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01/06/2017 ESMA71-99-466 ESMA fines Moody’s €1.24 million for credit ratings breaches , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has fined Moody’s Deutschland GmbH (Moody’s Germany) €750,000 and Moody’s Investors Service Limited (Moody’s UK) €490,000, and issued a public notice, for two negligent breaches of the Credit Rating Agencies Regulation (CRAR).

ESMA found that Moody’s Germany and Moody’s UK negligently committed two infringements of the CRAR regarding their public announcement of certain ratings and their public disclosure of methodologies used to determine those ratings. These failures concern nineteen ratings issued between June 2011 and December 2013 for nine supranational entities including the European Investment Bank, the European Investment Fund, the European Stability Mechanism, the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Union.

09/10/2017 ESMA71-99-613 ESMA highlights importance of LEI for MiFIDII/MiFIR compliance , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Briefing on the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) as part of its efforts to raise industry awareness and facilitate compliance with the LEI requirements under MiFID II ahead of its 3 January 2018 launch.

ESMA expects market participants to take all necessary steps to ensure full compliance with the LEI requirements under MiFID II. Based on its previous experience with EMIR reporting, ESMA urges reporting entities not to delay in addressing this important matter, as advance preparation will help in avoiding backlogs and ensuring that all market participants are ready for the new regime.

