Hang on a second!

MiFID II introduces the requirement to synchronise the business clocks of trading venues and their customers, standardising the recorded time on post-trade data, transaction reporting and, most importantly, order event auditing. Regulators argue that in the event of unusual market activity they will be able to pinpoint the exact moment things turned sour. A noble cause then, but... Read More

Tour de Force

The current MiFID II consultation is infamously complex, covering 800 pages and 800 questions to be answered in 8 weeks. If that in itself is not enough of a challenge, ESMA invited all market participants to Paris this week for a two-day Tour de Force, aka public hearing. Be it equity, non-equity, pre- or post-trade transparency, SIs, OTFs, trade reporting, third country regimes,... Read More

Higher hurdles for smaller firms?

Direct market access (DMA) forms a significant part of the market given the regulatory hoops and high fixed costs that a full exchange membership implies. While today large trading firms may let their existing memberships to smaller trading firms, similar to a company sub-letting spare office space, the current MiFID II discussion paper suggests that the well-established DMA model... Read More

Oh, for some goal-line technology!

With the new technology in place for the World Cup in Brazil, long and unsettled disputes about whether the ball was in or out are a thing of the past. Discussing the scope of MiFID II with some market participants, I really wish we had an equivalent technology in financial markets. MiFID II states that certain firms dealing on their own account are exempt from MiFID II, while... Read More

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme

While I’m not suggesting that history is repeating itself, there are certainly some interesting similarities between MiFID I and II. With its focus firmly on equity markets MiFID I saw a number of new ventures (Chi-X, BATS, Turquoise, Quote MTF, NYSE Arca Europe and others) line up to capture a share of the European markets. With MiFID II now encompassing derivatives markets... Read More

Before you head for the beach…

As the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed in the MiFID II Level 1 text ahead of its June publication in the EU’s Official Journal, ESMA is already gearing up for Level 2. In order to produce all the required documents ESMA is expected to run two consultations, one for the advice on the delegated acts – for which MiFID II’s entry into force triggers a six... Read More

Any port in a storm?

With the European Parliament’s formal adoption of MiFID II in yesterday’s plenary session, the next fundamental industry overhaul is on the horizon. Away from all the noise around HFT, I’ve been looking at the new trading obligation for investment firms that requires them to undertake all trades in shares on a regulated market or MTF, or as a systematic internaliser... Read More

Algo identifiers galore

With the German algo ID mandatory from 1st April, I was prompted to scan the latest MiFID II texts in this regard. Member states must require exchanges to be able to identify the different algorithms used for generating orders (Art. 51.6) which, on a high level, sounds just like the German HFT Act. To make things even more complex, MiFIR requires investment firms to identify in... Read More

What role for OTFs?

Last week the CFTC published another no-action letter with respect to trading swaps on a European MTF. At the heart of the discussion is the question of whether European MTFs can be considered as equivalent to US SEFs. Given that a number of banks within the scope of Dodd-Frank also need to trade swaps within Europe, this is an important issue. In Europe, the discussion around swaps... Read More

A consolidation of data?

So what does MiFID II finally say about the consolidated tape? If you remember the story so far, a number of Consolidated Tape Providers, or CTPs – each authorised to operate the data reporting services – are supposed to compete to provide said tape. And if you ever wondered what the collective noun for a group of CTPs is, it appears to be ‘an authorisation’.... Read More

Reporting, reporting, and yet more reporting

While many European firms are still getting to grips with EMIR trade reporting and the headaches it’s caused, the next reporting challenge is already on the horizon in the form of MiFID/R. It helps that MiFID/R does not require double reporting as long as the required information is reported once under EMIR. However, aiming to strengthen transparency, the scope of MiFID/R’s... Read More

Prepare yourself, MiFID II has arrived!

