ESMA has published a Public Statement on improving the quality of disclosures in financial statements following growing concern over their relevance. ESMA stresses the need for clear and concise disclosures which are company specific and to avoid boiler-plate templates, highlighting that the size of annual reports often makes it hard for users to identify key information.

ESMA encourages all parties involved in preparing financial statements to contribute to improving the quality of disclosures:

  • issuers should focus on preparing disclosures which are relevant and material, making them as specific and readable as possible;
  • auditors should encourage issuers to focus on materiality and entity-specific information; and
  • European national enforcers should promote best practice amongst issuers and reflect on their enforcement practices in the light of this statement.

European national enforcers will monitor and discuss together progress on improvements to the quality of disclosures and reflect on their enforcement practices in the light of this statement.