Written by Tim Focas, Capital Markets Lead at Aspectus 

It’s that time again – where the great and the good of trading and technology gather to put the world to rights at the TradeTech conference in Paris. With a certain MiFID II finally in play, this year provides the ideal excuse to mull over some of the grey areas over a glass or three of French red.

For tech vendors that supply solutions to overcome any post-January 3rd niggles, these grey areas provide ample opportunity to drive new communications initiatives. There is just one snag: there is only so long a topic can run before both the market and the media run out of new things to say.

The fact that it is still early days leaves the door open to tell MiFID II stories – but it has to be the right story told at the right time. Take the overarching goal of trying to replicate equity-like transparency across derivative markets. The trouble is that four months in, there has been no real concreate guidance as to how this long pricing information should be made available. From a few minutes/hours to the end of the trading day, there have been lots of different approaches. All this has made it very difficult for the end investor just to get hold of all the various sources, let alone make sense of them. Technology firms, particularly those with highly sophisticated derivative solutions, should consider building a campaign around this issue now.

Granted, not everyone in Paris next week will have a specific solution. For these firms, looking at broader themes relating to the continued cost of compliance is something to consider. Remember the never-ending stream of stories about how incredibly expensive it would be to comply? Since then, there has not been anything like so much discussion on how expensive the aftershocks will be. Market participants can expect some leeway, but it will not be long before local regulators start providing feedback which may require system upgrades. Take reporting as a prime case in point. Not a day goes by without a market participant needing to document a huge number of data fields to local authorities. This intricate information, such as a trader’s date of birth, doesn’t just go to the regulators, it also has to be recorded at trading venues. While the cost of doing this causes ongoing headaches for those involved, it provides an interesting angle for vendors looking to breathe new life into a regulatory campaign.

To hold audience interest in any major event, and they do not come much bigger than MiFID II, you need to anticipate what the interesting hook is well in advance. From the September deadline for licensing as a Systematic Internaliser to the phased in bond transparency regime, there will be opportunities for new stories. The key is, where possible, to plan in advance. Anyone got anything planned for ESMA’s release of the top five execution venues/brokers? It is due for release the day before TradeTech. I can almost hear the cries of “Oh, mon Dieu!”

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