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The following posts provide a snapshot of the principal European and global wholesale financial regulatory developments of interest to banks, investment firms, broker-dealers, market infrastructures, asset managers and corporates. These posts focus on legal and compliance issues rather than accountancy or capital-related matters.

  • UK Government Publishes Financial Services and Markets Bill
    07/20/2022

    The U.K. government has published the much anticipated Financial Services and Markets Bill. Following its exit from the EU, the U.K. has undertaken a fundamental review of how financial regulation policy and rules should be made, reviewed and established in law, particularly in light of the return of the U.K.'s sovereignty. Furthermore, there has been a substantial assessment of the U.K.'s financial services rules and regulations, with some areas warranting further consideration. The Bill implements the outcomes of the Future Regulatory Framework Review, which assessed whether the U.K. financial services regulatory framework is fit for purpose and able to support future growth, particularly in light of challenges such as Brexit and climate change. On the same day, HM Treasury published its response to the final consultation in the FRF Review. The FSM Bill establishes a revised blueprint for financial services regulation by revamping the existing model under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and revoking retained EU law in financial services. The regulators will be delegated powers for detailed rulemaking, and as a result, become subject to enhanced Parliamentary oversight.

    Read more
  • EU Consultation on Guidelines for Applications to Operate DLT Market Infrastructures under the EU Pilot Regime
    07/11/2022

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a consultation on proposed guidelines on standard forms, formats and templates to apply for permission to operate distributed ledger technology for market infrastructure. The EU Regulation on a pilot regime for DLT market infrastructures will permit certain DLT market infrastructures to operate with exemptions from some elements of otherwise applicable EU financial services legislation, which may otherwise inhibit the trading and settlement of crypto-assets. The DLT Regulation sets the conditions for operating a DLT multilateral trading facility (DLT MTF), DLT settlement system (DLT SS) and DLT trading and settlement system (DLT TSS), and will, for the most part, apply from March 23, 2023. ESMA is consulting on proposed guidelines on:
    • the minimum instructions that national competent authorities should provide to market participants for submitting their applications; and
    • the method that applicants should use to provide the requested information and documents to their competent authorities.

    Responses to the consultation may be submitted until September 9, 2022. ESMA will consider the feedback and intends to publish the final guidelines before the DLT Regulation applies.
  • EU Distributed Ledger Technology Pilot Regime Published
    06/02/2022

    The EU has published in the Official Journal of the European Union its Regulation on a pilot regime for market infrastructures based on distributed ledger technology. The pilot regime will permit certain DLT market infrastructures to operate with exemptions from some EU financial services legislation, which may otherwise inhibit the trading and settlement of crypto-assets. The regime is intended to promote legal certainty, support innovation, preserve market integrity and ensure financial stability for the use of DLT in crypto-asset and e-money token markets.

    Read more.
  • Government Details Proposed Financial Services and Markets Bill
    05/10/2022

    Following the Queen's speech yesterday, the government has published a briefing pack setting out details of the bills that it intends to introduce, including the so-called Brexit Freedoms Bill as well as key legislation relevant to financial services. The government will introduce a Financial Services and Markets Bill, which will, among other things:
    • Introduce new statutory objectives for the financial services regulators to support growth and international competitiveness.
    • Implement the changes to the wholesale markets arising out of the Wholesale Markets Review. HM Treasury confirmed in March of this year that the changes that will be made by legislation and where powers will be delegated to the financial services regulators for rules to be made. Among the changes are the removal of the share trading obligation and the double volume cap, changes to the derivatives trading obligation, taking OTC derivatives that are economically equivalent to exchange traded commodity derivatives out of the position limits regime, and the establishment of a consolidated tape.

    Read more.
  • Queen’s Speech Confirms Government Will Proceed with Brexit Freedoms Bill
    05/10/2022

    Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, delivered the Queen’s speech in which he announced that the government will be introducing the so-called Brexit Freedoms Bill, which was first announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on January 31, 2022, and is intended to make it easier to amend or remove retained EU laws to better suit the U.K.’s circumstances and policies. The Brexit Freedoms Bill will work in tandem with a government drive to reform, repeal and replace EU laws that are seen as outdated, cumbersome or otherwise not in the U.K.’s national interest.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Results of Review of Investment Platforms Market
    05/04/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Regulator has published a statement on the results of its review of the investment platforms market. The FCA launched its Investment Platforms Market Study in 2017 to investigate whether competition between investment platforms was working in the interests of consumers. Investment platforms enable consumers and financial advisers to review investment opportunities across a range of funds and execute and change their investments. In 2019, the FCA published a Final Report which concluded that consumers should be able to switch more easily between investment platforms, and proposed a series of measures to help achieve this. It also announced that it would review the industry's progress in adopting these measures in 2020/2021. The FCA's statement sets out the results of that review.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Commits to Three-year Strategy of Improving Outcomes of Regulation
    04/07/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a three-year Strategy on improving outcomes of regulation and its 2022/23 Business Plan. In the 2022-2025 Strategy, the FCA outlines its expectations of financial services across all sectors, with a view to the overall outcomes that firms should achieve. There are three outcomes for both the wholesale and retail markets, which are fair value, access and confidence. An additional outcome of suitability and treatment applies for the retail markets, to ensure that consumers are treated well and are sold products and services that are suitable for them. The 2022/23 Business Plan sets out the detailed work that the FCA will undertake over the next year to meet the commitments made in its Strategy.

    Read more.
  • HM Treasury Confirms Policy Approach on Wholesale Markets Review
    03/01/2022

    HM Treasury has published its consultation response to the Wholesale Markets Review, setting out summaries of responses received to its proposals and how changes will be progressed. There are certain areas that HM Treasury will not progress at this stage, and which will be subject to further consideration.

    For the proposals that are being taken forward, implementation may be by legislation or pursuant to the Financial Conduct Authority's rules. HM Treasury states that legislation will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. In certain instances, where details are currently set out in legislation, but would sit better in regulatory rules, the government intends to legislate to delegate responsibility to the FCA for preparing detailed rules, which it states will be part of the implementation of the Future Regulatory Framework review. The FCA is expected to consult on its proposals for existing rule amendments in the first half of this year.

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Publishes Guidelines on MiFID II Appropriateness and Execution-Only Requirements
    01/03/2022

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published new Guidelines on the appropriateness and execution-only requirements under the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. The appropriateness requirements under MiFID II require investment firms providing investment advice to assess a potential client's knowledge and experience in the investment field, to ascertain whether a particular service or product is appropriate for the client. There are exemptions from these requirements under the execution-only framework, subject to certain conditions being met. ESMA's new Guidelines are designed to enhance convergence across the EU on the application of these requirements.

    Read more.
    ATTORNEYS : Chloe BarrowmanThomas Donegan
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Confirms Approach to Supervision of Commodity Derivatives Position Limits Regime
    12/20/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a statement confirming its approach to supervising commodity derivatives position limits. The statement follows the FCA's Supervisory Statement on the operation of the Markets in Financial Instruments regime after the end of the EU withdrawal period published in December 2020 in which the regulator stated that until January 1, 2022, it would not take any supervisory or enforcement action for positions that exceed limits where the position is held by a liquidity provider to fulfill its obligations on a trading venue. In its latest statement, the FCA confirms that it will extend that approach pending the outcome of HM Treasury's Wholesale Market Review and subject to any indications of market abuse arising. The FCA states that firms should make their own assessment of whether the positions they take are positions resulting from their actions as a liquidity provider. Firms do not need to report their assessments to the FCA; however, a firm may need to explain an assessment to the FCA on request.
    ATTORNEYS : Thomas DoneganSandy Collins
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • European Commission Proposes Revisions to MIFID II
    11/25/2021

    The European Commission has published legislative proposals to amend the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation. The proposals are part of the Commission's package of proposals to enhance the availability of information on trading and companies for investors. The main changes are set out in the proposed regulation to amend MiFIR. Some of the proposed changes are similar to those that the U.K. has made or is contemplating making as part of the Wholesale Markets Review.

    Read more.
    ATTORNEYS : Thomas DoneganSandy Collins
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Publishes Discussion Paper on Sustainability Disclosure Requirements and Investment Labels
    11/03/2021
     

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a discussion paper on its proposed Sustainability Disclosure Requirements and sustainable investment labels. The FCA is seeking initial views on these proposals with the intention of consulting on fuller policy proposals in Q2 2022. Responses to the discussion paper may be submitted until January 7, 2022. These proposals link to the U.K. government's ambitions on climate change and green finance, detailed in its October policy paper, Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing, further details of which are set out in our related client note.

