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ESMA publishes statement on MiFIR open access and COVID-19

11 June 2020

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, is issuing a public statement to clarify the application of the MiFIR open access provisions (OAP) for trading venues (TVs) and central counterparties (CCPs) in light of the recent adverse developments related to COVID-19.

It also aims to coordinate the supervisory actions of national competent authorities (NCAs) by setting out the issues they should consider when assessing OAP requests.

ESMA considers that the current market environment, with a high degree of uncertainty and volatility driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, may negatively impact CCPs and TVs operations and increase their operational risk. These increased risks, combined with limited capacity for assessing access requests and for managing the migration of transactions flows, may impact the orderly functioning of markets or financial stability.  

NCAs are expected to take into consideration, to the extent relevant, the relevant adverse developments when taking decisions on open access requests.

ESMA expects CCPs and trading venues to have the necessary operational capacity to process access requests once the exceptional market circumstances have cleared up.

The current exemptions under MiFIR, which allow NCAs to temporarily exempt TVs and CCPs from the OAP for exchange traded derivatives (ETDs), expire on 3 July and from 4 July the OAP for ETDs will apply.