Market Integrity

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has today launched the second phase of its Financial Instrument Reference Database (FIRDS). The launch involves providing access to the database containing the currently available reference data that will eventually enable market participants to identify instruments subject to MAR and MiFID II/MiFIR reference data reporting requirements. This will allow market participants to prepare their reporting systems ahead of the go-live date on 3 January 2018.

The advance publication of this data will facilitate markets participants’ preparation of their systems to fulfil future reporting obligations to national competent authorities (NCAs) under MiFIDII/MiFIR. ESMA has also published instructions for market participants on how to access the data and download the relevant machine-readable files.

The requirements of Article 27 of MiFIR and related technical standards oblige trading venues and systematic internalisers to submit reference data, from 3 January, for the relevant financial instruments to national competent authorities (NCAs) who will subsequently transmit it to ESMA for publication. 

The data released today are subject to quality limitations, in particular regarding their completeness. ESMA and the NCAs will continue to monitor and improve the quality and completeness of the published information.

Background

ESMA, in order to allow for a smooth transition to the new MIFID reporting regime, began the first phase of FIRDS in July by collecting financial instrument reference data from reporting entities and today’s release to the market contains the currently available data in advance of MIFIR’s 3 January 2018 go-live date. The availability of this information at this early stage will play an important role in assuring the quality of data that market participants report to NCAs from 3 January 2018 onwards.

In preparation for 3 January 2018, ESMA encourages market participants to begin using the published data following the instructions provided on how to access the data, download the machine-readable files as well as the reporting instructions.

Market participants with database, files or technical instructions related queries should contact support@esma.europa.eu.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has updated its Questions & Answers (Q&A) document regarding the implementation of the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR).

The purpose of the Q&A document is to promote common supervisory approaches and practices in the application of MAR and its implementing measures. Today’s Q&As include a new detailed answer on the obligations of the issuers in the particular case of delayed inside information that then loses its price sensitivity feature during the delay period.

MAR is intended to guarantee the integrity of European financial markets and increase investor confidence. Any unlawful behaviour in the financial markets is prohibited. The concept of market abuse typically consists of insider dealing, unlawful disclosure of inside information, and market manipulation.

ESMA has appointed new chairs for its Corporate Finance, Corporate Reporting, Financial Innovation, Market Integrity, Post-Trading and Secondary Markets Standing Committees as well as its Commodity Derivatives Task Force.

The new chairs begin their two year terms on 1 October.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published an opinion on the accepted market practice (AMP) notified by the Comissão do mercado de valores mobiliários (CMVM) of Portugal, which replaces the AMP under the Market Abuse Directive established on August 2008.

This AMP refers to liquidity contracts by which a credit institution or an investment firm (financial intermediary) quotes in the Portuguese equity market on behalf of the issuer, with a view to enhancing the liquidity of a particular share and its regular trading. In that respect, it would ultimately benefit investors, in the sense that the likelihood of finding a counterparty for entering or exiting a position in that share would increase. This practice is available to all issuers who have requested admission to trading or approved the trading of their shares on a Portuguese market.  

ESMA considers that the proposed AMP on liquidity contracts is compatible with MAR and with its technical standard on AMPs, and contains various mechanisms to limit the threat to market confidence. ESMA also notes that the proposed AMP incorporates all the conditions and limits set out in its Opinion on liquidity contracts issued in April.

Background

MAR’s purpose is to guarantee the integrity of European financial markets and increase investor confidence. The concept of market abuse typically consists of insider dealing, unlawful disclosure of inside information, and market manipulation.

However, some exceptions apply. The prohibition of insider dealing and market manipulation does not apply to trading in own shares in buy-back programs or trading in securities for the stabilisation of securities when some conditions laid down in MAR are met. Moreover, MAR does not apply to public authorities in pursuit of monetary, exchange rate or public debt management policy. Other specific exceptions apply in the framework of the EU’s climate policy or the EU’s Agricultural Policy for instance. MAR also provides a defence against market manipulation if the transaction was legitimate and carried out in accordance with an AMP and MAR describes the non-exhaustive factors that a competent authority should take into account before deciding whether or not to accept a market practice.

In April ESMA published an opinion on the points for convergence in relation to AMP under MAR on liquidity contracts. These agreed points are expected to be used as a reference in the assessment of the MAR AMPs on liquidity contracts that national competent authorities (NCAs) may submit to ESMA after a domestic consultation and on which ESMA will have to issue an opinion.