11.05.2019

SEC Extends MiFID II Unbundling Relief

The staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued an extension of an Oct. 26, 2017 no-action letter it provided to assist market participants regarding their U.S.-regulated activities as they engage in efforts to comply with the provisions relating to research in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II) and related implementing rules and regulations.

Under the extension of the temporary no-action letter, the staff would not recommend enforcement action to the Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (Advisers Act) against broker-dealers receiving payments in hard dollars or through research payment accounts from clients subject to MiFID II. This no-action letter, which was set to expire July 3, 2020, has been extended until July 3, 2023. Separately, the extension letter notes the continued ability of broker-dealers to receive payments for research under section 28(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 through client commission arrangements (CCAs), including that the use of CCAs does not affect whether the exclusion for broker-dealers from the definition of “investment adviser” under the Advisers Act may be available.

“Today’s extension of the staff’s no-action letter is an important step in our continued efforts to address changes in the market for research payments driven by MiFID II with an eye toward preserving investor access to research to the maximum extent possible,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “The impacts of MiFID II are evolving, as EU authorities and regulators in individual EU member states evaluate its effects and consider whether to modify their rules. Today’s extension will allow our staff to continue to monitor the evolving impact of MiFID II and evaluate whether any additional guidance or Commission action is appropriate. In this regard, our staff is focused on ensuring that market participants have flexibility and choice in how they pay for research.”

To continue facilitating the staff’s monitoring and assessment efforts with respect to the temporary no-action relief, SEC staff encourages members of the public to make their views known on these matters via webform or e-mail.

Source: SEC

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