London, 18 May 2020 – The World Federation of Exchanges (“WFE”), the global industry group for exchanges and CCPs, welcomes the decision to end the short selling bans across Europe and commends authorities’ efforts to return to normal operations of fair and orderly markets in the region.
This morning, ESMA confirmed the welcome decision that those member states who had implemented a short-selling ban would not be renewing, and instead withdrawing, those restrictions as of midnight (CEST) today.
The WFE’s paper - What does academic research say about short-selling bans? - finds that the academic evidence almost unanimously points towards short-selling bans being disruptive for the orderly functioning of markets, as they are found to reduce liquidity, increase price inefficiency and hamper price discovery. Indeed, the evidence suggests that banning short-selling during periods of heightened uncertainty seems to exacerbate, rather than contain, market volatility. This is the basis for the market infrastructure industry consensus view articulated by the WFE in March and for the cross-industry coordination last week.
Nandini Sukumar, Chief Executive Officer, the WFE said: “It is industry experience that short selling bans do not have a positive effect on market activity or price levels. Banning short-selling interferes with price formation, thereby increasing uncertainty. That can only artificially amplify volatility and probability of default, the opposite effect to that claimed and hampers the ability of markets to serve the real economy. We welcome the decision to allow regulated markets, that have demonstrated they are resilient and capable of operating as they should in a crisis, to now resume normal operation. We look forward to supporting Europe’s measures to rebuild the economy.”
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About the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE):
Established in 1961, the WFE is the global industry association for exchanges and clearing houses. Headquartered in London, it represents over 250 market infrastructure providers, including standalone CCPs that are not part of exchange groups. Of our members, 35% are in Asia-Pacific, 45% in EMEA and 20% in the Americas. WFE’s 57 member CCPs collectively ensure that risk takers post some $800bn (equivalent) of resources to back their positions, in the form of initial margin and default fund requirements. WFE exchanges are home to nearly 53,000 listed companies, and the market capitalisation of these entities is over $93 trillion; around $88 trillion (EOB) in trading annually passes through WFE members (at end 2019).
The WFE is the definitive source for exchange-traded statistics, and publishes over 350 market data indicators. Its free statistics database stretches back more than 40 years, and provides information and insight into developments on global exchanges. The WFE works with standard-setters, policy makers, regulators and government organisations around the world to support and promote the development of fair, transparent, stable and efficient markets. The WFE shares regulatory authorities’ goals of ensuring the safety and soundness of the global financial system.
With extensive experience of developing and enforcing high standards of conduct, the WFE and its members support an orderly, secure, fair and transparent environment for investors; for companies that raise capital; and for all who deal with financial risk. We seek outcomes that maximise the common good, consumer confidence and economic growth. And we engage with policy makers and regulators in an open, collaborative way, reflecting the central, public role that exchanges and CCPs play in a globally integrated financial system.