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The following posts provide a snapshot of selected UK, EU and global financial regulatory developments of interest to banks, investment firms, broker-dealers, market infrastructures, asset managers and corporates.

  • Financial Conduct Authority Publishes Final UK Listing Rules
    July 11, 2024

    The Financial Conduct Authority has published a policy statement on the primary markets effectiveness review. The statement summarizes the main feedback from the responses to CP23/31 on the proposed reforms and sets out the final U.K. listing rules. The final rules are broadly as consulted on in CP23/31, with certain amendments that are described in the policy statement. They aim to encourage prospective issuers to choose a U.K. listing by streamlining the rules and removing the 'premium' and 'standard' listing segments in favour of a new commercial companies' category for equity shares. The new rules also remove the need for votes on significant or related party transactions and offer flexibility around enhanced voting rights. The changes are designed to remove frictions to growth once companies are listed, while continuing to place an emphasis on disclosure so that investors can make properly informed investment decisions. The new rules will come into force on July 29, 2024, when the current Listing Rules sourcebook will cease to have effect and will be replaced by the new Listing Rules sourcebook. The rules will also appear in the FCA Handbook on that date.

    Read more.
  • Council of the European Union Agrees Negotiating Mandate on Retail Investment Package
    June 12, 2024

    The Council of the European Union has announced that it has agreed its negotiating position on the retail investment package and published the relevant texts. The package consists of an amending Directive, known as the Omnibus Directive, which revises existing rules set out in the Markets in Financial Instruments II package, the Insurance Distribution Directive, the Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directive, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, and Solvency II, as well as an amending Regulation, which revises the Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulation.

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  • European Securities and Markets Authority Statement on Good Practices for Pre-Close Calls
    May 29, 2024

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a statement on good practice in relation to "pre-close calls" (i.e. communication sessions between an issuer and analysts who generate reports on the issuer's financial instruments). The statement seeks to remind issuers about the applicable legislative framework for pre-close calls and encourages them to follow good practices when engaging in such calls, with the goal of maintaining fair, orderly, and effective markets. Following recent media reports suggesting a connection between episodes of high volatility in share prices and pre-close calls, ESMA reminds issuers that any disclosure of inside information should only take place in accordance with the EU Market Abuse Regulation. Consequently, issuers should only share non-inside information during these pre-close calls.

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  • EU Final Guidelines on Simple, Transparent And Standardized Criteria for On-Balance Sheet Securitizations
    May 27, 2024

    The European Banking Authority has published final guidelines on the simple, transparent, and standardized criteria for on-balance-sheet securitizations. The main objective of the guidelines is to provide a single point of consistent interpretation of those criteria and ensure a common understanding of them by originators, original lenders, securitization special purpose entities, investors, competent authorities, and third-party verification agents verifying STS compliance in accordance with Article 28 of the EU Securitisation Regulation throughout the Union.

    The EBA has also published amending guidelines, which make targeted amendments to the existing non-asset-backed commercial paper and asset-backed commercial paper securitisation guidelines, for a specific number of these requirements, to ensure that the interpretation provided by the EBA is consistent across all three guidelines. The guidelines will be applied on a cross-sectoral basis throughout the EU with the aim of facilitating the adoption of the STS criteria for OBS securitization, which is one of the prerequisites for the preferential risk weight treatment under the CRR, supporting further lending to the real economy and thus contributing further to the objectives of the Capital Markets Union.
    Topic : Securities
  • New UK Securitization Regime Set to Start on November 1, 2024
    May 22, 2024

    The Securitisation (Amendment) Regulations 2024 were made on May 22, 2024 and come into force for the most part on November 1, 2024. The Amending Regulations supplement the new U.K. securitization regime established under the U.K. Securitisation Regulations 2024, including establishing November 1, 2024 as the commencement date for the Securitisation Regulations 2024. The Amending Regulations do not revoke the onshored EU Securitisation Regulation 2017, which will take effect through commencement regulations. The Securitisation Regulations 2024 designate, under the new designated activities regime, certain securitization activities when undertaken by a firm in the U.K. and introduce a new definition of "institutional investor", removing overseas Alternative Investment Fund Managers that market or manage AIFs in the U.K. from due diligence requirements.