Yesterday the Council of the European Union published the long-awaited texts for MiFID II and MiFIR as agreed by the Council and the Parliament on 14th January. Whilst the texts are still subject to ECON and Plenary votes in March and April, and the Commission has some outstanding concerns about the derivatives rules, it’s likely we will all have to implement the rules outlined... Read More

Trading safety measures pay off

The eagerly awaited final MiFID II text potentially includes regulation around circuit breakers. Yesterday Eurex saw trading in the FDAX drop by 2% within minutes of an ECB announcement, only to recover shortly after. It’s safe to assume that the circuit breaker prevented a more serious situation. Even with a reliable and secure market structure and tightly defined corridors,... Read More

Patience is a virtue

Last week’s announcement of the political agreement on MiFID II felt like the Gordian knot had been cut. Maybe 2014 will turn out to be the year when the regulatory uncertainty that dominated 2013 gives way to thrilling new opportunities. Amid all the excitement (and relief that MiFID II will escape the feared entanglement in the upcoming European Parliament elections), it... Read More

MiFID II under starter’s orders

So, the much-anticipated trilogue meeting finally took place yesterday. With negotiators for Parliament and the Council of Ministers under heavy pressure to resolve issues and avoid a threatened return to the drawing board, ECON’s press release, published late last night, announced that informal agreement has been reached on MiFID II/MiFIR. Hurrah! Too early for champagne corks... Read More

All I want for Christmas

It seems there’s to be no early MiFID II Christmas present as agreement on the Level 1 text slips into 2014. Publication of the final text is now hotly anticipated to be in January or February next year at the latest, to avoid running into the European parliamentary elections in May. Thereafter, as ESMA gets to grips with the tasks ahead, 2014 will bring discussion papers and... Read More

Hitting the bullseye

According to recent press articles, the MiFID II trilogue has agreed on capping dark trading at an arbitrary 4% per venue and 8% overall market share. At the heart of the discussion around dark trading lies the role of transparency in the wider market. While one side claims that transparency is the only thing that can keep fragmented markets efficient, the other side worries about... 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

Time is of the essence

Last weekend heralded the official end of summertime as the EU put its clocks back one hour. Since most electronic clocks are updated automatically many of us hardly notice the difference, but others may be forgiven for waking up somewhat confused as to what time it really is. I guess that must have occurred to the legislators in Brussels when discussing the possibility of imposing... Read More

Meaningful manoeuvres in the dark

Dark pools around the globe are under constant regulatory scrutiny. The Australian and Canadian regulators now require dark trades to offer meaningful price improvement over lit markets. While Brussels-based technocrats still toy with the idea of volume caps, a recent open letter from a large group of industry representatives lobbied for the “meaningful improvement”... Read More

Inching closer to the goal

ESMA’s work on the single rule book for EU financial markets, set out in its 2014 work programme, shows the bulk of MiFID II/MiFIR deliverables falling into the last quarter. With the Level 1 text still expected to be agreed by the end of 2013, the revision of MiFID and MAD will then unfold into advice, technical standards and guidelines over the following year. I’m interested... Read More

Value for money

The long list of topics to be tackled by ESMA in MiFID II Level 2 is laid bare in the EU regulator’s latest banking and investment services tender document, with submissions due by the end of this week. ESMA is seeking help with data gathering and analysis on a number of fronts, not least in order to specify detailed organisational requirements to be imposed on investment firms.... Read More

Next Stop St. Petersburg

Back in 2009, in the wake of the financial Armageddon, world leaders pledged in their G20 commitment in Pittsburgh that all standardised OTC derivative contracts should be traded on a platform and centrally cleared by the end of 2012. Fast forward four years and the next G20 summit takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia at the end of this week – the first meeting since the... Read More

How are your negotiating skills?

As well as enjoying the calm remains of the sunshine before the storm of the MiFID II regulatory debate returns in September, it’s time to sharpen up those pencils ready for a new term. Over the next few months the draft directive and regulation that have been with us for nigh on two years are expected (finally) to evolve to become the new reality. One particularly worrisome area... Read More

Regulatory front-running

Front-running is regarded as a form of market abuse and is banned accordingly. Although it is widely accepted that MiFID II will implement new regulation on algorithmic and high-frequency trading, that doesn’t seem to have stopped the law makers indulging in a little ‘front-running’ of their own. First, Germany passed its HFT Act ahead of schedule and now France... Read More

MiFID II takes a leap forward

Hurrah! Looks like the Council of the EU has finally agreed a common approach on MiFID II/MiFIR after 18 months of negotiations. Subject to EU formalities next week, yesterday’s agreement comes just two weeks before Ireland hands the Council presidency on to Lithuania. The trilogue process – European Commission vs European Parliament vs Council versions – can now get... Read More

Half a job

MiFID, the mother of all European financial regulation, rumbles on and on. The European Commission’s MiFID II consultation in 2011, the Ferber Report in March 2012, and the European Parliament vote in October 2012 were all highly anticipated and widely reported on. But despite the fact that the Council of Ministers has published more than 20 different drafts during the Cyprus... Read More

