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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.

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.
18/07/2013 2013/1000 Press release- ESMA and ACER strengthen their cooperation Press Release PDF
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19/07/2013 2013/1014 ESMA consults on accounting enforcement guidelines , Press Release PDF
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ESMA consults on accounting enforcement guidelines The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has launched a consultation on Guidelines on the enforcement of financial information published by listed entities in the European Union (EU). The Guidelines aim to strengthen and promote greater supervisory convergence in existing enforcement practices amongst EU national authorities, thereby ensuring the proper and rigorous enforcement of financial information disclosure practices in the EU. The Guidelines establish the principles to be followed in the enforcement process, by clearly defining: • enforcement and its scope; • expected characteristics of the enforcer; • acceptable selection techniques and other aspects of enforcement methodology; • the types of enforcement actions that may be available to enforcers; and • how enforcement activities are coordinated within ESMA. The Guidelines also propose that the coordination of European enforcers by ESMA should involve the development of coordinated views on accounting matters prior to national enforcement actions, the identification of common enforcement priorities and common responses to the accounting standard setter to ensure consistent application of the financial reporting framework. The proposed Guidelines apply to all competent authorities and any other bodies from the EU undertaking enforcement responsibilities under the Transparency Directive, and IFRS Regulation. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA believes that in order to achieve a proper and rigorous enforcement there is a need for a common EU approach to the enforcement of financial information disclosures. These proposed Guidelines, if applied consistently across the EU, will promote uniform application of the financial reporting standards, help avoid regulatory arbitrage by issuers and promote investor confidence in financial markets.” The closing date for responses to this consultation is 15 October 2013 and ESMA expects to publish the final guidelines in 2014.

03/09/2013 2013/1169 ESMA advises Commission on equivalence of non-European derivatives rules Press Release PDF
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11/01/2013 2013/13 ESMA and the EBA take action to strengthen Euribor and benchmark rate-setting processes , Press Release PDF
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01/10/2013 2013/1368 ESMA clarifies reporting requirements for alternative fund managers , Press Release PDF
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Questions regarding technical support should be sent to info.it.aifmd[at]esma.europa.eu.
03/10/2013 2013/1400 20 September 2013 meeting of the Principals of the OTC Derivative Regulators Group , Press Release PDF
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Principals and senior representatives of authorities responsible for the regulation of the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets in Australia, Brazil, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Ontario, Québec, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States met on 20 September 2013 at the headquarters of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in Paris.  The Principals and representatives include:  ·         Steven Maijoor, Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA); ·         Greg Medcraft, Chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission; ·         Leonardo Pereira, Chairman of the Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (Brazil); ·         Patrick Pearson, Acting Director at the European Commission; ·         Ashley Alder, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission; ·         Masamichi Kono, Vice-Commissioner of the Japan Financial Services Agency; ·         Howard Wetston, Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission; ·         Anne Héritier Lachat, Chair of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority; ·         Gary Gensler, Chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission; ·         Mary Jo White, Chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission; ·         Chuan Teck Lee, Assistant Managing Director at the Monetary Authority of Singapore; ·         Louis Morisset, President and CEO, l’Autorité des marchés financiers du Québec.  The Principals discussed generally: the application of clearing requirements to foreign branches and affiliates; risk mitigation techniques for non-centrally cleared derivatives transactions, such as timely confirmation, portfolio reconciliation, portfolio compression, valuation and dispute resolution; the need to co-operate in the implementation of internationally agreed standards on margin for non-centrally cleared derivatives transactions; co-operation on equivalence and substituted compliance assessments among the relevant authorities; and co-operation between authorities in the supervision of registered foreign entities;  The Principals agreed to meet again in February to continue the discussion of the above points.

