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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 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.

    Read more.
  • 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.

    Read more.
  • 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.

    Read more.
  • 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.

    Read more.
  • 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.

    Read more.
    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. 

    Read more.
  • 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.

    Read more.
    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.

    Read more.
  • 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.

    Read more.
  • 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.

    Read more.
    TOPICS : COVID-19MiFID II
  • UK Conduct Regulator Dear CEO Letter to Firms on Consumer Protection During COVID-19 Pandemic
    03/31/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Dear CEO letter addressed to firms providing services to retail investors on the actions they should be taking to protect consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Firms are expected to provide strong support and service to consumers, to be transparent with their customers and to report to the FCA immediately if they foresee themselves getting into financial difficulty.

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Encourages Regulatory Forbearance for Best Execution Reporting in Light of COVID-19
    03/31/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a statement encouraging national regulators to deprioritize supervisory actions against firms that fail to meet best execution reporting deadlines under the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. The MiFID II best execution requirements oblige investment firms to obtain the best possible result for their clients when executing client orders, and require execution venues and investment firms to make data relating to the quality of execution of transactions publicly available.

    Read more.
    TOPICS : COVID-19MiFID II
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Maintains MiFID II Equity Transparency Calculations Application Date
    03/27/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a statement in which it confirms that the existing date for the application of the equity transparency calculations will remain unchanged. 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. On February 28, 2020, ESMA published the transparency calculations that will apply to new instruments from April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2021. Further calculations will be released ahead of that date once the data quality review for those instruments has been completed.

    ESMA's statement confirms that the new calculations will apply from April 1, 2020, as intended, because firms have had to implement new transparency calculations in the past and so do not need to revise their IT systems to comply with the obligation. In addition, ESMA is of the view that a delay could negatively impact those firms that have planned for the new calculations.

    View ESMA's statement.

    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Centre.
    TOPICS : COVID-19MiFID II
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Announces MiFID II Tick-Size Regime Forbearance
    03/20/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority expects national regulators to de-prioritize their supervision of the new tick-size regime for systematic internalizers under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation in light of the challenges posed by COVID-19. Amendments to the MiFIR tick-size regime were introduced by the Investment Firms Regulation and are due to come into effect on March 26, 2020. ESMA's statement demands that national regulators do not prioritize supervisory actions in relation to the new regime from March 26, 2020 until June 26, 2020.
     
    View ESMA's statement on regulatory forbearance for new tick-size regime.
     
    View details of the Investment Firms Regulation.
    TOPICS : COVID-19MiFID II
  • COVID-19: European Securities and Markets Authority Extends Consultation Deadlines
    03/20/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced that it is extending the consultation response dates to assist market participants as they implement arrangements to ensure business continuity during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Read more.
  • COVID-19: European Securities and Markets Authority Clarifies MiFID II Telephone Recording Requirements
    03/20/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a statement on the telephone recording obligations in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. MiFID II requires records to be kept of all services, activities and transactions undertaken by an investment firm, including recordings of telephone conversations or electronic communications relating to: (i) transactions concluded when a firm deals on own account (proprietary trading); and (ii) the provision of client order services that relate to the reception, transmission and execution of client orders. Firms are also required to implement and maintain a policy for the recording of these telephone conversations.

    Read more.
    TOPICS : COVID-19MiFID II
  • European Commission Consults on MiFID II
    02/17/2020

    The European Commission has launched a consultation on reviewing the EU Markets in Financial Instruments package. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation have applied across the EU since January 1, 2018 and regulate the functioning and transparency of EU financial markets. The consultation closes on May 18, 2020. The Commission is due to publish a legislative proposal to amend MiFID II and MiFIR in Q4 2020.

    Read more.
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • EU Recommendations for Alignment of the EU Derivatives Trading and Clearing Obligations
    02/07/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a final report and recommendations on aligning the trading obligation under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation with recent changes made to the clearing obligation under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation by the EMIR Refit Regulation. ESMA's report to the European Commission will support the Commission's report to the European Parliament and Council that is due by December 18, 2020.

    Read more.
    TOPICS : DerivativesMiFID II
  • EU-Wide Supervisory Focus on MiFID II Suitability Compliance
    02/05/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced an EU-wide common supervisory action in 2020 on the application of the suitability requirements under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. National regulators of EU member states will simultaneously assess compliance with the applicable requirements by market participants established in their jurisdictions. The knowledge and experience of the national regulators will be shared through ESMA to enhance the convergence of supervisory practices. ESMA's Suitability Supervisory Briefing and Suitability Guidelines are relevant to this initiative.

    View ESMA's announcement.

    View details of ESMA's suitability supervisory briefing.

    View details of ESMA's suitability guidelines.
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • EU Recommendations on MiFID II Product Intervention Amendments
    02/04/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published Technical Advice on the impact and functioning of the product intervention rules in the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation. MiFIR gives ESMA powers temporarily to prohibit or restrict the marketing, distribution or sale of financial instruments or types of financial activity. The European Banking Authority has similar powers in relation to certain structured deposits. National regulators of EU Member States are able to impose permanent product intervention measures. ESMA's Technical Advice to the European Commission is on the functioning of the MiFIR provisions and their impact, taking into account its experience and the feedback from market participants to its Call for Input last year.

    Read more.
    TOPIC : MiFID II
  • EU Consultation on Potential Amendments to MiFID II's Equity Transparency Regime
    02/04/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has commenced a consultation on proposed amendments to the provisions of the Markets in Financial Instruments package on the transparency regime for equity and equity-like instruments, the double volume cap mechanism and the trading obligation for shares. The consultation is part of the larger review on the implementation of the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation. Feedback to the consultation will aid ESMA in preparing its report to the European Commission, which in turn is expected to report in 2020 to the European Parliament and Council of the European Union. ESMA's consultation closes on March 17, 2020. It intends to publish its final report to the Commission in July 2020. ESMA will be consulting separately on the transparency regime for non-equity instruments, such as bonds and derivatives.

    Read more.
    TOPIC : MiFID II
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