On 25 March 2019, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) published its annual work programme for 2019.  The IOSCO Board has identified, amongst other things, five priority issues for 2019, namely:

  • crypto-assets: In 2019, IOSCO will focus on how platforms where crypto-assets are traded are regulated and will also examine regulation of investment funds with exposures to crypto-assets. IOSCO will create a portal through which its members can access and share information on enforcement relevant to crypto-assets and will continue work on initial coin offerings (ICOs);
  • artificial intelligence and machine learning (AIML): During 2019, IOSCO will examine the supervision of market intermediaries, including asset managers, that use AIML and examine ethical challenges that may arise from the use of AIML in securities markets. IOSCO also intends to convene a conference on technology applied to securities market enforcement;
  • passive investing and index providers: IOSCO will initiate a review of the impact of passive investing on markets. As of 2017, passive asset management strategies were estimated to represent USD 8 trillion globally, representing 20% of assets under management. IOSCO will also undertake a conduct-focused mandate on the role of index providers in asset management;
  • retail distribution and digitalization: growth in digitalization, especially social media, has changed the way financial products are promoted and distributed. This change has raised questions about the usage of social media and the digitalization of investment product distribution by regulated entities and new types of financial intermediaries. IOSCO will conduct work on these issues including consideration of whether it needs to expand on its recently published over-the-counter leveraged products report to take account of these developments; and
  • market fragmentation: IOSCO will analyse potentially harmful market fragmentation, including that attributable to cross-border regulation, and will take stock of members’ progress in assessing and deferring to foreign regulatory regimes since the publication of its 2015 report on cross-border regulation, and any further policy implications.