    Read more.
  • EU Delegated Regulation on Ancillary Activity Criteria under MiFID II
    10/21/2021

    An EU Commission Delegated Regulation (2021/1833) on the criteria for when an activity will be considered as ancillary to the main business has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.  The changes to the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, known as MiFID Quick Fix, include changes to the ancillary activity exemption.  The exemption from authorization as an investment firm is available when dealing on own account, or providing investment services to clients in commodity derivatives, emission allowances or derivatives thereof, provided that the activity is an ancillary activity to their main business at group level and the main business is not the provision of investment services within the meaning of MiFID II or banking activities under the Capital Requirements Directive.

    Read more.
    ATTORNEYS : Sandy CollinsThomas Donegan
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • UK Regulator Amends Derivatives Trading Obligation for LIBOR Transition Purposes
    10/15/2021

    Following its July 2021 consultation, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement amending the list of derivatives subject to the U.K. trading obligation for the purposes of the LIBOR transition.

    The derivatives trading obligation under the U.K. version of the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation requires U.K. investment firms to conclude transactions in certain derivatives on U.K. regulated markets, multilateral trading facilities, organised trading facilities or third-country venues in jurisdictions benefiting from U.K. equivalence decisions. In the absence of any equivalence decision, the FCA used its Temporary Transitional Power to provide transitional relief from December 31, 2020 (the end of the transition period) until March 31, 2022 for U.K. firms, EU firms using the U.K.'s temporary permissions regime and U.K. branches of overseas firms. The trading obligation currently applies to certain fixed-to-float interest rate swaps denominated in EUR, USD and GBP, and to certain index credit default swaps (iTraxx Europe Main and iTraxx Europe Crossover).

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Recommends Changes to EU Algorithmic Trading Rules
    09/29/2021

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a review report on algorithmic trading under the EU's Markets in Financial Instruments package. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive requires the European Commission to review and report on the impact of the MiFID II requirements on algorithmic trading, including high frequency trading and direct electronic access. ESMA's report will assist the Commission with that remit, including determining whether any legislative changes are appropriate.

    Read more.
    ATTORNEYS : Thomas DoneganSandy Collins
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • Proposed Amendments to the EU Best Execution Reporting Regime under MiFID II
    09/24/2021

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a consultation on proposed amendments to the best execution reporting regime under the EU's Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. Responses to the consultation may be submitted by December 23, 2021. ESMA is expected to send its recommendations for amendments to the European Commission in H1 2022.

    Read more.
  • UK Wholesale Market Review
    07/01/2021

    The U.K. government has launched a consultation, the Wholesale Markets Review, on proposals to amend the U.K.'s Markets in Financial Instruments regime. This regime is based upon the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and related Regulation, as well as several pieces of delegated legislation thereunder, collectively and colloquially known as MiFID II, which the U.K. on-shored with minor amendments following its exit from the European Union.  HM Treasury is now seeking feedback on how the U.K.’s approach to regulating secondary markets should be adapted now that the U.K. has left the EU. The intention is to amend the regime to reflect that the U.K. market is one of the largest capital markets globally. Changes are also proposed where it is clear that the rules have had unintended outcomes, are duplicative or excessive or have curbed innovation. The consultation is open until September 24, 2021.

    Read more.
  • UK Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform Publishes Recommendations
    06/16/2021

    The Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform has published its report, making several recommendations for reforming the U.K.'s approach to regulation as well as practical suggestions for implementing the reforms. The main recommendation tasks the government with building a U.K. regulatory framework that has proportionality at its core and that is based on the principles of the common law. The report also provides specific proposals for regulatory reforms across several sectors, identified as high growth sectors, including the financial services sector. The TIGRR recommendations will be progressed by the newly established Brexit Opportunities Unit, which is being led by Lord Frost, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office. Consultations on proposals to implement these ambitious recommendations are expected later this year.

    The TIGRR report recommends the approach to regulation is reformed along traditional common law lines, moving away from the EU codified system. The report suggests that the government reconsiders the approach to regulation with the aim of enhancing productivity, encouraging competition and invigorating innovation.

