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Proposal for transparency requirements for listed companies

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The European Commission has proposed amendments to the existing Directive on transparency requirements for listed companies and to the Directives on accounting rules for annual accounts and consolidated accounts as part of a Responsible Business Initiative package of measures.

What are the main elements of the proposal to modify the Transparency Directive?

1. In order to close the existing gap in the notification requirements, the proposal to modify the Transparency Directive would require disclosure of major holdings of all financial instruments that could be used to acquire economic interest in listed companies and had the same effect as holdings of equity.

The proposal would also provide for more harmonisation concerning the rules of notification of major holdings in particular by requiring aggregation of holdings of financial instruments with holdings of shares for the purpose of calculation of the thresholds that trigger the notification requirement.

2. In order to reduce the administrative burden and to encourage long term investment, the requirement to publish quarterly financial information would be alleviated. Companies could of course continue to publish quarterly information on a voluntary basis if they wished to.

In order to reduce the administrative burden linked to listing on regulated markets and encourage long-term investment, the requirement to publish quarterly financial information [this covers both interim management statements and quarterly reports] would be abolished for all listed companies. For the sake of efficiency and in order to provide for a harmonised regime for disclosure, Member States would not be allowed to continue to impose such an obligation in their national legislation. Listed companies would have the discretion to publish quarterly information if they so desired.

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