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Date Ref. Title Section Type Download Info Summary Related Documents Translated versions
25/07/2016 2016/1166 Warning about CFDs, binary options and other speculative products , Investor Warning PDF
149.13 KB
30/06/2016 2016/1055 Peer Review Report on Prospectus Approval Process , Final Report PDF
1.23 MB
20/06/2016 2016/940 Statement by Steven Maijoor at ECON MiFID II/MiFIR Scrutiny Session, 21 June 2016 , Statement PDF
235.65 KB
13/06/2016 2016/943 Statement by Verena Ross at ECON Public Hearing on Securitisation , Statement PDF
242.38 KB
08/06/2016 2016/935 Final Report on Draft RTS under the ELTIF Regulation Final Report PDF
687.45 KB
02/06/2016 2016/902 MiFID practices for firms selling financial instruments subject to the BRRD resolution regime Statement PDF
259.47 KB
26/05/2016 2016/725 Draft RTS on indirect clearing arrangements under EMIR and MiFIR , , Final Report PDF
740.71 KB
04/05/2016 2016/653 Final Report on RTS on reporting obligations under Article 26 of MiFIR Final Report PDF
231.35 KB
07/04/2016 2016/585 Suitability Peer Review- Annex , Final Report PDF
987.81 KB
07/04/2016 2016/584 Suitability Peer Review- Final Report , Final Report PDF
459.35 KB
07/04/2016 JC/2016/21 Final Draft RTS PRIIPs KID Report , Final Report PDF
2.63 MB
04/04/2016 2016/461 Final report on temporary exemption for ETDs under MiFID II Final Report PDF
619.46 KB
02/02/2016 2016/165 Public Statement- Supervisory work on potential closet index tracking Statement PDF
258.17 KB

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is issuing this statement to inform stakeholders and especially investors about the potential for some European collective investment funds to be ‘closet index trackers’, and to give details on the work that ESMA has been doing in this context.

Introduction

  1. ESMA’s attention was drawn to an alleged practice in the European collective investment management industry whereby asset managers claim, according to their fund rules and investor information documentation, to manage their funds in an active manner while the funds are, in fact, staying very close to a benchmark and therefore implementing an investment strategy which requires less input from the investment manager. At the same time, it is alleged that these funds charge management fees in line with those of funds that are considered to be actively managed[1]. This practice is commonly referred to as ‘closet indexing’ or ‘index hugging’.
  2. In many EU Member States, NCAs have launched or are in the process of launching specific investigations, in addition to their regular monitoring and supervisory functions, to determine the potential extent of closet indexing in their jurisdictions, with a focus on equity funds at this stage. At the same time, the issue has been the subject of considerable attention by investor protection groups and the media throughout the European Union.

Reasons for issuing this statement

  1. The issues around ‘closet indexing’ form part of a broader issue on the effectiveness of investor disclosure and the legitimate expectations of investors in respect of the service provided by some asset managers. Nonetheless, the potential practice of closet indexing in Europe raises questions that merit closer analysis. The analysis carried out by ESMA (see paragraphs 9 to 16 for more details) indicates that there might be a small, but not insignificant number of funds in the EU equity fund sector that may be closet index trackers. If the existence of this practice were to be confirmed by further supervisory scrutiny carried out at national level, this could mean that:
  1. investors could be making investment decisions based on an expectation that they will be provided with a more active fund management service than they receive in practice and, therefore, may be paying higher management fees than that usually envisaged for a passive/not significantly active management service;
  2. investors may be exposed to a different risk/return profile than they expect; and
  3. some asset managers may not provide clear descriptions of how funds are managed in key disclosure documents such as the fund’s Prospectus and Key Investor Information Document (KIID).
  1. ESMA considers it important that fund managers take their commitments in disclosure documents seriously. Managers should expect supervisory consequences where evidence for incorrect disclosures is proven.
 

[1] ESMA recognises that management fees may depend on a number of factors.

28/01/2016 2016/102 Statement by Steven Maijoor on behalf of the ESAs , Statement PDF
107.74 KB

Statement at the ECON scrutiny hearing on behalf of the ESAs.

22/12/2015 2015/1861 Final report- Guidelines on cross-selling practices Final Report PDF
389.42 KB
17/12/2015 2015/1886 Final report on guidelines for the assessment of knowledge and competence Final Report PDF
422.68 KB

Reasons for publication

1.            Article 25(1) of Directive 2014/65/EU (MiFID II) states that Member States shall require investment firms to ensure and demonstrate to competent authorities on request that natural persons giving investment advice or providing information about financial instruments, investment services or ancillary services to clients on behalf of the investment firm possess the necessary knowledge and competence to fulfil their obligations under Article 24 and Article 25 .

2.            The European Securities and Markets Authority is required by Article 25(9) of MiFID II to develop – by 3 January 2016 - guidelines specifying criteria for the assessment of knowledge and competence of investment firms’ personnel. The guidelines will come into effect on 3 January 2017.

3.            In accordance with Article 16(2) of the ESMA Regulation, a consultation was launched on 23 April 2015. The Consultation Paper (CP) set out draft ESMA guidelines for the assessment of knowledge and competence of individuals in investment firms providing investment advice or information about financial instruments, investment services or ancillary services to clients on behalf of the investment firm. The consultation period closed on 10 July 2015.

4.            ESMA received 80 responses. The answers received on the CP are available on ESMA’s website unless respondents requested otherwise.

5.            As provided by Article 16 of the ESMA Regulation, ESMA also sought the advice of the Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group’s (SMSG).

6.            This paper contains summaries of responses received and feedback statements provided by ESMA. ESMA recommends that this report should be read together with the CP published on 23 April 2015 to have a complete understanding of the rationale for the guidelines. The final guidelines presented in Annex VI take into account the comments and suggestions raised by respondents.

Contents

7.            Section II briefly summarises the feedback to the CP and the main responses from ESMA.

8.            Section III contains the Annexes: Annex I provides the Summary of questions, Annex II contains the legislative mandate, Annex III reports the cost-benefit analysis, Annex IV reports the Opinion of the Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group, Annex V details the feedback on the CP, Annex VI sets out the final text of the guidelines and Annex VII describes some illustrative examples of the application of certain aspects of the guidelines.

Next Steps

9.            The final guidelines in Annex VI will be translated into the official EU languages and published on the ESMA website. The publication of the translations will trigger a two-month period during which National Competent Authorities (NCAs) must notify ESMA whether they comply or intend to comply with the guidelines.

11/12/2015 2015/1858 Final Report- Draft ITS under MiFID II Final Report PDF
972.8 KB
30/11/2015 2015/1783 Final Report on complex debt instruments and structured deposits Final Report PDF
409.89 KB
28/09/2015 2015-ESMA-1464 Annex II Annex II- CBA- draft RTS and ITS on MiFID II and MiFIR Final Report PDF
5.07 MB
23/07/2015 2015/1136 EEA prospectus activity in 2014 , Final Report PDF
578.07 KB