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CESR's review of IFRS enforcement in Europe

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16 Jul 2009

The Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) has published reports of a self-assessment and a peer review of the enforcement of IFRSs and other financial disclosure requirements (such as in prospectuses) by 29 'national enforcers' across Europe.

Enforcement in Europe is governed by two related standards: CESR Standard No. 1 Enforcement of Standards on Financial Information in Europe (March 2003, PDF 151k) and CESR Standard No. 2 Coordination of Enforcement Activities (PDF 92k, April 2004). Many of the principles in Standard 1 relate directly to IFRSs, including, for example, principle 20:

Principle 20: In order to promote harmonization of enforcement practices and to ensure a consistent approach of the enforcers to the application of the IFRSs, coordination on ex-ante and ex-post decisions taken by the authorities and/or delegated entities will take place. Material controversial accounting issues will be conveyed to the bodies responsible for standard setting or interpretation. No general application guidance on IFRSs will be issued by the enforcers.

CESR's 2009 review was conducted in two stages:
  • First, CESR members self-assessed their application of each of the four principles of CESR's Standard No. 2 by answering questions that have been established for each principle against a set of benchmarks.
  • Second, CESR's peer pressure group, the Review Panel, conducted a peer review of how National Enforcers applied the Standard.
Among the findings:
  • The self-assessment showed that less than half (45%) of CESR's members fully apply the Standard in their day-to-day enforcement.
  • The peer review by the Review Panel revealed that slightly less than one-third of CESR members were fully applying the Standard, and that significantly more than half of the CESR members did not apply the principles overall
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