On 2 October 2018, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published its 2019 Work Programme (Work Programme) setting out the objectives and priorities for 2019.

The Work Programme states that the key areas of focus in 2019 will include:

  • Supervisory convergence: ESMA will seek to ensure consistent implementation of the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR), the Prospectus Regulation and Securitisation Regulation by National Competent Authorities (NCAs).
  • Assessing risks: ESMA will assess risks to investors, markets and financial stability by utilising and managing the data collected under MiFID II/MiFIR.
  • Single Rulebook: ESMA aims to complete the Single Rulebook for EU financial markets.
  • Direct supervision: Under the Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR) and the Securitisation Regulation, ESMA is entrusted with direct supervisory responsibilities in respect of certain financial entities. ESMA will prepare for the registration and supervision of new entities and intends to fulfil its direct supervisory role by enhancing the effectiveness of its supervisory activities for Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs) and Trade Repositories (TRs).

The Work Programme also states that ESMA will also continue to prepare for the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, considering all possible scenarios. As a result of Brexit, the plan notes that ESMA might have to reprioritise and adjust its Work Programme accordingly and amend its mandate under the Review of the European System of Financial Supervision (ESA’s Review) and EMIR 2.2.

The transition to MiFID in 2018 has required us to be flexible and adaptable in managing the introduction of the regime and this will be invaluable to the organisation as we continue our preparations for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. This will make demands on ESMA, and NCAs, in terms of supervisory convergence work, financial stability work as well as third-country policies,” said Steven Maijoor, Chair of ESMA.