While a possible implementation delay looms, British regulators are consulting in forthcoming regulatory reforms in Europe that aim to bolster investor protection and reduce systemic risks.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Tuesday published its first consultation paper on the implementation in the United Kingdom of the new European rules, known as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II). The revisions to the MiFID regime, which was first adopted in 2007, are intended to strengthen investor protection, increase market resilience, and enhance the overall efficiency and transparency of financial markets, the FCA says in a statement.
While certain aspects of the MiFID II reforms can be implemented without making changes to the local rules, the FCA’s first consultation paper focuses on areas “where it has sufficient certainty about the MiFID II legislation to be able to make proposals for implementation in the U.K.,” the FCA says in a statement. This primarily includes changes to the trading rules that will impact trading venues, and the transparency of trading, including algorithmic and high frequency trading (HFT).
Among other things, the planned reforms will impose new obligations on trading venues relating to algorithmic trading and HFT, direct electronic access, tick sizes, business continuity and systems and controls. They will also expand transparency requirements to equity-like and non-equity markets, and introduce a new registration category for providers of market data.
“Some of the points on which we are consulting may be impacted by as yet unpublished EU legislation and guidance, but we think it is helpful to set out our views on these matters, at this relatively early stage of the implementation process,” the FCA consultation paper says.
Other elements of MiFID II, including business conduct issues, will have to wait until the FCA has more certainty about the legislation. The FCA is planning to publish at least one more consultation paper covering these outstanding issues during the first half of next year.
The comment period for the initial consultation paper closes on March 8, 2016, and the new regime is slated for implementation on Jan. 3, 2017. However, the FCA notes that discussions are taking place between European policymakers about a possible delay until January 2018.