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  • UK Publishes Draft Securitisation (Amendment) Regulations 2024
    04/22/2024

    The draft Securitisation (Amendment) Regulations 2024 were published on April 22, 2024. In combination with the Securitisation Regulations (S.I. 2024/102), the draft Regulations will provide the U.K.'s new regulatory framework for securitizations as part of HM Treasury's Smarter Regulatory Framework. The Securitisation Regulations 2024 establish the designated activities relating to securitizations and repeal detailed legislative firm-facing requirements, which will move the rulebooks of the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority. The Securitisation Regulations will enter into force when the existing Securitisation Regulations 2017 are repealed, which will be implemented by commencement regulations. The draft Regulations restate due diligence requirements for Occupational Pension Schemes and restate the prohibition on the establishment of Securitisation Special Purpose Entities (SSPEs) in high-risk jurisdictions, modifying it to apply to institutional investors, as well as originators or sponsors.
  • UK Regulators Consult on Digital Securities Sandbox
    04/15/2024

    On April 3, 2024, the Bank of England and U.K. Financial Conduct Authority published a joint consultation paper on proposed rules for the incoming digital securities sandbox. The Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 (discussed in our client note, A Boost for UK Financial Services) empowered HM Treasury to establish sandboxes to facilitate the use of digital assets in financial markets. HM Treasury confirmed its approach to the DSS, which is the first such sandbox, in December 2023. The DSS will offer eligible firms a modified set of rules and regulations for a period of five years, enabling them to test out services using technology such as distributed ledger technology and give the regulators time to finesse a regulatory regime. It is hoped that digital securities could bring advantages, such as streamlining processes and reducing settlement risk and settlement times.

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  • UK To Move to T+1 Settlement by Latest End 2027
    04/11/2024

    The recently published Accelerated Settlement Taskforce report makes several recommendations to the U.K. government for moving to faster settlement of securities trades in the U.K. The main recommendation is that the U.K. should move to T+1 settlement by no later than the end of 2027. India is already on T+1 and the U.S will move to T+1 on May 28 this year (we discuss the U.S. move in our client note, "T+1 Settlement Coming May 28, 2024"). The Taskforce also recommends that the U.K. continues to explore the potential for alignment with the EU and other European jurisdictions (e.g., Switzerland). However, if that is not attainable, the U.K. should proceed in any event. Another recommendation is that certain operational changes be mandated from a date in 2025, including the establishment of market standards.

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    Topic : Securities
  • UK Public Offers and Admissions to Trading Regulations Published
    03/06/2024

    On January 29, 2024, the Public Offers and Admissions to Trading Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/105) were published. The Regulations implement the new Public Offers and Admission to Trading Regime, part of the new designated activities regime, and revise the existing prospectus regime inherited from the EU that currently sits in the U.K. Prospectus Regulation. The designated activities regime (DAR) is a new U.K. concept to give the Financial Conduct Authority rulemaking powers over financial sector activities, such as public offers and listing, which are not necessarily carried out by regulated firms such as banks (we discussed the DAR in our client note, "A Boost For UK Financial Services"). The new Regulations introduce a general prohibition on public offers of securities, coupled with a collection of exceptions from this prohibition. Many of the existing exemptions in the U.K. Prospectus Regulation, such as offers solely to qualified investors and offers made to fewer than 150 persons, are retained. Certain provisions, such as those establishing the new designated activities and provisions enabling the FCA to make rules, came into force on January 30, 2024. Most of the other provisions will enter into force once the U.K. Prospectus Regulation is revoked using powers under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023. The FCA has engaged with stakeholders regarding many of the changes that will be housed in its rulebook in the future. It is expected to publish a consultation paper in Summer 2024 on its detailed proposals.

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  • UK Securitisation Regulations Published
    03/04/2024

    The Securitisation Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/102) were made on January 29, 2024, and will come into force for the most part when the Securitisation Regulation 2017 is revoked. This is part of HM Treasury's Smarter Regulatory Framework. The Securitisation Regulations 2024 designate, under the incoming designated activities regime, certain securitization activities when undertaken by a firm in the U.K. These are:
    1. Acting as originator, sponsor, original lender or securitisation special purpose entity in a securitization.
    2. Selling a securitization position to a U.K. retail client.

    The Securitisation Regulations 2024 introduce a new definition of "institutional investor," removing non-U.K. Alternative Investment Fund Managers that market or manage AIFs in the U.K. from due diligence requirements.

    In addition, the Securitisation Regulations 2024 repeal detailed legislative firm-facing requirements. These requirements will be moved to the regulator rulebooks. Both the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority consulted last year on their proposed approach and rules, and are expected to publish their final rules in Q2 this year.
  • Fourth Commencement Regulations Under Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 Published
    01/18/2024

    The Fourth Commencement Regulations - the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional and Saving Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 - under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 were made on December 14, 2023. The Fourth Commencement Regulations provide, among other things, for:
    • The repeal of HM Treasury’s obligation to review legislation in various financial services legislation, including but not limited to, the Short Selling Regulation, the Securitization Regulation, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Regulations and the U.K. version of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation. These repeals took effect on December 15, 2023.
    • The revocation from April 5, 2024 of the Data Reporting Services Regulations 2017 and related implementing legislation such as (i) the provisions in the onshored Markets in Financial Instruments Regulations that provide HM Treasury and the regulators with powers to specify further detail relating to data reporting services; and (ii) the provisions in the MiFIR Delegated Regulation on the provision of data on reasonable commercial basis. The revocation of these provisions on this date aligns with HM Treasury's aim of the draft Data Reporting Services Regulations 2023 entering into force on April 5, 2024. The draft Data Reporting Services Regulations 2023 will replace the Data Reporting Services Regulations 2017, restating with modifications some of the 2017 content. The FCA has confirmed the final framework for a consolidated tape for bonds, which will also enter into force on April 5, 2024.

