, originators and sponsors), anyone interested in the up-to-date individual rating data or in competition in the credit market.The hearing will be held on Friday, 14 March 2014, from 10.00 to 13.00 CET and is open to all. Please register on the Hearing page.
07/02/2014 2014/152 ESMA tells firms to improve their selling practices for complex financial products , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an Opinion on practices to be observed by investment firms when selling complex financial products to investors. ESMA is issuing this opinion to remind national supervisors and investment firms about the importance of requirements governing selling practices under MiFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive).ESMA is issuing this Opinion as it is concerned that firms’ compliance with the MiFID selling practices when selling complex products may have fallen short of expected standards. The concerns relate mainly to the suitability and appropriateness of complex products that are increasingly within the grasp of retail investors. The Opinion sets out ESMA’s minimum expectations with respect to the conduct of firms when selling complex products to retail investors.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “Investment firms increasingly sell complex financial products such as warrants, different types of structured bonds, derivatives and asset-backed securities, which were previously accessible mainly to professional investors, to retail investors.“ESMA is concerned that this trend greatly increases the risk that customers do not understand the risks, costs and expected returns of the products they are buying. Therefore, we believe that it is crucial that investment firms act responsibly and in the best interest of their clients.“The level of concern regarding the risk posed by these products to investor protection when MiFID rules are not fully respected is such that we have also issued an EU-wide warning to investors in order to raise awareness about the risks arising from investing in these types of complex products.” The marketing and sale of complex financial products, in particular to retail investors, is an important investor protection area where ESMA wants to ensure a consistent approach to the application of the MiFID conduct business rules - thereby improving supervisory convergence.The areas covered by the Opinion relate to: firms’ organisation and internal controls; the assessment of the suitability or appropriateness of certain products; disclosures and communications in relation to products; and compliance monitoring of the sales functions.
16/12/2014 2014/1525 Press Release- Improvements needed in CRAs surveillance of structured finance credit ratings , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a report on the findings of its investigation into the way credit rating agencies (CRA) conduct surveillance of their structured finance credit ratings. The investigation, which took place between October 2013 and September 2014, was prompted by the continued relevance of structured finance products and the high outstanding volume in issuance. It focused on the four largest CRAs providing credit ratings on these finance instruments in the EU – DBRS Ratings, Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Services and Standard & Poor’s – which account for almost 100% of the total outstanding credit ratings on EU structured finance instruments. In its investigation ESMA identified a number of shortcomings in several areas affecting the surveillance of structured finance ratings for the CRAs investigated. ESMA also identified weaknesses on the level of disclosure and transparency which could be detrimental to investor protection. ESMA has not determined whether any of the Report’s findings constitute a breach of the CRA Regulation, and may take action as appropriate in due course.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA’s investigation has found shortcomings in CRAs’ processes for the surveillance of structured finance credit ratings which could affect the quality of the ratings. These concerns centred on information quality controls, the application of CRAs’ methodologies and the related disclosure as well as the timely completion of the credit ratings annual review.  Issues were also identified in relation to the role and independence of the internal review function. “The high volume of issued structured finance instruments and renewed interest in securitisation as an alternative funding source make the results of this review all the more timely. “All registered CRAs should take note of the problems identified and ensure that they properly incorporate the requirements and objectives of the CRA Regulation into their working practices in order to ensure the quality of credit ratings and maintain investor confidence. The good practices identified in the Report can help with that improvement.”   ESMA has requested that CRAs put in place the remedial action plans to solve the individual concerns identified. ESMA will follow up with each of the CRAs subject to this investigation. Likewise, ESMA will monitor all other registered CRAs as part of its on-going supervision.
