On 1 January 2011 the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) was officially replaced by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).
In response to the onset of the financial crisis, the President of the European Commission asked an independent high level group to make recommendations on strengthening European supervisory arrangements in all financial sectors. Following the publication of the group's recommendations, the European Parliament approved the establishment of ESMA. Its establishment forms part of a wider initiative to overhaul the European financial regulatory system and establish the European System of Financial Supervision, comprising three European Supervisory Authorities (known as ESAs): the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and ESMA.
As well as continuing the work that was formerly carried out by CESR (including, for example, monitoring market developments and issuing guidelines and recommendations on securities law issues), ESMA has new additional powers including enhanced enforcement powers and the power to draft new technical standards.
A new section of the EU website (Europa) is now dedicated to ESMA (www.esma.europa.eu/) and a guide to understanding ESMA in the form of FAQs is available on the Europa website.