07/11/2013 2013/1629 ESMA registers trade repositories , Press Release PDF
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ESMA registers DDRL, KDPW, Regis-TR, and UnaVista as trade repositories The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has approved today the registrations of the first four trade repositories (TRs) under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). The following entities are registered as TRs for the European Union (EU):   DTCC Derivatives Repository Ltd. (DDRL), based in the United Kingdom; Krajowy Depozyt Papierów Wartosciowych S.A. (KDPW), based in Poland; Regis-TR S.A., based in Luxembourg; and UnaVista Ltd, based in the United Kingdom. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “Registering the first European trade repositories is an important component in making derivative markets more transparent and resilient. TRs play a fundamental role in the surveillance of derivatives markets and in risk monitoring. The data gathered by TRs will enable regulators to identify and reduce the risks associated with derivative markets. “ESMA’s TR supervision will ensure more robust market infrastructures and benefit investors, fi-nancial markets and the economy as a whole. Trade reporting to start mid-February TRs are commercial firms that centrally collect and maintain the records of derivatives contracts reported to them. The registration of these TRs means that they can be used by the counterparties to a derivative transaction to fulfil their trade reporting obligations under EMIR. The registrations will take effect on 14 November 2013, with the reporting obligation beginning on 12 February 2014, i.e. 90 calendar days after the official registration date. The registered TRs cover all derivative asset classes –commodities, credit, foreign exchange, equity, interest rates and others – irrespective of whether the contracts are traded on or off exchange. ESMA now assumes supervisory responsibility for the TRs who must continue to comply, on an on-going basis, with the regulatory requirements set out under EMIR. ESMA is currently processing further TR applications. Press release ref. 2013/1629

11/11/2013 2013/1635 ESMA announces financial statements’ enforcement priorities for 2013 , , Press Release PDF
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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its European Common Enforcement Priorities (Priorities) for 2013. These Priorities are to be used by European Economic Area (EEA) national authorities in their assessment of listed companies’ 2013 financial statements. ESMA has defined these Priorities in order to promote the consistent application of IFRS across the EEA. Listed companies and their auditors should take account of the areas set out in the Priorities when preparing and auditing the IFRS financial statements for the year ending 31 December 2013. The Priorities identified refer to the application of IFRS in relation to: • Impairment of non-financial assets; • Measurement and disclosure of post-employment benefit obligations; • Fair value measurement and disclosure; • Disclosures related to significant accounting policies, judgements and estimates; and • Measurement of financial instruments and disclosure of related risks. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA, in setting out these enforcement priorities for listed companies financial statements, aims to ensure that the IFRS recognition, measurement and disclosure principles are consistently applied across the EEA. “Consistent application of accounting standards is a key factor in ensuring the transparency and accuracy of the financial information which investors rely upon, and ultimately contributes to the proper functioning of Europe’s capital markets. “Finally, considering the focus on asset quality in the financial sector, listed financial institutions and their auditors should pay particular attention to properly measuring financial instruments and the accurate disclosure of related risks.” ESMA and the national competent authorities will monitor the application of the IFRS requirements outlined in the Priorities, with national authorities incorporating them into their reviews and taking corrective actions where appropriate. In addition to these Priorities, national authorities may also focus on other locally relevant areas as part of their review. Therefore, national enforcement processes may not be limited to the specific issues contained in this statement. ESMA will collect data on how European listed entities have applied the Priorities and will publish its findings on these Priorities in early 2015. It expects to publish its findings on the 2012 Priorities in early 2014.

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
14/11/2013 2013/1650 ESMA begins preparatory work for new Market Abuse Regime , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA begins preparatory work for new Market Abuse Regime The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Discussion Paper setting out its initial views on the implementing measures it will have to develop for the new Market Abuse Regulation (MAR). MAR aims to enhance market integrity and investor protection. It will achieve this by updating and strengthening the existing market abuse framework, by extending its scope to new markets and trading strategies, and by introducing new requirements. The Discussion Paper presents positions and regulatory options on those issues where ESMA will have to develop MAR implementing measures, likely to include Regulatory Technical Standards, Delegated Acts and Guidelines. These implementing measures are of fundamental importance to the new regime, as they set out how MAR’s enlarged scope is to be implemented in practice by market participants, trading platforms, investors, issuers and persons related to financial markets. In developing these regulatory options ESMA, where similar requirements already exist under the current Market Abuse Directive (MAD), has taken into consideration the existing MAD Level 2 texts and ESMA/CESR guidelines to set out the DP positions in light of the extended scope of MAR. This Discussion Paper is based on the