The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) is moving forward with a recommendation that trading venues and investment firms adopt a common time standard — coordinated universal time (UTC).
IOSCO first issued a proposal calling on trading venues and participating firms to synchronize their clocks using UTC back in September. UTC is a weighted average of more than 300 atomic clocks located in 80 laboratories around the world.
In 2013, IOSCO said that regulators should consider requiring firms and trading venues to adopt a common time standard to help develop an accurate audit trail.
“Regulatory authorities can better use time stamps from synchronized clocks to more effectively monitor and identify instances of potential market abuse and analyze market events for regulatory purposes,” IOSCO said.
“This is increasingly important as more trading takes place across multiple venues, jurisdictions and at faster speeds,” it added, noting that in the current environment, trades often occur in less than a microsecond.
In recent years, a variety of regulators have adopted clock synchronization requirements, often with UTC as the standard.
For instance, in 2016, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada issued guidance identifying UTC as the time standard under the trading rules.