ESMA has welcomed the EU Commission's Green Paper on retail financial services and provided comments in relation to a number of topics relevant to its work. In response to a section of the Green Paper which states that the current level of direct cross-border transactions in retail financial services is limited, ESMA has suggested adjustments to the financial services framework, such as regular cooperation between national competent authorities in relation to supervising cross-border services and requiring entities targeting consumers in other Member States to be prepared to interact with them, in their language, when problems arise. In addition, ESMA is of the view that inconsistencies among the UCITS/AIFMD and MiFID II frameworks should be assessed in relation to the direct marketing of units/shares in UCITS/AIFs and the distribution of those same units/shares via a MiFID service. The ESMA response urges the EU Commission to consider whether all non-structured UCITS can continue to be classified as non-complex instruments in light of its own objectives in relation to standardisation. ESMA has stated its interest in the EU Commission's plan to contribute to the assessment of both the case for a policy framework for personal pensions and the need for minimum quality standards or principles for covered bonds. In relation to the impact of digital technologies on the retail financial markets, ESMA is currently considering the changes that distributed ledgers could bring to the securities market operationally and the implications of its use on the current regulatory framework and investor protection, as well as on financial stability and "orderly market objectives". ESMA also confirmed the views it previously gave in response to the EU Commission's Green Paper on the Capital Markets Union. For example, ESMA suggests that along with the information on cost disclosure required under MiFID II and PRIIPs, online calculators or central databases should be set up to provide better information to consumers. ESMA is also of the view that the EU Commission should ensure national competent authorities have the requisite powers and mandate to ensure good redress and enforcement opportunities are available.
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