ESMA sets aside €1.1m for monitoring fintech and crypto-assets

Maria Nikolova

The 2019 Work Programme of the EU regulator includes ongoing monitoring of retail investor trends, financial activities and innovation, including Fintech.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has earlier today published its 2019 Work Programme (WP), which outlines its priorities and areas of focus for 2019.

Fintech forms part of the plan. ESMA notes that it monitors financial activities and retail investor trends, with a particular focus on financial innovation including Fintech and crypto-assets. It identifies issues and/or risks connected to such activities and trends, and helps to co-ordinate NCAs initiatives on market monitoring and facilitating exchanges of best practices, including providing advice or making proposals of relevant actions where needed.

The main outputs in this respect are the ongoing monitoring of retail investor trends, financial activities and innovation, including Fintech, as well as market intelligence gathering.

The budget for these activities is €1,107,360.

The document does not use the term “CFD” nor “binary options” but refers to more general concepts like “investor protection” and “product intervention powers”. These concepts are well known to those who are familiar with the latest ESMA rules that restrict CFD offering to retail investors and impose a ban on binary options.

Let’s note that ESMA’s 2019 Work Programme states that the regulator will continue its focus on the consistent application of MiFID II/MiFIR by developing Q&As, guidelines and other supervisory convergence tools concerning authorisation of investment firms, conduct of business and organisational requirements. ESMA will also support practical sharing of supervisory practices in the investor protection area, specifically on home host issues, as well as organise workshops and training.

ESMA says it will contribute to the exercise of product intervention powers (own ESMA interventions and assessment of national measures) where relevant or necessary, to the management of any subsequent workstream (co-ordination of NCAs, any renewals).

Activities will also concern the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the EU27 markets.

The budget for these activities will be €1,902,282.

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