MAY 2020

Message from Martin Scheck, ICMA’s Chief Executive

As we are all aware, COVID-19 has caused immense market volatility, testing resilience in financial markets. In the face of this global disruption it has been tremendously encouraging that member’s remote working arrangements have allowed them to work effectively during the crisis and I am very pleased to say this has also been the case at ICMA. Our offices in Switzerland, Paris, London and Hong Kong have been closed, with staff working from home. We have been able to maintain extensive interaction with our members on our committees and our interaction with the regulatory authorities through virtual means is as intensive as ever.

We would normally expect to be seeing you, our members, throughout the year through regional and bilateral meetings, to understand better your interests and concerns – particularly as we approach our annual meeting. As opportunities for doing this are limited we would very much like to hear from you directly if there is anything more we should be doing to support you. As you know we have had to rearrange our annual meeting and conference, with the AGM itself now taking place in July in written, non-physical format, and the accompanying conference postponed until 2021.

Immense challenges have been thrown at us by the coronavirus, which has reminded us of the fragility of markets in times of great stress. The economic impacts are now becoming evident, but as government imposed lockdowns are gradually relaxed it is still not at all clear to what extent, and how quickly, economic activity will pick up.  Capital markets must play their full part in funding the recovery, facilitating the flow of liquidity and investment. ICMA is committed to supporting the market and its members in this endeavour.

Listen to the full version of the Chief Executive’s message

If you have any comments on this update or its contents, please contact us at:


New members in 2020

32 firms have joined ICMA so far this year from 19 countries, bringing the total membership to date to 595 institutions in 62 countries.

Secondary markets

ICMA has submitted a letter to the European Commission and ESMA outlining the industry concerns related to timely implementation of the CSDR mandatory buy-in provisions. The letter highlights the ongoing lack of regulatory clarification required by the industry to facilitate successful implementation, as well as asking the authorities to review the design and application of the buy-in framework in light of recent market events.

A briefing note outlining the identified deficiencies in the CSDR provisions for cash compensation in the case of bond markets, as well highlighting some of the potential market solutions under discussion, including the significant challenges associated with these, was produced in conjunction with the ICMA’s dedicated CSDR Cash Compensation Workstream, part of ICMA’s CSDR-SD Working Group

Consolidated tape for bond markets
ICMA has published a report into considerations surrounding the establishment of an EU consolidated tape (CT) for bond markets. This report was produced in response to a request from the European Commission’s DG-FISMA for a bespoke study assessing the feasibility of implementing a consolidated tape for EU post-trade raw bond data. 

Bond Market Post-Trade Transparency Directory
A new overview of current post-trading reporting obligations across multiple jurisdictions from Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific, provides a consolidated view to compare both regulatory rules and best practice guidance on bond post-trade transparency regimes, as well as details on reporting fields and exceptions.

Repo and collateral markets

ESMA confirms ICMA proposals for reporting of central bank repos under MiFIR
In response to an ICMA query, ESMA has provided some long-awaited clarification on the reporting of repos transacted with EU central banks. Under SFTR, SFTs transacted with one of the 27 EU central banks that are part of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) are exempted from the reporting obligation. However, these trades have in turn been included in the scope of MiFIR transaction reporting.  

Updated version of SFTR recommendations
On 22 April, ICMA’s European Repo and Collateral Council (ERCC) published an updated version of the ICMA Recommendations for Reporting under SFTR. The ICMA guide was initially published on 24 February and aims to help members interpret the regulatory reporting framework specified by ESMA and sets out complementary best practice recommendations to provide additional clarity and address ambiguities in the official guidance. As compared to the initial publication, the later version relevant updates, including to reflect the recently granted 3-month delay to the first phase of the SFTR go-live as well as the forbearance on backloading.

ICMA repo survey and report on market conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic
The 38th ICMA survey measured outstandings in the European repo market on 11 December 2019 based on the returns of 58 financial institutions, recording the baseline figure for the size of the repo market as a record EUR 8,310.3 billion, compared with the total for June 2019, which was EUR 7,761.4 billion, an increase of 7.1% and a year on year rise of 5.9% . 

The COVID-19 market report revealed that while the market performed relatively well, demand for repo increased significantly during the height of the crisis in February/March and dealers’ capacity to intermediate that demand was relatively constrained, limiting access to many firms that needed it.

2020 legal opinions on Global Master Repo Agreement
The 2020 ICMA GMRA legal opinions which support the Global Master Repurchase Agreement (GMRA), the standard agreement for international repo transactions, including a new opinion for Argentina were published on 16 April.

ERCC webinars on key repo and collateral market topics
The webinars include presentations on the two important regulatory initiatives that are set to reshape the market, the EU SFT Regulation and CSDR mandatory buy-ins; a legal update highlighting developments in relation to repo documentation and the ICMA GMRA legal opinions; the results of the latest European repo survey; and a discussion on ICMA’s ongoing collaboration with ISDA to extend the Common Domain Model (CDM) to SFTs, building a standardised digital representation of repos.

