Verena Ross has been appointed as the new Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). After months of deadlock in the Council on the selection of the next ESMA Chair, Verena Ross has finally triumphed. Other candidates for the post were Portuguese Maria Luis Albuquerque, former Finance Minister of Portugal, and Italian Carmine di Noia, Commissioner of CONSOB (Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa). Carmine di Noia was the main rival in the race and the blockage in the Council was mainly due to what appeared to be differences between the German and Italian leaning groups of Member States.
Ms Ross is a well-known financial regulator with an impressive career in financial regulation. Although of German nationality, she started as a supervisor/economist at the Bank of England in 1994. Four years later, she joined the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA), where she held several senior positions, most recently as Director of the International Division. At the FSA, she was also a member of the executive committee and the executive policy and risk committees. In June 2011, Ross joined ESMA as its first executive director, a position she held firmly for 10 years. As executive director, she was a member of ESMA’s board and, after the chairmanship, she was de facto the number two at the authority, ensuring that it fulfilled its remit properly, in accordance with ESMA’s regulation.
Towards the Presidency of ESMA
As ESMA Chair, Ms Ross will be responsible for setting the long-term strategy and objectives of the European authority. She will replace the Dutchman Steven Maijoor, who stepped down in May after serving two terms, the maximum allowed. Ross’ appointment must now be approved by the European Parliament, where she will face the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in a public hearing on Thursday 30 September. If confirmed, as widely expected, she will be formally appointed by ESMA’s Board of Supervisors. Ms Ross will then take up her post as soon as possible, as the Vice-Chairman has been in charge of ESMA on an interim basis since May.
By Helena Freitas and Antoine Kremer