Beware the Ides of March - A Drama of FX Swaps Reporting

[fa icon="calendar"] 14-Mar-2019 17:24:52 / by David Woolcock


This week I have been dusting off the Q&A release from ESMA in September 2018 regarding the reporting of FX Swaps to ensure we have successfully planned for the impending changes. The aforementioned Q&A included reference data and transaction reporting scenarios where an FX Swap is reported as a single stand-alone financial instrument. This Q&A implementation period was six months and to ensure a consistent approach across reporting requirements, ESMA also published a Q&A on FX Swaps reporting under EMIR, which should be implemented 12 months after its publication, as it is more difficult to implement, but the two are harmonised to ensure consistency.

Therefore, on the 26th of March we have the following coming into force –

If the instrument admitted to trading or traded on a trading venue was an FX swap, it should be reported as an FX swap based on the requirement of Article 27(1) and in accordance with this Q&A.”


In other words, FX Swaps should be reported as a standalone single transaction rather than the customary methods used for decades of booking, and latterly, reporting two linked single transactions. Also for FX platforms and associated bank front office systems it’s often usual practice to book the two forwards separately, confirm them separately and settle them separately rather than book them as an actual FX swap; they are more usually treated as two linked transactions in these systems.


Given the operational difficulties, (ISDA FX 2.0 taxonomy, for example, does not have an instrument type FX Swap), in reporting FX Swaps as standalone instruments many market participants have looked at the Opinion published in March 2018 by ESMA concerning packaged transactions which reads as follows and fits nicely for FX Swaps –

“Package orders and package transactions (‘packages’) are defined respectively in points (49) and (50) of Article 2(1) of MiFIR. As it results from these provisions, in particular, packages include two or more financial instruments, where each component bears meaningful economic or financial risk to all the other components and the execution of each component is simultaneous and contingent upon on the execution of all the other components.”


Following meetings held by industry bodies such as the European Venues & Intermediaries Association (EVIA) and the GFMA’s Global FX Division (GFXD) market participants are proposing to book FX Swaps as packages and to refer to these packages as FX Strategies or FX Strats in short form. In a note from the GFXD in December 2017 the following conclusion was arrived at - “the GFXD supports that for the purposes of MiFIR transaction reporting and transparency and EMIR trade reporting requirements, a FX swap is a package transaction consisting of two FX forwards, a near and far leg and that this representation should be considered irrespective of the tenor of each leg.” They noted in their assessment “the existing post trade reporting obligations, globally implemented under the 2009 Pittsburgh G20 commitments, including EMIR, where FX swaps are widely reported as two individual FX forwards, linked with an appropriate ID”.


Adopting this approach post the 26th of March obviates the need to create hundreds of thousands ISIN’s for FX Swaps as a standalone instrument and feedback has indicated that NCA’s will accept reporting as to how trades are defined at execution by trading venues and for off venue bilateral transactions. Thus, the current practice of executing two trades that transform into FX Swaps will change, subject to consensus, and the two trades will transform into FX Strats. Beware the Ides of March but the strategic solution is at hand!


Topics: Banking, FX, group

David Woolcock

Written by David Woolcock

David Woolcock is an independent consultant and Director, Business Consulting at Eurobase. In addition, David is Chair of the Committee for Professionalism at ACI – The Financial Markets Association as well as Vice-Chairing the ACI FX Committee. He is also a member of the Market Practitioners Group for the Bank of International Settlement's FXWG that wrote the FX Global Code.