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MIFID II postponed


Oliver Lodge, OWL Regulatory Consulting Ltd comments on the postponement of MiFID II.

Although not in any sense a surprise, the press articles announcing the European Commission’s comments that MiFID II will have to be delayed seem to be confirmation that this anticipated postponement will take place.
For those who have been complaining for several years that EU directives are not given enough time for implementation, this is very welcome. It will also be welcomed by anyone who wants an orderly structure to the regulatory system, where measures are subjected to full and thorough consultation and firms are given enough time to implement requirements after the final text is published. Those who can’t quite understand why it takes well over two years to implement a directive properly should have another look at the structure that we now have for making financial services regulation in the form of supra-national legislation. EU legislation is a cumbersome thing, even its remaining proponents must admit.
On the technical side, MiFID II is stalled on Level 2 and bogged down on Level 3. What seems to have precipitated this glimpse of reality is a letter from ESMA to the  European Commission explaining the impossibility of completing the L3 task in time for the next deadline, which requires national regulators to have published their final rules by July 2016, something that they can’t do without ESMA’s material. Meanwhile at Level 2, the European Commission stands accused by all three of the biggest EU countries of proposing measures which fail to stick to the directive. That has provoked a re-think, causing further delay.
The question now under consideration is whether to delay by six months or a year. A wise Commission would delay by a year to minimise the risk of having to delay again. We shall shortly see whether we have a wise Commission.

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