ESMA Strives to Prepare Markets As MiFID II, MiFIR and Brexit Approach

With the January 3, 2018, deadline for implementation of the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) fast approaching, and the markets awaiting clarity on the future E.U.-U.K. relationship after Brexit, European regulators and market participants face unprecedented changes in the structure and composition of securities and funds markets. For a fund manager to update its trading policies and procedures and ensure they are fully compliant with the coming regimes requires detailed awareness of pending changes with respect to data collecting and reporting rules, trading obligations, transitional calculations, suitability guidelines, transparency waivers, position limits and many other topics and issues. In the context of Brexit, where more than one exit scenario is possible, it is necessary to proceed with the utmost caution and to devote particular attention to third-country and equivalence issues. All of these points came across in a pair of recent public addresses by Verena Ross, Executive Director of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), on September 20, 2017, and by Steven Maijoor, ESMA’s Chair, on October 2, 2017. To help readers understand the issues facing the European and global securities and funds markets, this article summarizes the key points from both speeches. For additional commentary from ESMA, see “ESMA Opinion Resolves Inconsistent U.S. and European Asset Segregation Models, Thereby Facilitating Cross-Border Transactions by European Funds” (Sep. 7, 2017); and “ESMA Opinion Sets Forth Four Common Principles for UCITS Share Classes” (Mar. 16, 2017).

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