19/12/2014 2014/1570 Consultation paper on MiFID II/MiFIR- part 1 , Consultation Paper PDF
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Who should read this paper? This document will be of interest to all stakeholders involved in the securities markets. It is primarily of interest to competent authorities and firms that are subject to MiFID II and MiFIR – in particular, investment firms, credit institutions performing investment services and activities, data reporting services providers and trading venues. This paper is also important for trade associations and industry bodies, institutional and retail investors and their advisers, and consumer groups, as well as any market participant because the MiFID II and MiFIR requirements seek to implement enhanced provisions to ensure investor protection and the transparency and orderly running of financial markets with potential impacts for anyone engaged in the dealing with or processing of financial instruments. Responding to this paper The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) invites responses to the specific questions listed in the ESMA MiFID II/MiFIR Consultation Paper. Please note that ESMA will only be able to consider responses received using this “form to reply” and complying with the procedure below. a)    InstructionsPlease note that, in order to facilitate analysis of the large number of responses expected, ESMA will be using an IT tool that does not allow processing of responses which do not follow the formatting indications described below. Therefore, in responding stakeholders should:i.    use the published template and send their responses in Word format (pdf documents will not be considered except for annexes); ii.    not remove the tags of type - i.e. the response to one question has to be framed by the 2 tags corresponding to the question; andiii.    if they have no response to a question, not delete it and leave the text “TYPE YOUR TEXT HERE” between the tags. b)    Naming protocolIn order to facilitate the handling of stakeholders responses please save your document using the following format:ESMA_MiFID2_CP_NAMEOFCOMPANY_NAMEOFDOCUMENT: e.g. if the respondent were ESMA, the name of the reply form would be ESMA_MiFID2_CP_ESMA_REPLYFORM or ESMA_MiFID2_CP_ESMA_ANNEX1 c)    Content of the responses Responses are most helpful:i.    if they respond to the question stated;ii.    contain a clear rationale; andiii.    describe any alternatives that ESMA should consider. Given the breadth of issues covered, ESMA expects and encourages respondents to specifically answer those questions relevant to their business, interest and experience. d)    Deadline Responses must reach us by 2 March 2015. All contributions should be submitted online at www.esma.europa.eu under the heading ‘Your input/Consultations’. Publication of responses All contributions received will be published following the end of the consultation period, unless otherwise requested. Please clearly indicate by ticking the appropriate checkbox in the website submission form if you do not wish your contribution to be publicly disclosed. A standard confidentiality statement in an email message will not be treated as a request for non-disclosure. Note also that a confidential response may be requested from ESMA in accordance with ESMA’s rules on access to documents. ESMA may consult respondents if ESMA receives such a request. Any decision we make is reviewable by ESMA’s Board of Appeal and the European Ombudsman. Data protection Information on data protection can be found at www.esma.europa.eu under the headings ‘Legal notice’ and ‘Data protection’.
22/12/2014 2014/1570 Annex A Consultation Paper – Annex A- High level cost-benefit-analysis draft technical standards (MiFID/MiFIR) Consultation Paper PDF
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19/12/2014 2014/1570 Annex B Consultation paper on MiFID II/MiFIR- Annex B , Consultation Paper PDF
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Who should read this paper? This document will be of interest to all stakeholders involved in the securities markets. It is primarily of interest to competent authorities and firms that are subject to MiFID II and MiFIR – in particular, investment firms, credit institutions performing investment services and activities, data reporting services providers and trading venues. This paper is also important for trade associations and industry bodies, institutional and retail investors and their advisers, and consumer groups, as well as any market participant because the MiFID II and MiFIR requirements seek to implement enhanced provisions to ensure investor protection and the transparency and orderly running of financial markets with potential impacts for anyone engaged in the dealing with or processing of financial instruments. Responding to this paper The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) invites responses to the specific questions listed in the ESMA MiFID II/MiFIR Consultation Paper. Please note that ESMA will only be able to consider responses received using this “form to reply” and complying with the procedure below. a)    InstructionsPlease note that, in order to facilitate analysis of the large number of responses expected, ESMA will be using an IT tool that does not allow processing of responses which do not follow the formatting indications described below. Therefore, in responding stakeholders should:i.    use the published template and send their responses in Word format (pdf documents will not be considered except for annexes); ii.    not remove the tags of type - i.e. the response to one question has to be framed by the 2 tags corresponding to the question; andiii.    