Comment Letter to ESMA on Draft Guidelines for Systems and Controls in a Highly Automated Trading Environment

MFA submitted comments to ESMA on its consultation paper on Guidelines on systems and controls in a highly automated trading environment for trading platforms, investment firms and competent authorities. In our response, we supported ESMAs principles-based approach in the draft guidelines and encouraged ESMA to include confidentiality safeguards and controls to protect trade information of clients that use direct market access and sponsored access as trading tools. We also strongly disagreed with any regulatory mandate for imposing limits on order entry capacity. MFA emphasized that ESMAs regulatory guidelines, specifically those guidelines regarding market manipulation, should more consistently distinguish between technology and individual trading strategies. More specifically, we stressed that the use of technology should not be confused with high frequency trading or individual trading strategies.