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  • UK Legislates to Implement the Digital Securities Sandbox
    01/12/2024

    Legislation implementing the U.K.'s first digital sandbox – the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 (Digital Securities Sandbox) Regulations 2023 – came into force on January 8, 2024. The DSS Regulations enable the Digital Securities Sandbox to be established. The regulators are expected to consult soon on the proposed application process and rule changes.

    U.K. recognized investment exchanges, recognized central securities depositories and investment firms that are licensed to operate a multilateral trading facility or organised trading facility, as well as any other U.K. firms identified by the Financial Conduct Authority or Prudential Regulation Authority, may participate in the FMI sandbox as a "sandbox entrant". Sandbox arrangements carried out by a sandbox entrant must relate to either the activity of operating a trading venue or carrying on maintenance, notary or settlement functions in relation to in-scope instruments, or be ancillary to those activities. In addition to the ability of the primary sandbox entrant to carry out those activities within the sandbox, the following classes of firms may participate in FMI sandbox arrangements: firms using the services provided by the sandbox entrant; firms providing services to the sandbox entrant or its users; and firms carrying on activities or providing services in connection with an in-scope instrument used in connection with the FMI sandbox arrangements. By including this third class of firms, firms would be allowed to provide services that are ancillary or complementary to trading and settlement activities, such as clearing, within the sandbox.

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  • UK Conduct Authority Sets Out Detailed Changes to Listing Rules
    01/11/2024

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority is consulting on detailed proposals to reform its listing rules which are focused on a single listing segment, a more disclosure-based regime and changes to the sponsor regime. The FCA is proceeding with its original proposal to introduce a single listing segment, which it put forward in its consultation last year, discussed in our client note, "FCA Moves Ahead with a Single Equity Listing Category". Taking into account feedback to its consultation, the FCA sets out how the proposed 'commercial companies' equity share listings framework would work, including eligibility, significant and related party transactions, dual/multiple class share structures and sponsors. The 'commercial companies' category would replace the existing 'premium' and 'standard' listing segments. The FCA also describes details of the other listing segments changes it is proposing to make.

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  • UK Extends Transitional Period for Third-Country Benchmarks
    01/08/2024

    The Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 (Benchmarks and Capital Requirements) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 were enacted on December 19, 2023. The Regulations amend two pieces of legislation that are set to be repealed by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023, both of which are subject to a transitional period until that repeal takes place. HM Treasury is able to amend the legislation during the transitional period to ensure that it remains up to date.

    The Regulations amend the U.K. Capital Requirements Regulation to reintroduce the inadvertently removed "discount factor" that reduces the amount of capital that small- and medium-sized firms must hold for their trading and derivative activities. The amendment took effect on December 20, 2023. This move is in line with the approach of other leading jurisdictions and aligns with the government's policy to enhance the competitiveness of the U.K. markets. It also accords with the Prudential Regulation Authority's introduction of a simpler prudential regime for Small Domestic Deposit Takers.

    The Regulations also amend the U.K. Benchmarks Regulation to extend the transitional period for third-country benchmarks from the end of 2025 to the end of 2030. This change is in line with HM Treasury’s policy announced in November 2023. The extension took effect on January 1, 2024.
  • HM Treasury Confirms Approach to Digital Securities Sandbox
    12/12/2023

    Following its consultation earlier this year, HM Treasury has published a response to its consultation on the Digital Securities Sandbox, confirming that it will mostly adopt the approach consulted on to establish the DSS. The DSS, which will be the first sandbox to be established using new powers granted by the U.K. Financial Services and Markets Act 2023, is intended to facilitate the use of digital assets in financial markets. The DSS is designed to allow firms to: (i) establish and operate FMIs using digital asset technology; and (ii) perform the activities of central securities depositories and trading venues in relation to existing security classes.

    HM Treasury intends to lay before Parliament draft legislation to implement the DSS, which will be run by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England. The regulators will be consulting soon on their proposed approaches to the DSS, including the application process and proposed rule changes.

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  • UK Acts to Extend Transitional Period for Third-Country Benchmarks
    11/29/2023

    HM Treasury has published a policy paper and draft legislation for extending the transitional period for third-country benchmarks under the U.K. Benchmarks Regulation. The transitional period will be extended from the end of 2025 to the end of 2030.