    Read more.
  • UK to Remove Open Access Regime for Exchange-Traded Derivatives
    06/05/2021

    The U.K. Government has announced that it will permanently remove the open access regime for exchange-traded derivatives. The regime, established under the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation and onshored into U.K. laws in preparation for the end of the Brexit transitional period, requires a trading venue to provide open and non-discriminatory access to a CCP, with a reciprocal requirement for CCPs to provide access for trading venues, when clearing transferable securities, money market instruments and ETDs. In the EU, a temporary opt-out from the regime was made available and then extended for trading venues and CCPs in relation to ETDs, but that is due to expire on July 3, 2021 (having been extended for a period of one year due to difficulties surrounding COVID-19).

    Read more.
  • UK Financial Services Act 2021 Published
    04/29/2021

    The U.K. Financial Services Bill has received Royal Assent from Her Majesty the Queen and has become an Act of Parliament, the Financial Services Act 2021. Some provisions of the Act came into force on the date of Royal Assent, with a limited number following on June 29, 2021. The majority of the Act will come into force on a date specified in regulations yet to be made by HM Treasury.

    Read more.
  • UK Proposals to Ease Unbundling of Research and Best Execution Rules
    04/28/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation on certain proposed changes to the U.K. rules on the unbundling of research and best execution reporting, which are part of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (as inherited from the EU). The consultation closes on June 23, 2021, and the FCA is expected to publish its response and final rules in the second half of this year. The proposals are set out in brief below. Some of these are in the same areas covered by the EU MiFID II Quick Fix Regulation, but the FCA is not copying those rules, and it goes further in most areas.

    Read more.
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • UK Government Publishes Proposals for Investment Firm Prudential Regime and Implementation of Outstanding Basel III Requirements
    02/04/2021

    The U.K. Government has opened a consultation on the implementation of the Investment Firms Prudential Regime and the remaining Basel III Standards in the U.K. The Financial Services Bill, once it is finalized, will introduce powers for the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority to introduce the IFPR and outstanding Basel III prudential requirements for banks. The FCA has already launched a consultation on some aspects of the IFPR and will consult on the others throughout the year. The PRA is expected to consult on implementation of Basel III in Q1 2021. HM Treasury's consultation concerns those aspects of the two regimes that will require secondary legislation under the Financial Services Bill. The consultation closes on April 1, 2021.

    Read more.
  • UK Equivalence Decision for Swiss Exchanges Enters into Force
    02/03/2021

    The U.K.'s Swiss share trading obligation equivalence decision has entered into force. The equivalence decision has been made under the U.K.'s Markets in Financial Instruments (Switzerland Equivalence) Regulations 2021, which came into force on February 3, 2021, and means that U.K. investment firms will be able to comply with the share trading obligation under the U.K. Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation by trading shares on BX Swiss AG and SIX Swiss Exchange AG. 

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Launches 2021 Common Supervisory Action on MiFID II Product Governance Rules
    02/01/2021

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced that during 2021 it will be conducting a common supervisory action with national competent authorities on the product governance rules under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. The product governance requirements require firms which manufacture and distribute financial instruments and structured deposits to act in their clients' best interests during all the stages of the life-cycle of products or services. The CSA will assess the progress of compliance with the requirements by manufacturers and distributors of financial products.

    ESMA conducts CSAs to promote the convergence of application of EU rules across the EU. Following a CSA into the MiFID II appropriateness requirements, ESMA is considering introducing guidelines to promote further harmonization.

    View ESMA's announcement.

    View details of ESMA's proposed guidelines on appropriateness.
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • Proposed EU Guidelines on MiFID II Appropriateness Requirements
    01/29/2021

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has opened a consultation on proposed guidelines on the appropriateness and execution-only requirements under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. The appropriateness requirements under MiFID II require investment firms providing investment advice to assess a potential client's knowledge and experience in the investment field to ascertain whether a particular service or product is appropriate for the client. There are exemptions from these requirements under the execution-only framework, subject to certain conditions being met. Responses to the consultation may be submitted until April 29, 2021. ESMA is aiming to issue the final guidelines in Q3 2021.

    ESMA is proposing these new guidelines to enhance convergence across the EU on the application of these requirements. The common supervisory action conducted in the second half of 2019, as well as other supervisory interactions, revealed that firms have different understandings of the appropriateness and execution-only requirements and that Member States apply them differently. The proposed guidelines will apply in full to all investment firms providing non-advised services, regardless of the means of interaction with clients.