version of the MAR Level 1 text agreed by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission on 24 June 2013. The closing date for responses is Monday 27 January 2014. MAR Policy Areas The DP covers ten sections of MAR where ESMA is expected to have to provide input, these include: • conditions to be met by buyback programmes and stabilization measures to benefit from the exemption from market abuse prohibitions; • arrangement and procedures required for market soundings, from the perspective of both the sounding and the sounded market participants; • indicators and signals of market manipulation; • criteria to establish Accepted Market Practices; • arrangement, systems and procedures to put in place for the purpose of suspicious transactions and order reporting as well as its content and format; • issues relating to public disclosure of inside information and the conditions for delay; • format for insider lists; • issues concerning the reporting and public disclosure of managers’ transactions; • arrangements for fair presentation and disclosure of conflicts of interests by producers and disseminators of investment recommendations; • reporting of violations and related procedures. Next steps ESMA will consider the feedback it receives to this consultation in Q1 2014 and incorporate it in to its full consultation papers on both its draft Technical Standards and Technical Advice to the Commission. The dates for these consultations are will depend on the publication of the final version of MAR. Notes for editors 1. 2013/1649 Discussion Paper - ESMA’s policy orientations on possible implementing measures under the Market Abuse Regulation 2. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on insider dealing and market manipulation (market abuse) (MAR) 3. ESMA is an independent EU Authority that was established on 1 January 2011 and works closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities responsible for banking (EBA), and insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA), and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). 4. ESMA’s mission is to enhance the protection of investors and promote stable and well-functioning financial markets in the European Union (EU). As an independent institution, ESMA achieves this aim by building a single rule book for EU financial markets and ensuring its consistent application across the EU. ESMA contributes to the regulation of financial services firms with a pan-European reach, either through direct supervision or through the active co-ordination of national supervisory activity. Press Release 2013/1650 Discussion Paper 2013/1649
18/11/2013 2013/1661 ESMA finalises clearing and risk mitigation obligations for non-EU OTC derivatives Press Release PDF
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ESMA finalises clearing and risk mitigation obligations for non-EU OTC derivatives The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued final draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) related to derivative transactions by non-European Union (EU) counterparties. The RTS implement provisions of the Regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (EMIR). EMIR provisions regarding central clearing and risk mitigation techniques also apply to those OTC derivatives entered into by two non-EU counterparties which have a direct, substantial and foreseeable impact on EU financial markets. Ensuring that risks posed to the EU’s financial markets by non-EU transactions are addressed by regulation and supervision is key in ensuring safer markets. ESMA’s draft RTS clarify that OTC derivative contracts entered into by two counterparties established in one or more non-EU countries, for which a decision on equivalence of the jurisdiction’s regulatory regime has not been adopted, will be subject to EMIR where one of the following conditions are met: • One of the two non-EU counterparties to the OTC derivative contract is guaranteed by an EU financial for a total gross notional amount of at least €8bn, and for an amount of at least 5% of the OTC derivatives exposures of the EU financial guarantor; or • The two non-EU counterparties execute their transactions via their EU branches and would qualify as financial counterparty if established in the EU. ESMA’s draft RTS will cover OTC derivative contracts concluded after the date the RTS becomes applicable. Non-evasion clause The draft RTS also specify cases of transactions aimed at evading EMIR’s regulatory requirements, which would be the case for derivatives contracts or arrangements concluded without any business substance or economic justification, and in a way to circumvent the clearing obligation and risk mitigation provisions. Next steps ESMA’s draft RTS have been submitted for endorsement to the European Commission on 15 November 2013. The Commission has three months to decide whether to endorse the final draft RTS and must then submit the endorsed RTS to the European Parliament and the Council. Notes for Editors 1. 2013/1657 - Draft technical standards under EMIR on contracts with a direct, substantial and foreseeable effect within the Union and non-evasion. 2. Regulation (EU) No.648/2012 on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories. 3. ESMA is an independent EU Authority that was established on 1 January 2011 and works closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities responsible for banking (EBA), and insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA), and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). 4. ESMA’s mission is to enhance the protection of investors and promote stable and well-functioning financial markets in the European Union (EU). As an independent institution, ESMA achieves this aim by building a single rule book for EU financial markets and ensuring its consistent application across the EU. ESMA contributes to the regulation of financial services firms with a pan-European reach, either through direct supervision or through the active co-ordination of national supervisory activity. Press Release 2013/1661 Final Report 2013/1657
18/11/2013 2013/1665 ESMA- Financial institutions must improve financial statement disclosures , , Press Release PDF