One firm, two guv’nors

Making a living as a market maker is no easy task these days, with low trading volumes and the increasing regulatory burden tending to wipe the smile from many a trader’s face. Market making certainly has some perks, though, with exemptions from the European Short Selling Regulation, UK stamp duty and the Italian Financial Transaction Tax. Then again, where the MiFID II draft... Read More

Consolidated tape – work continues

After endless discussions all over Europe, there is still massive confusion as to which European Consolidated Tape (ECT) model MiFID II will bring and when. Despite the uncertainty, the creation of a consolidated tape for equities remains firmly in the MiFID II text and on the buy-side’s wish-list. Behind the scenes of the ever-lengthening MiFID II timeline, and regardless of... Read More

Pick a model, any model

Anyone reading the recent Presidency compromise MiFIR texts (published 4th and 13th February) can see that the subject of European Consolidated Tape (ECT) features again. The Council is now opting for appointment of one entity to collect trade reports and consolidate the data into a tape. Sound familiar? Dipping into the Regulation Matters Back catalogue I fished out the 3 operating... Read More

Dude, where is my level playing field?

At the heart of the European Union is the concept of a single market with a level playing field. Markets moving together, where trade and competition create benefits for everyone. Back in 2007, MiFID was a true testament to this when it introduced the idea of passporting regulatory oversight across Europe. Reading the latest regulatory news, there’s precious little to remind... 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 state of play

As the Council of the European Union hands over to Ireland for the first trio of the 2013-2014 Presidency rotation (1st January 2013 – 30th June 2013), the outgoing Cyprus Presidency published a progress report on MiFID II / MiFIR on 13th December. This report outlines the current status of the compromise proposal negotiations, pointing out the main areas where Council agreement... Read More

Unintended consequences, par excellence

The law of unintended consequences is not kind. It will strike wherever it pleases and sometimes even in places you wouldn’t expect. In an ironic twist, the order-to-trade ratio (OTR) may not calm markets as intended but reduce average trade size even further. The OTR, or some variation of it, is used by many exchanges to manage their message load. Generally speaking, OTR counts... Read More

Wave your waivers goodbye

Since the introduction of MiFID in 2007 the concept of the pre-trade transparency waiver has been widely accepted and applied. However, following the latest regulatory discussions, there is a danger that we may have to wave goodbye to some of these waivers with MiFID II. It seems that the regulators feel that the existing waivers are interpreted too loosely and inconsistently across... Read More

Are we nearly there yet?

There has been a small flurry of activity this week around the subject of a European consolidated tape, but is the fog starting to clear yet? Let’s take a closer look at the facts. The parliament adopted text of MiFID II calls for an effective and comprehensive consolidated tape to be in operation as soon as possible. The scope is post-trade data for equities and equity-like instruments,... Read More

Keeping tabs on short sells

Looking through the EP adopted text of MiFIR, I am surprised to see that transaction reporting obligations include a designation to identify a short sell, as defined in the newly introduced short selling regulation. I thought the regulator had done with that! Principal business sellers would need to dynamically track their inventory across all business lines to determine if they... Read More

Another day, another document!

We now have the European Parliament adopted texts of MiFID and MiFIR under our belts (as of 26th October), but in order to complete the process of agreeing Level 1 there needs to be agreement from the Council of the European Union on what is known as the Presidency Compromise text. In the interests of transparency the Council is publishing every version of the compromise text as... Read More

The liquidity genie

Following on from the warnings to the contrary from the UK Foresight publication (see previous blog Some things in life are bad…), we have had a reaffirmation (if one was needed) last Friday from the plenary vote that the European Parliament is going to proceed to target speculation and high frequency trading through their new rules and regulations. The magic of the “Liquidity... Read More

Some things in life are bad…

The next step in the MiFID parliamentary process is the EP plenary vote, to gain the backing of the entire house, scheduled for tomorrow, Friday 26th October. The EP is forging ahead, with little likelihood of further changes, it seems, though there is a debate on MiFID scheduled for today. Given where we are in the timeline of the parliamentary process for MiFID II legislation,... Read More

Think again, things are about to change!

