Prior to its publication, non-public information concerning expected dividend payment or changes in dividend policies and payment patterns may qualify as “inside information” under the MAD. In this Q&A, ESMA provides guidance to issuers whose shares are used as underlying of listed derivative contracts.
Further to the guidance published by its predecessor (the Committee of European Securities Regulators) regarding the interpretation of the Market Abuse Directive (see CESR/04-505b; May 2005, CESR/06-562b; July 2007 and CESR/09-219; 15 May 2009), the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published on 9 January 2012 a Q&A on the Market Abuse Directive regarding "inside information" on dividends.
In the document, ESMA sets out what is expected from issuers of shares that are used as underlying of listed derivative contracts with respect to the disclosure of information on their dividend policy and change in this policy. The document will be updated when new questions or issues arise.