Exemptions from short-selling requirements

Market makers and authorised primary dealers can use exemptions from certain requirements of the Short Selling Regulation (SSR).

9 November 2020

The Treasury has announced its intention to take equivalence decisions in respect of the EEA states across a number of financial services files including the exemption for market making activities under Article 17 of the UK SSR. For more information about how the SSR regime is affected, please see our statement and our page on preparation for Brexit.

28 October 2020
If you’re a firm that intends to use market making exemptions from January 2021, you need to notify us before the end of the transition period. Find out more
1 October 2020
The Treasury has given UK financial regulators the power to make transitional provisions to financial services legislation at the end of the transition period. This is known as the Temporary Transitional Power (TTP).
We intend to apply the TTP on a broad basis, however, this will not apply to some areas, including the market making exemption. We expect firms to comply with the requirements set out in the UK Short Selling Regulation to rely on this exemption. These requirements are also listed on the Annex to our TTP statement. Find out more about the requirements


Under the SSR, there are certain exemptions for market-making activities and primary market operations.

This means certain firms do not have to disclose net short positions – both private and public. 

These firms can also reduce the restrictions on entering into uncovered short positions in shares, sovereign debt and sovereign credit default swaps.

But you cannot automatically use these exemptions and they are limited – you can only be exempt when undertaking market-making activities and you cannot use them when carrying out proprietary trading. 

The exemption must also be applied to specific instruments.

See further information in our revised note on the UK notification process for market makers and authorised primary dealers (PDF). 

Notify us to use exemption

You must notify the relevant competent authority – in the UK this is the FCA – that you are intending to use the exemption 30 days before you intend to do so. 

When notifying us that your firm intends to use this exemption regarding a financial instrument, you must use our forms (see below) and provide certain evidence. 

To notify us, please send the relevant forms and further information to [email protected]

We will contact you before the 30-day period has expired to confirm whether we will prohibit the use of the exemption or not. 

Notifier exemption forms and annexes

Notifiers intending to use the exemptions should use the relevant form and appropriate annexes.

Market makers

We expect that all market maker exemption notifications will include the SSR-1 form and a list of instruments that includes at least the information in Annex I-A and/or I-B.

The annexes may be used as follows:

  • If the notifier is registered as a market-maker at a trading venue, it can use Annex I-A to list relevant financial instruments for which it is registered to make markets.
  • If the notifier is not registered as a market maker at any particular venue, it should use Annex I-B to list relevant instruments for which it is conducting or intends to conduct market-making activities that fall within Article 2(1)(k) of the SSR.
  • The notifier can use Annex II to list the relevant trading venues of which it is a member.
  • The notifier can use Annex III to provide additional information.

Authorised primary dealers

We expect that all authorised primary dealers' exemption notifications will include the SSR-2 form and Annex I.

The annexes may be used as follows:

  • Annex I to provide information on the UK sovereign debt for which it intends to use the exemption.
  • Annex II for relevant supporting documentation.

Prohibition from exemption

The relevant competent authority can prohibit you from using the exemption if it believes your firm does not satisfy the conditions of the exemption. 

The relevant competent authority can also stop you using it at any subsequent time if it considers that your firm no longer meets the conditions of the exemption. 

ESMA guidelines

ESMA has previously consulted on and published guidelines for market maker exemptions (PDF).

Third-country market equivalence

Under the SSR, the European Commission may deem the legal and supervisory framework of a third country market as equivalent in order to apply the exemption (Article 17(2)). 

The Commission has not published any equivalency declarations as at June 2016.  

Page updates

01/10/2020: Information added Update in highlight box on key requirements for firms