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30/03/2017 ESMA71-99-374 ESMA publishes final rules to ensure integrity of EU financial benchmarks , Press Release PDF
166.98 KB

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its final report containing the draft regulatory and implementing technical standards (RTS/ITS) under the Benchmarks Regulation (BMR). These contain the detailed rules to implement the new European regulatory framework aimed at ensuring the accuracy and integrity of benchmarks across the European Union.

29/03/2017 ESMA70-145-48 Draft technical standards under the Benchmarks Regulation Report PDF
1.75 MB
23/01/2017 ESMA71-844457584-329 ESMA Chair keynote address at PRIME Finance Conference , , Speech PDF
281.45 KB
10/11/2016 2016-1567 ESMA finalises advice on future rules for financial benchmarks Press Release PDF
234.22 KB
10/11/2016 2016-1560 Final Report on Technical Advice under the Benchmarks Regulation Final Report PDF
943.42 KB
30/09/2016 2016/1414 Methodological Framework- Model Written Arrangements for Benchmark Colleges Reference PDF
272.57 KB

Article 46 of the Regulation (EU) No 2016/1011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016 on indices used as benchmarks in financial instruments and financial contracts or to measure the performance of investment funds (Regulation) provides that the competent authority of an administrator of a critical benchmark that is referred to in points (a) and (c) of Article 20(1) of the Regulation shall establish a college.

ESMA will be a member of every college and according to Article 46(7) of the Regulation may give advice concerning the written arrangements. To promote the convergent operation of benchmark colleges, ESMA has developed model written arrangements that may be used by administrators of critical benchmarks according to Article 46(6) of the Regulation.

29/09/2016 2016/1407 ESMA consults on future rules for financial benchmarks , Press Release PDF
147.04 KB
29/09/2016 2016/1406 Draft technical standards under the Benchmarks Regulation Consultation Paper PDF
1.67 MB
29/09/2016 2016/1406 reply form Reply form to the Consultation paper on Benchmarks Reference DOCX
757.37 KB
03/06/2016 2016/723 RF Reply form for the Consultation Paper on ESMA technical advice on Benchmarks Regulation , Reference DOCX
784.51 KB
27/05/2016 2016/723 Consultation Paper on ESMA technical advice on Benchmarks Regulation , Consultation Paper PDF
905.26 KB
04/04/2016 2016/226 ToR ITMG Reference PDF
116.21 KB
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.