    View ESMA's consultation on proposed guidelines on the appropriateness and execution-only requirements under MiFID II.
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • EU Authority Issues Statement on Reverse Solicitation under MiFID II
    01/13/2021

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a statement reminding firms of the rules on reverse solicitation under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Regulation. MiFID II provides that EU retail or professional clients may reach outside the EU and acquire services and products from non-EU investment banks (known as "reverse solicitation") and that in these circumstances the third-country firm is exempt from the requirement to establish an EU branch. ESMA has issued the statement following what it describes as "questionable practices" materializing following the end of the Brexit transition period, where firms have purported to opt clients into "reverse solicitation" through either generic terms and conditions amendments or click-through "I agree" boxes online. It is clear from this guidance that ESMA's view is that more is needed than this to invoke the reverse solicitation regime. Notably, the ESMA report does not criticise more robust reverse solicitation protocols that are currently being seen in the market, such as a termination notice by the U.K. service provider of the existing agreement, sometimes with a covering note that the client could at its initiative reach out afresh to request entry into of a new agreement should it so desire.

    View ESMA's statement on reverse solicitation.

    You may like to view our client note, "On the Existence of a Pan-European Reverse Solicitation Regime Under MiFID II, and its Importance on a 'Hard' Brexit".
  • UK Grants Equivalence to Swiss Exchanges for Purpose of UK Share Trading Obligation
    01/13/2021
     

    U.K. legislation has been made granting equivalence to Swiss exchanges under the U.K.'s Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation. The Markets in Financial Instruments (Switzerland Equivalence) Regulations 2021, which enter into force on February 3, 2021, grant equivalence to two Swiss exchanges - BX Swiss AG and SIX Swiss Exchange AG. U.K. MiFIR requires U.K. investment firms to ensure that the trades they undertake in shares admitted to trading on a regulated market or traded on a trading venue take place on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility, systematic internaliser or equivalent third-country trading venue. U.K. investment firms will be able to comply with the U.K. MiFIR share trading obligation by trading shares on these Swiss exchanges.

    Read more.

  • UK Government Seeks Input on UK Framework for Cross-Border Financial Services
    12/15/2020

    HM Treasury has launched a call for evidence on the U.K.'s framework for cross-border financial services. HM Treasury is considering policy approaches for ensuring the U.K. framework is fit for the future given the U.K.'s exit from the EU, including consideration of how effective and proportionate regulation can support attracting investment and liquidity to the U.K. Responses to the consultation may be submitted until March 11, 2021.

    Read more.
  • UK Regulator Publishes Proposals for New Investment Firm Prudential Regime
    12/14/2020

    Following the discussion paper published earlier this year, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched its first consultation on the new U.K. Investment Firms Prudential Regime. The IFPR is a new prudential regime for U.K. firms authorized under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, which it is proposed will be introduced from January 1, 2022, subject to the progress of the Financial Services Bill. The IFPR is intended to simplify the prudential requirements applicable to solo-regulated U.K. investment firms. It will not apply to the larger investment firms that will remain dually regulated, that is, prudentially regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the FCA for all other aspects. The consultation closes on February 5, 2021.

    Read more.
  • EU Markets Authority Confirms Position on Derivatives Trading Obligation Post-Brexit
    11/25/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has confirmed its position, originally proposed in March 2019, that the derivatives trading obligation under the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation will continue to apply without changes, and as things stand without any U.K. equivalency, after the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020.

    The derivatives trading obligation requires EU investment firms to conclude transactions in certain derivatives on EU regulated markets, multilateral trading facilities, organized trading facilities or third-country venues in jurisdictions benefiting from an EU equivalence decision. The trading obligation applies to certain fixed-to-float interest rate swaps denominated in EUR, USD and GBP and to certain index credit default swaps (iTraxx Europe Main and iTraxx Europe Crossover).

    Read more.
  • Final Draft EU Technical Standards for SME Growth Markets Under Market Abuse Regulation
    11/05/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published its final report and final draft Technical Standards on the amendments to the Market Abuse Regulation for the promotion of SME Growth Markets. SME Growth Markets were a new sub-category of multilateral trading facility introduced by the revised Markets in Financial Instruments package in January 2018 to facilitate access to capital for SMEs. ESMA is mandated to prepare: (i) Regulatory Technical Standards on liquidity contracts; and (ii) Implementing Technical Standards on insider lists and to submit those to the European Commission by September 1, 2020. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the delivery of the final draft RTS and ITS have been delayed and ESMA acknowledges that it is unlikely that they will be adopted in time for the application of the amendments to MAR, which is January 1, 2021. The final report outlines ESMA's proposals and provides the final draft RTS and ITS that ESMA has submitted to the European Commission for consideration.

