Independence in Financial Services with ESMA Chair Steven Maijoor

Published in 
CEPS - Centre for European Policy Studies 1 Place du Congrès / Congresplein 1000 Brussels

Materials [click below to download]

Given the complexity and insufficient transparency of service providers in financial markets, market discipline alone is insufficient to ensure their independence. This cautionary view was expressed at an ECMI-CEPS event on June 6th by Steven Maijoor, Chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). Referring to audits, credit ratings and investment advice, Maijoor favoured clearer rules to tackle the conflicts of interest arising from ownership structures and the bundling of professional services. Panellist MEP Wolf Klinz considered that hard disclosure and other practical steps could significantly improve advice and other services. On the rotation of audit firms, Maijoor was convinced of its necessity, while Klinz warned that it could make auditors less resilient to client pressures. Another panellist, Fabrice Demarigny (Mazars), observed that joint auditing would have the positive effect of creating more choice in the market and avoiding dependence on a small number of players. Tony Bromell (ICAEW) stressed that independence is central but that the quality of audits also depends on skills and training.

About the event

The EU financial reform agenda has focused on the need to stabilise the financial system. In doing so, fundamental questions have been raised about the roles of various actors, including banks, hedge funds, supervisors, credit rating agencies and auditors. A common thread in the EU policy response has been that of taking action to ensure the real and perceived independence of financial services actors. In particular, recent or forthcoming legislative proposals regarding auditors, credit rating agencies and securities markets set down measures to avoid conflicts of interest and ensure independence:

  • What is the purpose of independence? Is it an end in itself or a means to an end?
  • How can “independence” be assured and demonstrated in financial services industries? 
  • Are conflicts of interest unavoidable? What measures to manage them can be applied? Is regulation the best way to tackle conflicts of interest?
  • How is a professional self-awareness and scepticism versus clients ensured?
  • What role for codes of behaviour? Are they the best means of ensuring professional judgement or a smokescreen to allow what is most profitable?
  • What lessons can be learnt from other sectors? 


  • Steven Maijoor, Chairman, European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) [keynote speech]
  • MEP Wolf Klinz, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
  • Donato Masciandaro, Chair in Economics of Financial Regulation, Bocconi University
  • Fabrice Demarigny, Head of Capital Markets, Mazars; former Secretary General, Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR)
  • Tony Bromell,  Head of Integrity & Markets, ICAEW


  • ECMI members, CEPS members, European institutions, national authorities, academics and press are admitted free of charge
  • Non-members may be admitted for €100, paid in cash at registration, a sandwich lunch will be served before the event (€6)
  • If you experience any problems during registration contact Isabelle Tenaerts at isabelle.tenaerts@ceps.eu or phone 0032 2 229 39 5


For more information please contact Mirzha de Manuel at mirzha.demanuel@ceps.eu or phone 0032 2 229 39 17.

Event Report189.85 KB
Presentation by Prf. Donato Masciandaro70.93 KB