An employee trade surveillance system is a software platform used to monitor the trading activities of financial firm employees to prevent market abuse and ensure fairness. It plays a vital role in ensuring compliance with regulatory frameworks, such as MAR and MiFID II. Employee trade surveillance systems are specifically aimed at monitoring the transactions that company workers make in the financial instruments of both the organisation that they work for as well as third party market participants.  

Some financial firms build their own systems depending on their needs. Others use third-party surveillance systems designed to comply with the relevant legislation.  

Employee trading under MiFID II 

The EU regulation MiFID II highlights the importance of monitoring employee trading activity to prevent conflicts of interest with clients and other illegal activities. It also states that employees must not use personal transactions to commit market manipulation or abuse.  

Key components of employee trade surveillance systems 

Here are the key factors to ensuring a sound employee surveillance setup: 

Detection and assessment 

The surveillance process should include alert review criteria, assessment and escalation policies and proper closure guidelines. 

Senior management oversight 

This allows senior management to view the surveillance framework and periodically receive key surveillance metric reports. 

Quality assurance 

Periodic quality checks of past alerts and exceptions should be conducted. 


Firms must have sufficient staffing to monitor trading levels, products and risk types. Adequate IT resources and budget are also needed for regular updates and maintenance. 

Internal mechanisms 

Firms should have a well-defined internal process to identify when and how suspicious trading activities should be escalated, and the right course of action to take. 


Predefine the types of restricted employee trades to get instant alerts to suspicious transactions. 

Pre-clearance procedures     

A robust pre-trade clearance system should allow management to enter the criteria that must be met to allow an employee transaction.