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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

European Parliament backs dark pool regulation

The European Parliament's economics committee has backed a report calling for tougher regulation of dark pools and high-frequency trading.

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Getting a better deal for the investor

Since MiFID the EU markets have changed forever and we all have to get used to the new order, however, change often brings about unforeseen problems and business opportunities leading to unintended consequences that then lead to disruption and a loss of confidence in the market by the investor.

There is no doubt that in many areas the stock markets are better but a key objective of MiFID was transparancy and this has failed. Dark Pools in all disguises, have drawn away transactions from the stock exchanges and made it almost impossible for the investor to be certain of best execution. The introduction of new technology and the resultant improved speed of execution has a logical benefit to the investor but only if the playing field remains level. Today it isn't and this is a clear failure of a core objective of MiFID.

Next year the MiFID review will be turned into new rules and will not be put through any legal channels, which could easily be delayed. The 'flash to bang time' will be fast and any new rule that changes the market structure forcing Brokers internal crossing into the bright light of day and levels the playing field between MTFs, SIs and Stock Exchanges will be another profound shift of the EU markets.

It's important that any restructuring of the EU markets to bring about transparancy, including the reporting of trades, does not lead to a major difference with the USA or other major markets. It is for this reason that I urge the various EU groups from the EU Commision to CESR to make any changes only after consultation with other major markets. Get it wrong in next years rule changes and we could see business moving away from Europe to less well regulated markets.

I welcome the restructuring of the European markets and clearly the complexity created has caused the FSA and all other European regulators a nightmare. There is no going back, so the future of the market must now be redfined, but with the one single objective in mind, a far better deal for the investor.



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