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ESMA - Financial institutions must improve financial statement disclosures The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a Review of the comparability and quality of disclosures in 2012 IFRS financial statements of listed financial institutions. The Review makes recommendations aimed at enhancing the transparency of financial statements through the improvement of disclosures in certain key areas including: credit risk and impact of forbearance practices; liquidity and funding risk; asset encumbrance and fair value measurement of financial instruments. ESMA, while finding that the required disclosures under IFRS were generally observed, also identified broad variations in the quality of the information provided, and found some cases where that was insufficient or insufficiently structured to allow comparability among financial institutions. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “ESMA has identified a number of areas where financial institutions can improve the information that they provide in their financial statements, particularly on issues such as credit risk and forbearance. “We expect that financial institutions and their auditors will take into account our recommendations when preparing and auditing the IFRS financial statements for 2013. “ESMA believes that accurate and comparable financial statements play a key role in maintaining both investor and market confidence, which in turn contributes to financial stability and promotes sound economic growth.” The Review ESMA decided to undertake a review of some of the key areas of the financial statements prepared by listed financial institutions across the EU in order to assess their comparability and the quality of disclosures. The review was based on a sample of 39 large European financial institutions from 16 jurisdictions, mostly consisting of banks that were included in the latest EBA stress-test exercise, most of which will move under the ECB supervision in 2014. The review focused on the following areas: • Structure and content of the income statement; • Liquidity and funding risk including the effects of asset encumbrance; • Hedging and the use of derivatives; • Credit risk with a focus on credit risk management, forbearance practices, non-performing loans and country concentration risk; and • Criteria used to assess impairment of equity securities classified as available-for-sale. Conclusions and Recommendations Some financial institutions provided disclosures that were not specific enough, lacked links between quantitative and narrative information, or provided disclosures that could not be reconciled to the primary financial statements. In particular, ESMA found: • it difficult to compare the income statements of the financial institutions, due to differences in their structure, the line items content and lack of comprehensive accounting policy disclosures; • that in many cases financial statements did not include sufficient information on the use of derivatives. The link between the business purpose and the classification in the financial statements was often unclear; and • significant divergence in the application of the significant or prolonged criteria when assessing impairment of the equity securities classified as available-for-sale. As a result of the conclusions and recommendations included in this review, ESMA expects enhanced disclosures to be provided in 2013 on exposures to credit risk, its mitigation e.g. by collateral, guarantees or credit default swaps, analysis of specific concentrations of credit risk and disclosure of impairment policies in order to enable investors to assess the overall credit risk. While progress was seen in the disclosures relating to forbearance practices following ESMA’s Public Statement in 2012, with more financial institutions providing information on forborne financial assets, ESMA expects financial institutions to provide more granular quantitative information on the effects of forbearance. This would enable investors to assess the level of credit risk related to forborne assets and their impact on the financial position and performance. Furthermore, ESMA believes that improving the level of transparency in the area of liquidity and funding risk, asset encumbrance and fair value measurement of financial instruments is needed as indicated in the ESMA Public Statement on the 2013 European Common Enforcement Priorities. Next Steps ESMA expects that national competent authorities will take appropriate enforcement actions where material breaches of the IFRS requirements have been identified as part of the review and will monitor their progress. As announced in the ESMA Public Statement on the 2013 European Common Enforcement Priorities, ESMA and national competent authorities will focus in the review of 2013 financial statements on a number of areas that are particularly relevant for financial institutions. ESMA will also provide suggestions to the IASB on those areas where it believes additional IFRS guidance can improve the quality and transparency of financial statements. Notes for editors 1. 2013/1664 Review of Accounting Practices - Comparability of IFRS Financial Statements of Financial Institutions in Europe. 2. 2013-1634 Public Statement - European common enforcement priorities for 2013 financial statements. 3. ESMA is an independent EU Authority that was established on 1 January 2011 and works closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities responsible for banking (EBA), and insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA), and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). 4. ESMA’s mission is to enhance the protection of investors and promote stable and well-functioning financial markets in the European Union (EU). As an independent institution, ESMA achieves this aim by building a single rule book for EU financial markets and ensuring its consistent application across the EU. ESMA contributes to the regulation of financial services firms with a pan-European reach, either through direct supervision or through the active co-ordination of national supervisory activity. Press Release 2013/1665 Final Report 2013/1664