    Read more.
  • EU Moves to Ease Brexit Implications for Post-Trade Transparency and Position Limits Regime
    10/27/2020

    Following its statement at the start of October 2020, the European Securities and Markets Authority has announced that U.K. trading venues have been positively assessed for the purposes of the post-trade transparency obligations and position limits regime under the Markets in Financial Instruments package. From January 1, 2021, EU investment firms will not be required to make transactions public in the EU via an EU Approved Publication Arrangement if they are executed on a U.K. trading venue that appears on ESMA's transparency list. In addition, commodity derivative contracts traded on U.K. trading venues that are on ESMA's position limits list will not be considered as economically equivalent OTC contracts and will thus not be subject to the EU position limit regime.

    View ESMA's announcements and lists.

    View details of ESMA's earlier statement in October.

    View details of the FCA's statement on the U.K.'s position.
  • EU Markets Authority Updates Post-Brexit Position on EU Share Trading Obligation
    10/26/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published an updated statement on the impact of Brexit on the trading obligation for shares where no decision on the U.K.'s equivalence as a third country market has been made. The EU Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation requires investment firms to conclude transactions in shares admitted to trading on a regulated market or traded on an EU trading venue, i.e., namely regulated markets, multilateral trading facilities, systematic internalisers and equivalent third-country trading venues. The U.K. has adopted this requirement in its onshored MiFID II legislation. Similarly, following its exit from the EU, the new U.K. onshored share trading obligation would restrict the trading of shares in the U.K. to trades on U.K. trading venues unless a third-country equivalence decision was made.

    Read more.
  • UK Parliament Publishes Financial Services Bill for Post-Brexit Regulatory Framework
    10/21/2020

    The U.K. Government has published a Financial Services Bill setting out a proposed regulatory framework for the financial services industry following the U.K.'s exit from the EU. The Bill is part of the U.K.'s wider initiative under the Future Regulatory Framework Review to re-frame its regulatory framework. Although Brexit has brought challenges to the financial sector, there may also be post-Brexit opportunities for the U.K. to seize. The aim of these reforms is to cement the U.K.'s position as a global financial centre of excellence. A core piece of that will be to set conditions that continue attracting business to the U.K. and to look for opportunities to cut "red tape" whilst at the same time maintaining the U.K.'s globally recognized high regulatory standards.

    Read more
  • UK Conduct Regulator Bans Sale to Retail Clients of Derivatives Referencing Crypto-Assets from January 2021
    10/06/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement and final rules prohibiting the sale, marketing and distribution to retail clients of derivatives and exchange traded notes referencing certain types of unregulated, transferable crypto-assets by firms acting in, or from, the U.K. The ban will apply from January 6, 2021.

    The prohibition will apply to the marketing, distributing or selling of crypto derivatives in, or from, the U.K. to retail clients by MiFID investment firms, MiFID optional exemption firms, U.K. branches of third-country investment firms and to EEA MiFID investment firms that currently passport into the U.K. and which will continue operating after the Brexit transitional period ends on January 1, 2021.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Confirms Post-Brexit Position on Post-Trade Transparency and Position Limits
    10/02/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has issued a statement confirming the U.K. position from January 1, 2021, for post-trade transparency reporting obligations and position limit regime under the U.K. Markets in Financial Instruments package. The FCA confirms that:
    • U.K. firms trading on non-U.K. trading venues will not be required to publish details of those transactions through a U.K. Approved Publication Arrangement; and
    • Commodity derivative contracts traded on trading venues are not considered by the FCA to be economically equivalent OTC contracts and will not be subject to the U.K. commodity derivatives position limits regime.

    The FCA's statement follows the statement made the previous day by the European Securities and Markets Authority that it intended to assess U.K. trading venues for the purpose of the EU post-trade transparency obligations and position limits regime. If ESMA assesses a U.K. trading venue positively, then trades on the venue will not need to be reported by EU investment firms through an EU APA, and they will not be subject to the position limits regime.

    View the FCA's statement.

