Calls for Global Guidelines to Fix Confusion Surrounding Trade Reporting

No fewer than eleven big trade association names have put pressure on a number of regulatory bodies with the aim of establishing a globally uniform set of guidelines around reporting requirements for trading for the market to follow.

The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) are two of the monitoring bodies to have received a letter that has gone out world-wide, designed to coincide with the annual meeting of global regulators assembling in London to discuss legal issues. 

The letter - which cautions against "a lack of standardisation and differences in requirements across jurisdictions" - has been signed by groups including the Securities Industry and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association. 

Up until now, confusion in the industry has worked against authorities' efforts to improve their understanding of trading on the derivatives markets. To avoid leverage accumulating inconspicuously in the financial system, regulators had aimed to build up critical information banks in data silos known as 'trade repositories'. 

 Each week over 300 million trades run through Europe's six repositories, which have touched more than 16.5 billion in the 15 months that they have been in operation. 

Executive Director of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), Verena Ross, has said how it is "rare to see data quality at an acceptable level". The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has also emphasised how its own ambiguity has not helped the opaque market nature. 

Trade associations have been clear on their standpoint, arguing that regulators need to uncover and agree on the trade data they need then put together a workable and uniform set of reporting requirements. 

The associations also called for laws to be changed so that regulators could share data globally; currently some bodies can not hand information over across borders due to local privacy laws. 

For their part, global regulators have been making attempts to tighten the industry. Merrill Lynch was hit by a record £13m fine this year by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for incorrectly reporting 35 million transactions in the seven years leading up to November 2014.