UK Chancellor launches consultation on the proposed Private Intermittent Securities and Capital Exchange System (PISCES) as part of the Spring Budget.

By Mark Austin, Rob Moulton, Anna Ngo, Frederick Gardner, Charlotte Collins, and Johannes Poon

On 6 March 2024, HM Treasury published a consultation paper seeking industry feedback on the UK’s proposed new regulated crossover market, the Private Intermittent Securities and Capital Exchange System (PISCES). PISCES would allow private companies to trade their securities in

Motivated by a “visceral reaction” to large-scale economic crime, Nick Ephgrave lays out vision for a bolder, more pragmatic, and more proactive agency.

By Pamela Reddy and Matthew Unsworth

Whistleblowers, dawn raids, and cross-agency collaboration are all top of Nick Ephgrave’s agenda as he settles into his new role as Director of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Taking to the stage for his inaugural speech at the Royal United Services Institute last week,[i] Ephgrave gave a glimpse into his ambitious (if optimistic) plans for the agency under his leadership.

The consultation paper confirms a radical approach to bolster the international competitiveness of the UK markets and return to a disclosure-based listing framework.

By Mark Austin, Chris Horton, James Inness, Anna Ngo, and Johannes Poon

The FCA today published consultation paper CP23/31 setting out detailed draft rules for the new UK listing regime. The publication represents the final stage of the journey to reshape the UK Listing Rules which started with the launch of Lord Hill’s UK Listings Review in 2020. Most of the key changes reflect proposals in the FCA’s preceding consultation paper CP23/10 published in May 2023 (see this Latham Client Alert for further details).

Critical Third Parties serving the UK financial sector must ready themselves for compliance with the newly proposed operational resilience requirements.

By Rob Moulton, Fiona Maclean, and Charlotte Collins

On 7 December 2023, the PRA, FCA, and BoE jointly published a Consultation Paper (PRA CP26/23 and FCA CP23/30) which proposes a set of regulatory requirements and expectations for critical third parties (CTPs) that provide services to authorised persons, relevant service providers, and financial market infrastructure entities (FMIs). The key aim of the proposals is to manage potential risks to the stability of, or confidence in, the UK financial system that may arise due to a failure in, or disruption to, the services that a CTP provides to such entities.

A new publication from the UK’s financial regulator signals to firms that they should take steps to manage risks in the use of AI.

By Stuart Davis, Fiona M. Maclean, Gabriel Lakeman, and Imaan Nazir

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its latest board minutes highlighting its increasing focus on artificial intelligence (AI), in which it “raised the question of how one could ‘foresee harm’ (under the new Consumer Duty), and also give customers appropriate disclosure, in the context of the operation of AI”. This publication indicates that AI continues to be a key area of attention within the FCA. It also demonstrates that the FCA believes its existing powers and rules already impose substantive requirements on regulated firms considering deploying AI in their services.

The FCA reveals its initial thinking on the regulatory framework for primary multilateral trading facilities and public offer platforms.

By Chris Horton, James Inness, Anna Ngo, and Johannes Poon

On 13 July 2023, the FCA published its fifth and sixth engagement papers to solicit discussion and feedback on the regulation of public offer platforms and primary multilateral trading facilities (MTFs) under the new regime for public offers and admissions to trading.

Proposals dramatically reduce the regulatory burden on listed companies.

By James Inness, Anna Ngo, and Johannes Poon

On 3 May 2023, the FCA published a consultation paper CP23/10 which sets out a blueprint for changes to the UK listing regime. The key reform proposed is that the existing premium and standard listing segments would be replaced with a single segment for commercial companies.

FCA chief executive’s speech indicates an exciting transition to a lighter regime and a true single listing segment.

By James Inness, Anna Ngo, and Johannes Poon

On 29 March 2023, FCA Chief Executive Nikhil Rathi delivered a speech at the Global Investment Management Summit on the topic “Reforming our capital markets ecosystem”.

He announced that the FCA will soon publish a blueprint for further reform of the UK listing regime in which the current standard and premium listing segments for shares in commercial companies would be replaced with a single listing category with a single set of requirements.

The discussion paper aims to encourage industry-wide dialogue on sustainability related-governance, incentives, and competence.

By Anne Mainwaring, Sara Sayma, and Dianne Bell

On 10 February 2023, the FCA published DP23/1: Finance for positive sustainable change: governance, incentives and competence in regulated firms.

The FCA considers that a firm’s governance, purpose, and culture are central to how it embeds environmental and social considerations into business, risk, and capital allocation decisions for the benefit of consumers. With this in mind, the FCA is seeking views on how it can move effectively beyond disclosure-based initiatives to help and encourage firms as they develop their arrangements for governance, incentives, and competence in the area of sustainability.

A consultation that will remain open until 11 April 2023 offers further clarity on the proposals to regulate buy-now-pay-later products.

By Rob Moulton, Becky Critchley, Ella McGinn, and Dianne Bell

On 14 February 2023, HM Treasury published its consultation and accompanying draft legislation on the regulation of buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) lending. The consultation follows the proposals in HM Treasury’s prior publications released in October 2021 and June 2022, since the government announced its intention to bring currently unregulated BNPL products within scope of the regulatory perimeter. This latest consultation provides some welcome clarity on the approach to this upcoming sea change for firms operating in the BNPL space.

The key changes will be effected by amending the current fixed-sum interest-free credit exemption in Article 60F(2) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001 (RAO). BNPL lending usually falls within this exemption as such agreements meet the conditions as interest-free loans repayable in under 12 months and in 12 or fewer instalments. Article 60F(3), which provides an exemption for running-account credit, will remain unchanged.