Definition of Esma The European Securities and Markets Authority

Esma, the European Securities and Markets Authority, is an independent EU Authority that contributes to safeguarding the stability of the European Union's financial system by ensuring the integrity, transparency, efficiency and orderly functioning of securities markets, as well as enhancing investor protection. In particular, Esma fosters supervisory convergence both amongst securities regulators, and across financial sectors by working closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities competent in the field of banking, and insurance and occupational pensions (Eiopa, The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority).

Esma was created in January 2011 and has since had influence at various levels of legislative procedure. It is occasionally asked for technical advice when the Commission is developing its legislative proposals. It helps in drafting the substantive content of legislative requirements, such as setting out what authorisation information firms should provide to competent authorities. It develops guidelines and recommendations. It can also be requested to launch an enquiry and can issue a recommendation addressed to the national authority.


Esma in the news

In September 2013 it was reported that the UK had won support in a legal battle to clip the powers of Esma, which was seeking to ban short selling of financial instruments in emergencies.

In December 2013, Esma said a probe into the processes at Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch discovered shortcomings that posed risks to the quality, independence and integrity of ratings.

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