Europe’s securities regulator is preparing to take on greater investor protection responsibilities in the year ahead.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), today published its policy agenda for 2020, which indicates that it is bracing for an expanding mandate, including enhancing supervisory convergence, stepping up investor protection and addressing issues of sustainability and technological innovation in financial markets.

Among other issues, ESMA says it plans to increase its investor-protection activities in the coming year, including co-ordinating mystery shopping efforts, developing retail risk indicators, and collecting and analyzing data on retail investor trends.

The regulator’s monitoring of retail trends will focus on financial innovation, it says.

“The ESMA monitoring framework is designed to ensure that financial innovation does not undermine the core objectives of investor protection, financial stability and orderly markets,” the ESMA’s agenda states.

The regulator’s  industry monitoring efforts will also include analyzing the cost and performance of retail investor products.

“This allows for the timely identification of potential causes of consumer and investor harm,” it states.

The ESMA will start taking on its new responsibilities in 2020, and will begin using them by the end of the year.

“2020 will be a transformative year for ESMA, when the organization begins to implement its new mandates,” said Steven Major, chair of the ESMA.

“In tandem to this implementation work, ESMA will continue its focus on promoting supervisory convergence and assessing risks with a continued emphasis on the implementation of MiFID II [Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, aimed at boosting investor protection across the EU], tackling the issue of cost and performance of retail investment products and facilitating data-driven supervision,” he added.