Tentative agreement on the European Single Access Point (ESAP)

January 8, 2024
European Single Access Point (ESAP)

The gateway to corporate information and investment products, opening soon? Tentative agreement on the European Single Access Point (ESAP)

The European Commission has published a proposal for the creation of a European Single Access Point (ESAP) providing centralised access to publicly available information relevant to financial services, capital markets and sustainability. The ESAP aims to create a single European database where investors can obtain both non-financial and financial information on European companies and investment products. According to the proposal, ESAP should be established by 31 December 2024 and offer a minimum set of functionalities, which should be completed by 31 December 2025.

On 25 November 2021, the Commission adopted and submitted to the Council a proposal for a regulation establishing a European Single Access Point (ESAP). The proposal is part of the Capital Markets Union (KMU) package. The ESAP regulation consists of three different parts: the first part establishes the European Single Access Point, while the other two parts amend certain regulations and directives related to the ESAP. The Council's approval completes the decision-making procedure, and the regulation will be published in the Official Journal. Twenty days after publication, the regulation will enter into force.

The ESAP aims to contribute to the integration of European financial services and capital markets by providing easy central access to public information on European companies and investment products. Among other things, the platform should facilitate the decision-making process of capital providers. In addition, sustainability regulations are increasingly emerging (e.g., the SFDR and the Taxonomy Regulation) while the availability of ESG information is limited. The ESAP was created partly to publish this sustainability data centrally.

Through the ESAP, non-listed entities (such as small and medium-sized enterprises) will also have the opportunity to make information easily available, by voluntarily publishing information on the platform.

The scope of the ESAP will be expanded proportionately and incrementally over the period from 2024-2026, with a transitional phase during which the collection and delivery of information on the platform will be gradually scaled up. This will start with a limited number of priority regulations and directives including sustainability information. Information from other regulations and directives should then be added during the period 2026-2030. In addition, there will be regular assessment of the functioning of the ESAP and a review to ensure that the database meets users' needs and is technically efficient.

Reporting requirements
The proposal emphasises that it does not create or substantively change any new reporting obligations. The proposal builds on existing disclosure obligations that already apply to certain entities and are set out in the EU legislative acts listed in the annex to the proposal. The ESAP aims, inter alia, to avoid excessive administrative costs for entities subject to disclosure obligations.

The ESAP will be complementary to the Business Registers Interconnection System (BRIS), which provides public information on public limited liability companies on the European e-Justice Portal.

While data from the database will be available in electronic format via a web application, there will also be API functionality allowing users to retrieve information from the database via their own IT systems. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is responsible for its creation and management.

The database will be accessible free of charge to all, except for parties downloading large files or seeking very frequent access to the database. In such cases, ESMA may charge a fee.

Structure of ESAP
The ESAP is expected to have the following capabilities: (1) a web portal with a user-friendly interface in all official languages of the Union to provide access to the information contained in the ESAP; (2) an API to easily access the information available in the ESAP; (3) a search function in all official languages of the Union (4) an information viewer; (5) an automatic translation service for the retrieved information; (6) a download service, including the download of large amounts of data; and (7) a notification service that notifies users of any new information available in ESAP.

According to the European Commission, the ESAP will contribute to:

  1. improving and simplifying access to information on capital markets, financial services and sustainability across the EU;
  2. increasing the digital (re)use of data, reducing search and processing costs for users;
  3. further integrating financial services and capital markets so that capital allocation becomes more effective across the EU;
  4. improving unlisted companies' access to the capital market by allowing information to be voluntarily made available on the platform; and
  5. increasing the effectiveness of EU regulation in financial services and capital markets.

The ESAP will open a central gateway to public information on European entities and their products in the short term (no later than 31 December 2024). The ESAP will include both financial and non-financial information (such as sustainability information). The proposal does not create any new disclosure obligations, but builds on those already in place for certain entities. Nevertheless, companies for which there are no disclosure obligations will also have the option to voluntarily publish information on the platform. Improving and simplifying access to information on capital markets, financial services and sustainability across the EU should facilitate capital providers' decision-making procedures, reduce search and processing costs for users and make capital allocation and EU regulation more efficient and effective.

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