On 29 April 2020, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) issued a no action letter intended to promote coordinated action by Member State national competent authorities (NCAs) regarding the new environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure requirements for benchmark administrators under the Benchmarks Regulation (BMR). ESMA has also issued an opinion to the European Commission on the need for prompt adoption of the relevant delegated acts.
The new disclosure requirements set out in Articles 13(1)(d) and 27(2a) of the BMR aim to increase the comparability of benchmarks with regard to ESG factors. The new disclosure requirements apply on 30 April 2020. However, on 27 April 2020, ESMA provided NCAs and the Commission with a detailed account of the issues it considers exist because the delegated acts supplementing these new disclosure requirements have not yet been adopted.
ESMA is of the opinion that, until the delegated acts apply, NCAs should not prioritise any supervisory or enforcement action in relation to the following requirements: (i) Article 13(1)(d); and (ii) the obligation in Article 27(2a) for the benchmark statement to contain explanations of how ESG factors are reflected in each benchmark or family of benchmarks provided and published.