    View details of ESMA's statement.
  • EU to Assess UK Trading Venues to Clarify Post-Brexit Position for Post-Trade Transparency and Position Limits Regime
    10/01/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published updated statements on the impact of Brexit on the application of the Markets in Financial Instruments package and the EU Benchmark Regulation. ESMA issued statements in 2019 to clarify the position in a no-deal scenario. These latest statements provide updates to take into account the Withdrawal Agreement and the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, 2020.

    Read more.
  • Final Technical Standards on Third-Country Investment Firm Registration and Reporting Requirements
    09/28/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published final draft Technical Standards on the provision of investment services and activities in the EU by third-country firms under the Markets in Financial Instruments package. Amendments that were made to the MiFID II package under the Investment Firm Regulation and Directive require, among other things, third-country firms providing services to all types of clients to provide ESMA with further information. In addition, ESMA has increased powers over third-country firms providing services to eligible counterparties and per se professional clients, such as the ability to conduct on-site inspections and impose product restrictions or prohibitions. The revisions will apply from June 26, 2021.

    Read more.
  • EU Authority Allows Further Short Delay to Annual Transparency Calculations for Non-Equities
    09/07/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced the delay of the publication dates by investment firms and trading venues of the annual transparency calculations for non-equity instruments (other than bonds) from September 15, 2020 to September 21, 2020. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, which became effective on January 3, 2018, introduced pre- and post-trade transparency requirements for equity and non-equity financial instruments. In April 2020, ESMA postponed the publication of the annual transparency calculation for derivatives, emission allowances and structured finance products from April 30, 2020 to July 15, 2020 and their application from June 1, 2020 to September 15, 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The latest delay is made in response to industry concerns that the revised application of the non-equity transparency calculations falls during the quarterly expiry week of many equity derivatives, which usually involves high trading volumes and high volatility. ESMA is also postponing to September 21, 2020 the mandatory systematic internaliser regime for derivatives, emission allowances and structured finance products.

    View ESMA's announcement.

    View details of ESMA's April 2020 announcement.
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • European Commission Publishes Capital Markets Recovery Package in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
    07/24/2020

    The European Commission has published a series of proposed legislative amendments to reduce the burden on financial institutions during the coronavirus pandemic in relation to their obligations under the EU Securitization Regulation, the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and the Prospectus Regulation. The package is referred to as the Capital Markets Recovery Package and is designed to make it easier for companies to raise capital and increase banks' capacity to finance the recovery.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Statement on Open Access Regime for Exchange-Traded Derivatives
    07/06/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published an updated statement on the open access regime for trading and clearing exchange-traded derivatives. The Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation provided a temporary opt-out from the open access requirements for trading venues and clearing houses in relation to ETDs. The opt-out was due to expire on July 3, 2020. However, in light of COVID-19, the EU has announced it is postponing the implementation of the open access regime for ETDs until July 3, 2021. The FCA's statement acknowledges the EU's postponement of the regime and states that the amended open access regime will form part of retained EU law that will be transposed by the U.K. post-Brexit and will continue to apply in the U.K. after the end of the transition period.

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  • UK Regulator Publishes Discussion Paper on New Investment Firm Prudential Regime
    06/23/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a discussion paper setting out its initial views on establishing a new Investment Firm Prudential Regime. The EU introduced a new prudential regime for EU investment firms through the Investment Firm Regulation and the Investment Firm Directive, which will (mostly) apply from June 26, 2021. The U.K. encouraged the introduction of the EU IFD and IFR while it was a member of the EU. However, the U.K. will not implement the IFR and IFD into U.K. laws as they come into force after the U.K. has left the EU and after the Brexit transitional period ends.

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  • European Securities and Markets Regulator Publishes 2019 Annual Report and Updated 2020 Work Program
    06/15/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published its 2019 Annual Report together with an updated version of its 2020 Work Program, incorporating changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
     
    ESMA’s 2019 Annual Report discusses ESMA’s work in 2019, which included: (a) the entry into force of EMIR 2.2, including significant new responsibilities for ESMA in the authorization and supervision of CCPs; (b) ESMA’s common supervisory action on the application of the revised Markets in Financial Instrument Directive’s requirements on the assessment of appropriateness, for which ESMA will consider whether any follow-up work is needed in 2020; (c) reviews of MiFID II and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, including on fair access to, and lowering the cost of, market data and the consolidated tape; and (d) sustainable finance, including technical advice delivered to the European Commission on the integration of sustainability risks for investment firms and investment funds into relevant EU legislation, a report on undue short-termism in securities markets and contributions to the technical expert group on sustainable finance which is due to deliver technical advice on delegated legislation relating to the EU Benchmarks Regulation.