Do you think a retail broker has to connect to all exchanges in Europe in order to offer best execution? Of course not! MiFID’s current definition of best execution is principles-based and takes into account more than just the execution price, but things are about to change. The latest MiFID II draft from the ECON vote contains a number of amendments that may cause you to... Read More

Brussels’ rules of etiquette

The on-going flood of new regulations and directives coming out of Brussels continues. With all its consultation papers, drafts, technical or implementing standards, recitals and articles, it is hard to keep your head above the waterline. Here are a few pointers to help you structure that paper flood into some more manageable channels. European laws and legislations are formally... Read More

And the winner is … a compromise!

Whoever said the political processes to formulate MiFID II and MiFIR were complicated and boring? Look at it from the right angle and it can be every bit as exciting as the knockout rounds of a FIFA World Cup tournament. In the World Cup football teams compete against each other and only the winner progresses. The last team remaining in the competition takes home the trophy. Politics,... 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

School’s out!

OK, school’s out and the head’s advice was “…don’t do anything silly, and come back refreshed and ready for the new challenges of next year.” The European Parliament is also on its summer break and the next ECON Committee vote on MiFID II is scheduled for 26th September, with a plenary vote on the calendar for 19th  November.  There remains, however, a whole lot of... 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

Extraterritoriality, equivalence, reciprocity? It’s all Greek to me!

Following the latest MEP discussions in Brussels can be quiet challenging at times. Not only was this particular session interrupted by protesters, but MEPs kept throwing in technical terms in regard to third country regulation that not everyone might be familiar with. So here is a quick guide to cut through all the mist. Today, the access of third country firms to the EU markets... Read More

Sacrificial lambs and unintended consequences

Andy the Trader: I heard tick size is a topic in MiFID II, again. Haven’t we been through this already? Yes, you’re right. FESE and LIBA brokered an agreement between most European equity trading venues and sell-side firms in 2009. But the topic appears again in the latest proposed amendments for MIFID II (Article 51) and on ESMA’s work program. Andy the Trader: Once again,... 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

Busy like a bee

ESMA just published an updated version of their work program for 2012. The regulator plans to produce no less than 77 technical standards, technical advice and guidelines and recommendations this year! The newly passed law on short selling will require 18 documents, while EMIR holds the record with 41 expected publications. Enjoy making sense of all that regulation. Luckily, in... Read More

Good intentions – bad results

Lobbying  in Brussels can be such a dirty business. Hidden agendas and vested interests are dominating the daily business. Thus, I was very pleased when Finance Watch (a non-industry lobby group, the lobbying arm of Occupy Wall Street, if you will) engaged in their mission to “making finance serve society”. However, the dream of a better world was crushed last week... Read More

Liquidity and the regulation of markets

Last week’s TradeTech in London included a talk about liquidity by David Lawton, the FSA’s Acting Director, Markets, during which he discussed all the hot potatoes that MiFID II has to offer.  For a change, this was not another piece of 500 millisecond nonsense but included some sensible and well considered arguments. Here are the highlights of his key points: •  ... Read More

Block Trade: Endangered species or old habit?

Currently, MiFID favours block trades by granting them privileges that regular sized trades do not receive. A block trade between two institutional investors is treated rather like a Sumatran elephant that is way up on the red list of threatened species. Regulators protect block trades by allowing for pre-trade transparency waiver and delayed post-trade reporting. At the other... Read More

Regulation, regulation, regulation!

As market participants are still reeling from the attack on HFT and technological innovation in the latest draft amendments to MiFID II, let’s take a look at the rapporteur Markus Ferber’s draft changes to the proposed MiFIR EU regulation. The biggest change is that the OTF category, previously proposed in an attempt to regulate OTC trading on broker crossing systems, now looks... Read More

Treat the cause, not the symptom

The current MiFID II draft proposes a minimum duration for any order of 500 milliseconds (see Should have gone to Specsavers!). Politicians seem to believe that installing a minimum duration for orders will halt the HFT ‘madness’ and bring some much needed calm to the market. Unfortunately, it looks like they are going to treat only the symptoms and not the cause. Trading... Read More

Self-test – am I a HFT strategy?

The European Parliament has issued its rapporteur report for MiFID II, as discussed in The Rapporteur’s Story and Should have gone to Specsavers! The current proposal includes a definition of high-frequency trading strategy. Furthermore, it proposes to regulate HFTs more strictly. That scared me a little bit. After all, I do some trading in my spare time so I followed the definition... Read More

Should have gone to Specsavers!

