The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU supervisor of trade repositories (TRs), has registered NEX Abide Trade Repository AB as a TR under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), with effect from 24 November 2017. NEX Abide Trade Repository AB is based in Sweden and covers the following derivative asset classes: commodities, credit, foreign exchange, equities and interest rates.

EMIR introduced provisions to improve transparency, establish common rules for central counterparties (CCPs) and for trade repositories 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.

TRs are commercial firms that centrally collect and maintain the records of derivatives contracts reported to them. The registration of this TR means that it can be used by the counterparties to a derivative transaction to fulfil their trade reporting obligations under EMIR.

In order to be registered as a TR a company must be able to demonstrate to ESMA that it can comply with the requirements of EMIR, including, most importantly, on:

  • operational reliability;
  • safeguarding and recording; and
  • transparency and data availability.

The NEX Abide Trade Repository AB registration brings the total number of TRs registered in the EU to eight TRs, which can be used for trade reporting.

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.

 

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has updated its Questions & Answers (Q&A) document regarding the implementation of the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR).

The purpose of the Q&A document is to promote common supervisory approaches and practices in the application of MAR and its implementing measures. Today’s Q&As include two new answers on managers’ transactions, addressing in particular trading during “closed periods” by persons discharging managerial responsibilities (PDMRs).

MAR is intended to guarantee the integrity of European financial markets and increase investor confidence. The concept of market abuse typically consists of insider dealing, unlawful disclosure of inside information, and market manipulation.

ESMA staff recently participated in Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA) webinar on Legal Entity Identifier (LEI).  A full video of the webinar can be viewed on ESMA’s YouTube channel (ESMA’s participation begins at 09:20 minute mark) or download the presentation slides

ESMA staff presented on the topic of LEI requirements under MiFID II and EMIR and addressed questions around the scope, requirements and reporting scenarios of LEIs. ESMA’s participation in the GFMA webinar is 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.

Further information on the LEI is available in ESMA’s latest briefing.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an update to its Questions and Answers (Q&A) on the application of the CRA Regulation, adding a new section on Organisational Requirements. 

This new section addresses the rotation periods applicable to analysts and persons involved in the approval of ratings. The Q&A provides clarity by:

  • outlining the applicable rotation periods for different types of staff, lead analysts, analysts and persons approving credit ratings;
  • clarifying the circumstances in which exemptions from these rotation periods apply;
  • clarifying how the rotation periods of these types of staff should be calculated; and  
  • providing clarity as to what ESMA understands to be a person approving credit ratings.

The guidance will help to ensure that the CRA Regulation’s provisions for the rotation of analysts and persons approving credit ratings are clearly understood and consistently implemented by EU registered CRAs. 

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued today an update of its Q&A on practical questions regarding the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).

The updated Q&A includes new or updated answers regarding the reporting to trade repositories. The purpose of this document is to promote common supervisory approaches and practices in the application of EMIR. It provides responses to questions posed by the general public, market participants and competent authorities in relation to the practical application of EMIR.

The content of this document is aimed at competent authorities under the Regulation to ensure that in their supervisory activities their actions are converging along the lines of the responses adopted by ESMA. It should also help investors and other market participants by providing clarity on the requirements under EMIR.

The Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published today an update of its Questions and Answers (Q&As) regarding the implementation of the Central Securities Depository Regulation (CSDR).   

The CSDR Q&As provide common answers to question regarding practical issues on the implementation of the new CSDR regime. This update provides detailed answers regarding certain aspects of: 

  • Relevant authorities;
  • Conduct of business rules;
  • Protection of securities; and
  • Prudential requirements.

Q&As are an important tool to promote common supervisory approaches and practices in the application of CSDR. The aim at ensuring that national competent authorities in their CSDR supervisory activities are converging along the lines of the responses adopted by ESMA. It should also help investors and other market participants by providing clarity on the CSDR requirements.

The aim of CSDR is to harmonise certain aspects of the settlement cycle and settlement discipline and to provide a set of common requirements for CSDs operating securities settlement systems across the EU.

The Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), Steven Maijoor, delivered the keynote speech at EFAMA's Investment Management Forum in Brussels on Thursday 16 November.

In the course of his speech he highlighted that ESMA, as part of its work in the fund management space, would perform further work on closet indexing - beginning with gathering comprehensive information from NCAs on the results of their work/investigations at national level - and also further supervisory convergence work on performance fees.

 

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its Final Report updating its Guidelines on the application of the endorsement regime under the CRA (Credit Rating Agencies) Regulation. The entry into force of the 2013 amendments to the CRA Regulation (CRA 3), and the associated introduction of new requirements to endorsed ratings in 2018, provided an opportunity for ESMA to review the regime more broadly.

The Final Report details a number of changes and clarifications to the existing Guidelines focusing on the obligations of the endorsing CRA, the conduct of the third-country CRA, and the third-country legal and supervisory framework. It also clarifies ESMA’s supervisory powers over endorsed credit ratings and the notion of objective reasons.

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. Endorsement is currently used by the largest CRAs in the EU. Today, more than two thirds of the credit ratings that can be used for regulatory purposes in the EU are introduced through the endorsement regime. Nearly all endorsed credit ratings relate to non-EU issuers and financial instruments.

Steven Maijoor, Chair, said:

“In light of the importance of credit ratings produced in third countries and used in the EU, it is necessary that third-country regulatory and supervisory frameworks meet high standards, and that we also have assurances that third-country CRAs meet these standards in practice and on an ongoing basis.

