Double whammy

The latest published version of MiFIR is narrowing waivers, while widening its impact. Specifically, it has added a double cap limit to the pre-trade transparency reference price waiver. Limitations that may apply to the 4 existing waivers continue to evolve even as the Irish presidency of the Council of the European Union enters its final month before handing over to Lithuania.

Article 4 a) was added to the text in December last year and has since switched between the use of a minimum threshold and the introduction (in March 2013) of a trading volume cap mechanism. In an attempt by the Council to avoid a negative impact on price formation venues will be obliged to have systems and procedures in place to manage trading limits at both venue and overall EU levels.

This narrowing of scope of the reference price waiver could of course be another bargaining chip – like the half second order resting time – in the trilogue negotiations later in the year. But aside from the wider debate on the use of waivers to protect the buy-side from market impact, changes like this will affect not just the venues. At the technology level trade execution platforms and smart order routers will need to be up to the job as firms seek to avoid rejection of their orders when a venue has reached its single or double cap limit.

Just one of the many potential regulatory changes filling up the ‘to do’ list as MiFID II rumbles on.

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