On first reading of the draft report from the rapporteur on MiFID II it is unclear from the wording if the ban on direct electronic access is only in the context of high-frequency trading. Surely this must be the case, otherwise we may as well all pack up now. Additional draft amendments to the MiFID text worthy of note are: •    the timeline is crystallising with the final... Read More

The Rapporteur’s Story

Here’s a taster of what could be coming in the Q1 report from the rapporteur for MiFID II – EU lawmaker wants draft securities law beefed up. Looks like, as we expected, HFT could take the hardest hit and OTFs may be limited to non-equities. Thanks to Tor for spotting this article.  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

Are we still fighting for a truly integrated Pan-European market?

The harmonisation and consolidation of European markets was truly a hugely successful project for European financial markets within the last few years. We enjoyed massive innovation, growth and new opportunities. Think about it, without MiFID, Chi-X, BATS, European Multilateral Clearing Facility (EMCF), and the Fragulator we would still have to pay ridiculous high exchange fees... Read More

Another kind of movie night

Let’s face it, a meeting of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (European Parliament) regarding MIFID II and EMIR is hardly a topic suitable for a movie night. So I wasn’t really that excited to watch their latest discussions on Monday evening in Strasbourg via the internet. However, after seeing the new MiFID movie poster, I was inclined to tune in and watch some... Read More

Make your mind up!

According to The Trade yesterday the European Parliament (EP) is considering forcing broker crossing networks to become systematic internalisers (SIs) or multilateral trading facilities (MTFs) due to fears of excessive fragmentation. The EP may limit the organised trading facility (OTF) category to non-equity instruments only. Since the October 2011 publication of the MiFID II draft... Read More

Down with opacity and shady deals!

Following the MiFID II roadmap a significant milestone was reached in Brussels last week with the final text of EMIR (European Market Infrastructure Regulation) agreed on 9th February. After 2 years of European Parliament debate this will bring to an end “the era of opacity and shady deals”, according to Michel Bernier the EU commissioner! EMIR is one part of the history-making... Read More

Third-country confusion!

Reported last week on FT.com, a coalition of trade associations has commissioned lawyers to study the viability of a mutual recognition regime between the EU and US regulators. This is to clarify ‘third-country’ requirements in EMIR (European Market Infrastructure Regulation – reforms for OTC derivatives) and MiFID II regarding financial services businesses in... 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

ESMA publishes its Final Report on Automated Trading guidelines – effective by 1st May 2012

22nd December 2011 – ESMA published its final report on guidelines on systems and controls in an automated trading environment for trading platforms, investment firms and competent authorities. In issuing these guidelines, ESMA rolls out a comprehensive regime governing the operation of electronic trading systems by a regulated market, a multilateral trading facility (MTF)... Read More

MiFID II should be a priority for every financial firm

There were two recurring MiFID II issues discussed at TradeTech Liquidity (24th Nov): the new OTF category does not fit the riskless principal/dual capacity model used by firms facilitating agency client order execution on existing broker crossing systems – business models will all have to change! According to Kay Swinburne the number 1 issue for the Rapporteur, for the... Read More

Are you sitting comfortably?

A few interested parties settled down on Monday afternoon to watch a live broadcast on EPTV from the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) – the first European Parliament open hearing on ‘MiFID Review: objectives for MiFID/MiFIR 2’. This debate is part of the open decision-making procedure around the MiFID II draft legislation, published in October,... Read More

Plenary Meeting of the MiFID Forum 30th November

The MiFID Forum is made up of industry standards bodies and trade associations (SIIA/FISD, FIX Protocol, ISITC Europe and TWIST) affected by MiFID.  It provides an opportunity for open discussion and debate amongst market practitioners from compliance and operational areas on issues affecting the financial markets. A plenary meeting of the MiFID Forum was held on 30th November... Read More

Seconds away.. round II for MiFID!

As the European Commission and European Parliament start to debate the MiFID II draft legislation published on 20th October, in the form of a Directive and a Regulation, the EP has called for (more) industry feedback. All interested stakeholders are invited to complete a questionnaire with a closing date of 13th January 2012. Speak now or forever hold your peace!  Read More

Europe’s Hotel California

With the proposed new framework of MiFID II due to increase the supervisory powers of the European regulators, it’s been particularly alarming to watch as the EU’s heads of state try to solve the eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis. Greece’s Prime Minister, George Papandreou, threw a real spanner in the works when he announced his intention to hold a referendum... Read More

MiFID II Digest

While the 10 key takeaways from MiFID II may have given Steve indigestion, we are busy tucking in to the smörgåsbord of recently published MiFID II documents and snacking on all the published articles on the subject. From my reading so far, most looks as expected from the previous version that was leaked in August, with the following worthy of note: Organised Trading Facilities (OTFs)... Read More

Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more!

