ESMA has published a consultation paper setting out its proposals for detailed guidelines for trading platforms, investment firms and regulators to address the challenges of a highly automated trading environment. The proposed guidelines seek to clarify the obligations of trading platforms and investment firms under the existing EU legislative framework and cover four broad areas:

  • electronic trading systems;
  • fair and orderly trading;
  • preventing market abuse and, in particular, market manipulation; and
  • direct market access and sponsored access.

The deadline for comments is 3 October 2011, and ESMA expects to publish the final guidelines at the end of 2011. (Source: Consultation paper: Guidelines on Systems and Controls in a Highly Automated Trading Environment for Trading Platforms, Investment Firms and Competent Authorities and Press Notice)