On 6 February 2019, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published its 2019 supervisory convergence work programme, which sets out ESMAs work streams to promote consistent supervision across the EU.

For 2019, the following priorities for supervisory convergence were identified:

  • ensuring supervisory convergence in the context of the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU;
  • making data and its use more robust and consistent by developing and further clarifying reporting methodologies and providing guidance to ensure complete and high-quality data;
  • driving forward consistency in the application of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (recast) and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation and reaching a common understanding on arising supervisory challenges;
  • safeguarding the free movement of services in the EU through adequate investor protection in the context of cross-border provision of services; and
  • fostering supervisory convergence in the field of financial innovation.

In terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, ESMA states:

“The UK’s withdrawal from the EU will continue to raise convergence related questions to be considered by ESMA and NCAs [Member State national competent authorities] in relation to the relocation of UK based firms, their activities and functions to the EU27, as well the preparedness in terms of contingency planning. In addition to the discussion on concrete cases of relocation by UK-based entities to the EU27, ESMA will investigate the prospect for further convergence on certain topics such as back-branching, and minimal presence requirements in the EU27. ESMA will also consider forms of enhanced supervisory cooperation among authorities in the aftermath of the UK’s withdrawal. A peer review will be launched at the end of 2019, looking into NCAs’ handling of relocation requests.”