02/12/2013 2013/1790 ESMA identifies deficiencies in CRAs sovereign ratings processes Press Release PDF
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ESMA identifies deficiencies in CRAs sovereign ratings processes The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Report identifying a number of deficiencies in the processes for producing and issuing sovereign ratings at the three largest credit rating agencies (CRAs), Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s. The Report follows an investigation carried out by ESMA into the sovereign rating processes at the three CRAs, between February and October 2013. The investigation was prompted by concerns about potential conflicts of interests, the impact of sovereign ratings on other types of ratings, CRAs’ capacity to cope with the number of rating actions during a period of high volatility, the use of bulk rating actions, and issues around the confidentiality and timing of rating actions. The investigation focused on the governance and organisation of sovereign rating activities, the adequacy and expertise of allocated human resources, the disclosure of rating information to the public, and ensuring its confidentiality before disclosure. ESMA identified deficiencies and issues for improvement in the following areas: • Independence and avoidance of conflicts of interests; • Confidentiality of sovereign rating information; • Timing of publication of rating actions; and • Resources allocated to sovereign ratings. 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 revealed shortcomings in the sovereign ratings process which could pose risks to the quality, independence and integrity of the ratings and of the rating process. “The focus on the sovereign rating process in this investigation stems from their increased volatility over the past few years, the importance of sovereign ratings from a credit market and financial stability perspective, and their impact on other rated entities and products. “The impact which changes in these ratings can have on financial markets, and sovereign states, can be significant. Therefore, it is imperative that users can have confidence that the CRAs have adequate systems and controls in place to ensure that ratings are rigorous, free from conflicts of interest and timely. “The CRAs who were subject to this investigation still need to make improvements in their working practices to ensure their full compliance with the CRA Regulation and to eradicate inadequate practices from the past.” Investigation Findings The key areas where ESMA identified deficiencies requiring remedial actions by the CRAs included the following areas and related issues: 1. Independence and avoidance of conflicts of interests: ESMA has concerns that in a number of areas associated with conflicts of interest and independence, the actual failings or potential risks identified might compromise the independence of the ratings process and the quality of the credit ratings. These include: • the type of involvement of senior management in sovereign rating activities; • the independent review function’s participation in the sovereign rating process; • the research publication activities carried out by CRAs; • the involvement by certain non-rating functions (e.g. communication) in the rating process; and • the implementation of the appeal procedure. 2. Confidentiality of sovereign rating information The investigation identified deficiencies in the way confidential rating information is managed, in particular how access to information on upcoming rating actions on sovereigns is controlled. These include: • the disclosure of upcoming rating actions to an unauthorised third party; • inadequate controls in place for the circulation of rating information within the CRA(s); • the controls around the use of external communication consultants; and • inappropriate permissions and controls to secure access to rating information. 3. Timing of publication of rating actions: The investigation found that there had been instances of significant and frequent delays in the publication of sovereign ratings. ESMA also observed deficiencies in the advance notification to rated entities about upcoming rating actions. 4. Resources allocated to sovereign ratings: ESMA has concerns on the resources dedicated to sovereign ratings, in particular: • the lack of an adequate mechanism to assess the adequacy of resources; • assigning lead analyst responsibilities to junior or newly hired staff; • reliance on junior support staff; and • unclear definitions of functions and responsibilities. A number of good practices were also identified amongst the surveyed firms including analytical training programmes, practices designed to improve challenge in rating committees, and to ensure continuity in the allocation of analysts to sovereign portfolios. ESMA has required the CRAs to put in place remedial action plans to address the issues identified, and will monitor their progress against these plans as part of its on-going supervision.
22/03/2012 2012/220 ESMA issues a report on its first examinations of credit rating agencies , Press Release PDF
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ESMA today publishes a report (ESMA/2012/207) on the supervision of Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) registered in the European Union (EU). The report provides an overview of ESMA’s supervisory activity and summarises the results of the first examinations ESMA conducted in December 2011 of three groups of CRAs, namely Fitch Ratings (Fitch), Moody’s Investor Services (Moody’s) and Standard and Poor’s Rating Services (S&P).
30/05/2016 2016/742 ESMA issues opinion on MiFID II standards on ancillary activities , Press Release PDF
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20/12/2012 2012/854 ESMA issues statement on forbearance practices , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA issues statement on forbearance practicesThe European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued a Public Statement on the Treatment of Forbearance Practices in IFRS Financial Statements of Financial Institutions.  The statement deals with the definition of forbearance practices, their impact on the impairment of financial assets and the specific disclosures relating to forbearance activities that listed financial institutions should include in their IFRS financial statements for the year ending 31 December 2012.The statement results from ESMA’s concerns that a lack of consistency amongst issuers in this area raises issues over the transparency and accuracy of their financial statements.  ESMA believes that the consistent application of IFRS principles promotes comparability among listed financial institutions’ financial statements.This forms part of broader work on forbearance practices undertaken by regulators, including the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), who are examining the issue in the context of prudential reporting and macro-economic risks respectively.Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair said:“ESMA and national authorities have become concerned at the lack of clarity in financial issuers’ financial statements regarding their treatment of forbearance-related practices, and the potential impact this might have on issuer’s financial performance and position, with consequences for investors and markets.“We have seen the impact of an inadequate approach to forbearance and impairment in previous financial crises and our aim is to avoid a similar situation developing here in the EU.  We believe that by promoting an appropriate and consistent approach to the definition of forbearance, measurement of impairment and related disclosures, investors can be confident that issuers’ financial statements accurately reflect credit risk exposures and the credit quality of their financial assets.”“A uniformly consistent approach on this issue in the EU will contribute to the proper functioning of financial markets, the maintenance of financial stability in the European Union and improved investor protection.”Forbearance and objective evidence of impairmentForbearance occurs when the borrower is considered to be unable to meet the terms and conditions of the contract due to financial difficulties and ,based on these difficulties, it decides to modify the terms and conditions of the contract to allow the borrower sufficient ability to service the debt or refinance.  Therefore, forbearance measures constitute objective evidence of impairment under IFRS.Forbearance and asset impairmentAs forbearance measures are extended due to the financial difficulties of the borrower, ESMA expects that issuers would have  when assessing the impairment of those loans:•    identified whether a loss event has had an impact on the estimated future cash flows;•    based impairment calculations on the estimated future cash flows and not the contractual cash flows; and•    applied a heightened level of scepticism when estimating the future cash flows, as well as other parameters used. Required disclosures in the year-end IFRS financial statementsThe disclosures to be provided by financial institutions, regarding their forbearance practices in their annual IFRS financial statements, should include the following qualitative aspects:•    details of the types of forbearance practices undertaken during the reporting period;•    description of the risks related to the forbearance practices undertaken, and how these risks are managed and monitored for internal management purposes;•    accounting policies applied in respect of the forborn assets; and•     description of any changes in these aspects from the prior period.The issuers should also provide quantitative disclosures in order to enable users to evaluate the impact of forbearance measures on the credit risk profile of their loan portfolios and their financial position and performance. ESMA expects such quantitative disclosures to be included in the 2012 financial statements as far as possible, and in any event they should be implemented and reflected in 2013’s annual financial statements.Next StepsESMA, together with EU national competent authorities, will continue to monitor the level of transparency that issuers provide in their financial statements on forbearance related measures and their impact on impairment, and will consider whether further action is required.  The statement complements ESMA’s common enforcement priorities for the 2012 year-end IFRS financial statements which were published in November 2012.

