The European Union (EU) comprises 27 jurisdictions and this contributes to complexity in the form of the availability of disparate and inconsistent information to investors and other stakeholders. To address this challenge, the European authorities are working toward establishing a European Single Access Point (ESAP) that will provide centralized access to publicly available information of relevance to financial services, capital markets, and sustainability topics in the European Union. ESAP will also allow non-listed entities, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to make available information on a voluntary basis. With a recent provisional agreement on the proposal for ESAP regulation, the European Union has reached a significant milestone in this direction. Another such initiative has been the implementation of machine-readable, European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) for financial reporting across Europe; this initiative was aimed to ensure consistency and comparability of reported data and also appears to have significant contributory impact in this direction.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) will work to implement the ESAP, which is not expected to impose additional information reporting requirements on European companies. Rather, the ESAP proposal is part of the Capital Markets Union package and is expected to be an enabler of the European Commission Digital Finance Strategy; it is also aimed to provide easy access to reporting data such as the capital requirements reporting as well as the corporate sustainability reporting data from companies, which will support the objectives of the European Green Deal. Certain stakeholders are even comparing the ESAP with similar international projects such as the US EDGAR, the Japanese EDINET, and the Canadian SEDAR. The ESAP will be a European Union-wide platform that is expected to:
- Improve access to financial data, especially the data on SMEs
- Help address ESG data gaps, which are particularly challenging for SMEs
- Increase availability of machine-readable data
- Enable big data and artificial-intelligence-based services via increased use of structured data
- Require harmonization and standardization of information that companies disclose publicly
The ESAP package comprises a regulation on proposal establishing the ESAP, a proposal for a Directive amending certain existing Directives, and a proposal for a Regulation amending certain Regulations at European Union level. The ESAP platform is expected to be available from Summer of 2027, with a gradual phase-in of available data.
Scope and Implementation Approach
The agreed three-phase implementation approach spans nearly four years and is aimed to ensure that European regulations and directives will, in accordance with their priority, enter into the scope of ESAP. The agreement is provisional as it still needs to be confirmed by the Council and the Parliament before it can be formally adopted. The scope and expected implementation timelines of the three phases are described below:
- The Phase 1 scope will include information according to the European Short-Selling Regulation (236/2012), the Prospectus Regulation (2017/1129), and the Transparency Directive (2004/109/EC). This phase spans six months within ESAP being made public.
- Six months after ESAP has been made public (48 months after entry into force of the ESAP Regulation), phase 2 will begin. The scope of phase 2 will cover, among others, information according to the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), the Credit Rating Agencies (CRA) regulation, and the Benchmarks Regulation.
- The final Phase 3 will include information stemming from nearly 20 additional pieces of legislation, including the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR), the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR), and the Green Bonds Regulation.
Key Functionalities of ESAP
Given the proposed implementation approach and timelines, the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities is mandated to submit the implementing technical standards on the functionality of ESAP to the European Commission within one year of the entry into force of the ESAP regulation. The draft implementing technical standards to specify metadata and templates for information submitted on voluntary basis shall be developed as well. Article 7 of the proposed regulation requires ESMA to ensure that ESAP provides for, at least, the following functionalities:
- A web portal with a user-friendly interface in all the official languages of the Union to provide access to the information in the ESAP
- An application programming interface (API) enabling easy access to the information available in the ESAP
- A search function in all the official languages of the Union
- An information viewer
- A machine translation service for the information retrieved
- A download service, including the download of large quantities of data
- A notification service informing users of any new information available in the ESAP
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Keywords: Europe, EU, Banking, Securities, Investment Firms, Basel, ESG, Capital Markets Union, Regtech, ESAP, Reporting, Disclosures, Sustainable Finance, CRR, Suptech, EC
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