On February 11, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published its first Supervisory Convergence Work Programme for 2016 (SCWP). The SCWP supplements ESMA’s 2016 Annual Work Programme and sets out the initiatives ESMA will undertake to further supervisory convergence across the European Union (EU), in the context of ESMA’s Strategic Orientation for 2016–2020.

The SCWP confirms ESMA’s shift from single rulebook to supervisory convergence work and sets out the four key priorities for ESMA for 2016. These priorities include work to prepare for the implementation of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (together, MiFID II) (among other things), and work to ensure data and IT infrastructure necessary for MiFID II is in place. Other priorities also include advancing consistent supervision of over-the-counter derivatives markets, with a particular focus on EU central counterparties, and assisting the European Commission’s Capital Markets Union (CMU) initiatives (see the Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest edition of October 9, 2015 for further information on the CMU).

ESMA’s supervisory convergence initiatives and priorities aim to achieve consistent approaches between EU national competent authorities and “comparable regulatory outcomes,” particularly in the context of new EU legislation soon to come into effect (such as MiFID II). ESMA notes that the SCWP is an “ambitious plan” and that other important topics such as developing a consistent approach to enforcement and sanctions will be considered when forming the 2017–2018 programme.

Work towards the SCWP priorities will be monitored (and adjusted where needed) throughout 2016.

ESMA’s Strategic Orientation for 2016-2020 can be found here.

ESMA’s 2016 Annual Work Programme can be found here.

A copy of the SCWP can be found here.

ESMA’s accompanying Press Release can be found here.