On 2 October 2018, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published its 2019 Annual Work Programme (the Programme). The Programme sets out the key priorities and objectives for ESMA’s work in the forthcoming year.

The four key priorities noted for 2019 are:

  1. promoting supervisory convergence: the implementation of MiFID II / MiFIR, Prospectus and Securitisation Regulations;
  2. assessing risks: data requirements of MiFID II / MiFIR;
  3. single rulebook: Capital Markets Union Action Plan and Fintech Action Plan; and
  4. direct supervision: supervision of credit rating agency and trade repositories, and registrations under the Securitisation Regulation and Securities Financing Transactions Regulation.

In terms of investment management ESMA will, among other things, develop guidance on:

  • liquidity stress testing by investment fund managers, building on the work already carried out in the context of the Money Market Fund Regulation; and
  • leverage limits under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive.

ESMA will also finalise the creation of a central database for money market funds.

In the post-trading space ESMA will, among other things, provide guidance on the implementation of the Central Securities Depositories Regulation.

In terms of Brexit the Programme notes that ESMA’s main outputs will be:

  • to ensure appropriate regulatory and supervisory coverage of third-country entities post-Brexit;
  • steering supervisory convergence work on investment firms, asset management, central counterparties and secondary markets;
  • ensuring that risk and mitigating risk assessments across all Brexit related work streams are executed;
  • organisational impact assessment and implementation of necessary adjustments to ESMA as an organisation; and
  • regular communication with market participants.