In the context of fragmented and complex access to financial-related information, of the need to create new investment opportunities for investors and of building ESG-based data at EU level, the European Commission has made a proposal to address the identified shortcomings. Last month, the Commission adopted a package of legislative proposals on a familiar project– the Capital Markets Union (CMU). One of the legislative blocs adopted in the context of CMU package was the European Single Access Point (ESAP).

As the EU legislation requires financial services firms to disclose a wide range of diverse financial information, this new legislative feature intends to ease their reporting burden in order to increase the transparency and comparability thereof. The ESAP is being developed with the aim to provide a centralised point of access to financial and sustainable investment-related information at EU level. It will be a tool to aggregate public disclosures that can be required by the EU legislation or on a voluntary basis. The ESAP will enable any entity, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, to disclose relevant information voluntarily, thus enhancing its visibility towards EU and international investors.

The Commission made clear that the new proposal will not create any additional reporting obligation in terms of content but will rather build on existing disclosure requirements. According to the proposal, the so-called collection bodies will be responsible for collecting the information required and make it fully available to ESAP in an automated way. This required information will have to be in a data-extractable and computer-readable format to ease its digital use and avoid technical barriers.

Increase the visibility of EU companies to international investors is one of the Commission’s key objectives for the new legislative tool, as investors will have free EU-wide access to financial and sustainability-related information from one single access point. Besides that, there is an ambition to develop a better assessment of risks related to the matters of sustainability taking advantage of the fluid circulation of information within the Union.

By Helena Freitas