After much speculation it seems that another North American player will now be dominating the European trading landscape. It is surprising to learn that Kansas-based BATS Global Markets will pay the equivalent of £230 million (using today’s exchange rate) for the acquisition of Chi-X Europe. The latter firm has around 50 employees so the BATS deal suggests they are willing... Read More

More psychobabble?

The power of ‘thin slicing’ is a phrase used in psychology to explain the human’s ability to make sense of situations based on the thinnest slice of experience. I don’t know if this really works but Brussels appears to be doing exactly that. In an attempt to prevent systemic risk and another Flash Crash, the latest leaked MiFID II document (dated 7th October)... Read More

How Organised is your Trading Facility?

One of the primary aims of the review of MiFID is to provide more appropriate regulatory coverage for the multitude of different trading facilities and methods of execution that have emerged over the last 4 years. Currently, under MiFID, trading venues or platforms are classed as Regulated Markets (RMs), Multilateral Trading Facilities (MTFs) or Systematic Internalisers (SIs). A... Read More

Investors warm to the dark side

Interesting article today in efinancialnews comments that in the year to August there has been a marked increase in the overall use of dark pools compared to execution on exchange for equities. The review of MiFID is mentioned and, yes, the ability of Organised Trading Facilities (OTFs) to use discretion and prevent HFT participation on their platforms may be key to execution quality.... Read More

ESMA – Waivers from Pre-Trade Transparency

The aim of this document, published by ESMA (10/08/11), is to provide guidelines under the existing MiFID directive for competent authorities around the application of Waivers from Pre-Trade Transparency for Regulated Markets and MTFs.  Some examples of waivers granted by national competent authorities, considered at CESR or at ESMA level, are included for illustration purposes. Under... Read More

MiFI Leaks!

With reports of a draft of the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive circulating in Brussels in recent days, I’d like to bring you up to speed with how we are progressing in the MiFID II back-shop! We are now looking at a marked up copy of Directive 2004/39/EC – the revised Directive a new Regulation (ref tbd) that establishes uniform requirements in relation... Read More

Regulation vs Directive

I read on Tabb Forum that MiFID is looking like changing from a Directive to Regulation, although I have not seen this officially stated anywhere yet. MiFID could thus become the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation. As a piece of regulation, and not a directive, ‘MiFIR’ would be implemented centrally from Brussels rather than being allowed to be individually... Read More

Clearing the way forward

If you haven’t yet had the chance to do so, check out the July issue of FragINSIGHT. It provides a very good overview of interoperability of clearing services, whetting one’s appetite to find out why everyone is talking about interoperability in Europe. I also invite you to read Steve Grob’s blog in which he asks “Is it time for smart clearing?”. The European... Read More

Brussels falls short!

The global securities markets have experienced a couple of weeks of extreme volatility. Unfortunately, just as they did in 2008, panicked politicians have once again got involved. On August 12th a ban on short-selling was announced by the primary venues in Spain, Belgium, France and Italy with the intention of taming the markets. Short-selling occurs when traders borrow shares and... Read More

Cheaper flights?

At times I’ve got the impression that many of the European MTFs seem to compare themselves to cheap, no-frills airlines. The emergence of MTFs post-MiFID brought lower explicit costs, with incumbent providers like the LSE forced to lower their own rates to compete. In much the same way, the arrival of Ryanair and easyJet on the scene must have put pressure on British... 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

Shift in MiFID II timeline

Kay Swinburne MEP delivered an excellent update on the progress of the MiFID review at a recent conference on the Challenges of MiFID II.  She revealed that the final legislative proposal – focusing on transparency, proportional oversight of the market and investor protection – would now be completed “after the summer” and by September. Publication of the... Read More

Murky waters run deep

Why are politicians so obsessed with bringing transparency to the European post-trade regime? MiFID II is very much focused on fixing all the unintended consequences that followed the implementation of the MiFID directive in 2007. The fact that the original regulation allowed the publication of OTC trading on websites and the fragmentation of trading without the construction of... Read More

