Review of the European supervisory authorities (ESAs)

20-12-2017

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, adopted on 20 September 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). Against the backdrop of the financial crisis and global efforts to safeguard financial stability, in 2011 the EU established three European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) for the supervision of individual banking, investment, insurance and pension markets: the European Banking Authority (EBA), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). These ESAs also contribute to the development and application of a single rulebook for financial regulation in the European Economic Area. In 2015, in view of further integration of the financial sector, the EU launched the Capital Markets Union, stressing the need to strengthen both regulatory and supervisory convergence. The latter was particularly highlighted in the Five Presidents' 2015 report on completing Europe's economic and monetary union and in a reflection paper of May 2017. In this context, the Commission's 2017 work programme announced the review of the European System of Financial Supervisors (ESFS), which comprises the ESAs and the European Systemic Risk Board. Accordingly, the review of the current ESA regulations addresses the micro-prudential aspects of the continuing financial integration, together with the extension of ESA responsibilities through a number of recent pieces of sectoral legislation, also covered in the IA (IA, pp. 8-9, 25). Finally, the prospect of Brexit – which will entail a relocation of the EBA – further increases the need for the EU27 to strengthen EU-wide convergence of supervisory practices, in order to protect consumers and investors and to promote financial stability. While the ESA regulations are considered to have worked well in general, a first review in 2014 found several shortcomings (IA, p. 9). The IA notes that for specific cross-border activities in particular, the balance between ESA and national supervision is problematic. Also, the considerable divergence between national supervisory practices across the EU makes the current system inconsistent, since the day-to-day supervision of small financial actors remains a national competence, as does the implementation of the cited sectoral regulations involving ESA activities (IA, pp. 20, 142).

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, adopted on 20 September 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). Against the backdrop of the financial crisis and global efforts to safeguard financial stability, in 2011 the EU established three European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) for the supervision of individual banking, investment, insurance and pension markets: the European Banking Authority (EBA), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). These ESAs also contribute to the development and application of a single rulebook for financial regulation in the European Economic Area. In 2015, in view of further integration of the financial sector, the EU launched the Capital Markets Union, stressing the need to strengthen both regulatory and supervisory convergence. The latter was particularly highlighted in the Five Presidents' 2015 report on completing Europe's economic and monetary union and in a reflection paper of May 2017. In this context, the Commission's 2017 work programme announced the review of the European System of Financial Supervisors (ESFS), which comprises the ESAs and the European Systemic Risk Board. Accordingly, the review of the current ESA regulations addresses the micro-prudential aspects of the continuing financial integration, together with the extension of ESA responsibilities through a number of recent pieces of sectoral legislation, also covered in the IA (IA, pp. 8-9, 25). Finally, the prospect of Brexit – which will entail a relocation of the EBA – further increases the need for the EU27 to strengthen EU-wide convergence of supervisory practices, in order to protect consumers and investors and to promote financial stability. While the ESA regulations are considered to have worked well in general, a first review in 2014 found several shortcomings (IA, p. 9). The IA notes that for specific cross-border activities in particular, the balance between ESA and national supervision is problematic. Also, the considerable divergence between national supervisory practices across the EU makes the current system inconsistent, since the day-to-day supervision of small financial actors remains a national competence, as does the implementation of the cited sectoral regulations involving ESA activities (IA, pp. 20, 142).