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Benchmark Regulation

Benchmark Regulation

A benchmark is a reference value against which the performance of financial instruments may be measured. Benchmarks may be based on an index covering financial instruments of the same class, e.g. stocks or bonds. They can also be calculated for a specific industry, a type of company or as a reference value for the broader economy.

The integrity of benchmarks is critical to the pricing of many financial instruments, such as interest rate swaps, commercial and non-commercial contracts, loans and mortgages and risk management. Any risk of manipulation of benchmarks may undermine market confidence, cause significant losses to investors and distort the real economy. This is what the Regulation on indices used as benchmarks in financial instruments and financial contracts or to measure the performance of investment funds (Benchmark Regulation) addresses.


The changes proposed by the European Commission to its market abuse and criminal sanctions proposals alone will not improve the way benchmarks are defined and used. EU regulation is necessary to improve the functioning and governance of benchmarks and to ensure that benchmarks which are defined and used in the EU are robust, reliable, representative and fit for purpose and that they are not subject to manipulation.

Time line

The Benchmark Regulation (Level 1) entered into force on 30 June 2016. It has been applied since 1 January 2018. Level 2 consultations are ongoing.

Benchmark Regulation: the highlighted parts of the value chain are affected

STOXX: indices that meet your needs


STOXX calculates more than 7,000 indices from blue-chip and benchmark to strategy and smart-beta indices. They are licensed to more than 500 companies, including the world’s largest financial products issuers, capital owners and asset managers.

STOXX: Principles for Financial Benchmarks

Market movement

STOXX claims compliance with both the IOSCO Principle for Financial Benchmarks and the ESMA-EBA Principles for Benchmark-Setting Processes in the EU for all STOXX-branded indices. The internationally valid guidelines focus on the methodology, transparency and overall quality of benchmarks as well as on overall governance arrangements and accountability for index providers and other relevant bodies.

Legal basis

Find the most recent legal text on this regulation here.