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Applicability of Filing Annual Financial Reports in ESEF mode with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)

European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is an independent EU Authority that contributes to safeguarding the stability of the European Union’s financial system by enhancing the protection of investors and promoting stable and orderly financial markets. It achieves this by: assessing risks to investors, markets and financial stability, completing a single rulebook for EU financial markets, promoting supervisory convergence and directly supervising credit rating agencies and trade repositories.

In 2013 the Transparency Directive, which sets rules on harmonisation of transparency requirements of issuers, was amended to include, amongst others, a requirement for issuers to prepare their annual financial reports (AFRs) in a single electronic reporting format. ESMA was assigned the responsibility to develop regulatory technical standards (RTS) to specify this electronic reporting format.

ESMA has recently mandated European Single Electronic Format (ESEF). The ESEF is the electronic reporting format in which issuers on EU regulated markets shall prepare their annual financial reports in XHMTL format, which is human readable and can be opened with any standard web browsers from 1 January 2020. Where AFRs contains IFRS consolidated financial statements, these shall be labeled the XBRL ‘tags’, which make the labeled disclosures structured and machine-readable.

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