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Date Ref. Title Section Type Download Info Summary Related Documents Translated versions
10/11/2016 2016-1567 ESMA finalises advice on future rules for financial benchmarks Press Release PDF
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01/07/2016 2016/1066 ESMA appoints new Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published the new list of members of its Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) following its approval by its Board of Supervisors. The selected individuals begin a 2½ year term on 1 July 2016 and will replace the group whose mandate expired on 30 June 2016.

The new SMSG will be composed of 30 individuals drawn from across 13 Member States and representing ESMA’s key stakeholder constituencies – financial market participants (10), employee representatives (2), consumer representatives (6), users of financial services (3), small and medium sized enterprises (2) and academics (7). The new SMSG will feature 27 new members. A number of the incoming members have served in the previous SMSG.

The SMSG was established according to ESMA’s founding regulation and facilitates consultation between ESMA and its key financial market stakeholders on its work. The SMSG provides ESMA with opinions and advice on its policy work and must be consulted on technical standards and guidelines and recommendations. Additionally, it can inform ESMA of any inconsistent application of European Union law as well as inconsistent supervisory practices in Member States.

19/07/2016 2016/1138 ESMA advises on extension of funds passport to 12 non-EU countries Press Release PDF
148.97 KB
25/07/2016 2016/1167 Press release- ESMA issues warning on sale of speculative products to retail investors Press Release PDF
147.01 KB
02/02/2016 2016/138 ESMA updates on supervisory work on closet index tracking , Press Release PDF
120.08 KB

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Statement providing details of its work on closet index tracking funds.

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

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

29/09/2016 2016/1407 ESMA consults on future rules for financial benchmarks , Press Release PDF
147.04 KB
05/10/2016 2016/1438 ESMA consults on product governance guidelines to safeguard investors , Press Release PDF
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15/02/2016 2016/291 ESMA consults on implementation of the Benchmarks Regulation , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today published a Discussion Paper (DP) regarding the technical implementation of the incoming Benchmarks Regulation (BR). ESMA is seeking stakeholder’s input to inform its future proposals on draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) and Technical Advice (TA) to the European Commission.

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

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

Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:

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

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

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

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

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

Next steps

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

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

UCITS Remuneration Guidelines

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

Proportionality Issue

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

AIFMD Remuneration Guidelines

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

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

Next Steps

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

07/04/2016 2016/582 ESMA finds room for improvement in national supervision of investment advice to retail clients , , Press Release PDF
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02/06/2016 2016/903 ESMA reminds firms of responsibilities when selling bail-in securities Press Release PDF
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27/03/2020 ESMA34-39-967 ESMA consults on guidance to address leverage risk in the AIF sector Press Release PDF
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30/01/2017 ESMA71-844457584-331 Opinion on UCITS Share Classes Press Release PDF
149.99 KB
27/03/2018 ESMA71-98-128 Press release- ESMA agrees to prohibit binary options and restrict CFDs to protect retail investors , Press Release PDF
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24/08/2018 ESMA71-99-1026 ESMA to renew prohibition on binary options for a further three months , Press Release PDF
148.63 KB
28/09/2018 ESMA71-99-1041 ESMA to renew restriction on CFDs for a further three months , Press Release PDF
148.81 KB
28/09/2018 ESMA71-99-1043 Press release- ESMA consults on stress testing rules for money market funds Press Release PDF
220.32 KB
09/11/2018 ESMA71-99-1057 ESMA renews binary options prohibition for a further three months from 2 January 2019 , Press Release PDF
126.47 KB
18/02/2019 ESMA71-99-1057 ESMA to renew prohibition on binary options for a further three months Press Release PDF
129.84 KB
04/12/2018 ESMA71-99-1069 ESMA appoints a new Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group Press Release PDF
162.11 KB