What Is MiFID? Markets in Financial Instruments Directive Explained

What Is MiFID? Markets in Financial Instruments Directive Explained

4 Min.

The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) aims to enhance transparency in the European Union (EU) financial markets and establish consistent regulatory disclosures for firms. It is a crucial part of the regulatory reforms affecting all financial firms operating within the European Union. Since its implementation in 2007, MiFID has played a significant role in the region. However, in 2018, it was replaced by a revised regulatory directive called MiFID II. While the initial focus of MiFID was on stocks, MiFID II has broadened its product scope.


MiFID, which was implemented in 2007, is a European regulation that enhances transparency and establishes standardized regulatory disclosures for firms operating within the EU. Its purpose is to create a robust regulatory framework for investor protection. Originally focused on stocks, MiFID introduced measures such as transparency requirements and conduct guidelines for financial firms.

Recognizing the need for improvements, MiFID II was introduced in January 2018 to address the shortcomings of the original framework. It harmonized rules for all firms serving EU clients, aiming for consistent regulatory standards. MiFID II also expanded its coverage to include a broader range of financial products, such as over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives. OTC transactions, which occur directly between two parties without an intermediary exchange, were previously subject to reduced oversight and transparency.

In conjunction with MiFID and MiFID II, the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR) was implemented as a complementary regulation to extend codes of conduct to various types of assets, ensuring uniform regulatory standards across different sectors.

Classification of Customers According to MiFID

MiFID categorizes clients into professional clients, retail clients, and eligible counterparties, with the aim of providing suitable regulatory protection based on their respective risk levels. The classification recognizes that clients possess varying degrees of financial knowledge and should receive different levels of safeguarding when engaging with financial institutions such as banks. While eligible counterparties receive the lowest level of protection, retail clients enjoy the highest level of safeguards.

The provision of information also differs based on client type, ensuring that individuals have the necessary understanding of transaction risks and comprehensive details. This approach acknowledges that clients require tailored explanations and transparency to make informed decisions. By implementing these client classifications, MiFID promotes a regulatory framework that aligns the level of protection and information provided with the specific needs and risk profiles of different client types.

EU Financial Regulatory Changes

Regulatory changes in the EU impact the compliance departments of financial firms, including insurers, mutual fund providers, and banks. These changes, such as MiFID, GDPR, and MiFIR, aim to create a transparent market with clear rights and protections for EU citizens. The regulations involve adjustments to existing rules and introduce new requirements, like appointing a designated officer to protect client interests within the firm. These measures promote best practices and strengthen the integrity of the financial sector while ensuring client protection.

MiFID II: Revision of the MiFID Directive

In 2018, the European Commission implemented MiFID II, a revised directive aimed at rebuilding trust in the markets after the 2008 market crash. Unlike its predecessor, MiFID II expanded its scope beyond equity stocks to cover all types of securities, such as debt securities, derivatives, and structured instruments. The revised regulation introduced stricter transparency and reporting standards for securities trades, with the aim of reducing the prevalence of dark pools and OTC trading. Additionally, it extended investor protection to encompass all types of securities trades, regardless of whether the investor was based within or outside the European Union.


One notable improvement in MiFID II is the strengthening of transparency and reporting obligations compared to the previous MiFID regulation. A significant distinction is its broader coverage, as MiFID II encompasses not only equity markets but also all categories of securities and derivatives.

The Impact of MiFID II on Investment Banks

MiFID II imposes strict rules on banks offering asset management or investment services. It mandates that financial instruments must be traded exclusively on regulated trading platforms or those that comply with the transparency standards of OTC trading. These regulations aim to safeguard investors and eradicate the practice of dark trading in securities.

How Did the UK's Withdrawal From the EU Affect MiFID II?

After the United Kingdom left the European Union, both economies had similar regulatory systems but faced challenges in trading with each other. British firms lost their license to provide financial services to EU clients, and vice versa. Additionally, duplicate reporting requirements were introduced in both areas.


The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive was a set of regulations that governed equities markets within the European Union. Its purpose was to strengthen transparency and reporting standards for the protection of European investors. In 2018, the original MiFID rules were replaced by the revised MiFID II regulation.

Over-The-Counter (OTC)
Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II
Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR)