On 11 June 2020, the FCA published a statement on its website concerning open access regime for the trading and clearing of exchange-traded derivatives.

The statement reminds market participants that from 4 July 2020 trading venues and central counterparties (CCPs) offering the trading and clearing of exchange-traded derivatives will be subject to the open access regime set out in Articles 35 and 36 of MiFIR. These provisions provide that trading venues and CCPs may only deny access where the operational risk and complexity arising from granting access would cause undue risk. The specific factors trading venues and CCPs should consider when evaluating access requests are set out in Commission Delegated Regulation 2017/587. Trading venues and CCPs are expected to put in place processes to assess any open access requests against those factors. The operation of these processes will require senior management, legal, risk, compliance and IT resources.

The FCA states that responding to an open access request in current market conditions while relevant staff are working from home is likely to involve extra resources and operational complexity that would introduce additional elements of risk and may detract from the priority of maintaining resilient and orderly markets. The regulator adds that when making or assessing open access requests, trading venues should continue to prioritise the maintenance of orderly markets and the continuity of their critical services to the market even if this may delay the assessment of an open access request. Where a recipient delays an assessment, it should communicate its position to the requester without delay.

The FCA also refers to a statement from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)  recommending that Member State competent authorities have regard to the risks raised by COVID-19 in relation to open access for exchange traded derivatives. The FCA supports the approach set out in ESMA’s statement.