Filing of ESEF Annual Financial Reports

We are making some changes to the way issuers file their Annual Financial Reports (AFRs) to support the implementation of the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF). These changes are expected to go live on 25 January 2021. We will keep this page updated with further information.

About European Single Electronic Format (ESEF)

ESEF is the new standard for digital financial reporting by companies admitted to trading on EU and UK regulated markets.

Filing ESEF-prepared AFRs will initially be voluntary. Nevertheless, we are encouraging issuers to file ESEF-prepared AFRs to improve transparency and to help themselves be ready for when ESEF filings become mandatory in January 2022.

More information on ESEF.

FCA getting ready for ESEF

To get ready for ESEF, we’re upgrading our National Storage Mechanism (NSM) to accept ESEF-prepared filings. We expect to upgrade on 25 January 2021. Once upgraded, issuers and the public will be able to use the NSM to view and download ESEF-prepared AFRs.

Firms will continue to use the ESS submission portal to file AFRs to the NSM with the following changes to the filling process:

  • there will be a new case type for filling ESEF-prepared AFRs
  • there will be a new taxonomy validation process for ESEF-prepared AFRs which are tagged
  • the existing NSM process will continue to be used for unstructured (*.pdf) filings of AFRs
  • issuers that intend to file a combination of formats for their AFRs will need to file each format as a separate case

Companies getting ready for ESEF filing

Issuers should ensure they are familiar with ESEF, including the scope of regime and which type of structured format is appropriate.

The filing process is summarised below. We will be updating the NSM submitter user guide before we go live with more detailed instructions.

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. This process is not expected to change due to ESEF.

Step 2: producing your ESEF-prepared AFR

ESMA’s ESEF Reporting Manual explains how to prepare AFRs in the ESEF standard. We expect to adopt these instructions, with the additional requirement that Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs) are used in the filename (see Section 2.6 – Report Packages). We will also issue our filing guidelines in due course.

The format of the ESEF reporting package for tagged reports is set out in XBRL International Consortium’s Working Group Note and is supplemented by the ESMA reporting manual.

During the period when ESEF is voluntary, we will accept structured and tagged AFRs using taxonomies other than the standard ESEF taxonomy. Issuers that choose to adopt a different taxonomy, and/or ‘extend’ an existing taxonomy, must ensure their AFRs comply with the relevant taxonomy and our guidelines.

Step 3: submitting your ESEF-prepared AFRs

Companies must submit ESEF-prepared AFRs on ESS using a new case type. Tagged AFRs must be uploaded in a *.zip package format. Submitters that choose not to tag structured reports must submit them as an *.html file.

If an issuer chooses not to file ESEF-prepared AFRs, then they will still need to submit an AFR using the existing process for filing on the NSM.

Step 4: checks and validation

Files submitted to the NSM will be subject to checks against the filing guidelines. Files not meeting the filing guidelines will not be accepted.

For tagged files, there will be a validation process. If there are any taxonomy warnings and/or errors, submitters will be informed. Errors will result in the submission being rejected and not being published on NSM. 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. If a tagged submission is not accepted and an issuer chooses not to resubmit, they will need to ensure they submit an AFR in a different format to ensure they continue to meet their filing obligations.

Publishing Annual Financial Reports on the NSM

We will provide ESEF-prepared AFRs on the NSM. Users will be able to view and download the relevant files. We will be updating the NSM user guide before the planned go live on 25 January 2021.

For queries on ESEF implementation email [email protected].