The European system set up for the supervision of the financial sector is comprised of three supervisory authorities: the European Securities and Markets Authorities (ESMA), the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). The system also comprises the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) operating in conjunction with the European Central Bank as well as the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities and the national supervisory authorities.
The new authorities continue the work of the previous supervisory committees. However, the powers of the authorities are clearly broader than those of the committees and their legal status as part of the organisation of EU authorities is more specific. They can issue standards that are directly binding on Member States.
Harmonised supervision throughout Europe
The objective of the authorities is to improve the functioning of the internal market by ensuring appropriate, efficient and harmonised European supervision. Special attention has been paid to providing an appropriate risk management.
The various authorities also work together to harmonise supervisory practices, for example in supervisory colleges relating to banks and insurance companies. In some cases, they will also be responsible for supervising individual market participants or systems, as with ESMA’s responsibility for credit rating agencies. All three authorities will also have a specifically defined role in customer protection. National supervisory responsibility for banks, insurance companies and other supervised entities will, however, continue unchanged.
The European supervisory authorities and ESRB are responsible to the European Parliament and Council for its operations.
The administrative structures of the supervisory authorities have been harmonised. Each authority has a board of supervisors, management board, chairperson, executive director and board of appeal. The top-most decision-making powers are with the boards of supervisors, where the members with voting rights are the representatives from the head of the national supervisory authorities. The full-time chairman of the board of supervisors also heads the management board meetings. In addition to the chairman, the management board comprises six members, chosen from the members of the board of supervisors who have the right to vote. The management board is responsible for seeing that operations are undertaken in line with the decisions made by the board of supervisors.
The funding of the European supervisory authorities is composed of obligatory contributions from national financial supervisory authorities and a subsidy entered in the general budget of the European Union. In addition, the authorities may, under certain conditions, levy processing fees. The contributions of national supervisory authorities cover 60% and EU’s share 40% of each supervisory authority’s budget.