Message from Martin Scheck, ICMA’s Chief Executive

Looking back over the last four eventful months it is very evident that after initial turbulence markets have coped well with huge changes to working conditions and economic expectations. Most market participants have, thanks to accelerated adoption of new technology been able to continue working effectively and bond markets have also proved resilient. In many emerging and developed markets we have already seen the return of issuers to the market in significant numbers, with market access broadening from simply the investment grade issuer community. Capital markets are already playing a full role in supporting the world’s economic recovery from the pandemic and current recession and one effect of the crisis has been to stimulate interest in and issuance of social bonds, whose proceeds will be directed to repairing the economic and social effects of Covid-19.

In all this regulatory development has definitely not stood still, characterised by the welcome responsiveness of regulators and supervisors to provide flexibility on deadlines to ensure that the markets remained resilient and by a number of regulatory consultations to which we are contributing in Europe and beyond. This month there have been major milestones for two projects where we have been working intensively for several years on behalf of our members. Reporting on SFTR has gone live and we are able to see and share the data which is being produced. After extensive industry preparation the implementation appears so far to be on track and we are hopeful that this will contribute to transparency in the repo market. On CSDR following intense advocacy, we now have a delay in implementation which provides an important and much needed opportunity for the review of the mandatory buy-in provisions.  There are positive indications of the authorities clarifying the position in relation to netting in China which we are following with interest, in association with local counsel and other trade bodies. We are also working with our regional committee for Africa on developments in the region and supporting our membership with virtual events, such as The impact of COVID-19 on the debt capital markets in South Africa.

Martin Scheck
ICMA Chief Executive

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

ICMA held its AGM on 22 July, in written format due to the pandemic, at which the 2019 accounts were approved, auditors appointed and statutes changed to allow for virtual participation in future AGMs. The following new board members were elected:

Eila Kreivi, European Investment Bank
Heleen van Rooijen, Nederlandse Waterschapsbank
Gareth Allen, UBS
Ingo Mainert, Allianz Global Investors
View full ICMA Board

Save the date for the 2021 ICMA AGM and Conference

We hope to welcome members in Vienna from May 19 to 21


On 28 July ESMA announced that it is working on a proposal to possibly delay the entry into force of the CSDR settlement discipline regime until 1 February 2022. ESMA confirms that this is due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of regulatory projects and IT deliveries by CSDs, and came as a request from the European Commission.

ESMA aims to publish the final report on further postponing the date of entry into force of the RTS on settlement discipline by September. Following the endorsement of the RTS by the European Commission, the Commission Delegated Regulation will then be subject to the non-objection of the European Parliament and of the Council. Read more…


SFTR reporting goes live
Reporting under the Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR) started on 13 July. In the first week, firms reported 1,435,727 SFTs with a cash value of EUR 14.3 trillion and collateral value of EUR 17.8 trillion. Repo (both repurchase transactions and buy/sell-backs) accounted for 398,006 transactions (27.7% of the total), a total cash value of EUR 13.5 trillion (94.7%) and collateral value of EUR 17.5 trillion (98.4%). For a detailed statistical breakdown of the data for the first two weeks of reporting please visit our webpage.

Since 13 July, EU-incorporated and located banks and investment firms, as well as CCPs and CSDs, have had an obligation to report all new SFTs and subsequent life-cycle events to authorised trade repositories (TRs), who are responsible for validating the reports, reconciling the data and making the results available to regulators. All TRs authorised under SFTR - currently these are DTCC, Regis-TR, UnaVista and KDPW - are required to publish, every Tuesday, a set of summary statistics for the previous week. ICMA is collecting, aggregating and tabulating this data each week, and will provide regular detailed analysis in the form of charts and commentary, which will contribute to enhanced transparency of the repo market.


Benchmark reform – the transition to risk-free rates
ICMA continues to engage with regulators and members on the global issue of benchmark reform The most recent information on ICMA’s activities and links to official sector and other information and materials, are available on the ICMA Benchmark reform and transition to risk-free rates webpage. Resources relating specifically to developments in Asia Pacific can be found on our website. Jointly with APLMA, ASIFMA, and ISDA we recently published the IBOR Transition Guide for Asia.

An official sector panel discussion on the transition to risk-free rates, recorded on 25 June, features contributions from the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Swiss National Bank on progress on the transition away from LIBOR and other IBORs and towards risk-free reference rates, with a focus on the international bond market.

An update on the transition from LIBOR to SONIA in the bond market was published in the !CMA Quarterly Report for the Third Quarter 2020.

Post- Brexit
Following its departure from the EU on Brexit on 31 January 2020, the British Government formally notified the EU on 12 June that the UK will not agree to an extension of the transition period beyond the end of 2020. The deadline for agreeing on an extension for a further period of up to two years would have been at the end of June. Issues arising for ICMA members are discussed in detail in the Quarterly Report for the Second Quarter of 2020.

Sustainable finance
The Green & Social Bond Principles released Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles (SLBP) at their 6th Annual General Meeting on 9 June. These are voluntary guidelines for sustainability-linked bonds (SLBs) defined as forward-looking performance-based bond instruments where the issuer is committing to future improvements in sustainability outcomes within a predefined timeline. The financial and/or structural characteristics of SLBs can vary depending on whether the issuer achieves those predefined Sustainability Performance Targets. Within these parameters, the use of funds for SLBs are intended for general purposes rather than for underlying sustainable projects as in the case of existing green, social and sustainability bonds.

