On June 15, the UK Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) published a policy statement and a supervisory statement on algorithmic trading.

While the PRA’s policy only directly applies to PRA-regulated and dual-regulated firms, such as banks, UK Financial Conduct Authority-regulated firms (e.g., most proprietary trading firms) may wish to take into account the PRA’s expectations regarding governance and risk management in relation to their algorithmic trading activity.

The policy and supervisory statements follow the Bank of England and PRA’s consultation paper, which was published in February 2018. Five responses were received to the consultation paper; the PRA stated that these were generally supportive of the proposals for the risk management and governance of algorithmic trading. The respondents also supported further clarification and alternative wording in certain areas.

The policy statement includes the PRA’s feedback to the responses, along with final decisions and the rationale for related amendments to the supervisory statement, including the following changes in light of respondents’ comments:

  • Algorithm approval process—Each function that has a role in the approval of algorithms (including, front office, risk management, and other systems and controls functions) is expected to sign off on the risks which are relevant to them, rather than all the risks applicable to a specific algorithm.
  • Testing and deployment—When testing algorithms, firms are only expected to document material differences between the test environment and production environment, rather than all differences.
  • Inventories and documentation—The expectation is that inventories and documentation will be available rather than “immediately available’” to all personnel who have responsibility for the oversight of algorithmic trading.

The expectations in the supervisory statement will take effect from June 30. Any remediation work required by firms after that date will be carried out as part of the PRA’s ordinary supervisory role.

The PRA policy statement and supervisory statement are available here and here respectively.