The cookie monster

When assessing the impact of new EU legislation it would be fairly reasonable to assume that not all EU laws are universally welcomed by each member state and the decisions made by those in the EU can often court controversy. The most recent example being the EU’s Privacy and Communications Directive that came into force last week which requires all EU businesses running websites... Read More

Banks push FIX for fixed income trading

Regulatory changes in the form of MiFID II and Dodd-Frank are cited as drivers behind a new initiative by some of the world’s biggest sell-side banks to promote FIX connectivity for the trading of fixed income instruments, according to a recent article on Finextra.  Read More

Breaking news from TradeTech Germany – update on ECT

Kay Swinburne MEP, in her presentation at TradeTech Germany, stated that the MiFID review will legislate to provide a Consolidated Tape in line with the US model. Output and format will be mandated. As yet no decision has been made on who will operate as providers. She also mentioned that the legislators are looking to see whether a common and central audit trail can also be achieved.  Read More

… and now to the final chapters

The latest in my series of PMQs looks at further convergence of the regulatory framework and supervisory practices, covered in the final two chapters of the EC’s Public Consultation paper on the Review of MiFID. The EC is tightening up on supervision, fines and penalties and is looking to introduce a program of whistle-blowing schemes. There will be nowhere to hide and, if... Read More

On the bench

It was great to go back to Spain as one of the speakers at the ‘Leadership Roundtable’ organised by Global Investment Technology in Barcelona last week. The event, focusing on MiFID and the European trading landscape, was attended by a select audience of around 30 senior executives from MTFs to global heads of electronic trading and clearing entities. It’s... Read More

Caveat emptor

The next in my series of PMQs looks at Investor Protection and Provision of Investment Services, covered in the EC’s Public Consultation paper on the Review of MiFID. Regulators and market participants have raised concerns about investor protection and the EC is considering revisions in this area. Have you been sold unsuitable investments? Do you fully appreciate the risks... Read More

Pension schemes breathe a sigh of relief

Politicians want to provide greater transparency in order to prevent systemic risk. Industry practitioners complained that some of their proposals would mean an increase in the costs of using derivatives as they would have to commit large levels of collateral upfront to secure trades and be forced to clear their derivatives through a central counterparty. Some of us attended... Read More

‘Guns don’t kill people – people kill people…’

This oft quoted statement used in gun control debates attempts to apportion responsibility to a person operating a firearm rather than demonizing the firearm itself.  In applying licensing laws to firearms it would seem challenging, at the very least, to license every gun manufactured or already in existence and thus legislation is often centred on the individual.  This echoes... Read More

It’s not all about you!

I came across an interesting report published by the European Capital Markets Institute (ECMI) and CFA Institute entitled Restoring Investor Confidence in European Capital Markets. This piece of research is intended to defend the position of the European retail investor. One of the key points ECMI makes is that the initial MiFID legislation hasn’t benefited the end investor.... Read More

What will MiFID II do with transaction reporting rules?

In the latest of my PMQs I look at Transaction Reporting, covered in Chapter 6 of the EC’s Public Consultation paper on the Review of MiFID. Transaction reporting is usually a back office function. However, any change in this area could have an impact on the data that Fidessa needs to capture and store in the front office. Fidessa also has a hosted transaction reporting component... Read More

Bringing transparency to the BCN – what are your views?

A recent article in The Trade News reported: MiFID II will introduce a new regulatory regime for broker crossing networks (BCNs). Are they not subject to adequate oversight as it stands? Brokers and exchange operators have divergent views on this matter but what counts is the opinion of regulators, who have at least two reasons for tightening up BCN regulation. First, MiFID outlines... Read More

What can MiFID II do to help address excessive commodity price volatility?

The next in my series of PMQs looks at the measures specific to Commodity Derivatives covered in the EC’s Public Consultation paper on the Review of MiFID. A dry subject, perhaps, but I would say one very close to our hearts (and wallets, with pump prices close to £1.40 a litre!) as we witness economics in action. In a climate of unrest in North Africa and the Gulf, super-high... Read More

What will MiFID II do to improve the quality, format and costs of market data?

The latest in my series of PMQs looks at the key aspects of data consolidation covered in the EC’s Public Consultation paper on the Review of MiFID. The EC proposes regulatory intervention to improve post-trade information and facilitate data consolidation. This would apply across equity and non-equity markets. All the market feedback I have had is that there is an urgent... Read More

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