The Green & Social Bond Principles also released the 2020 update of the Social Bond Principles providing expanded social project categories and additional target populations, and also incorporating recent guidance for social bonds addressing the COVID-19 crisis.
The following publications were also updated:

Harmonized Framework for Impact Reporting (now including guidance for biodiversity)
Working Towards a Harmonized Framework for Impact Reporting for Social Bonds
High-level Mapping of Green, Social and Sustainability Bonds to the Sustainable Development Goals
Guidance Handbook
External Review Guidelines

A Chinese translation of the ICMA publication Sustainable Finance: High-level definitions was produced in May.



Updated FinTech mapping directory
ICMA has updated its mapping directory of technology solutions for repo and cash bond operations. The directory now lists a total of 159 solutions, compared to 130 solutions last year and 87 solutions when it was first launched in November 2017. It is divided into 10 categories comprising collateral management, corporate actions, exposure agreement, intraday liquidity monitoring and reporting, matching, confirmation & allocation, reconciliations but also ancillary areas such as static data and SSI, workflow and communication and KYC onboarding.  

ICMA together with ISDA, ISLA, UK Finance, AFMA, Association of German Banks, LBMA and the International Islamic Financial Market has made a joint commitment to defining and promoting the development of a digital future for financial markets in a letter sent to the Financial Stability Board, the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.


ICMA responses to consultations June & July 2020

15 July  Response to the EC consultation on the Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy.

10 July  Response to the ESMA Survey on Topics for the CSDR Review, focusing on Article 7, Measures to address settlement fails, and in particular the mandatory buy-in (MBI) provisions.

6 July  ICMA’s Asset Management and Investors Council (AMIC ) submitted its response to the EC consultations on the integration of sustainability risks in UCITS, AIFMD and MiFID.

30 June  Response to the European Commission call for feedback on the Report from the High Level Forum (HLF) on Capital Markets Union.

25 June  Response to the European Commission’s Consultation on a new digital finance strategy for Europe / FinTech Action Plan, notably to questions on the use of identifiers (LEI, UTI, UPI), access to publicly available data, areas for AI-applications in the financial sector, and standardising concept definitions and reporting obligations.

15 June ICMA’s ERCC responded to the ESMA consultation on its First Report on Central Clearing Solutions for Pension Scheme Arrangements. The ERCC has limited its response to the Questions related to Section 6.3 of the report: The market-based repo solution.

12 June  Response to ESMA's consultation paper on MiFID II/ MiFIR review report on the transparency regime for non-equity and the trading obligations for derivatives.

11 June  Response to the EC consultation on the Review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD).

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 Third Quarter 2020, published on 10 July and the ICMA briefing call for members on 16 July.

The ICMA Quarterly Report for the Fourth Quarter 2020 is due to be published in October.

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


New members
The following firms were admitted to ICMA membership in July 2020:
Barclays Bank Delaware, Wilmington
Hunton Andrews Kurth (UK) LLP, London
Lord, Abbett & Co. LLC, Jersey City
Moody's Corporation, New York
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, London

Bringing the total number of ICMA members to 596 institutions in 62 countries.

We would like to communicate with you in the way that works best for you!

We publish notifications of all our publications, reports and consultations on Twitter and Linked-In.  Follow us @ICMAgroup or on our LinkedIn company page.


We are now producing newsletters covering in more detail developments in FinTech, secondary markets, asset management and green, social and sustainable bond markets. All are free to ICMA members – update your preferences on our mailing database to subscribe.

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

We hope you didn’t miss any of our virtual events in June and July, but if you did recordings of most of them are still available on our website, including:

23 July  CSDR Settlement Discipline - Implications for trading and document in Asia-Pacific

29 June  The impact of COVID-19 on the debt capital markets in South Africa

25 June  Transition to risk free rates: an official sector panel discussion

23 June  Bond market post-trade transparency and the consolidated tape

22 June  Key deliverables from the Green & Social Bond Principles AGM 2020

18 June  AMIC - First lessons of the COVID 19 crisis for the asset management industry

Save the date for our autumn virtual events!

We are organising a full programme of virtual events from September to December 2020.

The Annual bwf and ICMA Capital Markets Conference on 23 September will cover the regulatory and business issues currently facing capital market participants with specific emphasis on the German perspective.

ICMA and the Nordic Capital Market Forum (NCMF) joint annual conference will look at developments in the Nordic bond markets within a European context, on 2 October.

Secondary bond markets in the wake of the pandemic on 6 October hosted by ICMA’s Secondary Market Practices Committee (SMPC), will bring together market experts to discuss the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on global bond markets and the considerations that will shape future performance and dynamics.

ICMA European Repo and Collateral Council (ERCC) Annual General Meeting, 7 October – hosted by Equilend.

ICMA Primary Market Forum 13 October


ICMA Education

Autumn course dates announced – all courses livestreamed

We are making the full ICMA course programme available for the first time in a new live streamed format so that you can safely carry on studying with us to enhance your career in financial markets wherever you are.  On all the courses in our virtual classroom you can interact with our tutors, asking questions (and having them answered) in real time and you will have the opportunity to work with other students.

Our live streamed sessions take place over the course of several weeks, with either two or three sessions per week. Each session is 3.5 hours long and is designed to encourage interaction to enhance the practical skills provided at ICMA courses.

Choose one of our courses, at the level to suit you, in these market areas: Debt capital markets; Fixed income trading & strategies; Repo & collateral markets; Sustainable finance or Financial operations and book your place for 2020.

ICMA courses and workshops are eligible for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.

Self study courses
Choose one of our Foundation courses and start studying online at your own pace. Register before 1 October for the introductory discount!

Financial Markets Foundation Qualification (FMFQ)
Introduction to Primary Markets Qualification (IPMQ)
Introduction to Bond Markets Qualification (IBMQ)
Securities Operations Foundation Qualification (SOFQ)


Contact: +44 20 7213 0310

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