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  • EU Statement on Open Access Requests for Exchange-Traded Derivatives
    06/11/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a statement on the open access provisions for exchange-traded derivatives under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation.

    MiFIR requires a trading venue to provide open and non-discriminatory access to a CCP so that a CCP can clear trades in transferable securities, money market instruments and ETDs concluded on a trading venue of their choice, which will in turn allow the members of a trading venue to select the CCP they wish to use for clearing. There is a reciprocal requirement on CCPs to provide open and non-discriminatory access to a trading venue that wishes to clear financial instruments through a particular CCP. These provisions are controversial since they mean that valuable intellectual property and IT systems developed by exchanges effectively must be made available to competitors or new market entrants. It has been argued that the open access requirements make the EU unattractive as a location for exchange businesses due to the commercial disadvantages that result for those exchanges which have successfully invested in innovation.

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  • Final EU Guidelines on Compliance Function Requirements Under MIFID II
    06/05/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published final guidelines on the compliance function requirements that are set out in the revised Markets in Financial Instruments package. The final guidelines replace ESMA's 2012 guidelines issued under MiFID I.

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    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Publishes Updated Transparency and Position Limits Opinions for Third-Country Trading Venues
    06/03/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published two opinions on the application of post-trade transparency and position limits rules to third-country trading venues.
     
    The first opinion relates to post-trade transparency requirements under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation. Under MiFIR, EU investment firms must publish information on transactions in financial instruments traded on an EU trading venue. ESMA’s opinion states that information about transactions concluded on a third-country trading venue should also be made public in accordance with MiFIR, but it is unnecessary for EU firms to republish such information where the transparency rules of the third-country trading venue are similar to those applicable to EU trading venues under MiFIR. 

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  • European Securities and Markets Authority Statement on MiFID II Conduct of Business Obligations in Light of COVID-19
    05/06/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a statement reminding firms of their MiFID II conduct of business obligations in light of a significant increase in investment accounts opened by retail clients, together with a surge in retail clients' trading activities.

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    TOPICS : COVID-19MiFID II
  • EU Consultation on SME Growth Markets
    05/06/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a consultation on the functioning of the small and medium-sized Growth Markets regime under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II and on draft technical standards for the promotion of the use of SME Growth Markets to be developed under the Market Abuse Regulation. SME Growth Markets were a new sub-category of multilateral trading facility introduced by MiFID II in January 2018 to facilitate access to capital for SMEs. The consultation closes on July 15, 2020.

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  • Council of the European Union Publishes Working Paper on Interoperability Arrangements and MiFIR Open Access for Exchange Traded Derivatives
    04/29/2020

    The Council of the European Union has published a working paper on interoperability arrangements as a source of contagion risk and open access provisions for exchange-traded derivatives under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation.

    Interoperability arrangements are links between CCPs that involve the cross-system execution of transactions. They are relevant where multiple CCPs service the same trading venue and allow clearing members of one CCP to centrally clear trades carried out with members of another CCP, without requiring the first counterparty to be a member of the second CCP. The European Market Infrastructure Regulation contains provisions governing CCP interoperability arrangements, including the need for non-discriminatory access, adequate risk management policies and the need for prior approval of relevant national regulators.

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  • EU Delays Publication Dates for Annual Transparency Calculations for Non-Equities
    04/09/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a public statement announcing the delay of the publication dates of the annual transparency calculations for non-equity instruments. ESMA's statement is made in response to the impact of the coronavirus. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, which became effective on January 3, 2018, introduced pre- and post-trade transparency requirements for equity and non-equity financial instruments. ESMA is postponing the publication of the annual transparency calculation for derivatives, exchange traded commodities, exchange traded notes, emission allowances and structured finance products from April 30, 2020 to July 15, 2020 and their application from June 1, 2020 to September 15, 2020. The transitional transparency calculations will continue to apply until September 14, 2020 (inclusive). The publication and application of the annual transparency calculations for bonds remain unchanged. The new thresholds will be applicable from June 1, 2020.

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    TOPICS : COVID-19MiFID II
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