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Pressure builds on ESMA to reveal proposed MiFID standards

Following the statement made by Steven Maijoor, chair of ESMA, at the Economic and Monetary Committee last month, no information has been published on many of the proposed changes to MiFID II/MiFIR that could affect the commodities market.

In particular, there are no details publicly available on how the “ancillary activity” tests for MiFID exemption will or will not be modified. Given that the Regulatory Technical Standards are now not set to be finalised until September, there is a growing sense of frustration that the method to be used is not known, especially given the major impact that loss of exemption would have on any commodity or energy trading firm.

This frustration is now being shared by Members of the European  Parliament, as reported in this article on EFinancialNews, which includes a copy of a letter sent by them to Lord Hill, the EU commissioner for financial services. The letter expresses the concern that the manner in which the changes are being made could be more transparent, and that by the time the proposed changes are made known to parliament it will be hard for any changes to be made should they be desired. The clash has also been reported in the Financial Times here.

While no new method has been published, it would appear that some proposals are being discussed, as reported here on the ICIS website. There, it is highlighted that new thresholds are being proposed, which vary by both asset class and some sort of “relative” measure. The thresholds mentioned in the article are higher than the 0.5% currently proposed, which may ease the burden on some firms. However until the proposals are finalised and approved, and until we known exactly how the calculations are to be carried out, it is hard to know if there will be any “winners” or “losers”.

About avivhandler

Aviv is the Managing Director of ETR Advisory, a niche consultancy focused on the regulation of the commodity, energy and financial markets. He has more than 23 years of experience in the financial, energy and commodity markets, covering regulatory compliance, credit, risk and financial technology. Prior to founding ETR, he was Partner at SunGard Global Services, where he built a Centre of Excellence in European Energy and Commodity Regulation. Before that, he founded Coherence, a consulting firm specializing in credit risk in commodity and energy trading as well as software product management. The credit practice ultimately became part of Sirius Solutions, where he was the Managing Director of Europe. He has also held management roles at KWI and Iris Financial, among other organizations. Mr. Handler holds a degree in computer science from Imperial College, University of London.


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