The European Union took a step closer to completing the overhaul of market rules known as MiFID II as the bloc’s executive arm adopted technical standards on equity markets.
The so-called delegated act adopted on Wednesday by the European Commission sets out definitions of liquid markets for equity instruments. It follows two previous acts on how banks distribute research to clients and high-frequency trading.
The commission’s third and last delegated act is “crucial to make the transparency system in MiFID II work,” said Markus Ferber, the lead lawmaker on the file in the European Parliament. “It is paramount to get the numbers right at the first attempt in order not to cause any market disturbances.”
“However, the really contentious and sensitive issue will be the definitions for non-equities that will follow later in the process,” he said. “Misguided definitions for government bonds could have serious implications for member states to finance themselves.”
The European Commission proposed to delay MiFID II in November to give banks and other financial firms time to build data-reporting systems and other technology to meet the new requirements. The process has taken longer than expected as the parliament and member states negotiated changes to the legislation.
EU member states on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to the legislative proposal to push back the application date of MiFID II to Jan. 3, 2018. Once the European Parliament has approved the bill in a first reading, member states will move to adopt it at ministerial level.