25/04/2013 – Oslo Børs has carried out investigations of reporting by exchange member firms of trades in bonds listed on Oslo Børs and Nordic ABM (formerly Oslo ABM). These investigations have identified discrepancies, in some cases significant discrepancies, between the transactions that were actually carried out and reported to Oslo Børs. Oslo Børs has requested that members change their practice and procedures for reporting of bond trades.
The duties of member firms in respect of reporting trades are stipulated in the trading rules, and member firms are required to report trades to the exchange immediately and in any case no later than 5 minutes after a trade is carried out.
The investigations carried out by Oslo Børs identified errors in practices and in understanding of the rules at a number of member firms. The discrepancies in reporting were relatively large in relation to the number of trades and the market value of the transactions.
The duty to report trades in the bond market is intended to ensure market transparency. A good standard of transparency provides the basis for fair pricing of the securities in question, and ensures that investors have sufficient information to know the prices at which bonds can be purchased and sold. In addition, transparency gives investors an opportunity to check that trades in which they participate have been carried out at fair market prices.
Trading in the bond market is carried out to a lesser extent on the exchange marketplaces. This means that the trade is carried out between member firms to a greater extent than is the case for trading in shares, and with the exception of government bonds there are no order information in the Oslo Børs trading systems. Accordingly, reporting of trades forms an important part of market participant’s information, and shortcomings in reporting deprive participants of the information needed to form a picture of the market’s pricing of the instruments in question. This can have the effect of reducing investors’ interest and confidence in the market, and can create a situation in which various market participants have access to differing information. In addition, shortcomings in reporting take away the opportunity for Oslo Børs to carry out surveillance of bond trading.
In view of the investigations carried out, the Board of Oslo Børs will send a letter of criticism to members addressing the breach of the rules for reporting trades in bonds.
There are especially two categories of trades where reporting has been missing:
- Trades where a member firm purchases a holding for its own account, and carries the price risk until the holding is sold, were reported as a single transaction. Such transactions should in general be reported as two trades: one trade when the holding is purchased for the firm’s own account and a further trade when the holding is sold, with the trades reported at the price agreed with the customers in question.
- Reallocations/portfolio transfers between funds where the member firm only carries out a settlement service and issues a contract note without an agreed price or volume. Such trades should in general be reported. Oslo Børs is of the view that ‘fund to fund‘ transactions are real transactions when different legal entities are the parties to the trade.
Oslo Børs expects that member firms will strive to comply with the exchange’s rules and regulations by improving the quality of their reporting of bond trading. If similar shortcomings are discovered in the future, Oslo Børs will apply sanctions in the form of violation charges.