European Union: MIFID And MIFIR On Algorithmic Trading ‘ And ‘ Provision Of Services And Establishment Of Branches By Third Country Firms..

Last Updated: November 3 2011
Article by Alix Prentice, Ramona Simms and Nick Shiren

Most Read Contributor in United States, December 2018


This is the sixth in our series of briefings on MiFID and MiFIR. Below, we describe new obligations set out in MiFID that apply to investment firms engaging in algorithmic trading to have in place risk control measures, and authorisation requirements for third country firms providing services into or establishing a branch within the European Union as set out in MiFID and MiFIR.

A. Algorithmic Trading

Key Points

  • algorithmic traders will be required to provide continuous, ongoing liquidity;
  • order routing systems are excluded from the definition of "Algorithmic trading";
  • investment firms operating as algorithmic traders must deploy a series of risk control measures, including trading thresholds and limits.

Legislative Provisions

1. MiFID Article 4(30) (Definition): MiFID sets out an entirely new definition of "Algorithmic trading", which "means trading in financial instruments where a computer algorithm automatically determines individual parameters of orders such as whether to initiate the order, the timing, price or quantity of the order or how to manage the order after its submission, with limited or no human intervention. This definition does not include any system that is only used for the purpose of routing orders to one or more trading venues for the confirmation of orders".

2. MiFID Article 17 (Algorithmic trading): Investment firms engaging in algorithmic trading will now be subject to a number of systems, risk and operational requirements:

(i) to operate and maintain "effective systems and risk controls" in order to ensure resilient systems and capacity. These controls must include trading thresholds, limits and methods to prevent erroneous orders and other issues that contribute to disorderly markets, business continuity planning and effective anti-market abuse measures;

(ii) annually, the investment firm must provide their home state regulator with a description of its algorithmic trading strategies, details of the trading parameters and limits it deploys, its compliance and risk controls and details of tests performed on these systems;

(iii) algorithmic trading strategies must be "in continuous operation during the trading hours of the trading venue". In addition, the strategy must post firm quotes in order to provide "liquidity on a regular and ongoing basis to these trading venues at all times, regardless of prevailing market conditions";

(iv) investment firms providing direct electronic access to trading venues must put in place systems and risk controls to monitor and ensure the suitability of end-users, and to prevent those end-users exceeding trading and credit thresholds.

B. Third Country Firms

Key Points

  • third country firms may only provide services into or establish a branch in the European Union if a determination of equivalence has been made regarding the third country's regulatory system;
  • third country firms may only provide services to eligible counterparties;
  • third country firms may only interact with retail customers through an authorised branch.

Legislative Provisions

1. MiFIR Articles 36 – 39 (Provision of Services Without a Branch by Third Country Firms): Third country investment firms may only provide services to eligible counterparties in the European Union if: (i) they are registered on that third country's register of authorised firms; (ii) they are authorised in a jurisdiction that is "subject to effective supervision and enforcement ensuring a full compliance with the requirements applicable in that third country"; and (iii) there is a cooperation agreement in place between the relevant regulator and ESMA. Third country firms must apply to ESMA for a determination of whether or not they may provide services into Europe.

The European Commission will adopt decisions relating to equivalence based on determinations of equivalence of third country prudential frameworks (capital requirements, organisational requirements, conduct of business rules and anti-market abuse provisions).

2. MiFID Article 41 (Establishment of a branch): Third country firms intending to provide investment services or activities and any ancillary services through a branch require prior authorisation by the relevant local European regulator(s). Permission will depend on: (i) the Commission having first adopted a decision to the effect that the third country's legal and supervisory arrangements ensure that authorised firms comply with legally binding requirements that have an equivalent effect to MiFID, MiFIR and the Capital Adequacy Directive; and (ii) a determination that the third country provides for "equivalent reciprocal recognition of the prudential framework applicable to investment firms authorised in accordance with this directive." Again, equivalence depends on effective supervision and enforcement requirements, capital requirements, organisational requirements and anti-manipulation measures.

Third country firms wishing to deal with retail customers in Europe may only do so through an authorised branch.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions