New year, new regulations

Throughout 2015, many in our industry would no doubt have agreed that MiFID II was fast becoming the single most important EU legislation initiative. With the unofficial – but likely – delay until January 2018, the impact of MiFID II remains far-reaching, but at least this may allow for a more orderly implementation. As the new year begins, it’s time to review some of the other EU initiatives that will likely gain more attention in 2016.

ESMA will focus on Level 2 texts for the Benchmark Regulation (BR) and Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR), both of which were agreed in Q4 2015 and are expected to be enforced in 2017. BR provides specific rules for categories of benchmark. EU entities can only use EU authorised or registered benchmarks and all administrators are subject to regulatory oversight. The separate SFTR introduces mandatory reporting for certain SFTs and sets minimum transparency conditions on the reuse of collateral, amongst other things.

Additionally, Brussels reached an informal agreement in December 2015 on two Directives. The Network and Information Security Directive (NIS Directive) requires banks, trading venues and CCPs to take appropriate security measures and to notify serious incidents to the relevant authorities. A Data Protection Directive / Regulation will introduce significant fines for non-compliance, a requirement to notify regulators of serious data breaches, stricter rules on getting consent to use customer and employee data, and, finally, inclusion of non-EU businesses that offer services in the EU. And if all of that is not enough, there is still a possible revival of the EU FTT in the offing, the pending agreement around QCCPs and proposed changes to CRR.

It looks like 2016 continues just as 2015 ended – very busy.

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