U.S. SEC says may give firms more time to comply with Europe's research rules

TOKYO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could extend a 30-month grace period granted to Wall Street firms to comply with European Union investment rules to unbundle research and other services, commissioner Hester Peirce said on Wednesday.

The SEC had given U.S. brokers until the middle of next year to comply with MiFID II, due to a quirk in the U.S. federal securities law that bars U.S. firms from complying with the EU rules, which took effect in January 2018.

The European rules aim to eliminate conflicts of interest by giving investors greater transparency over how much they pay banks for discrete services but have caused a slew of cross-border compliance issues for U.S. firms.

“MiFID II has been quite a big issue. We did give temporary relief and I think what we’re going to end up doing is probably extending that relief because we’re trying to come up with a permanent solution, but it’s not that easy,” Peirce told members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

She added that a solution that might work for some firms might not actually work well for other firms.

“Maybe the Europeans could change their approach, that’s a possibility. We do a lot of communication with our foreign regulatory counterparts.” (Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)