OATS Technical Specifications

The OATS Reporting Technical Specifications document covers the requirements and procedures for clock synchronization; system access requirements for supplying OATS files to FINRA; order reporting scenarios that describe, from a business perspective, responsibilities for reporting to OATS; details regarding the required layout of OATS files; procedures for providing corrections to OATS data and for receiving feedback from FINRA; and the procedures for registration, self-administration, and testing and certification. It also contains a data dictionary that describes all of the data elements in OATS files; a list of report formats, including field names, data types, and lists of permissible values; examples of order reports; and a glossary.

The OATS Reporting Technical Specifications is not intended to provide information about how to develop an electronic system that reports order information; it is only intended to describe what such a system must deliver to FINRA.

FINRA released a new edition of the OATS Reporting Technical Specifications dated May 9, 2014.This version of the OATS Reporting Technical Specifications contains the following changes:

  • Changes specific to the exchange route matching requirements for orders routed to BATS Exchanges (BATS BYX Exchange and BATS BZX Exchange). Additionally, a new Syntax/Semantics validation related to Exchange Participant ID field has been added. These changes will be available in the OATS Production environment on September 15, 2014 and in the OATS Certificate Test environment on August 11, 2014.
  • Changes specific to the migration of the OTC Reporting Facility (ORF) technology platform for the reporting of transactions in OTC equity securities (i.e., non-NMS stocks). These changes will be available in the OATS Production environment on November 17, 2014 and in the OATS Certificate Test environment on July 14, 2014. Please note, during the Certificate Test period, Execution Reports submitted for OTC equity securities will be matched against trades reported to the ORF testing environment, known as the NTF, and not the current ORF production platform. Firms and OSOs that need to test matching for OTC equity trades reported to the current ORF production platform should contact the OATS Helpdesk for assistance. FINRA staff has published a new OATS Report related to changes to the Order/Trade Matching requirements for OTC equity securities as a result of the ORF platform migration. Refer to the OATS Report titled "Changes to Order/Trade Matching Requirements for OTC Equity Securities".
  • Beginning September 15, if the firm reports Execution Timestamp in milliseconds to a FINRA transaction reporting system, OATS will include milliseconds as part of the Order Trade Matching criteria. Therefore, both the FINRA transaction reporting system Execution Timestamp and the OATS Execution Timestamp must be identical to the millisecond.

OATS Reporting Technical Specifications (5/9/14 edition) (PDF 1.36 MB)

View our archive of past specifications.

If you are having problems accessing these files, please contact FINRA Business and Technology Support Services at 1-800-321-6273.