15/02/2016 2016/288 Discussion Paper Benchmarks Regulation , Consultation Paper PDF
1017.02 KB
18/12/2015 2015/1887 Follow-up report on the development of the Best Practice Principles for Providers of Shareholder Voting Research and Analysis , Final Report PDF
645.64 KB
18/12/2015 2015/1871 Proxy advisors take steps towards increased transparency , , Press Release PDF
157.9 KB
08/06/2015 2015/920 Impact of the Best Practice Principles for Providers of Shareholder Voting Research and Analysis , Consultation Paper PDF
337.08 KB
Responding to this Call for Evidence ESMA invites comments on all matters in this paper and in particular on the specific questions presented throughout the paper. Comments are most helpful, if they:a.    respond to the question stated;b.    indicate the specific question to which they relate; andc.    contain a clear rationale.  ESMA will consider all comments received by 27 July 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 close of the Call for Evidence, unless you request otherwise.  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. 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 not to disclose the response 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 heading Legal Notice.Who should read this Call for Evidence This Call for Evidence will be of relevance to persons and entities participating in the voting chain, particularly proxy advisors, investors, companies listed in Europe, proxy solicitors and consultants.
12/11/2013 2013/1645 ESMA clarifies shareholder cooperation in takeover situations , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA clarifies shareholder cooperation in takeover situations The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a statement on practices governed by the Takeover Bid Directive (TBD), focused on shareholder cooperation issues relating to acting in concert and the appointment of board members. The statement contains a White List of activities that shareholders can cooperate on without the presumption of acting in concert. It also contains information on how shareholders may cooperate in order to secure board member appointments by setting out factors that national authorities may take into account when considering whether shareholders are acting in concert. The statement is in response to a request by the European Commission for clarity on these issues, following its 2012 report on the application of the TBD. It is based on information collected about the TBD’s application and common practices across the European Economic Area (EEA). The statement was prepared by the Takeover Bids Network, a permanent working group, under ESMA’s auspices, that promotes the exchange of information on practices and application of the TBD across EEA. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “Today’s statement means that shareholders can now be confident that they can expect authorities to take a consistent approach across the EEA to their cooperative activities. This consistency should in turn provide the reassurance needed by shareholders for the effective, sustainable engagement that is one of the cornerstones of listed companies’ corporate governance model allowing them to hold their boards to account. “ESMA believes that ensuring a consistent and convergent supervisory approach to this issue will be instrumental in affording equality of treatment to shareholders and investors across the EEA.” National competent authorities will have regard to the White List when determining whether shareholders are persons acting in concert under national takeover rules, but will also take into account all other relevant factors in making their decisions. Shareholder cooperation and acting in concert - The White List When shareholders cooperate to engage in any of the activities listed below, that cooperation will not, in and of itself, lead to a conclusion that the shareholders are acting in concert: 1. entering into discussions with each other about possible matters to be raised with the company’s board; 2. making representations to the company’s board about company policies, practices or particular actions that the company might consider taking; 3. other than in relation to the appointment of board members, exercising shareholders’ statutory rights; 4. other than in relation to a resolution for the appointment of board members and insofar as such a resolution is provided for under national company law, agreeing to vote the same way on a particular resolution put to a general meeting. If shareholders cooperate in an activity not included on the White List, this will also not result in an automatic assumption that they are acting in concert. Each case will be determined on its own particular facts. Cooperation in relation to the appointment of members of the board of a company The White List does not include any activity relating to cooperation on board appointments, due to differences in Member State approaches towards determining whether shareholders who cooperate in relation to board appointments are acting in concert. However, shareholders may wish to cooperate in order to secure board members’ appointment in a company in which they have invested. This cooperation might take the form of: 1. entering into an agreement or arrangement (informal or formal) to exercise their votes in the same way in order to support the appointment of one or more board members; 2. tabling a resolution to remove one or more board members and replace them with one or more new board members; or 3. tabling a resolution to appoint one or more additional board members. The statement therefore indicates which factors may be considered when assessing whether such cooperation is indeed an act of acting in concert. ESMA will keep the public statement under review in order to ensure that it continues to reflect accurately the practices and application of the TBD in the Member States. 2013/1642 Public Statement - Information on shareholder cooperation and acting in concert under the Takeover Bids Directive. 2013/1643 Cover Note to the Public Statement
12/11/2013 2013/1643 Cover Note- Public statement containing information on shareholder cooperation and acting in concert under the Takeover Bids Directive (ESMA/2013/1642) , Reference PDF
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In accordance with its mandate to take appropriate action in the context of takeover bids as per Article 1.3 of Regulation (EU) 1095/2010 (ESMA Regulation), ESMA is releasing a public statement on shareholder cooperation and acting in concert under the Takeover Bids Directive (Directive 2004/25/EC). This statement has been prepared following the review and report by the European Commission on the application of the Takeover Bids Directive and is based on information collected about the practices and application of that Directive. The statement has been prepared in order to help shareholders identify activities in relation to which they can cooperate (insofar as those activities are available to them under national company law), without that cooperation, in and of itself, leading to a conclusion that the shareholders are acting in concert and thus being at risk of having to make a mandatory bid under the Takeover Bids Directive. These activities are presented in the statement in the form of a “White List”. The statement has been prepared by the Takeover Bids Network, a permanent working group operating under the auspices of ESMA that promotes exchange of information on practices and application of the Takeover Bids Directive across the European Economic Area, thereby strengthening a common supervisory culture. The Takeover Bids Network is a specialist group composed of the national competent authorities appointed under the Takeover Bids Directive. The competent authorities represented on the ESMA Board of Supervisors are not in all cases appointed as competent authorities within the Takeover Bids Directive. The authorities not represented on the Board of Supervisors but competent within the area of takeovers are the Austrian Takeover Commission, the Irish Takeover Panel, the Oslo Stock Exchange of Norway, the Takeover Panel of Sweden and the Takeover Panel of the United Kingdom. These five authorities have contributed to the public statement and will have regard to it in the same manner as the other members of the Takeover Bids Network when assessing whether shareholders are acting in concert under their national takeover rules.
12/11/2013 2013/1642 Information on shareholder cooperation and acting in concert under the Takeover Bids Directive , Statement PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a statement on practices governed by the Takeover Bid Directive (TBD), focused on shareholder cooperation issues relating to acting in concert and the appointment of board members. The statement contains a White List of activities that shareholders can cooperate on without the presumption of acting in concert. It also contains information on how shareholders may cooperate in order to secure board member appointments by setting out factors that national authorities may take into account when considering whether shareholders are acting in concert. The statement is in response to a request by the European Commission for clarity on these issues, following its 2012 report on the application of the TBD. It is based on information collected about the TBD’s application and common practices across the European Economic Area (EEA). The statement was prepared by the Takeover Bids Network, a permanent working group, under ESMA’s auspices, that promotes the exchange of information on practices and application of the TBD across EEA.