09/11/2018 ESMA71-99-1054 ESMA launches call for evidence on periodic auctions for equity instruments , Press Release PDF
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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.
02/02/2012 2012/64 ESMA makes available data on credit ratings’ past performances- central repository launched Press Release PDF
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ESMA launches today a Central Rating Repository (CEREP) providing information on credit ratings issued by those 15 Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) which are either registered or certified in the European Union.   The CEREP database will allow investors to assess for the first time on a single platform the performance and reliability of credit ratings on different types of ratings, asset classes and geo-graphical regions over the time period of choice.  To access the database, please click here.
29/04/2020 ESMA71-99-1323 ESMA NAL Opinion on delegated acts climate benchmarks , Press Release PDF
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04/04/2016 2016/566 ESMA not to exempt ETD under MiFID II , Press Release PDF
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22/12/2011 2011/457 ESMA outlines future automated trading regime for trading platforms, investment firms and competent authorities , Press Release PDF
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10/11/2016 2016-1564 ESMA prepares for new International Financial Reporting Standard 9 , , , Press Release PDF
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16/06/2020 ESMA71-99-1349 ESMA Press Release SMSG 2020 , , Press Release PDF
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20/12/2012 2012/860 ESMA proposes guidelines on the scope of the CRA Regulation , Press Release PDF
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ESMA proposes guidelines on the scope of the CRA Regulation The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched a Consultation Paper on Guidelines and Recommendations on the scope of the CRA Regulation.  The draft Guidelines aim to provide clarification on certain aspects of the scope of the Credit Rating Agencies (CRA) Regulation to registered CRAs, other market participants operating on the perimeter of this sector and to national securities markets regulators.The draft Guidelines focus on a number of areas under the CRA Regulation, which ESMA believes require clarification following its experience of the registration process and the enforcement of the perimeter of the CRA Regulation under the new EU supervisory regime.  The Guidelines will contribute to a consistent approach to the application of the CRA Regulation and ensure a level-playing field for all market participants in this industry.ESMA would like to remind market participants that issuing credit ratings in the EU is a regulated activity.  Market participants conducting rating activities within the scope of the CRA Regulation must apply for registration with ESMA, and that carrying on these activities without registration constitutes an infringement of the CRA Regulation and is subject to administrative sanctions, including fines.The draft Guidelines address the following issues:•    Obligation to register;•    Credit rating activities and exemptions from registration;•    Private Ratings;•    Establishment of branches outside the EU by registered CRAs;•    Specific disclosure best practices – credit scoring firms and export credit agencies; and•    Enforcement of the scope of the CRA RegulationThe closing date for responses is 20 February 2013 and an open hearing on the consultation will take place in Paris on 22 January 2013.
04/04/2017 71-99-378 ESMA proposes updates to endorsement guidelines for 3rd country credit ratings , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a consultation paper (CP) on updating its Guidelines on the application of the endorsement regime under the CRA (Credit Rating Agencies) Regulation. Endorsement is a regime under the CRA Regulation, which allows credit ratings issued by a third-country CRA, and endorsed by an EU CRA, to be used for regulatory purposes in the EU. A credit rating that has been endorsed is considered to have been issued by the endorsing EU CRA. The endorsement regime is available for CRAs of systemic importance with global networks of affiliates.

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.
08/02/2018 ESMA71-99-938 ESMA publishes 2018 Work Programme for CRAs, trade repositories and third country CCPs Press Release PDF
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02/04/2020 ESMA71-99-1308 ESMA publishes 2019 report on enforcement of corporate disclosure Press Release PDF
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06/04/2021 ESMA71-99-1629 ESMA publishes 2020 report on enforcement of corporate disclosure Press Release PDF
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