The core of ICMA lies in our market practice and regulatory policy work. In this we have remained focused on issues raised within our market practice committees, councils and working groups and also by our regional committees. It underpins ICMA’s credibility in setting market standards and in our interactions with regulators and other public officials.
In the primary debt markets demand still outstrips supply and this imbalance creates tension when there are simply too few bonds to go round. The market is coming under increased regulatory scrutiny – for example the UK’s Fair and Effective Markets Review (FEMR) consultation to which ICMA is currently responding, and the far reaching MiFID II/MiFIR consultation submitted in August. ICMA expects the level of regulatory scrutiny to increase. The review of the ICMA Primary Market Handbook is nearing completion and this major piece of work will be finalised early in the New Year.
Repo and collateral issues remained a key theme in 2014. The regulatory threats to the repo market are numerous. We have devoted time and energy to analysing these threats and familiarising the market and relevant authorities with them so they are in a position to assess the potential damage to the repo market. Damage to the repo market impacts the market’s ability to move collateral around the financial system and ultimately to intermediate capital productively. The work has been led by the European Repo Council.
The role of the buy side in the capital markets was also a dominant theme in 2014, and the range of projects with our buy-side members continued to expand.
Interacting with regulators is critical for ICMA and its members, and 2014 saw the formation of a new European Parliament and Commission. This has provided ICMA with an opportunity to build new relationships, and we held a roundtable for MEPs and other officials in the European Parliament at the end of September. Subsequently we have augmented this with workshops on specific product topics. In addition, we are engaging with the new Commission. We have also continued to work closely with central banks and national regulators. ICMA staff members are involved in a number of their key committees.
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