7 minute read 19 Jun 2023
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EMIR REFIT – why the next few months are crucial

Silvia Devulder

Partner, Head Legal Romandie in Financial Services | EY Switzerland

Focusing on Legal Derivatives & Capital Markets topics, including the IBOR transition. Speaking five languages, playing tennis and enjoying family time with my boys.

Christian Rump

Director Banking & Capital Markets, Ernst & Young GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft| Deutschland

Spezialist für Technologie- und Transformationsprojekte – von Digitalisierung über Kosteneffizienz bis hin zu Nachhaltigkeit; genießt in seiner Freizeit Zeit mit der Familie, Sport und Reisen.

7 minute read 19 Jun 2023

The new EMIR-REFIT requirements include significant changes in the transaction reporting for the derivatives business.

In brief
  • The European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) is intended to contain systemic risks in the European derivatives market.
  • The revision of EMIR REFIT (Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme) increases the complexity of reports to trade repositories.
  • The resulting considerable additional effort requires market participants to prepare at an early stage.

Since 12 February 2014, both exchange-traded and OTC derivatives have been subject to reporting requirements, regardless of the classification of counterparties. The transactions must be concluded no later than one working day after completion, modification, novation, dissolution, termination, etc. to a trade repository authorised in the European Union (EU) by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

Since they came into force, the reporting obligations have been continuously adapted and often expanded through changes to the RTS (Regulatory Technical Standards), the ITS (Implementing Technical Standards), the Validation Rules and in the Q&A for the implementation of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR).

As part of EMIR REFIT, the EU Commission adopted the corresponding new RTS and ITS on 7 October 2022. This marks the beginning of the 18-month transition period for implementation. The application of the new requirements will become mandatory from 29 April 2024. In addition to the above-mentioned implementation period, existing transactions must be updated within six months of the start of applicability, i.e. by October 2024, and reported in compliance with the new standards from this date at the latest. If there are previously reportable changes to the existing transactions, these must also be reported in the new format.

Technical challenges

Under the general objective of EMIR to make exchange, but especially over-the-counter, derivatives trading more transparent and secure, EMIR REFIT, the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme, has increased the complexity of reports to trade repositories. The number of fields to be reported was increased from 129 to 203, partly on the basis of global guidelines on critical data elements developed by the so-called harmonization group consisting of the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). Among other things, 77 data fields have been added, 67 have been adjusted and three have been deleted, including in the data categories of collateral, price and product details and in the area of complex financial instruments. Only 59 data fields remain unchanged.

On the one hand, the changes affect the counterparty master data and the framework data, but also to a considerable extent the reportable fields for reporting collateral. The collateral is divided according to type (variation margin, initial margin, excess collateral), direction (received vs. provided) and valuation (pre- vs. post-haircut). This additional data requirement in the preparation of reports for trade repositories will, after intensive analysis, lead to an adaptation of interfaces to systems and databases, taking into account existing interfaces to other EU regulations.

The reporting obligation of the data fields applies, among other things, to all conclusions, amendments and terminations of derivative contracts and to the clearing of transactions. Furthermore, depending on the classification of the counterparty, valuations and collateral must also be reported. This remains essentially unchanged compared to the current reporting obligation, but the new reporting logics explained below must be observed.

Complex reporting logic

With EMIR REFIT, the characteristics of the "Action Type" field relevant for the reporting of derivative lifecycle events have been adjusted and the "Event Type" field has been added. The combination of both fields provides supervisory authorities with a much better insight into existing business transactions, but also increases the complexity of the reporting logic to be implemented.

The "Action Type" field also discloses whether a deal has been newly created, modified, corrected, or closed. In addition, the action types "Revive" and "Margin Update" have been added and the action type "Compression" has been removed. By using the action type "Position Component" and the event type "Inclusion in Position", related trades will be bundled in the future and identified on the basis of a Subsequent Position UTI (Unique Trade Identifier), which enables portfolio formation in the form of a 1-to-n relationship.

A total of nine different action types and twelve event types, which create more transparency to the lifecycle event by means of characteristics such as "Trade", "Clearing" and "Credit Event", can be selected. The following table shows the 56 possible new reporting combinations of the action and event types – a final representation is expected as part of the further detailing on the part of ESMA through FAQ:

Reporting format

In order to further harmonise reporting standards, ESMA has decided that in future the ISO 20022 XML format will be used for the transmission of data to a trade repository, as is the case for data transfers under the MiFIR and SFTR regulations. This allows for more precise data standards and formats. However, the implementation is a challenge for companies that currently work with CSV or other formats.

Another goal of EMIR REFIT is to improve the matching and reconciliation of counterparty transaction data. This is done using the UTI and LEI (Legal Entity Identifier) of both counterparties, which are defined as critical data elements in the trade repository report and must be reported by both parties. The generation of the UTI as a unique trade transaction identifier is roughly based on the UTI waterfall proposed by CPMI IOSCO in 2017 and looks like this:

In the case of cross-border transactions, this waterfall model also regulates who is responsible for generating the UTI and who must communicate this information to the counterparty in a timely manner. In the future, recourse to bilateral agreements will only be permitted under certain conditions.

