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Date Ref. Title Section Type Download Info Summary Related Documents Translated versions
05/10/2016 2016/1438 ESMA consults on product governance guidelines to safeguard investors , Press Release PDF
152.24 KB
03/10/2016 2016/1425 ESMA consults on consolidated tape for non-equity products , Press Release PDF
144.25 KB

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued today a consultation paper on its draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) regarding the creation of a consolidated tape for non-equity instruments which is required under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II). The new MiFID II framework, which covers equity-like and non-equity instruments traded on trading venues, introduces provisions for establishing a central source of post-trade prices or consolidated tape.

ESMA, having already issued its draft RTS on an equity tape, is seeking feedback on its draft RTS for the non-equity tape. In order to create the non-equity tape, trading venues and approved publication arrangements (APAs) will send real-time post-trade data to consolidated tape providers (CTPs), who will consolidate this data in real-time and make the data available to the public.

25/07/2016 2016/1167 Press release- ESMA issues warning on sale of speculative products to retail investors Press Release PDF
147.01 KB
19/07/2016 2016/1138 ESMA advises on extension of funds passport to 12 non-EU countries Press Release PDF
148.97 KB
02/06/2016 2016/903 ESMA reminds firms of responsibilities when selling bail-in securities Press Release PDF
145.75 KB
30/05/2016 2016/742 ESMA issues opinion on MiFID II standards on ancillary activities , Press Release PDF
166.35 KB
02/05/2016 2016/566 Press release MiFID II RTS , Press Release PDF
131.33 KB
02/05/2016 2016/672 Letter Commission- Opinions RTS 2 and RTS 21 Letter PDF
24.06 KB
26/04/2016 2016/648 ESMA response to the Commission Green Paper on retail financial services Letter PDF
197.44 KB
07/04/2016 2016/582 ESMA finds room for improvement in national supervision of investment advice to retail clients , , Press Release PDF
107.49 KB
07/04/2016 JC/2016/21 PR Joint Press Release draft RTS on PRIIPs , , Press Release PDF
207.66 KB
04/04/2016 2016/566 ESMA not to exempt ETD under MiFID II , Press Release PDF
166 KB
31/03/2016 2016/472 ESMA publishes UCITS remuneration guidelines , Press Release PDF
113.03 KB

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.

31/03/2016 2016/412 Letter to European Commission, European Council and European Parliament on the Proportionality principle and remuneration rules in the financial sector Letter PDF
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31/03/2016 2016/468 ESMA fines DTCC Derivatives Repository Limited €64,000 for data access failures , Press Release PDF
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ESMA fines DTCC Derivatives Repository Limited €64,000 for data access failures

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has fined the trade repository DTCC Derivatives Repository Limited (DDRL) €64,000, and issued a public notice, for negligently failing to put in place systems capable of providing regulators with direct and immediate access to derivatives trading data. This is a key requirement under the European Markets and Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) in order to improve transparency and facilitate the monitoring of systemic risks in derivatives markets.

This is the first time ESMA has taken enforcement action against a trade repository registered in the European Union (EU). DDRL is the largest EU registered trade repository.

ESMA found that DDRL failed to provide direct and immediate access to derivatives data from 21 March 2014 to 15 December 2014, a period of about nine months in which access delays increased from two days to 62 days after reporting and affected 2.6 billion reports. This was due to its negligence in:

  • failing to put in place data processing systems that were capable of providing regulators with direct and immediate access to reported data;
  • failing, once they became aware, to inform ESMA in a timely manner of the delays that were occurring; and
  • taking three months to establish an effective remedial action plan even while delays were worsening.

DDRL’s failures caused delays to regulators accessing data, revealed systemic weaknesses in its organisation particularly its procedures, management systems or internal controls and negatively impacted the quality of the data it maintained.

21/03/2016 2016/404 Letter EU Comm Guersent- Non-equity transparency Letter PDF
125.94 KB
21/03/2016 2016/403 Letter EU Comm Guersent- Ancillary Activity Letter PDF
96.03 KB
21/03/2016 2016/402 Letter EU Comm Guersent- position limits Letter PDF
96.65 KB
05/02/2016 2016/247 ESMA to focus on governance, strategy, data and fees in 2016 supervision , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today published its 2016 supervisory priorities for credit rating agencies (CRAs) and trade repositories (TRs), as well as its annual report summarising the key supervisory work and actions undertaken during 2015.

2016 Supervisory Priorities

ESMA has seen a number of changes in the CRA and TR industries during 2015, with new applicants for registration in both sectors, and current authorised entities seeking to develop their businesses. This has included CRAs providing credit ratings on new asset classes or in new geographic areas, and TRs offering trade reporting services for other instrument types.

ESMA identifies its supervisory priorities on the basis of risk assessment exercises conducted throughout the year. In 2015 these identified high levels of governance and strategy risk, and operational risk in the CRA industry and high levels of risk associated with TRs’ data and systems. Therefore, in 2016 ESMA will focus its supervisory activities on:

  • CRA governance and strategy and the quality of credit ratings;
  • TR data quality and data access;
  • Fees charged and information security for all supervised entities.

Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said:

“The credit rating and trade repository industries continue to evolve and develop. We are receiving new applications for registration and existing entities are seeking to develop their businesses by expanding into new areas. ESMA supports these developments where they contribute to the maintenance of stable and orderly financial markets.

“For this reason, in 2016 ESMA will focus its work on the quality of the services being provided by supervised entities. This means we will concentrate on issues surrounding CRA governance, strategy and ratings quality, along with data quality and access to TRs’ data with a broad focus on the fee structures and information security in both industries.”

2015 Annual Supervisory Review – CRAs and TRs

In 2015, following its risk-based approach, ESMA focused its supervisory efforts on CRAs’ governance, risk management and internal decision making and on CRAs’ business development processes. Some notable achievements were:

  • investigating the techniques being applied to validate credit rating methodologies by some CRAs and using the differences identified to encourage industry-wide debate about appropriate validation standards;
  • conducting an IT risk assessment which identified that CRAs are facing serious risks in several areas including IT operations and information security;
  • investigating the process of issuing credit ratings followed by one CRA and raising concerns about the preparation of issue ratings, the workloads of credit rating analysts and their involvement in the provision of ancillary services; and
  • concluding an enforcement case against DBRS Ratings Ltd for internal control failings and imposing a €30,000 fine for past record-keeping breaches. The case highlighted the need for CRAs to establish clear decision-making procedures, organisational structures and effective compliance functions.

The key risks TR supervision focused on in 2015 related to the quality of TRs’ data, access to data held by TRs and the operation and performance of TRs’ systems. In 2015, ESMA continued working with TRs to implement the data quality action plan established in September 2014 including:

  • harmonising TRs’ data validation;
  • monitoring the inter-TR reconciliation process; and
  • ensuring the harmonisation of the aggregate data made available on TRs’ websites.

ESMA has also been monitoring National Competent Authorities’ (NCAs) access to TR data. It has entered into a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to help third country regulatory authorities access TR data and is developing an IT system to allow NCAs to submit data queries through a centralised web portal.

02/02/2016 2016/138 ESMA updates on supervisory work on closet index tracking , Press Release PDF
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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.