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Getting Sidetracked on the Topic of MiFID

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This week’s MiFID Forum debate was a case in point of how easy it is to go off track when discussing the current barrage of consultation papers released related to the MiFID review. Although some of the discussions were interesting from a bigger picture perspective, I expect that much more productive talks will take place when the group has been broken down into targeted subject matter expert groups.

David Doyle, EU policy advisor in financial services, provided attendees with a bit of scene setting with regards to the next incarnation of MiFID, including drawing attention to its connectivity to the Market Abuse Directive (MAD – the best regulatory acronym out there) update and the European Commission’s Packaged Retail Investment Products (PRIPs) proposals. He warned that far from representing a “routine check up”, the MiFID review process is likely to result in a whole host of new and stringent requirements aimed at increasing investor protection.

Doyle also suggested that industry participants pay close attention to what is happening across the pond in the US, as the desire for a degree of alignment between the US and Europe has been frequently articulated in Brussels.

Given the status of most of the information that has thus far been issued by the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) and the Commission itself around MiFID, it is no surprise that there was a degree of detail lacking in the overall discussions at the event. The proposals are all at the consultancy stage, after all.

However, enough information has been issued (even if it is not definitive) for a serious debate to be had about the post-trade data requirements and what they may mean for firms if they are passed as a directive or direct regulation. There was brief discussion of the proposed client classification regime changes, but aside from noting that there is a lack of clarity, there was little time for in depth discussion about what these may mean going forward.

The panel debate got snared up in a discussion about why the European Parliament is interested in the space in the first place, which while quite entertaining, didn’t elicit anything in the way of practical advice or constructive criticism.

Hopefully the next event will have a more focused and structured approach. After all, every speaker was keen to provide feedback to the regulatory community and that requires constructive dialogue and recommendations.

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