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Organised Trading Facility (OTF) - Page 3





Questions and Answers on MiFID II and MiFIR investor protection and intermediaries topics, ESMA35-43-349


1 Best execution


Question 16 [Last update: 3 October 2017]


How do the OTF best execution obligations apply when third-party brokers are clients of the OTF or when these brokers provide Direct Electronic Access (DEA) to the OTF (see Article 4(1)(41) of MiFID II)?


Answer 16


When an investment firm or a market operator operating an OTF receives orders or indications of interest from a broker acting on behalf of its own clients, the operator of the OTF should be implementing its own best execution policy when executing the order from the broker as it owes its user clients (the broker) the duty of best execution. The broker should determine that the OTF it selects allows it to comply with its best execution obligations towards its own clients. To that end, the broker should conduct a performance assessment of the OTF including how discretion is exercised.


In the specific case of DEA to an OTF, the DEA order is entered in the OTF client’s name (the broker) and the OTF operator should execute the DEA order as it would for any OTF client order. Alternatively, the operator of the OTF may decide not to permit DEA to its system.


ESMA notes that a DEA order could be considered as a client specific instruction to the broker providing the DEA arrangements to its clients (see Q.16).





MiFIR recitals 8 and 9:


(8) In order to make Union financial markets more transparent and efficient and to level the playing field between various venues offering multilateral trading services it is necessary to introduce a new trading venue category of organised trading facility (OTF) for bonds, structured finance products, emissions allowances and derivatives and to ensure that it is appropriately regulated and applies non-discriminatory rules regarding access to the facility. That new category is broadly defined so that now and in the future it should be able to capture all types of organised execution and arranging of trading which do not correspond to the functionalities or regulatory specifications of existing venues. Consequently, appropriate organisational requirements and transparency rules which support efficient price discovery need to be applied. The new category encompasses systems eligible for trading clearing-eligible and sufficiently liquid derivatives.


It should not include facilities where there is no genuine trade execution or arranging taking place in the system, such as bulletin boards used for advertising buying and selling interests, other entities aggregating or pooling potential buying or selling interests, electronic post-trade confirmation services, or portfolio compression, which reduces non-market risks in existing derivatives portfolios without changing the market risk of the portfolios. Portfolio compression may be provided by a range of firms which are not regulated as such by this Regulation or by Directive 2014/65/EU, such as central counterparties (CCPs), trade repositories as well as by investment firms or market operators. It is appropriate to clarify that where investment firms and market operators carry out portfolio compression certain provisions of this Regulation and of Directive 2014/65/EU are not applicable in relation to portfolio compression. Since central securities depositories (CSDs) will be subject to the same requirements as investment firms when providing certain investment services or performing certain investment activities, the provisions of this Regulation and of Directive 2014/65/EU should not be applicable to firms that are not regulated thereby when carrying out portfolio compression.


(9) That new category OTF will complement the existing types of trading venues. While regulated markets and MTFs have non-discretionary rules for the execution of transactions, the operator of an OTF should carry out order execution on a discretionary basis subject, where applicable, to the pre-transparency requirements and best execution obligations. Consequently, conduct of business rules, best execution and client order handling obligations should apply to the transactions concluded on an OTF operated by an investment firm or a market operator. In addition, any market operator authorised to operate an OTF should comply with Chapter 1 of Directive 2014/65/EU regarding conditions and procedures for authorisation of investment firms. The investment firm or the market operator operating an OTF should be able to exercise discretion at two different levels: first when deciding to place an order on the OTF or to retract it again and second when deciding not to match a specific order with the orders available in the system at a given point in time, provided that that complies with specific instructions received from clients and with best execution obligations.


For the system that crosses client orders the operator should be able to decide if, when and how much of two or more orders it wants to match within the system. In accordance with Article 20(1), (2), (4) and (5) of Directive 2014/65/EU and without prejudice to Article 20(3) of Directive 2014/65/EU, the firm should be able to facilitate negotiation between clients as to bring together two or more potentially compatible trading interests in a trans­action. At both discretionary levels the OTF operator must have regard to its obligations under Articles 18 and 27 of Directive 2014/65/EU. The market operator or investment firm operating an OTF should make clear to users of the venue how they will exercise discretion. Because an OTF constitutes a genuine trading platform, the platform operator should be neutral. Therefore, the investment firm or market operator operating the OTF should be subject to requirements in relation to non-discriminatory execution and neither the investment firm or market operator operating the OTF nor any entity that is part of the same group or legal person as the investment firm or market operator should be allowed to execute client orders in an OTF against its proprietary capital.


For the purpose of facilitating the execution of one or more client orders in bonds, structured finance products, emission allowances and derivatives that have not been declared subject to the clearing obligation in accordance with Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council ( 1 ), an OTF operator is permitted to use matched principal trading within the meaning of Directive 2014/65/EU provided the client has consented to that process. In relation to sovereign debt instruments for which there is not a liquid market, an investment firm or market operator operating an OTF should be able to engage in dealing on own account other than matched principal trading. When matched principal trading is used all pre-trade and post-trade transparency requirements as well as best execution obligations must be complied with. The OTF operator or any entity that is part of the same group or legal person as the investment firm or market operator should not act as systematic internaliser in the OTF operated by it. Furthermore, the operator of an OTF should be subject to the same obligations as an MTF in relation to the sound management of potential conflicts of interest.





Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 July 2018 19:30


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