EU Nations Back One-Year Delay of MiFID II Market-Rule Revamp

European Union countries agreed on their approach to pushing back the overhaul of securities market rules known as MiFID II, setting up talks with the European Parliament on a final version of the legislation.

National envoys on Thursday supported a proposal by the European Commission to push back the start date of MiFID II by one year to 2018, and instructed the Netherlands, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, to start negotiations with the parliament as soon as possible. They also endorsed amendments to the commission’s plan, including pushing back by one year the deadline for member states to convert the EU directive into national law.

The envoys also backed amendments on “own accounts, package transactions, alignment with the EU directive on securities financing transactions and the date of application of certain provisions of a regulation on market abuse,” the Council of the European Union said in a statement. These are similar to changes endorsed by the parliament earlier this month.

The commission, the EU’s executive arm, first floated a delay of 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 originally intended solely to provide a one-year extension.

“The last thing that I wanted to do on this particular proposal, or on any proposal, is to have something that comes and that doesn’t work and causes uncertainty in the market place,” EU financial services chief Jonathan Hill said in an interview. “The case for the delay was just very clear cut. People have tried to read into that, that it’s a kind of deliberate tactic to weaken. No, it is a practical response to a practical problem.”

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