The European Parliament (EP) has confirmed Verena Ross as the first executive director of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the new pan-European securities regulator, operational since January 2011. The approval follows an open hearing on 17 March. Ross was nominated by ESMA's board of supervisors (BoS) on 22 February.
The executive director serves a five-year term, renewable once, and is responsible for the day-to-day management of ESMA. Ross moves from the Financial Services Authority (FSA), where she was director of the international division which co-ordinates the UK regulator's work with the European Union and provides strategic technical advice on EU and international policy issues.
Ross previously worked as an economist at the Bank of England covering east Asia and ran the executive chairman’s office for Sir Howard Davies during the creation and early years of the FSA. She was briefly seconded to Hong Kong's securities regulator, the Securities and Futures Commission, in 2000.
Following the EP's approval, Ross said, “I will work to ensure ESMA develops into a strong, independent, transparent and efficiently managed body that develops a level playing field for financial services providers across Europe, and enables Europe's retail investors to enjoy consistent levels of protection, wherever they are based. I am looking forward to working closely with my colleagues in ESMA and on the board of supervisors in creating effective and stable financial markets which achieve the best outcomes for Europe's citizens.”
In January, ESMA's board elected Steven Maijoor as the regulator's first chairman and Carlos Tavares as vice-chairman. Maijoor's appointment was confirmed by the European Parliament in February; he will take office on 1 April 2011. With the confirmation of Ross by the EP, ESMA's top management is completed. Her starting date will be confirmed shortly.