The International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has issued a ETF survey to issuers and market makers in a move to enhance its understanding of the ecosystem.

Responses to the survey, which are expected by 1 March, will help IOSCO formalise any potential guidance regarding ETFs in the future.

The key area the global regulator is studying is the way fixed income ETFs traded during the extreme volatility in March last year.

Fixed income ETFs blew out to all-time high discounts to net asset values (NAVs) during this period with proponents of the structure quick to highlight the price discovery role ETFs play when liquidity in the underlying bonds vanished.

It is worth noting bodies such as the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) all noted the benefits of the ETF structure during periods of market stress following the March volatility.

What happens when the lights go out? An analysis of ETFs when liquidity vanishes

IOSCO has already conducted work on ETFs over the past two years primarily in relation to potential investor protection, market integrity and financial stability issues.

However, the body is yet to formalise its take on the high discounts seen across fixed income ETFs in March 2020.

The survey can be found here.