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Investment services and regulated markets

EU laws aimed at making financial markets more efficient, resilient and transparent, and at strengthening investor protection.

What the EU is doing and why

The EU has established a comprehensive set of rules on investment services and activities with the aim to promote financial markets that are

  • fair
  • transparent
  • efficient
  • integrated

The first set of rules adopted by the EU helped to increase the competitiveness of financial markets by creating a single market for investment services and activities. The rules also ensured a high degree of harmonised protection for investors in financial instruments, such as shares, bonds or derivatives.

However, after the 2008 financial crisis it became clear that more robust rules were needed to

  • further strengthen investor protection
  • address the development of new trading platforms and activities

Policy making timeline

  1. 7 December 2022
    Legislative package - Capital markets union
  2. 18 October 2022
    Legislative proposal

    As highlighted in the 2022 State of the Union address, energy companies nowadays are facing severe problems with liquidity in electricity futures markets, which is putting the proper functioning of our energy system at risk. In this context, the Commission has proposed to the Council to adopt under Article 122 of the TFEU an intra-day price spike collar, a volatility management mechanism.

  3. 16 February 2021
    Legislation - Amendments to MiFID II

    Adoption of the Directive to integrate sustainability factors in the product governance obligations that was proposed in the July 2020 capital market recovery package

  4. 17 February 2020
  5. June 2014
    Legislation - MiFID II and MiFIR

    In June 2014 the European Commission adopted new rules revising MiFID framework. These consisted of a directive (MiFID II) and a regulation (MiFIR).

    MiFID II aims to reinforce the rules on securities markets by

    • ensuring that organised trading takes place on regulated platforms
    • introducing rules on algorithmic and high frequency trading
    • improving the transparency and oversight of financial markets – including derivatives markets - and addressing some shortcomings in commodity derivatives markets
    • enhancing investor protection and improving conduct of business rules as well as conditions for competition in the trading and clearing of financial instruments

    The revised MiFID rules also strengthen investor protection by introducing requirements on the organisation and conduct of those involved in these markets.

    MiFIR sets out requirements on

    • disclosure of data on trading activity to the public
    • disclosure of transaction data to regulators and supervisors
    • mandatory trading of derivatives on organised venues
    • removal of barriers between trading venues and providers of clearing services to ensure more competition
    • specific supervisory actions regarding financial instruments and positions in derivatives

    MiFID II and MiFIR became applicable starting 3 January 2018.

  6. April 2004
    Legislation - MiFID

    In April 2004 the European Commission adopted the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2004/39/EC (MiFID). In force from 31 January 2007 to 2 January 2018, it is a cornerstone of the EU's regulation of financial markets. It governed

    • provision of investment services in financial instruments by banks and investment firms
    • operation of traditional stock exchanges and alternative trading venues

    While MiFID created competition between these services and brought more choice and lower prices for investors, shortcomings were exposed in the wake of the financial crisis.

Relevant legislation