Quick Find:
ICMA’s rules and recommendations for the secondary market
The ICMA Rule Book is available only to ICMA members and subscribers. This sub-section of the web site provides a downloadable PDF version of the most recent edition of the ICMA Rule Book.

If you already have a login, click here to start using the ICMA Rule Book.
*Please note that the user ID and password must be entered using capital letters.

Amendments to the ICMA Rule Book are separately and individually notified to ICMA members and subscribers and are incorporated into the ICMA Rule Book from time to time.

ICMA’s rules and recommendations for the secondary market apply to transactions in international securities – an international security is defined as a security intended to be traded on an international, cross-border basis (i.e. between parties in different countries) and capable of settlement through an international central securities depository or equivalent.

All transactions between members of the Association involving international securities (as defined within the rules) are subject to the Association’s rules and recommendations, unless specifically agreed otherwise by the parties at the time of concluding a transaction. Unless otherwise stated, the rules and recommendations do not apply to the syndication and allotment process or to repurchase and to other transactions entered into under the GMRA or similar master agreements.

ICMA supports members with advice and guidance on the application of the rules and recommendations through its Legal & Regulatory Helpdesk.

Important updates

Reviewing & Revising the Rule Book

ICMA, through its Secondary Market Practices Committee (SMPC), seeks continuously to review and, where appropriate, update the Secondary Market Rules and Recommendations (SMR&Rs) to ensure relevance and consistency with market best practice and market regulation. In light of evolving debt capital market structure and practice, as well as the ongoing implementation of regulation, ICMA intends to consult with members on a number of aspects of its SMR&Rs throughout 2018.

Consultation on Rule 407

On 21 February 2018, the SMPC published a Consultation Paper seeking member feedback with regard to the appropriateness and application of Rule 407 (‘Claim against the seller’), which relates to negative interest rate claims against defaulting sellers in the event of settlement fails.
The consultation asks affected members to respond to the following questions:
Q1. Do you think that Rule 407 is still appropriate?
Q2: If you think that Rule 407 is still appropriate
      (i) are you happy with its current wording?
      (ii) if not, what changes do you suggest and what is your reasoning for such changes?
Q3. Do you have any other suggestions or considerations with respect to Rule 407 or interest claims in general?

Members are asked to email their responses. in confidence, to Andy Hill, Secretary of the SMPC, by no later than close of business on 23 March 2018, entitling their response ‘Rule 407’.
Members are further encouraged to share this CP with all relevant divisions and individuals within their firms (likely to cover both trading and operations). There is no limit on the number of responses per member firm.
The results of the consultation will be shared with the SMPC and interested members in early April, and any recommendations to revise the Rule may be taken ahead of the next scheduled SMPC meeting on May 29 2018.

ICMA announces an update of its Buy-in Rules

1 March 2017 In response to requests from ICMA’s members, ICMA’s Secondary Market Practices Committee (SMPC) proposed a review of the Buy-in and Sell-out Procedures with a view to improving their efficiency and practicability, particularly in light of more challenging market conditions. Following a lengthy consultation process with member firms, the ICMA executive committee, in close consultation and agreement with the SMPC, unanimously resolved to amend the Buy-in and Sell-out Procedures.

Most significantly, the revised rules remove the requirement to appoint a buy-in (or sell-out) agent, and provide for the party initiating a buy-in/sell-out to execute the procedure themselves (subject to certain limitations). The new rules also allow for greater flexibility for the initiating party in determining the timing of the execution of the buy-in/sell-out.  

The changes to the rules come into effect from April 3 2017.

The circular announcing and outlining the changes can be found here.

Online order form

The non-member rate for accessing ICMA's statutes, by-laws, rules and recommendations (the ICMA Rule Book) online is CHF Swiss Francs 2,500 (+ VAT where applicable) per annum.

Click here to access the online order form