Filing of Structured Annual Financial Reports

Find out more about filing Structured Annual Financial Reports, including details of the submission process.

The FCA system has been updated for the 2023 European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) reporting manual, v1.1 ESEF 2022 taxonomy, UKSEF manual, to permit .xbri packages and to implement XBRL International’s Calculations 1.1 specification.

About Structured Reporting

The FCA has a standard for digital financial reporting by companies with transferable securities admitted to trading on UK regulated markets.

Filing Annual Financial Reports (AFRs) with the FCA for in-scope issuers on this basis has been mandatory for financial years starting on or after 1 January 2021.

To determine whether the requirements apply to you, please review the rules in DTR 4 and this Primary Market Technical Note. More information on the ESEF initiative can be found here

Issuers and the public can use the National Storage Mechanism (NSM) to view and download structured AFRs. The NSM user guide provides instructions. 

The Structured Filing Process

Step 1: registration and authorisation

If submitters have not previously used ESS, they will need to register. Submitters will also need to be authorised by the issuers they want to submit on behalf of. We recommend you register and seek authorisation ahead of submission to avoid delay. Our NSM submitter user guide provides information about this process.   

Step 2: producing your structured AFR  

Before attempting to submit, it is essential that submitters are familiar with the process and requirements for preparing a structured report. This is a complex area and you may need to seek support from specialist advisers or software providers. The documents you must review include: 

  • DTR 4 and the Primary Market Technical Note, for information on the tagging rules and the appropriate taxonomies. 
  • Depending on whether you are submitting a tagged or untagged report and which taxonomy you use, the ESEF and/or UKSEF filing manuals, which set out technical guidelines for preparing structured reports. 
  • The XBRL report package specifications, which prescribe how taxonomy and report packages must be structured. 
  • The FCA technical guidelines, which include information on FCA-specific requirements for submission format and naming. These also set out which taxonomies the system is set up to accept and which version of the ESEF manual should be followed 
  • The NSM submitter user guide, which provides a step-by-step guide for submitters to uploading information to the NSM. The guide includes information on how to submit a tagged report for validation only (test submissions), how to view any warnings/errors and how to raise a support ticket. 
  • The NSM help and FAQs publication, which provides guidance for some frequent issues, including how to resolve common validation errors. 

Step 3: submitting your structured AFRs  

Structured AFRs must be submitted on ESS using the dedicated case category (‘Annual Financial Reports in Structured Electronic format (ESEF)’). The ‘National Storage Mechanism’ case category should continue to be used for unstructured (*.pdf) filings of AFRs.  

AFRs tagged according to a taxonomy must be uploaded in a *.zip package format. AFRs not tagged according to a taxonomy must be submitted as a *.html or *.xhtml file. Our NSM submitter user guide provides information on how to submit.

Step 4: checks and validation  

It is crucial that structured submissions are of sufficient and appropriate quality. 

Files submitted to the NSM will be subject to checks against the filing guidelines and, where tagging is used, the taxonomy rules. If there are any errors generated, files will be rejected and will not be filed on the NSM. Where a rejection occurs, the submitter will be notified and will need to resubmit using a new case.

To resolve these issues, a submitter may need to review the guides (see step 2), approach taxonomy-issuing bodies and seek support from specialist advisers or software providers. Warnings do not prevent a report from being filed on the NSM but need to be investigated. If you have investigated a warning and concluded there is no underlying issue to address, no further action is required.  

Submissions which successfully pass the aforementioned checks will be filed on the NSM. See the NSM user guide for instructions on how to view and download structured AFRs on the NSM.  

If you have any questions

Relevant information can be found in the links provided on this page. Submitters must review these and seek specialist advice where necessary. For issues related to the FCA’s submission process that are not covered in the published information, please raise a support request in ESS. If you do not have access to ESS, please email [email protected].

Page updates

: Editorial amendment change to the system updates section
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: Information added Page and FAQs updated to address common filing issues
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: Information changed Page updated to reflect move from ESEF optional to mandatory