12.20.2017
By Rob Daly

ESMA Delays LEI Reporting

Many firms can breathe a slight sigh of relief as the European Securities and Markets Authority extended the deadline for legal entity identifier reporting by six months.

Regulators claimed that such an extension would likely ease the implementation of that specific portion of MiFID II and MiFIR’s mandates.

“The news that ESMA has granted a six-month extension for LEI applications will be welcomed by those market participants who have struggled to be ready for the January 3 deadline,” Tony Freeman, executive director, industry relations at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., told Markets Media. “Industry preparations for MiFID II have been fraught and in spite of the reprieve on LEIs, there are other requirements of the regulation which market participants are still grappling with.”

It is difficult to estimate the number of firms that will still not meet the looming deadline, according to Freeman.

“It’s completely unknown what the size of the affected community is regarding the number of institutional investors who are impacted by MiFID II directly because they are outside Europe and are indirectly exposed to due to MiFID II’s extraterritorial nature,” he said.

Freeman noted that many in the Asia-Pacific region have just realized what non-compliance with the regulations will mean to their trading and client relationships. The US is more prepared than Asia-Pac, but he still sees pockets where firms are unaware of such issues like commission unbundling.

US firms also should expect new terms popping up in their counterparty agreements due to MiFID II, according to Don Andrews, partner & global practice leader for risk and compliance at Reed Smith. “They have to be prepared when they sign those agreements to make sure that they are in fact adhering to those agreements.”

Despite the relief on LEI reporting, it will be a busy last week of the year for the industry as it makes the final push to meet the MiFID II deadline, according to Freeman. “For some, Christmas has effectively been canceled.”

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