Sustainable finance 

High-level definitions for sustainable finance
ICMA is proposing high-level definitions, building on current market usage and existing official sector terminology, for the most commonly used terms in the sustainable finance field, for example climate finance, impact finance, green finance and social finance. The objective is to ensure that all participants and stakeholders are using a common and transparent vocabulary. Listen to Nicholas Pfaff, Managing Director and Head of ICMA Sustainable Finance with colleagues Simone Utermarck, Director and Ozgur Altun, Associate, discussing the high-level definitions paper.

The EU’s sustainability disclosure regime
New and amended EU legislation is introducing significant sustainability and ESG related disclosure requirements that will impact all participants in the European capital markets. This is arguably leading to what we are referring to as an “EU sustainability disclosure regime”. Our publication seeks to provide the market with an initial comprehensive and practical overview of these developments. 
Listen to the podcast on how the new EU sustainability disclosure obligations will impact large firms and asset managers.
Responses to consultations

European Commission MiFID II/R review consultation paper
ICMA has responded to the European Commission's MiFID II/R review consultation paper on Primary markets, secondary markets and fintech in relation to bond markets

Consultation on the EU Ecolabel
ICMA's Asset Management and Investors Council has published its response to the EC consultation on the EU Ecolabel for financial products. While AMIC supports the idea of an EU quality stamp for ESG retail investments funds it also warns that some important changes are required to ensure the success of this new label. AMIC recommends in particular broadening the list of eligible assets for diversification purposes but also to further support companies transitioning to a lower-carbon business model.

ICMA Legal and Regulatory Helpdesk numbers
(ICMA members only)

+44 20 7213 0341 (London)
+41 44 360 5237 (Zurich)
+852 2531 6590 (Hong Kong)
For legal queries:
For market practice and regulatory policy queries:
Green Bond Principles and Social Bond Principles Helpdesk 
(ICMA members and members/observers of the Principles only)
+33 1 70 17 64 70


ICMA virtual events

Social bonds – gaining traction, 27 May
Social bonds and other social-themed fixed income products are gaining traction with market participants and are especially relevant in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. In this virtual event, sustainable finance experts from ICMA and the market will discuss key features of social bonds and other virus response bonds, ongoing development of the Social Bond Principles, and the applicability of social bonds in addressing socioeconomic issues including those arising from COVID-19.
2020 Green Bond Principles and Social Bond Principles Annual General Meeting, 9 June

The 2020 Green & Social Bond Principles Annual General Meeting will take place virtually on 9 June, hosted by the London Stock Exchange Group on its digital platform. 
The GBP SBP Executive Committee and ICMA will present in detail the work carried out over the last year by the Executive Committee, the different Working Groups and the newly established Advisory Council. The results of this year’s Executive Committee elections will also be announced. 
Admission: This virtual event is open to Members and Observers of the GBP and SBP only.
Coming in June - a full programme of virtual events will be available shortly 
  • A conversation on the EU bond consolidated tape
  • ICMA and IHS Markit joint event on recent trends in the credit bond markets
  • 2020 Green Bond Principles and Social Bond Principles virtual conference
  • Transition to risk-free rates: the role of financial markets
  • First lessons of the COVID-19 crisis for the asset management industry
  • European bond market - Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Frank Czichowski, former Treasurer, KfW and Member of the Supervisory Board, Commerzbank -  reflections on 20 years in the industry
Access our library of ICMA Webinars covering various themes in primary, secondary and repo markets as well as sustainable finance and fintech.

ICMA online education

ICMA has launched a new suite of its market leading foundation courses on a new digital platform. You can register now for these completely redesigned and interactive programmes, which are certified and suitable for those in the front, middle or back office functions.

The new ICMA online courses include: Delegates can study at their own pace for up to 6 months with access to additional resources from ICMA, online assessment plus the ability to interact with the tutor/trainer and other delegates.  
The FMFQ Online will start on 1 June while the other online programmes will commence on 1 July.  

Special discounts for ICMA members. An introductory offer is also available for registrations on or before 1 October.

Twitter & LinkedIn

We are increasingly using social media to post notifications of new reports and consultations, also events and courses – sign up to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and be the first to know. 


Market Practice and Regulatory Policy

More detailed information on ICMA's Market Practice and Regulatory Policy work on behalf of members can be found in the ICMA Quarterly Report for the Second Quarter 2020, published on 6 April. The ICMA Quarterly Report for the Third Quarter 2020 is due to be published in July.
The ICMA Regulatory Grid which summarises proposed financial regulations affecting the cross-border securities market in Europe is available for download on the locked members’-only area of the ICMA website. It is a working draft provided by the ICMA Market Practice and Regulatory Policy team and is periodically updated.

For a full list of ICMA’s Market Practice and Regulatory Policy experts and their areas of expertise click here.


Contact: +44 20 7213 0310

Receiving the right news from ICMA? Update your preferences.

Copyright © 2020 International Capital Market Association (ICMA), Zurich and its licensors. All rights asserted and reserved.

Your details are shared with MailChimp, our third party mailing platform. MailChimp uses cookies and tracking technology to see whether emails are sent, opened or bounced and whether links are followed. See MailChimp's Cookie Statement.

International Capital Market Association (ICMA) | Dreikönigstrasse 8 | CH-8002 Zurich


Update your contact preferences | Privacy, data and cookies | Contact Us