Filing of Structured Annual Financial Reports

About Structured Reporting

As part of the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) initiative, there is a new 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 becomes mandatory for financial years starting on or after January 2021, but we are encouraging issuers to file on a voluntary basis beforehand to improve transparency and to help themselves prepare.

More information on the ESEF initiative can be found here.

Issuers should use the dedicated case category within the ESS submission portal to file structured AFRs with the NSM (‘Annual Financial Reports in Structured Electronic format (ESEF)’). The ‘National Storage Mechanism’ case category will continue to be used for unstructured (*.pdf) filings of AFRs.

Issuers and the public can use the NSM to view and download structured AFRs.

Summary of the Structured Filing Process

Issuers should ensure they are familiar with the structured reporting requirements, including the scope of the regime, which type of structured format is appropriate and taxonomies that we plan to accept.

The filing process is summarised below. For detailed instructions please follow the NSM submitter user guide.

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 submitters register and seek authorisation ahead of submission to avoid delay. Our NSM submitter user guide provides information about this process. There is also further information on the NSM: help and FAQs publication.

Step 2: producing your structured AFR

Depending on which taxonomy you use, you will need to follow the appropriate reporting manual. For example, ESMA provides ESEF Reporting Manuals which explain how to prepare AFRs using ESEF taxonomies. We also have some FCA-specific requirements necessitated by the design of the FCA’s systems. We have issued some guidelines that highlight these.

Step 3: submitting your structured AFRs

Companies must submit structured AFRs on ESS using a specific case type. 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 file (we are aiming to enhance our systems so as to allow the submission of files with an *.xhtml extension).

Step 4: checks and validation

Files submitted to the NSM will be subject to checks against the filing guidelines and, where tagging is used, the taxomomy rules. If there are any errors generated, files will be rejected and will not be published on the NSM. Where a rejection occurs the submitter will be provided with an explanation. If only warnings are identified, the submission will be accepted and published. However, issuers are advised to review and address these warnings ahead of future submissions.

Rejected files will need to be resubmitted using a new case.

Planned Changes to our Submission System

We have received feedback from various issuers that they would like an option to be able to make test submissions of tagged AFRs. We are currently developing an enhancement that will allow a submitter to flag that a submission is a test. This will mean the AFR will not be published, but an issuer will receive feedback on whether there were any errors or warnings. We hope to release this by January 2022. 

We will also be making some changes related to mandatory reporting – for example, facilitating the system to be able to reject submissions that do not use a taxonomy that is permitted under our rules (subject to our proposals in the policy consultation).

FCA submission guides will be updated to provide more information on these changes.

Publishing Annual Financial Reports on the NSM

We publish AFRs on the NSM. See the NSM user guide for instructions on how to view and download structured AFRs on the NSM.

For queries email [email protected]

Page updates

04/10/2021: Information changed Page updated to reflect move from ESEF optional to mandatory