THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,
Having regard to Directive 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on markets in financial instruments and amending Directive 2002/92/EC and Directive 2011/61/EU, and in particular point (b) of the first subparagraph of Article 27(10),
It is essential to enable the public and investors to evaluate the quality of an investment firm's execution practices and to identify the top five execution venues in terms of trading volumes where investment firms executed client orders in the preceding year. In order to make meaningful comparisons and analyse the choice of top five execution venues it is necessary that information is published by investment firms specifically in respect of each class of financial instruments. In order to be able to fully evaluate the order flow of client orders to execution venues, investors and the public should be able to clearly identify if the investment firm itself was one of the top five execution venues for each class of financial instrument.
In order to fully assess the extent of the quality of execution being obtained on execution venues used by investment firms to execute client orders, including execution venues in third countries, it is appropriate that investment firms publish information required under this Regulation in relation to trading venues, market makers or other liquidity providers or any entity that performs a similar function in a third country to the functions performed by any of the foregoing.
In order to provide precise and comparable information, it is necessary to set out classes of financial instruments based on their characteristics relevant for publication purposes. A class of financial instruments should be narrow enough to reveal differences in order execution behaviour between classes but at the same time broad enough to ensure that the reporting obligation on investment firms is proportionate. Given the breadth of the equity class of financial instruments, it is appropriate to divide this class into subclasses based on liquidity. As liquidity is an essential factor governing execution behaviours and as execution venues are often competing to attract flows of the most frequently traded stocks, it is appropriate that equity instruments are classified according to their liquidity as determined under the tick size regime as set out in Directive 2014/65/EU.
When publishing the identity of the top five execution venues on which they execute client orders it is appropriate for investment firms to publish information on the volume and number of orders executed on each execution venue, so that investors may be able to form an opinion as to the flow of client orders from the firm to execution venue. Where, for one or several classes of financial instruments, an investment firm only executes a very small number of orders, information on the top five execution venues would not be very meaningful nor representative of order execution arrangements. It is therefore appropriate to require investment firms to clearly indicate the classes of financial instruments for which they execute a very small number of orders.
To prevent potentially market sensitive disclosures on the volume of business being conducted by the investment firm, the volume of execution and the number of executed orders should be expressed as a percentage of the investment firm's total execution volumes and total number of executed orders in that class of financial instrument, respectively, rather than as absolute values.
It is appropriate to require investment firms to publish information which is relevant to their order execution behaviour. To ensure that investment firms are not held accountable for order execution decisions for which they are not responsible, it is appropriate for investment firms to disclose the percentage of orders executed on each of the top five execution venues where the choice of execution venue has been specified by clients.
There are several factors which may potentially influence the order execution behaviour of investment firms such as close links between investment firms and execution venues. Given the potential materiality of these factors it is appropriate to require analysis of such factors in assessing the quality of execution obtained on all execution venues.
The different order types can be an important factor in explaining how and why investment firms execute orders on a given execution venue. It may also impact the way an investment firm will set its execution strategies, including programming of smart order routers to meet the specific objectives of those orders. It is therefore appropriate that a distinction between the different categories of order types be clearly marked in the report.
In order to properly analyse information it is important that users are in a position to differentiate between execution venues used for professional client orders and execution venues used for retail client orders, given the notable differences in how investment firms obtain the best possible result for retail clients as compared to professional clients, namely that investment firms must predominantly assess the factors of price and cost when executing orders from retail clients. Therefore it is appropriate that information on the top five execution venues be provided separately for retail clients and for professional clients respectively, permitting a qualitative assessment to be made of the order flow to such venues.
In order to comply with the legal obligation of best execution, investment firms, when applying the criteria for best execution for professional clients, will typically not use the same execution venues for securities financing transactions (SFTs) and other transactions. This is because the SFTs are used as a source of funding subject to a commitment that the borrower will return equivalent securities on a future date and the terms of SFTs are typically defined bilaterally between the counterparties ahead of the execution. Therefore, the choice of execution venues for SFTs is more limited than in the case of other transactions, given that it depends on the particular terms defined in advance between the counterparties and on whether there is a specific demand on those execution venues for the financial instruments involved. It is therefore appropriate that investment firms summarise and make public the top five execution venues in terms of trading volumes where they executed SFTs in a separate report so that that a qualitative assessment can be made of the order flow to such venues. Due to the specific nature of SFTs, and given that their large size would likely distort the more representative set of client transactions (namely, those not involving SFTs), it is also necessary to exclude them from the tables concerning the top five execution venues on which investment firms execute other client orders
It is appropriate that investment firms should publish an assessment of quality of execution obtained on all venues used by the firm. This information will provide a clear picture of the execution strategies and tools used to assess the quality of execution obtained on those venues. This information will also allow investors to assess the effectiveness of the monitoring carried out by investment firms in relation to those execution venues.
In specifically assessing the quality of execution obtained on all execution venues in relation to cost, it is appropriate that an investment firm also performs an analysis of the arrangements it has with these venues in relation to payments made or received and to discounts, rebates or non-monetary benefits received. Such an assessment should also allow the public to consider how such arrangements impact the costs faced by the investor and how they comply with Article 27(2) of Directive 2014/65/EU.
It is also appropriate to determine the scope of such publication and its essential features, including the use that investment firms make of the data on execution quality available from execution venues under Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/575.
Information on identity of execution venues and on the quality of execution should be published annually and should refer to order execution behaviour for each class of financial instruments in order to capture relevant changes within the preceding calendar year.
Investment firms should not be prevented from adopting an additional level of reporting which is more granular, provided that in such case the additional report complements and does not replace what is required under this Regulation.
For reasons of consistency and in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the financial markets, it is necessary that the provisions laid down in this Regulation and the related national provisions transposing Directive 2014/65/EU apply from the same date.
This Regulation is based on the draft regulatory technical standards submitted by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to the Commission.
ESMA has conducted open public consultations on the draft regulatory technical standards on which this Regulation is based, analysed the potential related costs and benefits and requested the opinion of the Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group established by Article 37 of Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council,
HAS ADOPTED THIS REGULATION: