ESMA Reports Increase in EU Market Abuse Penalties


ESMA published its annual report on December 21, summarising administrative and criminal sanctions and other measures imposed under the Market Abuse Regulation in 2019. A sum of 279 administrative sanctions and measures and 60 criminal sanctions were imposed for infringements of MAR in 2019. The total value of the penalties exceeds €88 million.

The report presents the data provided by the 30 EU/European Economic Area Member States. Countries such as Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein where MAR doesn’t apply are not included. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) provided information from United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

According to the report, there was a decrease in the number of administrative sanctions as compared to 2018, when the number imposed was 472.  However, the sum of overall financial penalties imposed was significantly higher in 2019. The total of financial penalties imposed last year was €10 million, a considerably lower amount when compared to 2019.

The ESMA report indicates that a relatively low number of administrative sanctions were imposed by national competent authorities (NCA’s) in 2019, due the to the fact that market abuse cases require extensive investigations that may take more than four years to be completed. “Since MAR has been applicable only for a limited period of time, and considering that market abuse cases require extensive investigations, the number of sanctions and other measures (…) did not provide a fair representation of the market abuse activities performed in that time-span by NCAs and by other relevant national authorities. As a matter of fact, parallel sanctions based on the Directive 2003/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of Jan 28 2003 on insider dealing and market manipulation (market abuse)6 (MAD), which was repealed by MAR, were also being issued during 2018.”

ESMA is furthering their ongoing effort to supervise the application of MAR and develop an EU outcome-focused supervisory and enforcement culture. For more information visit the ESMA website for an overview of the applicable legal framework, including the penalties and measures foreseen.

For more details on the latest outcomes, reports, and other Market Abuse Regulation overviews, visit our blogs or our MAR page.

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