    The U.K. Benchmarks Regulation provides that no financial instruments and financial contracts in the U.K. may start to reference a benchmark provided by a third-country benchmark administrator unless that benchmark administrator has approval through equivalence, recognition or endorsement. However, the applicability of these provisions to third-country benchmark providers has been extended numerous times. The government will consider whether the third-country benchmarks regime should be revised as part of the Smarter Regulatory Framework. The extension to 2030 is intended to provide certainty to market participants while that assessment and related work is carried out. The draft legislation is intended to come into force on January 1, 2024.

    In October this year, the EU extended to the end of 2025 the transitional period for third-country benchmarks under the EU Benchmarks Regulation.
  • UK Draft Short Selling Regulations Published
    11/29/2023

    The U.K. government has published a draft version of the Short Selling Regulations 2024. The draft SSR 2024 will replace the existing U.K. Short Selling Regulation, which was onshored from the EU and which is being repealed under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023. Alongside the draft legislation, HM Treasury has published a Policy Note, which sets out the final policy following the consultations on the short selling regime and on the regulation of sovereign debt and credit default swaps. The response to the first consultation was published in July this year, and the response to the second consultation was published in November 2023.

    The draft SSR 2024 provides that the following are designated activities under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (and so fall under the Financial Conduct Authority's remit whenever any regulated or unregulated person carries them out):
    1. Entering into a short sale of a share.
    2. Entering into a transaction which creates or relates to a financial instrument other than a share, where an effect of the transaction is to confer a financial advantage on the person entering into that transaction in the event of a decrease in the price or value of a share.
    In line with the government’s policy of placing the more detailed firm-facing requirements in the regulator’s rulebooks, the draft SSR 2024 grants the FCA power to make designated activity rules relating to the above designated activities.

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    Topic : Securities
  • EU Proposes Reducing Scope of the EU Benchmark Regulation
    11/01/2023

    The European Commission has published a legislative proposal for reducing the scope of the EU Benchmark Regulation. The EU BMR provides the authorization and registration requirements for benchmark administrators, including third-country entities, and the requirements for governance and control of administrators. It provides for different categories of benchmarks depending on the risks involved, imposes additional requirements on benchmarks considered to be "critical" and gives powers to national regulators to mandate, under certain conditions, contributions to or the administration of critical benchmarks.

    The Commission's proposal, designed to ease the burdensome requirements for smaller benchmark administrators, is to change the scope of the BMR by removing the requirement for non-significant benchmark administrators to obtain authorization or registration (EU administrators) or endorsement or recognition (third-country administrators). This will mean that the requirements for governance and control of administrators would no longer apply to these benchmark administrators.

    The approval and governance requirements would continue to apply to significant benchmark administrators, critical benchmark administrators and, irrespective of significance, to administrators of the EU Paris-aligned Benchmark or EU Climate Transition Benchmarks.

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  • EU Extends Use of Third-Country Benchmarks Until End 2025
    11/01/2023

    A Commission Delegated Regulation extending the transitional period laid down for third-country benchmarks has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

    The EU Benchmark Regulation limits the use by EU supervised entities of benchmarks provided by third-country benchmark administrators. Under transitional provisions, no financial instruments and financial contracts in the EU may start to reference a benchmark provided by a third-country administrator on or after December 31, 2023 (extended in 2022 from January 1, 2021), unless the benchmark and administrator are included in the register maintained by the European Securities and Markets Authority following an equivalence decision by the European Commission, or recognition or endorsement by a national regulator. However, a benchmark provided by a third-country administrator that is already being referenced in financial instruments and financial contracts in the EU on January 1, 2024, may continue to be referenced in those contracts and financial instruments.

    The Delegated Regulation, which takes effect on October 26, 2023, extends the transitional date from December 31, 2023 to December 31, 2025. The transitional provision does not apply to any EU benchmark whose administrators relocate to a third country during the transitional period.
  • EU Authority Seeks Feedback on Potential Shorter EU Settlement Cycle
    10/16/2023

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has opened a call for evidence on shortening the settlement cycle in the EU. The existing EU settlement cycle for trades in transferable securities executed on trading venues is by no later than the second business day after the trade takes place, known as T+2. Responses to the call for evidence may be submitted by December 15, 2023. ESMA will report to the European Commission during 2024, although an earlier report may be produced if ESMA considers that regulatory action is needed in response to the move to T+1 or T+0 in other jurisdictions.

