US regulator SEC extends MiFID II relief period for three years

Assist market participants in the US can breathe a little easier after the top securities regulator extended the period they have to comply with the EU’s financial instruments law.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a new extension to the updated Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), which snapped into action in Europe in 2018.

The extension means the SEC will not recommend any enforcement actions against brokers or dealers receiving payments in hard dollars or through research payment accounts from clients subject to MiFID II. Stakeholders now have until July 2023 to comply.

“Today’s extension of the staff’s no-action letter is an important step in our continued efforts to address changes in the market for research payments driven by MiFID II with an eye toward preserving investor access to research to the maximum extent possible,” said Jay Clayton, chairman of the SEC.

“The impacts of MiFID II are evolving, as EU authorities and regulators in individual EU member states evaluate its effects and consider whether to modify their rules. Today’s extension will allow our staff to continue to monitor the evolving impact of MiFID II and evaluate whether any additional guidance or commission action is appropriate. In this regard, our staff is focused on ensuring that market participants have flexibility and choice in how they pay for research.”

MiFID II has proven a headache of compliance officers since it was first enforced. The complexities of the directive have made it extremely difficult to understand and to comply with, which is why many RegTech companies have seen it as a great opportunity for their services.

And things might be changing. Earlier in November, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) asked the stakeholders in the market to provide their input regarding potential forthcoming changes to MiFID II.

ESMA’s consultation will be regardint impact of position limits on market abuse and orderly pricing and settlement as well as the impact the position limit regime may have had on less liquid commodity derivative contracts.

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