The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) - (Decentralised Agencies)

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Decentralised Agencies

Decentralised agencies contribute to the implementation of EU policies. They also support cooperation between the EU and national governments by pooling technical and specialist expertise from both the EU institutions and national authorities. Decentralised agencies are set up for an indefinite period and are located across the EU.


The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)



  • Role: to improve investor protection and promote stable, orderly financial markets
  • Chair: Steven Maijoor
  • Executive Director: Verena Ross
  • Members: National authorities responsible for securities markets in each EU country.
  • Non-voting members: European Banking Authority (EBA), European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), European Commission (EC)
  • Observers: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
  • Established in: 2011
  • Number of staff: 200
  • Location: Paris (France)
  • Website: ESMA


The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is an independent EU authority whose purpose is to improve investor protection and promote stable, orderly financial markets.


What does ESMA do?

It has 3 objectives:

  • Investor protection - to make sure that financial consumers' needs are better served and to strengthen their rights as investors, while also acknowledging their responsibilities;
  • Orderly markets - to promote the integrity, transparency, efficiency and proper functioning of financial markets and robust market infrastructure
  • Financial stability - to strengthen the financial system so it can withstand shocks and the unravelling of financial imbalances, and to encourage economic growth.

ESMA is also responsible for coordinating measures taken by securities supervisors or adopting emergency measures when a crisis situation arises.



The Board of Supervisors, which takes all policy decisions and is responsible for approving ESMA's work, comprises:

A Management Board comprising ESMA's chair, representatives of national supervisory authorities and Commission delegates ensures that ESMA performs its duties correctly.


How does ESMA work?

Its activities are fourfold:

  • Assessing risks to investors, markets and financial stability - to promote transparency and investor protection by making information available to investors via our public registers and databases, and by issuing warnings to investors.
  • Completing a single rulebook for EU financial markets - to improve the EU single market by developing technical standards and advising EU institutions on developing new laws.
  • Promoting standardisation of supervision practices - by sharing best practices and improving efficiency as regards, both the NCAs and the financial industry.
  • Directly supervising specific financial bodies - credit rating agencies and trade repositories.


Who benefits?

The following areas and stakeholders:

  • the economy
  • the general public
  • securities markets regulators
  • the financial services industry
  • retail and institutional investors and consumers
  • financial services providers
  • users of financial markets


See also

Press releases


ESMA strategy


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