This should contribute to an optimization of the sharing of the UTI by the parties involved and reduce errors in reporting and matching.

Technical and procedural challenges

  • Reporting obligation and delegated reporting

    The new regulations offer non-financial counterparties (NFCs) some relief if their trading volumes are below the clearing thresholds of the individual derivatives classes (classification as so-called NFC–). In these cases, the obligation to report lies with the relevant Financial Couterparties (FCs). However, the NFC is free to report to a trade repository themselves. This should be particularly worthwhile for NFCs, which have already set up the corresponding reporting sections for trade repositories, as there is no need for coordination and the delivery of the necessary data fields to an FC. For FCs, this new reporting obligation means ensuring the data feed and the correct presentation in the reports to the trade repositories, as in particular an identifier must be provided for whom the FC reports a corresponding transaction.

    Existing reporting systems for FCs also need to be upgraded, as a double-mirrored report must be made to the trade repository.

  • Improvement of data quality

    Due to a lack of guidelines on the reconciliation process, there have been inconsistent voting procedures in the past. In 2020, this led to the "paring rate", i.e. the combination of the two opposing reports, reaching just under 50 percent. By reconciling the reported transactions between FC, TR of the FC and TR (trade repository) of the counterparty, the pairing rate and data quality are to be improved. FCs will have to set up a new validation process (including documentation as a written order), because the new regulations oblige FCs/NFC+ to evaluate the reconciliation results, especially with regard to inconsistently reported transactions. It is therefore also a matter of being able to evaluate reconciliation results quickly and automatically in order to identify problems at an early stage and, if necessary, to be able to eliminate them directly. The fields to be reported expand in two steps:

    1. from reporting start date: 84 fields
    2. two years after the start date of reporting: an additional 61 fields
  • Reporting of crypto assets

    In order to make future derivatives on cryptocurrencies transparent, REFIT has created a new field called "Derivatives with crypto assets as reference value" to identify crypto-based transactions. Accordingly, FCs/NFCs must report under the category "Commodities" and not, as might be assumed for Bitcoin, Ethereum & Co., under the class "FX". So it's explicitly not about spot cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, but futures and other derivatives with cryptocurrencies as underlying.

  • Unique Product Identifier (UPI)

    In the future, all derivatives will have to be provided with predefined, standardized UPIs, unless they have already been identified with an ISIN via trading venues. The UPIs are specified by the ANNA DSB, the entity that also generates ISINs for a large number of derivatives. In practice, this means, on the one hand, the requirement to connect to the ANNA DSB and, on the other hand, a corresponding extension to include the reporting field of the UPI as well as an extension of the reporting logic. In the case of MiFID 2 and MiFIR, the ISIN is generated by means of a complex fpML file, which must be delivered to ANNA DSB. A significantly increased effort is to be expected here.

  • Post Trade Risk Reduction (PTRR)

    So far, reports in the context of portfolio compressions have been difficult to trace. Therefore, in the future, trades that are newly concluded, changed or terminated as part of the "compression" or "counterparty rebalancing" risk reduction options must be provided with a uniform PTRR ID. The PTRR ID is provided by the PTRR provider used (e.g. TriOptima or quantile). FCs/NFCs must then build up the necessary data feeds.

In Switzerland, financial institutions are frequently confronted with the challenges arising from EU regulations due to their cross-border activities or European presence. Moreover, in the context of EMIR-REFIT, Swiss banks are also directly impacted when accepting the EMIR delegated reporting on behalf of their European clients. As already noticed in the past, in order to ensure Swiss financial market’s attractiveness and access to the European Market, the Swiss Federal Assembly will most likely revise the FinMIA (Federal Act on Financial Market Infrastructures and Market Conduct in Securities and Derivatives Trading) to align with EMIR REFIT obligations. The Swiss Federal Counsel already instructed the Federal Department of Finance to elaborate a consultation draft for the FinMIA review. A public consultation is planned to take place by mid-2024.


The complex reporting logic as well as the latest reporting format resulting from EMIR REFIT (Regulatory Fitness and Performance Program) will have to be implemented by the market’s participants by April 2024. Since concerned financial institutions will likely be facing technical and procedural challenges during the implementation period, they shall ensure an early start to the internal integration of the relevant obligations.


Many thanks to Alma Veuthey for her valuable contribution to this article.

About this article

Silvia Devulder

Partner, Head Legal Romandie in Financial Services | EY Switzerland

Focusing on Legal Derivatives & Capital Markets topics, including the IBOR transition. Speaking five languages, playing tennis and enjoying family time with my boys.

Christian Rump

Director Banking & Capital Markets, Ernst & Young GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft| Deutschland

Spezialist für Technologie- und Transformationsprojekte – von Digitalisierung über Kosteneffizienz bis hin zu Nachhaltigkeit; genießt in seiner Freizeit Zeit mit der Familie, Sport und Reisen.