if they have no response to a question, not delete it and leave the text “TYPE YOUR TEXT HERE” between the tags. b)    Naming protocolIn order to facilitate the handling of stakeholders responses please save your document using the following format:ESMA_MiFID2_CP_NAMEOFCOMPANY_NAMEOFDOCUMENT: e.g. if the respondent were ESMA, the name of the reply form would be ESMA_MiFID2_CP_ESMA_REPLYFORM or ESMA_MiFID2_CP_ESMA_ANNEX1 c)    Content of the responses Responses are most helpful:i.    if they respond to the question stated;ii.    contain a clear rationale; andiii.    describe any alternatives that ESMA should consider. Given the breadth of issues covered, ESMA expects and encourages respondents to specifically answer those questions relevant to their business, interest and experience. d)    Deadline Responses must reach us by 2 March 2015. All contributions should be submitted online at www.esma.europa.eu under the heading ‘Your input/Consultations’. Publication of responses All contributions received will be published following the end of the consultation period, unless otherwise requested. Please clearly indicate by ticking the appropriate checkbox in the website submission form if you do not wish your contribution to be publicly disclosed. A standard confidentiality statement in an email message will not be treated as a request for non-disclosure. Note also that a confidential response may be requested from ESMA in accordance with ESMA’s rules on access to documents. ESMA may consult respondents if ESMA receives such a request. Any decision we make is reviewable by ESMA’s Board of Appeal and the European Ombudsman. Data protection Information on data protection can be found at www.esma.europa.eu under the headings ‘Legal notice’ and ‘Data protection’.
19/12/2014 2014/1574 ESMA provides implementing rules for MiFID II , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today its final technical advice (TA) and launches a consultation on its draft regulatory technical and implementing standards (RTS/ ITS) regarding the implementation of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and Regulation (MiFIR). Both ESMA’s TA and draft RTS translate the MiFID II/MiFIR requirements into practically applicable rules for market participants and national supervisors. The new regulatory framework aims at ensuring that secondary markets are fair, transparent and safe and that investors’ interests are safeguarded when being sold investment products. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:“Today’s implementing rules on both secondary markets and investor protection issues reflect ESMA’s desire to achieve the best outcome for market users and investors, taking into account the extensive submissions received from our stakeholders. The advice now goes to the European Commission to use in preparation of its delegated legislation, while our technical standards are open for a second round of consultation. “Once fully implemented, MiFID II will have a significant impact on the EU’s securities markets, its users and infrastructure providers. It will bring greater transparency and improve the overall functioning of markets thus strengthening investors’ trust in the financial sector.”MiFID II to include most financial instruments, trading venues and techniquesMiFID II/MiFIR introduces changes to the functioning of secondary markets, including transparency requirements for a broad range of asset classes; the obligation to trade derivatives on trading venues; requirements for algorithmic and high-frequency-trading and new supervisory tools for commodity derivatives. The key proposals stemming from ESMA’s TA/draft RTS cover the following issues: •    increased trade transparency, for non-equity instruments, in particular bonds, derivatives, structured finance products and emission allowances;•    a trading obligation for shares and a double volume cap mechanism for shares and equity-like instruments, introducing a major change to the framework for trading these instruments in the Union;•    an obligation to trade derivatives on MiFID venues (regulated markets, multilateral (MTFs) or organised trading facilities (OTFs)) only, in line with G20 requirements;•    newly introduced position limits and reporting requirements for commodity derivatives;•    rules governing high frequency trading, imposing a strict set of organisational requirements on investment firms and trading venues;•    provisions regulating access to central counterparties (CCPs), trading venues and benchmarks, designed to increase competition in the Union; and•    requirements for a consolidated tape of trading data, including rules for tape providers, reporting,  publication and sales of data.MiFID II to improve investor protection ESMA’s TA proposes that the Commission adopts a number of measures that will further the protection