The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has decided to keep the date of application of the transparency calculations for equity instruments of 1 April 2020 unchanged. ESMA has recently been asked by some stakeholders to postpone the date of application – required by MiFIDII/MiFIR to apply from 1 April, on the basis of the extraordinary market circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application of new tick-sizes was cited as particularly problematic in the current environment. ESMA acknowledges the severity of the situation and is working to alleviate market participants’ burden to the maximum extent possible, as some recent publications show, in particular delaying the application of new obligations which require significant technological changes.
In this specific instance, adapting to new transparency results for equity instruments is a process that market participants have performed several times in the past and should not require new IT releases. Having consulted with various market participants ESMA considers that delaying the application of the new transparency results would in itself entail some risks and might even create additional operational burdens to all the market participants that have already planned for them.
The results of the MiFID II/MiFIR transparency calculations for equity instruments were published on 28 February 2020. As announced on that date, ESMA will also publish ahead of 1 April the result for several instruments that were not published then due to data quality limitations.