March 11, 2020 / 4:48 PM / 22 days ago

EU watchdog tells financial firms to spell out coronavirus impact

LONDON (Reuters) - Financial companies should disclose “as soon as possible” any relevant significant information about the impact of coronavirus on their business, the European Union’s markets watchdog said on Wednesday.

“All financial market participants, including infrastructures should be ready to apply their contingency plans, including deployment of business continuity measures, to ensure operational continuity in line with regulatory obligations,” the European Securities and Markets Authority said in a statement.

ESMA, which coordinates securities market supervision across the 27-member bloc, said firms should provide transparency on “actual and potential” impacts of coronavirus, based on a “qualitative and quantitative” assessment on their business activities, financial situation and economic performance.

The disclosures should be included in 2019 financial statements, if not finalised, or otherwise in interim statements, ESMA said.

ESMA said it was prepared to use its powers to ensure the orderly functioning of markets, financial stability and investor protection.

Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Alison Williams and Jon Boyle

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