“The updated Guidelines make clear that ESMA can, and will, exercise its powers to request information from EU CRAs about endorsed credit ratings. Ensuring that endorsed credit ratings fulfil the same high standards as credit ratings issued in the EU is fundamental to investor protection and promoting stable and orderly financial markets.”

The main changes introduced by the updated Guidelines refer to:

  • Obligations of the endorsing CRA – when an EU CRA endorses a credit rating it must be able to demonstrate that the conduct of the third-country CRA that elaborated the credit rating fulfils requirements that are at least as stringent as the EU requirements. ESMA will no longer consider this condition to be automatically met when a third-country CRA is based in a jurisdiction whose legal and supervisory framework has been positively assessed by ESMA;
  • ESMA’s supervisory powers – ESMA clarifies that it has the power to request periodical information directly from the endorsing EU CRA about an endorsed credit rating and the conduct of the third-country CRA; and
  • Objective Reasons – when a credit rating is endorsed there must be an objective reason for elaborating the rating outside the EU. ESMA provides transparency on how it assesses this requirement.

The Guidelines will take effect on 1 January 2019, in order to give CRAs sufficient time to adapt policies and procedures to take into account ESMA’s additional guidance on the requirements which are as stringent as EU requirements - these will be developed by ESMA in 2018.

Eligibility of third-country jurisdictions for endorsement and equivalence

ESMA has also published its Final Report on Technical advice on CRA regulatory equivalence – CRA 3 update. CRA 3 will enter into force on 1 June 2018 for the purposes of endorsement and equivalence. The Technical Advice (TA) to the European Commission assesses the legal and supervisory framework of the nine jurisdictions (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and United States), which until now have been eligible for equivalence and endorsement. The advice covers:

  • Endorsement

ESMA deems that the countries under assessment continue to meet the requirements for endorsement taking into account the new CRA 3 requirements. These countries will continue to benefit from the endorsement regime after 1 June 2018. ESMA’s decision on endorsement is final and not subject to approval by the European Commission.

  • Equivalence

Equivalence allows a non-systemic CRA without any physical presence in the EU to be certified by ESMA. Currently four certified CRAs located in three non-EU jurisdictions rely on this regime. ESMA has concluded that the local legal and supervisory frameworks of these three jurisdictions, as well as of Canada and Hong Kong, meet the objectives of the additional CRA 3 requirements for the purposes of equivalence.

The countries whose legal and supervisory frameworks were assessed as not fully meeting the requirements are Argentina, Australia, Brazil and Singapore. However, the CRAs established in these jurisdictions currently rely only on the endorsement regime – not on equivalence.

As these jurisdictions’ legal frameworks are equivalent to CRA 1 and 2 and parts of CRA 3, ESMA has invited the European Commission to explore the possibility to consider granting a transitional period to allow the relevant authorities to further develop their regulatory regimes. The final determination of equivalence is the exclusive prerogative of the European Commission.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today published for public consultation future guidelines on the calculation of derivative positions by trade repositories (TRs) authorised in the European Union under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). 

ESMA supervises the way TRs make data available to public authorities. That data should be of sufficient quality to enable those authorities to monitor risk in derivatives markets. ESMA has observed divergent and inconsistent approaches to position calculations by TRs. This hinders the successful aggregation of data across TRs, which is required for monitoring systemic risks to financial stability. There are currently seven authorised TRs within the European Union and in 2017 the TRs combined have received on average around 400 million reports relating to derivatives each week.

ESMA proposes to introduce guidelines in order to ensure consistency of position calculations across TRs. The guidelines will provide specific information on the aggregation of certain data fields and how those should be calculated by TRs prior to the provision of the data to NCAs, including:

  • the timing of calculations;
  • the scope of the data used in calculations; and
  • the calculation methodologies.

These guidelines will also ensure consistency in relation to collateral calculations for derivative positions.  EMIR also requires TRs to make available information on derivative positions to central banks in the currency that they issue. With respect to this, the proposed guidelines also propose that a single report is made available to each central bank of issue with an aggregated view of potential exposures between counterparties in the specific currency for which they are the issuer.

ESMA is seeking stakeholders’ views on the draft guidelines by 15 January 2018 and expects to publish a final report on the guidelines in the first half of 2018.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a final report on the Money Market Funds Regulation (MMFR). The final report contains final versions of the technical advice, draft implementing technical standards (ITS), and guidelines on stress test scenarios carried out by MMF managers under the MMFR. The key requirements relate to asset liquidity and credit quality, the establishment of a reporting template and stress test scenarios carried out by MMF managers.

These represent the detailed rules required for the implementation of the new European Union regulatory framework aimed at ensuring the stability and integrity of money market funds. The key requirements under the different policy tools include:

Technical Advice

·         the liquidity and credit quality requirements applicable to assets received as part of a reverse repurchase agreement;

·         the criteria for the validation of the credit quality assessment methodologies and the criteria for quantification of the credit risk and the relative risk of default of an issuer and of the instrument in which the MMF invests, as well as the criteria to establish qualitative indicators on the issuer of the instrument;

Implementing Technical Standards

·         the development of a reporting template containing all the information managers of MMFs are required to send to the competent authority of the MMF, including on the characteristics, portfolio indicators, assets, and liabilities of the MMF. This information will be submitted to national competent authorities (NCAs) and then transmitted to ESMA; and

Guidelines

·         guidelines on common reference parameters of the scenarios to be included in the stress tests that managers of MMFs are required to conduct. This takes into account such factors as hypothetical changes in the level of liquidity of the assets held in the portfolio of the MMF, movements of interest rates and exchange rates or levels of redemption.

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