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article imageEuropean parliament adopts financial markets rules

By AFP     Apr 15, 2014 in Business

The European Parliament adopted new rules Tuesday to tighten the regulation of financial markets in order to stop rampant speculation, including on foodstuffs.

The European Union's Financial Markets Commissioner Michel Barnier first pushed for the new rules, known as MiFID II, in 2011 at the height of the eurozone debt crisis and in the wake of the global economic meltdown.

The regulations, still to be formally approved by member states, aim to curb speculative trading in commodities and to regulate high-frequency trading to protect investors and make the markets less crisis-prone.

The new regulations will better serve the real economy, Barnier said in a statement.

"They will establish a safer, more transparent and more responsible financial system and restore investor confidence in the wake of the financial crisis," he added.

They new rules apply to investment firms, market operators and services providing post-trade transparency information in the European Union.

They will notably force market players to buy and sell financial instruments on regulated markets comparable to stock exchanges to ensure that all trading is tracked by MiFID.

Another key provision covers high-frequency trading based on automatic algorithmic systems, forcing investment firms to stop trading if price volatility becomes too high.

To help limit speculation in food and energy, authorities for the first time will be able to limit the size of a net position that a person can hold in commodity derivatives.

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