Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF)

A multilateral trading facility (MTF) is a sort of trading platform for exchanging financial instruments. It is a phrase used by the European Union to describe a self-regulated financial trading venue. These are alternatives to traditional stock exchanges in which securities are traded, usually using electronic means. MTFs permit qualified agreement members to assemble and move an assortment of protections, particularly instruments that might not have an authority market. These offices are frequently electronic frameworks constrained by endorsed market administrators or bigger venture banks.

MTFs use computerized systems to connect various buyers and sellers in compliance with the European Union’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). Traders typically place orders online, and a matching software engine connects buyers and sellers. The idea was presented inside the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), an European Directive intended to blend retail financial backers security and permit venture firms to offer types of assistance all through the EU.

Investment firms, such as investment banks, or independent market operators run multilateral trading facilities. Brokers, market makers, banks, hedge funds, and asset managers can become ‘members’ of MTFs directly, whereas regular traders can only access the markets through a provider of their choice. MTFs are depicted as ‘multilateral’ on the grounds that they have numerous individuals and client that are equipped for connecting with one another to set costs. MTFs commonly offer more intriguing exchanging instruments and over-the-counter (OTC) items.

Example of Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF)

Unlike a regulated market like a traditional stock exchange, an MTF usually does not have any listing requirements. In the United States, MTFs are referred to as Alternative Trading Systems (ATS). The MTF can be worked by a market administrator or a speculation firm while the activity of a directed market isn’t viewed as a venture administration and is done only by market administrators that are approved to do as such. The United States identical is an elective exchanging framework.

An MTF has no direct control over transactions, which are handled by software algorithms that match buyers and sellers using non-discretionary principles. MTFs are an alternative to regular exchanges for retail investors and financial firms. Investors had to rely on national securities exchanges like Euronext or the London Stock Exchange before they were introduced (LSE). An MTF can trade a wide range of equities and non-equities, including:


MTFs were established as an alternative to traditional stock exchanges. Since then, they’ve expanded their business to encompass precious metals, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), futures, and currencies, among other asset classes. A significant number of the monetary instruments accessible on MTFs can be recorded somewhere else for instance, on conventional trades. It is likewise important that protections can be made accessible for exchanging across different MTFs, which has prompted more prominent discontinuity of the monetary business sectors in Europe and expanded rivalry.

Because they provide similar or competitive trading services and have similar organizations, such as rulebooks and market monitoring departments, MTFs are referred to as “exchange light.” MTFs offer less limits on financial instruments that can be traded, allowing participants to trade more exotic assets and over-the-counter (OTC) goods. A MTF works as per a distributed rulebook, which sets out how and when exchanges will be executed. They are typically supported by programming that follows the given rulebook and matches purchasers and merchants as per the orders and statements that are gone into the framework.

The European Union is the only country that has multilateral trading facilities. Alternative Trading Systems (ATS) is the most similar operation in the United States. Quicker exchange speeds, lower expenses and exchanging motivating forces have helped MTFs gotten progressively well known in Europe, albeit the NASDAQ OMX Europe was shut in 2010 as MTFs face exceptional rivalry with one another and set up trades. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) imposes even stricter operational regulations on ATS than the EU’s MiFID imposes on MTFs.

As a result, MTFs in the EU are more widespread and widely used than ATS in the US. Because single securities can now list on different venues thanks to the emergence of MTFs, the financial markets have become more fragmented. Agents reacted by offering smart order routing (SOR) and different systems to get the best cost between these numerous settings. While MTFs should work under precludes set by the MiFID, they are less prohibitive than customary trades. MTFs make trading of financial assets more competitive and hence more attractive for investors by providing more trading venues.

MTFs operate in the EU’s MiFID II regulatory environment, which is a reformed legislative framework aimed at protecting investors and instilling trust in the financial industry. The operating rules for an MTF are laid out by Title II of the MiFID, including:

  • Pre-trade transparency – Prior to placing a trade, traders have clear access to buy and sell prices via data feeds.
  • Post-trade transparency – Trade results are immediately shown in real-time.
  • Clear operating procedures – The MTF must have a documented rule outlining how it will operate.

The concept of whether or not a security has been “admitted to trading on a regulated market” is central to MiFID, because it determines how the regulations apply to trading in the asset. MTFs do not have a conventional listing process and are unable to change a security’s regulatory status. Multilateral trading facilities (MTF) are thought to provide traders with a number of benefits.

  • Non-discretionary rules: Because buyers and sellers are always matched according to a set of transparent rules that cannot discriminate between members, MTFs provide a level playing field for all market participants. Thus, if a client needs to purchase an instrument at a specific cost, they’ll have the option to do as such if a relating sell request is accessible on the framework. This is on the grounds that MTFs are free of any purchasing and selling interests, and basically interface the two to execute exchanges.
  • Transparent pricing: MTFs provide transparency both before and after the trade. This is due to the fact that the volume available at each spread is always displayed, allowing the user to select the best potential price before placing an order. There are details on the orders and quotes that were accessible in the last 24 hours Users can view the timing, price, and volume of all trading activity on the MTF after a trade. These data can be downloaded for any time period, allowing traders to see how purchasing and selling forces have evolved over time.
  • Order book interaction: Users that trade on an MTF can additionally interact with the order book if they can’t find the price or volume they require. This is due to the fact that brokers can place orders on behalf of clients in the order book, which will be filled if another broker or market maker takes the opposing side of the trade. These interactions can influence prices across the MTF because such orders can be made at any price, potentially inside the spread. Traders can also know if anyone else has performed a trade at a lower price because to the transparency regulations that govern multilateral trading facilities.
  • MiFID II compliance: MTFs are agreeable with the European Union’s (EU’s) Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II), which was acquainted with increment rivalry in the monetary business sectors and improve financial backer insurances. These rules ensure that all trades performed on an MTF are held to the same high standards, regardless of which broker or market maker is involved in the transaction. They’ve also strengthened market maker competition by ensuring total pricing transparency.

MTFs provide extra trading markets, allowing for more competitive pricing of financial securities. MTFs have also been launched in various asset classes, with LMAX Exchange, an FCA-regulated MTF for trading spot FX and precious metals, being one of them. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has increased its enforcement actions in the area of ATS (Alternative Trading Systems) in recent years, perhaps leading to tougher MTF regulation in Europe. This is especially true for dark pools and other ATS that are difficult to trade and value due to their obscurity.

Information Sources:

  4. wikipedia