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FSA Finalises Rules For Alternative Trading Systems

by Robin Pilgrim,, London

03 July 2003

The UK's Financial Services Authority on Monday issued its final rules for alternative trading systems (ATS), designed to increase transparency for market participants and improve the monitoring of trading platforms.

Alternative trading systems are regulated securities firms which match customers for securities and financial transactions within their own systems, and are currently regulated under the normal regulatory regime for securities firms. However, from April 2004 the new rules - which specifically address issues which are important for trade execution platforms - will come into force.

Proposals contained within the policy statement released earlier this week include:

- Enforced transparency provisions for ATSs, designed to lead to improved visibility of prices for investors, thus facilitating informed investment decisions;

- Requirements that ATS operators introduce arrangements to monitor trading undertaken on their systems, and report potentially abusive trading to the FSA;

- Requirements that enhanced information about systems be given to retail and intermediate customers who sign up to use them;

- Requirements that markets are properly informed about the instruments traded where there are retail and intermediate customers using ATS systems.

Speaking on Monday, Gay Huey Evans, the FSA's Markets and Exchanges Division director announced that:

'It is important to enhance the standards of monitoring and transparency in all markets to ensure that consumers and investors are adequately protected and to maintain market confidence. By introducing these standards we want to encourage greater comparability and therefore increase competition between Alternative Trading Systems and other execution venues.'

She added that the new rules are aligned both to good market practice and forthcoming EU regulations on the issue.

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