This piece was co-authored by Manisha Kimmel, Chief Policy Officer at MayStreet, and Chris White, CEO at BondCliQ.
The concept of universal human rights is a modern idea that is core to the identity of nations, religions and political movements. As proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, the universal declaration of human rights asks: “What rights are inherent to all human beings regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, or any other status?” As society has evolved, certain rights have become widely accepted, like freedom from slavery and torture, while others are still debated, like the importance of
self-determination over one’s own body. The existence of the concept does not eliminate all suffering and injustice in the world, but a set of universal human rights creates a widely agreed upon standard to judge right from wrong.
So what does this have to do with financial markets? Well, the idea that there are inalienable rights for market participants is also core to the health and integrity of modern financial markets. For example, participants in the US equity market get very different privileges than those enjoyed by members of the high-yield corporate bond market. Often, these differences are centered around the formal and informal rules regarding access to market data; specifically, pricing and transaction information. These data sets are critical to trading and related functions, and given their importance we ask the fundamental question: What are the market data rights of all financial market participants regardless of their size, status, or role?
This post is the first step in the formation of a Market Data Bill of Rights that can be applied universally. Just like human rights, we anticipate that some ideas will be widely accepted, while others will be cause for debate. The purpose of this exercise is to establish a standard for the treatment of ALL market participants with respect to market data. We welcome comments on this proposal and ultimately seek to establish a set of market data rights that are adopted industry-wide.
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