In what she describes as a "shot across the bow of the dark markets", Kay Swinburne, Conservative MEP for Wales says that the European Parliament is working on regulation that will actively encourage all trades to be executed in the lit markets.
She says this regulation is fuelled not only by political opinions that dark pools are "always bad", but also from research by MEPs that concludes that dark pools and high frequency trading is not beneficial for the capital markets.
In addition, Swinburne says that Mifid II will not only "tweak" the equity markets, but will also include coverage for foreign exchange, fixed income and derivatives.
Defending her comments as coming from a "conservative MEP", Swinburne also came out and endorsed the recent announcement from the technology arm of Nyse Euronext that they plan to offer their own consolidated tape product in Europe. Swinburne says this "market-led' solution is better than a "European utility" offering.
Swinburne offered a snapshot of the European Parliament's attitudes on the upcoming review of the Markets in Financial Services Directive (Mifid II) and well as upcoming regulatory pressures aimed at European dark pools.
Swinburne revealed details of a report she is working on Regulation of trading in financial instruments - "dark pools" etc… as part of her work on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs at the TradeTech Liquidity conference in London today.The UK Government has also revealed plans to look at the role of high frequency trading in the market.
The European Parliment has already annouced that they will take Swinburne's report "into account" when it reviews Mifid and the Market Abuse Directives (Mad)
Many MEPs have already "made up their minds that dark markets are always bad" says Swinburne. However, the report, which she says she has been working on for nine months, is an effort to look at market structure and how it can be improved and affected by regulation.
Although the report is still in draft form, Swinburne says she has come to the conclusion that broker crossing networks, multi-lateral trading facilities, dark pools etc… do not "provide a real marketplace to fund a capital markets economy".
Moves to fund and develop a pan-European industry-led consolidated tape utility was also given short shrift by Swinburne, saying she preferred "market-led" products, like the one announced by Nyse Euronext.
In fact her draft report says the following:
'Moves to Calls on the Commission to establish a working group to overcome the barriers to a European Consolidated Tape; and establish a privately run system that does not place any further financial burdens on tax payers to a Commission defined deadline.'
As for the Mifid review, or Mifid II, Swinburne says it will not focus on investor protection, but will instead look to reduce systemic risk across Europe. Mifid II will call for position limits on commodities and will cover foreign exchange and fixed income instruments. She adds that she thinks the review will have trouble building consensus within the fixed income market and should be handled under a separate review.
Despite not approving of legislative-led change, Swinburne does have high hopes for the new European Securities and Markets Authority (Esma). The Committee of European Securities Regulators (Cesr) is to change into Esma on 1 January 2011.
Echoing many in the financial services industry, Swinburne says that Mifid was not implemented in a consistent manner across all EU member states. The Esma should have more power to make Directives like Mifid more uniformly implemented, says Swinburne, which will "transform" the current European market structure.Download the document now 46.7 kb (PDF File)