Fiduciary Governance Blog

COVID-19 Coverage: Market Closures/Restrictions

USA

  • Electronic trading. Starting March 23, 2020, the New York Stock Exchange will close its trading floor and move fully to electronic trading. The facilities to be closed are the NYSE equities trading floor and NYSE American Options trading floor in New York, and the NYSE Arca Options trading floor in San Francisco. The CME Group closed its Chicago trading floor as of the close of business on March 13, 2020.

Austria

  • Restrictions on short selling. The Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) temporarily prohibited the short selling of certain financial instruments on the Vienna stock exchange until April 18, 2020.

Australia

  • Restrictions on trading. Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued directions under the ASIC Market Integrity Rules to a number of large equity market participants, requiring those participants to limit the number of trades executed each day until further notice. These directions require those firms to reduce their number of executed trades by up to 25% from the levels executed
    on Friday.

Belgium

  • Restrictions on short selling. Belgian regulator, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), announced a ban on shorts for a basket of stocks during Tuesday’s (March 17, 2020) trade in order to avoid what it termed a “disorderly decline” in markets. The ban applies until
    April 17, 2020.

EU

  • Restrictions on short selling. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 began forcing greater transparency of short positions by halving the threshold at which they must be disclosed.

France

  • Restrictions on short selling. France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) banned short selling in 92 shares, those most impacted during Monday’s (March 16, 2020) sell-off, until the end of Tuesday’s (March 17, 20202) trading session.
  • The AMF expanded that ban to cover all shares admitted to trading on French trading venues until the close of business on April 16, 2020. The ban prohibits creation or increase of net-short positions, meaning that all forms of shorting, including through derivatives and depositary receipts are covered.

Greece

  • Restrictions on short selling. The ban covers shares admitted to trading on the Athens Stock Exchange until April 24, 2020. It prohibits creation or increase of net-short positions (including on an intra-day basis). Short-selling transactions via derivatives, depositary receipts and indices are covered by the ban.

Italy

  • Restrictions on short selling. Financial market authority Consob has prohibited short sales on 20 stocks for the trading session of
    March 17, 2020.
  • Consob expanded the ban to cover a larger number of stocks and to continue until June 18, 2020. The ban prohibits creation or increase of net-short positions, including through derivatives and depositary receipts, except: (i) delta-neutral positions used to cover a long position in a convertible bond; or (ii) positions used to cover long positions in subscription rights. Net-short positions held through indices are covered if the restricted securities represent more than 20% of the index.

Jordan

  • Market closure. Jordan’s government suspended trading in the Amman Stock Exchange from Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until further notice.

Kuwait

  • Market closure. Trading closed on March 12, 2020 and resumed on March 15, 2020 to address the fast-paced changes and turbulence facing the local exchange market, as well as regional and international exchanges, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Philippines 

  • Market closure. Philippine stock exchange closed Tuesday,
    March 17, 2020. Trading will resume on Thursday, March 19, 2020 with shortened trading hours.
  • Trading of foreign exchange and bonds resumed on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

Spain

  • Restrictions on short selling. Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV) has forbidden market players to build new net short positions in all Spanish shares or to increase existing ones for one month, effective March 17, 2020. This ban can be renewed for three-months periods if necessary. In addition to Spanish stocks, the ban also applies to index-linked products, spots, derivatives as well as over-the-counter transactions.

Sri Lanka

  • Market closure. Colombo Stock Exchange closed Tuesday,
    March 17, 2020 and will remain closed through at least March 19, 2020.
  • Government declared a holiday asking all non-essential businesses not to operate on March 17-19, 2020.

UK

  • Restrictions on short selling. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also issued a temporary ban on the shorting of 37 Belgian and Italian stocks following moves from respective regulators in both countries. The ban was effective March 17, 2020 until the end of the day March 17, 2020.

