ESMA seeks views on CRA competition, choice and conflicts: ESMA has launched a call for evidence on competition, choice and conflicts in the Credit Rating Agencies (CRA) industry. The call for evidence comes as part of the development of technical advice for the Commission on how the CRA industry functions and the evolution of the structured finance products market. ESMA is specifically requesting evidence about how effectively the CRA Regulation is achieving the objectives of stimulating competition between CRAs, improving the choice of CRAs available and minimising conflicts of interests in the industry.The document is particularly aimed at:

  • corporate and sovereign issuers of financial instruments requesting credit ratings;
  • CRAs issuing credit ratings; and
  • institutional investors and other users of credit ratings.

ESMA asks for responses by 31 March. (Source: ESMA Launches Call for Evidence on Competition, Choice and Conflicts of Interest in the CRA Industry)

ESMA publishes MAR advice: ESMA has published its technical advice to the Commission on possible delegated acts under the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR). The advice follows ESMA's consultation in July 2014. ESMA received many comments on its consultation and the detailed advice includes feedback on responses it received. The advice: 

  • specifies the MAR market manipulation indicators, by providing examples of practices that may constitute market manipulation and suggests “additional” indicators of market manipulation; 
  • recommends the minimum thresholds under which emission allowance market need not publicly disclose inside information at six million tonnes of CO2eq per year and at 2,430 MW rated thermal input;
  • suggests how to decide which regulator should be notified of delays in disclosure of inside information; 
  • clarifies enhanced disclosure of managers’ transactions, including a non-exhaustive list of types of transactions subject to this obligation. The advice also clarifies the transactions that would normally be prohibited but which can be allowed by the issuer during a closed period; and
  • proposes procedures and arrangements to ensure sound whistleblowing infrastructures.

The Commission now needs to adopt delegated legislation based on the advice. (Source: ESMA Publishes MAR Advice)

ESMA confirms IRS clearing obligation advice: ESMA has published its Opinion on the draft RTS on the clearing obligation for interest rate swaps (IRS). ESMA supports the Commission's intention to postpone the start date of the frontloading obligation, so as to give counterparties enough time to work out whether their contracts are subject to it. ESMA also expresses some concern on the process proposed by the Commission for exempting non-EU intragroup transactions from the clearing obligation. It thinks the Commission needs to find a different way to address the problem. ESMA's opinion attached a revised version of the RTS. (Source: ESMA Confirms IRS Clearing Obligation Advice)

ESMA feeds back on clearing of NDFs: ESMA has published a feedback statement on its consultation on the clearing obligation for non-deliverable forwards (NDFs). It has decided it will not propose a clearing obligation on NDF classes now, as responses raised several concerns ESMA thinks it will need time to address. (Source: ESMA Feeds Back on Clearing of NDFs