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European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)

Following the 2008 global financial crisis, a High Level Group chaired by Jacques de Larosière, examined how the EU's supervisory arrangements could be strengthened both to better protect its citizens and to rebuild trust in the financial system. It concluded that supervisory arrangements should focus both on individual firms (e.g. banks & insurance companies), and on the stability of the financial system as a whole.

As a result, the European System of Financial Supervision (ESFS) was established. It comprises 3 European supervisory authorities, the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities and the national supervisory authorities.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is one of the 3 European supervisory authorities established in January 2011. It is an independent EU authority based in Paris. ESMA seeks to safeguard the stability of the EU's financial system by ensuring the integrity, transparency, efficiency and orderly functioning of securities markets, as well as enhancing investor protection.

The other European supervisory authorities are:

  • the European Banking Authority (EBA); and
  • the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).