EU Market Watchdog Eyes Major Expansion With 65% Staff Increase

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(Bloomberg) --

Europe’s top market watchdog is adding more than 100 extra staff as it plans a major expansion of oversight over the next couple of years.

The Paris-based European Securities and Markets Authority said its priorities will include bolstering European Union capital markets and responding to Brexit, which will strip the regulator of its biggest financial hub. Its staff will grow to 384 in 2022 from 233 at the end of last year, ESMA said Thursday.

The watchdog said its new responsibilities include directly supervising critical benchmark indexes, securities financing transactions and certain clearinghouses that settle trillions of dollars worth of financial contracts.

“I think it’s fair to say that in the past years there has been a very strong focus on the rule-making. It is extremely important that both at a national level and at a European level we focus on supervision and enforcement,” Steven Maijoor, chair of ESMA, told reporters on Thursday.

The regulator, set up in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, works to set common rules for the 28 member states of the EU. The U.K.’s departure risks fragmenting financial markets, it said.

ESMA said it will need to work harder as a result to oversee cross-border firms and anticipates spending more time negotiating with regulators outside the EU and monitoring foreign developments to guard against risks.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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