01/02/2013 2013/167 ESMA issues guidelines on market-making and primary dealer exemptions , Press Release PDF
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28/11/2013 2013/1735 ESMA registers ICE TVEL and CME TR as trade repositories Press Release PDF
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ESMA registers ICE TVEL and CME TR as trade repositoriesThe European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has approved today the registrations of two further trade repositories (TRs) under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). The following entities have been registered as TRs for the European Union (EU):•    ICE Trade Vault Europe Ltd (ICE TVEL), based in the United Kingdom; and•    CME Trade Repository Ltd (CME TR), based in the United Kingdom.Trade reporting to start mid-FebruaryTRs are commercial firms that centrally collect and maintain the records of derivatives contracts reported to them. The registration of these two TRs means that they can be used by the counterparties to a derivative transaction to fulfil their trade reporting obligations under EMIR. These registrations will take effect on 5 December 2013. Following the registration of a first group of TRs on 7 November 2013, which became effective on 14 November 2013, the reporting obligation start date for all asset classes will begin on 12 February 2014.Following today’s registrations, there are now six TRs registered in the EU, which can be used for trade reporting. ESMA registered DDRL, Regis-TR, UnaVista and KDPW on 7 November and it has not received any further application for registration. Notes for editors1.    EMIR introduced provisions to improve transparency, establish common rules for central counterparties (CCPs) and for trade repositories (TRs) and to reduce the risks associated with the OTC derivatives market. It provides for the obligation to centrally clear OTC derivative contracts or to apply risk mitigation techniques such as the exchange of collateral. It also provides for the direct supervision and the registration of TRs by ESMA as well as the recognition of non-EU TRs.2.    The two trade repositories approved by ESMA today are part, or subsidiaries of, bigger groups. More detail on the parental relationships:•    ICE Trade Vault Europe Ltd, based in the United Kingdom, is a subsidiary of the IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE), based in the United States;•    CME Trade Repository Ltd, based in the United Kingdom, is owned by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME), based in the United States.3.    For more details on the list of registered TRs and the derivative asset classes which are covered by the registration, please refer to the following list:http://www.esma.europa.eu/page/Registered-Trade-Repositories4.    ESMA is an independent EU Authority that works closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities responsible for banking (EBA), and insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA), and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB).5.    ESMA’s mission is to enhance the protection of investors and promote stable and well-functioning financial markets in the European Union (EU).  As an independent institution, ESMA achieves this aim by building a single rule book for EU financial markets and ensuring its consistent application across the EU. ESMA contributes to the regulation of financial services firms with a pan-European reach, either through direct supervision or through the active co-ordination of national supervisory activity.
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.
12/12/2013 2013/1909 ESMA appoints new Securities Markets Stakeholders Group members , Press Release PDF
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ESMA appoints new Securities Markets Stakeholders Group members The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has announced the composition of its Securities Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) following its approval by ESMA’s Board of Supervisors. These individuals will begin a term of 2½ years on 1 January 2014 and will replace the group whose mandate expires on 31 December 2013. The new SMSG will be composed of 30 individuals drawn from across 17 Member States and representing ESMA’s key stakeholder constituencies – consumer representatives (4), users of financial services (5), financial market participants (10), financial institution employees (2), small and medium sized enterprises (1) and academics (8). A number of the incoming members have previously served in the first SMSG. The SMSG was set up to facilitate consultation with key financial market stakeholders on all aspects of ESMA’s work. The SMSG provides ESMA with opinions and advice on policy workstreams and must be consulted on technical standards and guidelines and recommendations. In addition, the Stakeholder Group is expected to notify ESMA of any inconsistent application of European Union law as well as inconsistent supervisory practices in the Member States. Steven Maijoor, ESMA Chair, said: “The SMSG makes an important contribution to ESMA’s policy development, providing us with timely and valuable input on how our regulatory activities may potentially affect the different users of financial markets. “We have enjoyed a very good working relationship with the outgoing members of the SMSG who, as well as contributing their views and experience to our policymaking discussions, have been pioneers in developing the role of their group as part of the new European System of Financial Supervision. I look forward to working with the SMSG’s new members on a host of challenging issues.” The SMSG meets at least four times a year, and in addition meets twice with ESMA’s Board of Supervisors. Their advice and opinions are published on ESMA’s website.
11/02/2013 2013/200 ESMA rules aim to curb excessive risk taking by alternative fund managers , Press Release PDF
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12/02/2013 2013/214 ESMA seeks feedback for review of the Short Selling Regulation , Press Release PDF
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