• Introduces framework for calibrating ‘Market Accessibility Levels’ for local currency, fixed-rate government bond markets
  • Countries tracked by our indexes will be assigned an accessibility level of 0,1 or 2, with 2 representing the highest level
  • A transparent, process-orientated framework assessing market accessibility for foreign investors measured across four market criteria; 17 separate indicators
  • Complements existing equity country classification process
  • FTSE Russell will publish inaugural Watch List of local fixed income markets being considered for potential reclassification


FTSE Russell today confirmed the introduction of a country classification process for fixed income. The newly introduced fixed income framework, which will complement the firm’s existing equity country classification process, was developed in consultation with market participants. The framework will assign countries tracked by our fixed income indexes a level of 0,1 or 2, with 2 representing the highest level of accessibility for foreign investors. Minimum Market Accessibility Levels will replace the barriers-to-entry criteria for the methodology for the flagship FTSE World Government Bond Index (WGBI) and FTSE Emerging Markets Government Bond Index (EMGBI)*, effective 30 March 2019. These levels will be reviewed annually in September and are also available for use in bespoke index construction.

This transparent, process-orientated framework will assess countries based on four market criteria dimensions using 17 separate indicators:

  • Market, Macroeconomic and Regulatory Environment
    • Investment restrictions; Sustainable issuance and debt management practices; Sound regulatory environment; Foreign exchange policy and communication; Taxation regime; and Registration process for foreign investors
  • Foreign Exchange Market Structure
    • FX liquidity and investability; Currency convertibility; and Currency hedging
  • Bond Market Structure
    • Bond liquidity; Transaction costs; Fixed income dealing and trading landscape; Bond conventions; and Bond pricing
  • Global Settlement and Custody
    • Global settlement; Availability of Delivery vs Payment (DvP); and Competitive custody market

FTSE Russell will publish a Watch List of local currency, fixed-rate government bond markets being considered for potential reclassification of their Market Accessibility Level for either failing to meet the accessibility thresholds of their existing level or are close to meeting the thresholds for a higher level. Inclusion of a market on the Watch List indicates our intention to engage with governments, central banks and regulators to address specific feedback from investors on the fulfilment of the criteria for the proposed accessibility level. Importantly, it also provides transparency for index users into future evolution of our benchmarks. The inaugural watch list of fixed income markets being considered for potential reclassification will be published following completion of the initial review of markets in March 2019.

Chris Woods, Managing Director Governance and Index Policy, FTSE Russell, said:  
“The introduction of minimum Market Accessibility Levels provides an evidence-driven, robust framework, which can be applied across both flagship and bespoke benchmarks and draws on our FTSE Russell index governance capabilities and heritage in equities. We developed the framework in consultation with market participants and look forward to further engagement as we roll it out.”

More information on the new framework can be found on our website

*including indexes that derive their membership from them

For further information:

Lucie Holloway: +44 (0)20 7797 1222
Tim Benedict: +1 917 582 0641

Notes to editors:

About FTSE Russell:

FTSE Russell is a leading global provider creating and managing a wide range of indexes, data and analytic solutions to meet client needs across asset classes, style and strategies. Covering 98% of the investable market, FTSE Russell indexes offer a true picture of global markets, combined with the specialist knowledge gained from developing local benchmarks around the world.

FTSE Russell index expertise and products are used extensively by institutional and retail investors globally. More than $15 trillion is currently benchmarked to FTSE Russell indexes. For over 30 years, leading asset owners, asset managers, ETF providers and investment banks have chosen FTSE Russell indexes to benchmark their investment performance and create investment funds, ETFs, structured products and index-based derivatives. FTSE Russell indexes also provide clients with tools for asset allocation, investment strategy analysis and risk management.

A core set of universal principles guides FTSE Russell index design and management: a transparent rules-based methodology is informed by independent committees of leading market participants. FTSE Russell is focused on index innovation and customer partnership applying the highest industry standards and embracing the IOSCO Principles. FTSE Russell is wholly owned by the London Stock Exchange Group.

For more information, visit www.ftserussell.com.

© 2019 London Stock Exchange Group plc and its applicable group undertakings (the “LSE Group”). The LSE Group includes (1) FTSE International Limited (“FTSE”), (2) Frank Russell Company (“Russell”), (3) FTSE TMX Global Debt Capital Markets Inc. and FTSE TMX Global Debt Capital Markets Limited (together, “FTSE TMX”) and (4) MTSNext Limited (“MTSNext”). All rights reserved.

FTSE Russell® is a trading name of FTSE, Russell, FTSE TMX and MTS Next Limited. “FTSE®”, “Russell®”, “FTSE Russell®” “MTS®”, “FTSE TMX®”, “FTSE4Good®” and “ICB®” and all other trademarks and service marks used herein (whether registered or unregistered) are trade marks and/or service marks owned or licensed by the applicable member of the LSE Group or their respective licensors and are owned, or used under licence, by FTSE, Russell, MTSNext, or FTSE TMX.

All information is provided for information purposes only. Every effort is made to ensure that all information given in this publication is accurate, but no responsibility or liability can be accepted by any member of the LSE Group nor their respective directors, officers, employees, partners or licensors for any errors or for any loss from use of this publication or any of the information or data contained herein.

No member of the LSE Group nor their respective directors, officers, employees, partners or licensors make any claim, prediction, warranty or representation whatsoever, expressly or impliedly, either as to the results to be obtained from the use of the FTSE Russell Indexes or the fitness or suitability of the Indexes for any particular purpose to which they might be put.

No member of the LSE Group nor their respective directors, officers, employees, partners or licensors provide investment advice and nothing in this communication should be taken as constituting financial or investment advice. No member of the LSE Group nor their respective directors, officers, employees, partners or licensors make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in any asset. A decision to invest in any such asset should not be made in reliance on any information herein. Indexes cannot be invested in directly. Inclusion of an asset in an index is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold that asset. The general information contained in this publication should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from a licensed professional.

No part of this information may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the applicable member of the LSE Group. Use and distribution of the LSE Group index data and the use of their data to create financial products require a licence from FTSE, Russell, FTSE TMX, MTSNext and/or their respective licensors.