    ESMA is asking for feedback from financial market participants on the impact on their operations of a reduced securities settlement cycle to T+1 or T+0, what benefits and costs it would bring, and how and when a shorter settlement cycle could be achieved. ESMA considers that the EU landscape is more complex than that in other jurisdictions because there is no centralized EU post-trade financial markets infrastructure and no harmonized securities law. Finally, ESMA seeks input on the impact of developments in other jurisdictions, such as the intended move by the U.S. and Canada to T+1 in mid-2024 and the U.K.'s assessment of changing to T+1 or T+0, an initial report on which is expected by the end of this year (announced as part of the Edinburgh Reforms which are discussed in our client note, "UK Government Publishes Edinburgh Reforms for Financial Services").
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Consults on Securitization Rules
    08/14/2023

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority is consulting on its proposed rules for securitization markets, which will replace many of the firm-facing requirements under the existing U.K. Securitization Regulation. The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority is separately consulting on its own equivalent rules for PRA-authorized firms, which together with the FCA's rules will create a coherent regime for securitizations. The regulators are being handed the power to make these rules under HM Treasury's proposed reforms to the U.K. securitization regime, which will repeal the existing U.K. Securitization Regulation, keeping part of the regime in new legislation and the remainder in the regulators' rulebooks.

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  • HM Treasury Consults on First Financial Market Infrastructure Sandbox – the Digital Securities Sandbox
    08/07/2023

    HM Treasury has published a consultation on the establishment of a financial market infrastructure sandbox, known as the Digital Securities Sandbox. The sandbox will be established using new powers granted by the U.K. Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 (which we discuss in our client note, "A Boost for UK Financial Services"), empowering HM Treasury to set up individual FMI sandboxes. The sandboxes are designed to enhance understanding of the use cases for emerging digital asset technologies, including distributed ledger technology. HM Treasury can modify or disapply legislation and rules within the sandbox to permit different technologies to be tested that would not be possible under the existing legislative and regulatory framework, with the potential to make permanent changes to legislation based on the findings of the sandbox.

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  • HM Treasury Publishes Response on UK Retail Disclosure Consultation
    08/07/2023

    HM Treasury has published a response to its consultation on the future of U.K. retail disclosures. HM Treasury's consultation (which we discussed in our client note, "UK Government Publishes Edinburgh Reforms for Financial Services") identified various problems with the Packaged Retail and Insurance-Based Investment Products Regulation which currently governs disclosures for complex retail investment products. These included that the PRIIPs regime could be overly prescriptive and potentially misleading in its attempts to make PRIIPs products comparable and that the rules were spread across a mixture of legislation and regulatory rules which led to a complex environment for firms.

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  • UK Government Consults on Revised Securitization Regime
    08/04/2023

    HM Treasury has published a near-final draft statutory instrument and related Policy Note setting out its proposed reforms to the U.K. securitization regime. Comments on the draft S.I. can be submitted until August 21, 2023. The final S.I. will be laid before Parliament before the end of 2023.

    The PRA is separately consulting on proposed rules to replace its retained EU law securitization requirements for PRA-authorized firms. Responses to the PRA's consultation should be submitted by October 30, 2023. The FCA will publish a consultation on its securitization rules on August 7, 2023.

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  • UK Government and Regulators Consult on Revised UK Prospectus Regime
    08/02/2023

    HM Treasury has published a near-final draft statutory instrument and related Policy Note setting out its proposed reforms to the U.K. prospectus regime. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has also published a series of six Engagement Papers seeking views on its proposed rules under the new regime.

    Once the new U.K. regime is finalized, the retained EU Prospectus Regulation will be repealed under the revocation framework established by the U.K. Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 (which we discuss in our client note, "A Boost for U.K. Financial Services: The U.K. Financial Services and Markets Act 2023").

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  • UK Statutory Instrument Published to Bring Cryptoassets Within Financial Promotions Regime
    06/12/2023

    On June 7, 2023, the U.K. government published a statutory instrument (the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) (Amendment) Order 2023 (FP (Amendment) Order) and related explanatory memorandum) amending the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (FPO). The amendments broadly reflect HM Treasury's final proposals on cryptoasset financial promotions, published in January 2022. The expanded financial promotions regime will apply from October 8, 2023, an implementation period of four months as opposed to the originally proposed six, given recent market volatility. The new regime will capture promotions for "qualifying cryptoassets" with respect to the following (existing) controlled activities:
    • dealing in securities and contractually based investments;
    • arranging deals in investments;
    • managing investments;
    • advising on investments; and
    • agreeing to carry on any of the above activities.

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  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Publishes Final Rules on Cryptoasset Financial Promotions
    06/12/2023

    On June 8, 2023, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority published its final Policy Statement setting out detailed rules for the U.K.'s cryptoasset financial promotions regime. The Policy Statement follows the publication on June 7, 2023 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) (Amendment) Order 2023 (FP (Amendment) Order), which will bring the promotion of certain cryptoasset activities within the U.K.'s financial promotions regime. The FCA's rules will apply from October 8, 2023 (the same date that cryptoassets are brought within the financial promotions regime under the FP (Amendment) Order).

