The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today sent a letter to the European Commission advancing its intention to ease certain frontloading requirement under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). Frontloading is a term that refers to the clearing obligation under EMIR, which will oblige counterparties to centrally clear certain derivative trades through clearing houses (CCP). ESMA believes that the frontloading procedure creates uncertainties for derivatives end-users while the exact terms of the clearing obligation has not been defined which could have adverse impacts on risk hedging and financial stability. Therefore, ESMA informs the European Commission that it intends to establish the frontloading requirement in a manner that will minimise uncertainty.
The clearing requirement began to apply with the first authorisation of an EU-based CCP which happened on 18 March 2014. Following the first CCP approval, EMIR requires ESMA to draft within six months technical standards which will define the derivatives classes subject to central clearing. However, compulsory central clearing will only start with the entry-into-force of the technical standards which creates the need to ‘frontload’ those derivate trades since 18 March 2014.