of investors across the EU. The main proposals relating to the improved protection of investors, especially retail, include:•    clarifications about the circumstances in which portfolio managers can receive research from third parties;•    clarifications under which circumstances inducements meet the quality enhancement requirement for the provision of advice;•    requirements for investment firms manufacturing and/or distributing financial instruments and structured deposits to have product governance arrangements in place in order to assess the robustness of their manufacture and/or distribution;•    requirements for firms to provide clients with details of all costs and charges related to their investment, including cost aggregations, the timing of disclosure (ex-ante and ex-post); information to non-retail clients; the scope of firms subject to this obligation; information on the cumulative effect of costs on the return; •    organisational requirements for firms providing investments advice on an independent basis; and•    specification of powers for ESMA and national regulators with regards to prohibiting or restricting the marketing and distribution of financial instruments. Next stepsThe TA has been finalised following extensive consultations with stakeholders and will now be sent to the European Commission. ESMA’s draft RTS/ITS, already previously consulted upon, are open for public comment until 2 March 2015. In addition, an open hearing will be held in Paris on 19 February 2015. ESMA will use the input received from the consultations to finalise its draft RTS which will be sent for endorsement to the European Commission by mid-2015, its ITS by January 2016. MiFID II/ MiFIR and its implementing measures will be applicable from 3 January 2017.
11/02/2014 2014/165 ESMA consults on new CRA transparency requirements Press Release PDF
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21/02/2014 2014/212 Press release- ESMA sets out CRA supervision focus for 2014 Press Release PDF
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ESMA sets out CRA supervision focus for 2014 The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its Annual Report 2013 (Report) on credit rating agencies (CRAs) in the European Union (EU). The Report also outlines ESMA’s supervisory work plan for this year. ESMA has found that CRAs continue to progress in how they comply with the CRA Regulation, including improved internal transparency and disclosure to the market on credit rating activities as well as empowerment of the compliance function. However, ESMA considers that improvements are still necessary, notably in the following areas: validation of rating methodologies, to ensure that a credit rating assessment is a comprehensive risk assessment leading to high quality ratings; internal governance, ensuring the full independence of the internal review function and thereby reducing the risk of potential conflict of interest; and robust IT systems to support the rating process, including information security controls and protection of confidential rating information. These issues form the basis for much of ESMA’s supervision activities as outlined in its 2014 work plan. This includes the completion of the two on-going supervisory reviews into CRAs’ monitoring of structured finance ratings and into small and medium-sized CRAs. A new thematic investigation on how CRAs review and validate their rating methodologies will also be launched, as well as dedicated work on CRAs’ IT systems and controls. Following the entry into force of the amended CRA Regulation in June 2013, ESMA will also complete a specific assessment on CRAs’ compliance with the new regulatory requirements. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA is in its third year as the EU’s CRA regulator and today’s report provides us with an assessment of the progress made to date. However, as shown by our recent work on sovereign ratings there are still issues around governance as well as independence,objectivity and quality of the rating process that need to be remedied in order to restore market confidence in CRAs and their ratings. “We will continue to proactively and intrusively supervise CRAs and work with them to address their shortcomings. This will contribute to building confidence in the transparency and smooth functioning of EU financial markets while ensuring a high level of financial consumer protection.” The 2013 Report summarises how ESMA fulfilled its role as the supervisor of CRAs in the EU. It covers ESMA’s supervisory activities, progress in dealing with registrations, and its policy work in relation to existing and new legislative requirements. In particular, the Report focuses on the results of ESMA’s supervisory work through on-going supervision as well as thematic reviews, such as that into the sovereign ratings process of a number of CRAs, the inspections of small and medium-sized CRAs and a further inspection of the ratings publication controls in a single CRA.
27/03/2014 2014/334 ESMA issues good practices for structured retail product governance , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an opinion on structured retail products, setting out good practices for firms when manufacturing and distributing these products.