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  • European Commission Publishes Retail Investment Strategy
    06/05/2023

    On May 24, 2023, the European Commission published a Retail Investment Strategy package aimed at enhancing retail investor protections across the EU and encouraging participation in the EU capital markets. The package comprises an amending Directive, which makes changes across a range of EU legislation, and an amending Regulation, which revises the EU's Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulation.

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  • UK Legal Statement on the Issuance and Transfer of Digital Securities under English Law
    02/28/2023

    Following its consultation in 2022, on February 9, 2023 the U.K. Jurisdiction Taskforce published a Legal Statement on the issuance and transfer of digital securities under English private law.

    Digital securities are shares, bonds and other debt securities which are constituted by reference to a blockchain or distributed ledger. English law is commonly used as the governing law of choice for conventional debt securities in international markets. Seeking to provide legal certainty on the use of digital securities, the Legal Statement concludes that English law can support the issuance and transfer of digital bonds on a public blockchain without custodians, and the on-chain transfer of digital equity securities.

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    Topics : FinTechSecurities
  • EU Publishes Final Amendments to Cash Penalty Process for Cleared Trades
    11/15/2022

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published its Final Report and draft Regulatory Technical Standards amending the cash penalty process for cleared transactions under the EU Central Securities Depositories Regulation. The settlement discipline regime under the EU CSDR, supplemented in EU Regulatory Technical Standards, provides measures for preventing settlement fails. CSDR and the RTS also provide measures for monitoring and addressing settlement fails when they do occur, such as a mechanism for cash penalties (which has applied since February 1, 2022) and a mandatory buy-in process.

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    Topic : Securities
  • UK Jurisdiction Taskforce Publishes Consultation on Transfer of Digital Assets
    08/01/2022

    The U.K. Jurisdiction Taskforce has published a consultation on the issuance and transfer of "digital securities" under English law. Digital securities are shares, bonds and other debt securities which are constituted by reference to a blockchain or distributed ledger. English law is commonly used as the governing law of choice for conventional debt securities in international markets, but a question arises as to whether English law can support the issuance and transfer of digital securities. The UKJT intends to publish a legal statement on the subject in December 2022.

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    Topics : FinTechSecurities
  • Stricter UK Financial Promotion Rules Going Ahead
    08/01/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published its final Policy Statement and Rules on financial promotions of high-risk investments and firms approving financial promotions. Many of these changes address or build upon recommendations of the Gloster Report or are otherwise related to the fallout from the London Capital & Finance plc scandal. The rules on risk warnings for financial promotions of high-risk investments will apply from December 1, 2022, and all other rules will apply from February 1, 2023. The FCA's related guidance (which is included in Annex 2 of the Policy Statement) will also apply from February 2023.

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  • UK Government Publishes Financial Services and Markets Bill
    07/20/2022

    The U.K. government has published the much anticipated Financial Services and Markets Bill. Following its exit from the EU, the U.K. has undertaken a fundamental review of how financial regulation policy and rules should be made, reviewed and established in law, particularly in light of the return of the U.K.'s sovereignty. Furthermore, there has been a substantial assessment of the U.K.'s financial services rules and regulations, with some areas warranting further consideration. The Bill implements the outcomes of the Future Regulatory Framework Review, which assessed whether the U.K. financial services regulatory framework is fit for purpose and able to support future growth, particularly in light of challenges such as Brexit and climate change. On the same day, HM Treasury published its response to the final consultation in the FRF Review. The FSM Bill establishes a revised blueprint for financial services regulation by revamping the existing model under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and revoking retained EU law in financial services. The regulators will be delegated powers for detailed rulemaking, and as a result, become subject to enhanced Parliamentary oversight.

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  • EU Proposes to Amend Cash Penalty Process for Cleared trades
    07/11/2022

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has opened a consultation in which it proposes to amend the cash penalty process for cleared transactions under the EU Central Securities Depositories Regulation. The EU CSDR provides a harmonized regulatory and prudential regime for central securities depositories and increases the robustness and resilience of securities settlement arrangements. The settlement discipline regime, set out in EU Regulatory Technical Standards, provides measures for preventing settlement fails through automated matching, a hold and release mechanism and partial settlement. CSDR and the RTS also provide measures for monitoring and addressing settlement fails, such as a mechanism for cash penalties and a mandatory buy-in process. The settlement discipline rules have applied since February 1, 2022.

