The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has responded to the European Commission's February 2015 consultation on the future of the 2003 Prospectus Directive.

Its response, given the weight likely to be ascribed to it, makes for interesting reading not least because it recommends a fundamental re-evaluation of when a prospectus is needed in the context of secondary issues by companies with securities admitted to trading on regulated markets and, to the extent that a prospectus is required, the necessary contents of the document relative to contents required of such a document on an IPO. In short, should the proposals in both areas be adopted, the regime will be considerably relaxed for those companies with securities traded on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

The Commission is required to assess the application of the Directive by 1 January 2016 and is expected to set out more concrete proposals towards the end of this year.