The great negotiation

With the Brexit hangover slowly starting to recede it is perhaps time to start focusing on the road ahead. Regarding the immediate future there is at least some certainty, as we can assume that implementing EU regulation in the UK will progress regardless. Both the FCA and the European Commission have correctly pointed out that the UK remains a full member of the EU, with all its... Read More

Lightening the load

Technology is meant to make life easier. Be it a smart phone, TV or fridge, or even a smart water kettle, they all promise a simpler life. Whether they deliver on that is another matter entirely and the idea that more technology always equals better is debatable, particularly considering that my new bathroom scales tweet my weight every time I step on them. Like the ongoing trend... Read More

No time for sentimentality

Whether it’s Windows 8, OS X 10.10 or Android 5, modern life beats to the drum of big software releases. Since any new EU regulation includes an automatic review clause, financial markets legislation is already following a similar pattern. With the ink barely dry on ESMA’s latest technical advice and consultation for MiFID II, it’s not a question of if we’ll... Read More

Whatever happened to the surveillance beast?

When Level 1 of the Market Abuse Directive (MAD II) was discussed two years ago there was talk of ESMA potentially establishing a massive centralised database for cross-market monitoring, aka the surveillance beast. Interestingly, this idea didn’t make it into the final MAR text. Instead it calls on each regulator to have in place the necessary tools for effective cross-market... Read More

True intentions

With the advances made in automated trading in recent years, regulators are having to work pretty hard to catch up with the markets. ESMA currently has two documents out for consultation on the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) and has announced a public hearing on October 8th. In parallel, last week saw the publication of the CME’s Rule 575 on disruptive trading. The implications... Read More

Do not pass go, do not collect £200

It’s full steam ahead for the review of the Market Abuse Directive. At the end of 2013 the European Parliament and the EU member states reached a final agreement on MAD II that will cover offences such as insider dealing, market manipulation and unlawful disclosure of information. For the first time criminal sanctions will apply to serious financial market offences at an EU... Read More

Congratulations, you’ve (almost) reached Level 2

With the election of the European Parliament scheduled for May 2014, the Level 1 texts of MiFID II, MAD II and CSD Regulation are likely to be agreed before then. This means that next year will be all about drafting and agreeing the Level 2s for those laws. ESMA kicked things off at the end of last week, publishing the first discussion paper on the implementation of the Market... Read More

MAD as a March hare

The reviews of the Market Abuse Directive (MAD II) and proposed EU Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) continue to run their course through the European trilogue process, with final Level 1 agreement expected to keep pace with the MiFID review spanning out into the second half of 2013. MAD II and MAR will bring increased obligations on firms, including criminal sanctions, in the event... Read More

Bless me, Father, for I have changed my algo

Managing algorithmic trading will become more difficult in the future. Regulators have already suggested in recent drafts of MiFID II and the German HFT Act that algos need to be registered/earmarked and their functionality reported to the competent authority if requested. The European Parliament (EP) takes the requirement a step further in its draft in Article 10a in MAR. Here,... Read More

What’s in store for the coming year?

The European Commission adopted its work programme for 2013 (CWP) back in October, with the over-reaching aim to deliver financial stability, economic growth and jobs. In terms of new proposals, the CWP announced around 50 new initiatives to be tabled during 2013 and the first part of 2014. According to the EC President, José Manuel Durão Barroso: “The next step must be... Read More

The three (MAD) wise men

I find it rather appropriate this season that the three European bodies – the Commission, the Council and the Parliament (the latter with rapporteur Arlene McCarthy’s version) – are each bearing us a gift. Instead of the traditional gold, frankincense and myrrh, each is bringing its own take on the Market Abuse Directive. These slightly different texts will be... Read More

Germany’s “Best of …” HFT law

A Europe-wide consolidated regulatory framework can have many advantages for the financial industry. Laws such as MiFID II, MAD II and EMIR create a level playing field that simplifies competition on a pan-European scale. However, in the last couple of months a number of national legislations have been enacted that make the playing field a bit more uneven, again. There are, for... Read More

The horse hasn’t bolted, yet!

The Flash Crash catapulted circuit breakers into the public spotlight and showed how they (or rather the lack of them) can impact financial markets. Since then, in Europe at least, discussions have been relatively quiet. European markets are perhaps less prone than others to such massive price swings for two reasons. Firstly, Europe does not have the trade-through rule and, secondly,... Read More

European Regulation – A Tale in Four Acts

According to the Chinese calendar 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. But if you ask anyone in financial markets, 2012 is the year of the regulator. The latest white paper by Fidessa aims to help market participants negotiate the increasingly complex web of regulation that will result from the introduction of initiatives such as MiFID II, MAD II and EMIR. It examines some of the unintended... Read More

ESMA Guidelines – turning change into opportunity

Back in December last year you may recall that ESMA issued guidelines on systems and controls in an automated trading environment. The headlines from those guidelines caused a steady ripple of activity across the industry, in the first few months of 2012, as firms reviewed their processes and procedures to ensure compliance by the 1st May deadline or worked to have a plan in place... Read More

NO ENTRY into the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour, and the MAD directives

While you may think that the title of this blog entry is obviously silly, it serves as a good example of the difference between sensible rules and bad rules. Think about it – can you work out the bad one? “NO ENTRY into the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour” may sound ridiculous but, if you think about it, it made perfect sense when it was created at a time... Read More

Border politics

There have been a number of articles recently covering exchange and regulator concerns around the effective detection of market abuse in Europe. FESE has recently published a position paper on the review of MAD in which it encourages policy-makers to consider the issue of effective cross-border and cross-venue surveillance. Fragmentation of trading across several venues outside... Read More

ESMA’s increasing workload

Looks like ESMA has been granted an extra three months to write the technical standards for EMIR, until the end of September.  Weighed down with the volume of work coming out of EMIR, MiFID II and the review of MAD, ESMA is now calling again for 100% funding from the EU to free them from the domestic political wrangling that has dogged regulatory procedures. I would say we need... Read More

To Ping or not to Ping?

Headline items for investment firms from the ESMA Guidelines on systems and controls in an automated trading environment for trading platforms, investment firms and competent authorities are listed below: •    comply by 1st May 2012, subject to FSA adoption •    guidelines are based on existing MiFID current industry best practice with little need for any change envisaged... Read More

The long road ahead

With the arrival of the new year we have updated the MiFID II Roadmap to reflect the latest anticipated timeline for the regulatory changes. The top row of the Roadmap depicts the progress of MiFID II from Public Consultation last December, via draft legislation issued in October 2011, to likely agreement on legislation expected by late 2012. It is proposed that ESMA will develop... Read More

I did not order the escargot!

As the European Commission prepares draft legislation for the overhaul of MiFID after a brief public consultation period the industry waits with bated breath. However, both the MiFID review draft legislation and the Market Abuse Directive (MAD) review have been delayed more than once and seem to be proceeding at a snail’s pace. First we’re told to expect publication... Read More

Freaking out about market abuse

The behavioural economics book, Freakonomics, includes a chapter entitled Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? which talks about ‘foot soldiers’, small street crack dealers in Chicago. These individuals, apparently, have a one in four chance of getting killed and they will be arrested around six times during the course of their ‘careers’. All these... Read More

EC publishes MiFID II and MAD consultation papers

In December the EC published two significant consultation papers on the Review of MiFID and the Market Abuse Directive: Reinforcing sanctioning regimes in the financial services sector. In these documents the EC has posed over a hundred questions and invited comments on numerous topics in order to obtain industry feedback. This feedback will provide guidance for the Commission... Read More

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