    ESMA is proposing to amend the RTS to remove the obligation on CCPs to collect and distribute penalties for cleared transactions. Instead, CSDs will operate the entire collection and distribution process for penalties (i.e., for cleared and uncleared trades). In terms of timing, ESMA is considering a six-month implementation delay to give industry time to test arrangements in their cash penalties processes. Responses to the consultation may be provided by September 9, 2022.
    Topic : Securities
  • Government Details Proposed Financial Services and Markets Bill
    05/10/2022

    Following the Queen's speech yesterday, the government has published a briefing pack setting out details of the bills that it intends to introduce, including the so-called Brexit Freedoms Bill as well as key legislation relevant to financial services. The government will introduce a Financial Services and Markets Bill, which will, among other things:
    • Introduce new statutory objectives for the financial services regulators to support growth and international competitiveness.
    • Implement the changes to the wholesale markets arising out of the Wholesale Markets Review. HM Treasury confirmed in March of this year that the changes that will be made by legislation and where powers will be delegated to the financial services regulators for rules to be made. Among the changes are the removal of the share trading obligation and the double volume cap, changes to the derivatives trading obligation, taking OTC derivatives that are economically equivalent to exchange traded commodity derivatives out of the position limits regime, and the establishment of a consolidated tape.

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  • Queen’s Speech Confirms Government Will Proceed with Brexit Freedoms Bill
    05/10/2022

    Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, delivered the Queen’s speech in which he announced that the government will be introducing the so-called Brexit Freedoms Bill, which was first announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on January 31, 2022, and is intended to make it easier to amend or remove retained EU laws to better suit the U.K.’s circumstances and policies. The Brexit Freedoms Bill will work in tandem with a government drive to reform, repeal and replace EU laws that are seen as outdated, cumbersome or otherwise not in the U.K.’s national interest.

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  • International Organization of Securities Commissions Seeks Feedback on Reports on Corporate Bond Markets and Regulation of Exchange Traded Funds
    04/06/2022

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions is seeking feedback on two IOSCO reports: the first on drivers of liquidity in corporate bond markets during COVID-19 induced market stresses and the second on good practices for the regulation of exchange traded funds.

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    Topic : Securities
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Publishes Report on Short Selling Regulation Review
    04/04/2022

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a report on its review of certain aspects of the EU Short Selling Regulation. The review was prompted by the volume of short selling that occurred around the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and national regulators' responses to it. ESMA also considered the possibility in Europe of high volatility in so-called "meme-stocks" (stocks which gain popularity through social media.

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    Topic : Securities
  • UK Regulator Finalizes Rules On Scope Of PRIPPs
    03/25/2022

    Following its consultation last year, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published its final policy and rule amendments on the scope of the rules governing packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (or PRIIPs). The FCA had aimed to bring in the new rules by January 1, 2022. Instead, the final rules and Regulatory Technical Standards will apply from March 25, 2022. Firms will have until December 31, 2022 to apply the new requirements. These changes are designed to bring legal certainty to the scope of the PRIIPs regime, as it applies to corporate bonds, and mitigate risks relating to misleading performance scenarios and summary risk indicators and concerns about the transaction costs calculation methodology. It is hoped that the amendments will promote liquidity and improve choice in the retail corporate bond market, and also reduce the complexity of key information documents (or KIDs), the key information disclosure documents that must accompany PRIIPs when they are made available to retail investors.

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  • UK Prospectus Review: Government Confirms Policy for Reforms to Boost London's Capital Markets
    03/01/2022

    Following its consultation last year, HM Treasury has set out its policy approach to amending the U.K. Prospectus regime. The current U.K. Prospectus Regulation will be replaced by legislation when parliamentary time allows. The changes will, among other things, separate the regulation of public offers of securities from the regulation of admissions of securities to trading, as Lord Hill recommended. In addition, the Financial Conduct Authority will be granted greater responsibility for the detail of the new regime through rules. The complete set of reforms will only apply once those rules are implemented. The main changes are set out below.

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  • Permanent Lower Threshold for Notification of Net Short Positions Under EU Short Selling Regulation Announced
    01/11/2022

    A Commission Delegated Regulation, published in the Official Journal of the European Union, amends the EU Short Selling Regulation to make permanent the lower notification threshold for notifying national regulators of net short positions held in the shares of companies traded on EU regulated markets. The threshold for notification will be 0.1% of the issued share capital of the company in question and each 0.1% above that. The lower threshold will apply from January 31, 2022.

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  • UK Regulator Issues Statement on Extension of Exemption for UCITS From PRIIPs Disclosure Requirements
    12/29/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a statement in which it confirms that it will amend the Technical Standards and related Handbook provisions to align with the extended exemption from the requirements of the U.K. Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulation for investment companies and persons advising on, or selling, units in UCITS from December 31, 2021, to December 31, 2026. The FCA states that it will not take enforcement action against firms that offer UCITS funds to U.K. retail investors and that provide either a key information document under the PRIIPs Regulation or a UCITS key investor information document. Following the government's announcement in June 2021, the Financial Services Act 2021 extended the exemption for UCITS.
  • EU Amending Technical Standards Improve PRIIPs Regulation Requirements
    12/20/2021

    An EU Commission Delegated Regulation (2021/2268) amending the Regulatory Technical Standards supplementing the EU Packaged Retail Investment and Insurance-based Products Regulation has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The amending RTS include provisions to:
    • Introduce new methodologies to calculate appropriate performance scenarios and a revised presentation of these scenarios.
    • Revise the summary cost indicators and changes to the content and presentation of information on the costs of PRIIPs.
    • Modify the methodology to calculate transaction costs.
    • Clarify the rules for PRIIPs offering a range of options for investment (known as MOPs), in particular, to identify the products' full cost implications.

