ICMA Secondary Markets Update

ICMA Secondary Markets initiatives and workstreams


Mandatory buy-ins

The ICMA CSDR Settlement Discipline Working Group remains focused on implementation challenges of the mandatory buy-in regime with respect to cash bond and repo markets. The solutions and best practices being agreed by the Working Group will be incorporated into the ICMA Buy-in Rules which are being updated to create a contractual framework and market best practice to support implementation of and compliance with the new regulatory requirements (which are expected to come into force on 1 February 2022). The ICMA Buy-in Rules (part of ICMA's Secondary Market Rules & Recommendations), apply between members, and are usually incorporated into firms’ terms of business (members and non-members) by reference.

Please contact Andy Hill if you or your firm is not already engaged in this important initiative.

EU Bond Consolidated Tape
ICMA’s bond CT Taskforce requested follow up information from the European Commission regarding progressing the EU consolidated tape for bond markets. CT taskforce members were concerned that recent CT communications coming from the European Commission solely related to a consolidated tape for equity markets. There seemed to be no public mention of an EU bond consolidated tape.
Therefore, the Taskforce requested further information from the European Commission regarding specifically, plans and timeframes for a consolidated tape for EU bond markets. The European Commission replied with the following:

  • Any successful (CT impact assessments will have to pass several layers of scrutiny by an independent review board) legislative proposal on the MiFIR amendments for a CT would cover equity and bond instruments, with the necessary modulations in terms of architecture and governing rulebooks to fit both individual asset classes.
  • The timeframe for bond CT related MiFIR amendments, if approved by relevant legislators to be Q3, 2021. The bond CT amendments should be integrated into the "full" review of the MiFID II/R framework, currently scheduled for Q3, 2021.


Please contact Liz Callaghan if you would like to discuss further.



Regulatory updates


5 August 2020: ECB published breakdown of PEPP purchases up until the end of July 2020

The ECB has published its second bi-monthly breakdown of holdings under its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP), covering the period from June through end-of-July 2020. ICMA has consolidated the data into a short briefing note.

4 August: ESMA launched a call for expression of interest to renew the composition of the Consultative Working Group (CWG) of the ESMA Secondary Markets Standing Committee (SMSC). Interested experts are asked to send their application by 14 September.

31 July: ESMA published the latest quarterly liquidity assessment for bonds available for trading on EU trading venues. For this period, there are currently 569 liquid bonds subject to MiFID II transparency requirements.

28 July: ESMA announced that it is preparing new RTS to further postpone CSDR Settlement Discipline to 1 February 2022. This followed a request for the postponement from the European Commission.

24 July: European Commission Markets Recovery Package (“quick fixes”): The European Commission published a package of proposed MiFID II/R “quick fix” amendments, including amendments to information requirements:

  • Costs and charges disclosure: Introduction of an exemption for eligible counterparties and for professional clients for other services than investment advice and portfolio management. Pursuant to Articles 29a and 30, eligible counterparties and professional clients are exempted from the costs and charges requirements where other services than investment advice and portfolio management are concerned. In addition, in case of distance communication all clients using all services should be able, under certain conditions, to receive costs and charges information just after the transaction (Article 24(4)).
  • Suspend best execution reports (note: RTS 27, not RTS 28): In their current form best execution reports are not read by investors, while buy-side investment firms receive all the relevant information via other means (e.g. via brokerage meetings). To reduce the burden of producing those reports, this obligation will be suspended, pending a thorough analysis with regard to a possible streamlining of the reports. A new subparagraph is added to Article 27(3) that temporarily dis-applies the reporting obligation.
  • Alleviate cost benefit analysis: As part of the suitability assessment, firms are required to obtain information about the client in order to perform a cost-benefit analysis in case they ‘switch’ between products in the course of an ongoing relationship. For professional clients this is overly burdensome. A new paragraph to Article 25(2) is inserted, setting the requirements for the cost-benefit analysis as they are currently laid down in Article 54(11) of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565, adding an exemption combined with a possibility to opt-in for professional clients.

23 July: ESMA published the MiFID/MiFIR Annual Review Report


  • “ESMA has conducted its assessment and considers that it is appropriate to move to stage S2 and accordingly amend Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/583 for bonds for which there is a liquid market and the size specific to the instrument for bonds. This should increase the level of transparency available in the bond market without a negative impact on liquidity. ESMA considers that at this point in time there is not enough evidence to move to stage S2 for other classes of financial instruments.”

17 July: ESMA provided guidance on waivers from the pre-trade transparency

16 July: ESMA published its first Review Reports on the MiFIR transparency regime

15 July: ESMA published results of the annual transparency calculations for non-equity instruments

8 July:   ESMA updated the CSDR Q&As



Relevant publications and news items

July 2020

The impact of the ECB’s monetary policy measures taken in response to the COVID-19 crisis, ECB Economic Bulletin, Issue 5/2020

US Fixed Income Markets – Issuance & Trading, SIFMA Research Quarterly 2Q20

Financial intermediation and technology: What’s old, what’s new? ECB Working Paper Series, No.2438

Who takes the ECB’s targeted funding? ECB Working Paper Series, No.2439

Effects of Fed policy rate forecasts on real yields and inflation expectations at the zero lower bound, BIS Working Papers, No 873

MiFID II/MiFIR report on systematic internalisers ESMA Library document

Timeline of upcoming MiFID II Review Reports ESMA Library document


ICMA Podcast episodes

CSDR Settlement discipline – Implications for trading and documentation in Asia Pacific (webinar)
COVID-19 impact and outlook for covered bonds
COVID-19 ICMA AMIC weekly market update 24 June 2020
COVID-19 crisis the view from UBS
Electronic trading performance during the crisis and future developments
Accessing the Indian capital market
Capital market insights an emerging market perspective
The European IG bond market in the COVID-19 crisis
Navigating through the crisis an Allianz GI perspective
China's new securities law an offshore perspective
Bond market post-trade transparency and the consolidated tape (recording of ICMA virtual event on 23 June 2020)


Meetings and events

15 September: ICMA Secondary Market Practices Committee (3-5pm BST) (virtual meeting)

23 September: Annual bwf and ICMA Capital Markets Conference (virtual event)

6 October: Secondary markets in the wake of the pandemic (virtual event)


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