COVID-19 Coverage: SEC issues statement on comment periods

Comment Periods for Certain Pending Actions

Certain of the Commission’s proposed actions have comment periods that will expire in March. We understand that challenges associated with COVID-19 may delay the completion and submission of some comment letters. The Commission and staff have historically considered comments submitted after a comment period closes but before adoption of a final rule or order, consistent with the Commission’s Informal and Other Procedures (17 C.F.R. 202.6). For each of the pending items listed below, the Commission will not take final action before April 24th in order to allow commenters additional time if needed.

  • Amendments to Rule 2-01, Qualifications of Accountants, File No: S7-26-19, Release Nos.: 33-1073834-87864, FR-86, IA-5422, IC-33737;
  • Amending the “Accredited Investor” Definition, File No: S7-25-19, Release Nos.: 33-1073434-87784;
  • Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers, File No: S7-24-19, Release No. 34-87783;
  • Use of Derivatives by Registered Investment Companies and Business Development Companies; Required Due Diligence by Broker-Dealers and Registered Investment Advisers Regarding Retail Customers’ Transactions in Certain Leveraged/Inverse Investment Vehicles, File No. File No: S7-24-15, Release Nos.: 34-87607, IA-5413, IC-33704; and
  • Notice of Proposed Order Directing the Exchanges and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to Submit a New National Market System Plan Regarding Consolidated Equity Market Data, File No. 4-757, Release No. 34-88340.

The Commission is operational and we encourage market participants to submit comments on the most reasonable possible timeframe. The Chairman will continue to consult with fellow Commissioners and staff and make adjustments to the list above as necessary.

*The Statement can be found here.

COVID-19 Coverage: Market Closures/Restrictions

Philippines

  • Market closure. Philippine stock exchange closed Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
  • According to Philippine stock exchange chief, he plans to reopen the exchange on Thursday, March 19, 2020.
  • Bankers Association of the Philippines targets to re-open trading of foreign exchange and bonds on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

Sri Lanka

  • Market closure. Colombo Stock Exchange closed Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
  • Government declared a holiday asking all non-essential businesses not to operate on March 17-19, 2020.
  • A decision on whether the exchange will be open March 18 and 19 during the remaining two days of the government declared holiday is expected March 17, 2020.

Australia

  • Restrictions on trading. Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued directions under the ASIC Market Integrity Rules to a number of large equity market participants, requiring those participants to limit the number of trades executed each day until further notice. These directions require those firms to reduce their number of executed trades by up to 25% from the levels executed on Friday.

France

  • Restrictions on short selling. France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers banned short selling in 92 shares, those most impacted during Monday’s (March 16, 2020) sell-off, until the end of Tuesday’s (March 17, 20202) trading session.

Italy

  • Restrictions on short selling. Financial market authority Consob has prohibited short sales on 20 stocks for the trading session of March 17, 2020.

Spain

  • Restrictions on short selling. Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV) has forbidden market players to build new net short positions in all Spanish shares or to increase existing ones for one month, effective March 17, 2020. This ban can be renewed for three-months periods if necessary. In addition to Spanish stocks, the ban also applies to index-linked products, spots, derivatives as well as over-the-counter transactions.

European Union

  • Restrictions on short selling. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 began forcing greater transparency of short positions by halving the threshold at which they must be disclosed.

United Kingdom

  • Restrictions on short selling. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also issued a temporary ban on the shorting of 37 Belgian and Italian stocks following moves from respective regulators in both countries. The ban was effective March 17, 2020 until the end of the day March 17, 2020.

Belgium

  • Restrictions on short selling. Belgian regulator, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), announced a ban on shorts for a basket of stocks during Tuesday’s (March 17, 2020) trade in order to avoid what it termed a “disorderly decline” in markets.

Kuwait

  • Market closure. Trading closed on March 12, 2020 and resumed on March 15, 2020 to address the fast-paced changes and turbulence facing the local exchange market, as well as regional and international exchanges, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.