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  • European Securities and Markets Authority Provides Regulatory Forbearance for EU CSDR Buy-In
    12/17/2021

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a public statement on the supervisory approach to the implementation of the buy-in regime under the EU Central Securities Depositories Regulation. The EU CSDR provides a harmonized regulatory and prudential regime for central securities depositories and increases the robustness and resilience of securities settlement arrangements. The settlement discipline regime is set out in EU Regulatory Technical Standards. The RTS cover measures for preventing settlement fails through automated matching, a hold and release mechanism and partial settlement. CSDR and the RTS also provide measures for monitoring and addressing settlement fails, such as a mechanism for cash penalties and a mandatory buy-in process. The application date of the settlement discipline rules has been postponed several times, most recently, citing the coronavirus pandemic, to delay the application date to February 1, 2022.

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  • FCA Publishes Policy Statements on Climate-Related Disclosures for Standard Listed Companies and FCA-Regulated Firms
    12/17/2021

    The FCA has published two policy statements introducing new rules and guidance on climate-related disclosures for standard listed issuers and certain other FCA-regulated firms. The Policy Statements mirror the rule imposed under the FCA's Policy Statement on climate-related disclosures for premium listed issuers.

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  • HM Treasury Identifies Areas for Improving the UK Securitization Framework
    12/13/2021

    Following its call for evidence earlier this year, HM Treasury has published its report on the review of the U.K. Securitization Regulation. HM Treasury was required to conduct a review of the functioning of the Regulation and report to Parliament on its findings by January 2022. The Securitization Regulation provides the criteria for identifying which securitizations will be designated as "simple, transparent and standardized" (STS) securitizations, a system to monitor the application of those criteria as well as common requirements on risk retention, due diligence and disclosure. Related provisions under the Capital Requirements Regulation set out the regulatory treatment of exposures to securitizations that are deemed to be STS securitizations.

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  • UK Finalizes Primary Markets Effectiveness Review Changes
    12/02/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement and final changes to the Listing Rules following its Primary Market Effectiveness Review consultation. The changes become effective on December 3, 2021 and mark a significant step in the reform of the U.K.'s listing regime. The amendments follow on from the changes to the listing rules made in August 2021 to remove from SPACs the automatic suspension of listing that they previously faced when undertaking their de-SPAC transaction. The amendments follow the Lord Hill Listing Review and Kalifa FinTech Review, both of which urged the U.K. Government implement significant reform to the U.K.'s listing regime, to make it more attractive to issuers (especially tech startups) and investors and to bring it into line with recent changes and the capital markets flexibility that its competitors - in Asia and the U.S. - already offer. We discussed the broad range of the Listing and FinTech Reviews' proposals in our UK Listing Regime Reform briefing.

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    Topic : Securities
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Issues Statement on Investment Recommendations on Social Media
    10/28/2021

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a statement on the requirements under the EU Market Abuse Regulation for firms and individuals that make investment recommendations on social media.  ESMA is concerned about the potential harm to retail investors who may base their investment decisions on information made available on social media sites, in particular in situations such as the Gamestop case.  The EU rules, which are designed to prevent the misleading of investors, apply to anyone based in or outside the EU that distributes information proposing an investment decision about EU financial instruments listed in the EU or financial instruments that depend on or effect the price or value of a listed financial instrument. 

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  • Revised Global Principles on Outsourcing for Regulated Participants in the Securities Markets
    10/27/2021

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has published an updated Principles on Outsourcing for regulated market participants in the securities markets.  The updated Principles are based on IOSCO’s 2005 Outsourcing Principles for Market Intermediaries and 2009 Outsourcing Principles for Markets.  However, the updated Principles will also apply to trading venues, market intermediaries, market participants acting on a proprietary basis, and credit rating agencies.  Financial market infrastructures may also choose to consider their application, although the Principles are not addressed to those entities.

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  • European Supervisory Authorities Launch Call for Evidence on the EU's Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulation
    10/21/2021

    The European Supervisory Authorities have launched a call for evidence on the EU's Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulation. The PRIIPs Regulation requires manufacturers of PRIIPs to produce a standardized Key Information Document in an official language of all EU countries into which offerings are made. It also requires those advising on or selling PRIIPs to provide retail investors with KIDs in good time before the investor enters into the investment. The call for evidence closes on December 16, 2021.

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