Keep the pedal to the metal

Earlier this week ESMA called for delays to the MiFID II implementation deadline. So it’s goodbye to punishing timelines and we can all get our lives back!

But hold on, before we breathe a collective sigh of relief, things are not quite that simple. Most importantly, it is not ESMA that can decide on a delay, but the European Commission (EC). Even if Steven Maijoor, ESMA’s Chair, has concerns around the “unfeasible” MiFID II calendar, the EC might not agree. We had a similar situation in 2013 when ESMA asked for a delay to the EMIR transaction reporting rules. Back then, the EC declined to sanction any extension of the implementation deadlines. For it to succeed now, ESMA and the industry may need stronger arguments.

Also, it is unclear whether a blanket delay of the whole of MiFID II could address the concerns raised. ESMA only suggests delays of “certain parts”. Judging by what was covered in Mr Maijoor’s speech to the European Parliament this week, topics such as non-equity transparency, position limits and ancillary activity might be in scope, leaving large chunks of MiFID II still on track for the January 2017 deadline.

So while delaying MiFID II go-live is an important discussion to be had, implementation teams will nonetheless have to keep the pedal to the metal and push ahead.

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