14 February 2017
Reporter: Stephanie Palmer

FCA seeks feedback on UK capital markets


The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a discussion paper seeking feedback on how the UK capital markets can most effectively meet the needs of issuers and investors.

The paper, Review of the Effectiveness of Primary Markets: The UK Primary Markets Landscape, says it seeks to “prompt a broad discussion about the effectiveness of the UK primary markets landscape”.

It requests industry views on the appropriateness of the boundary between standard and premium listing categories, particularly with regards to overseas issuers and exchange-traded funds.

It will also look into the effectiveness of primary equity markets in providing capital for growth; at whether there is a role for a UK primary debt multilateral trading facility, and what structure this would take; and how to support better retail participation in debt markets.

According to the FCA, the paper will be of interest to: companies with UK-quoted securities, or those considering listing securities in the UK; firms advising issuers or investors in UK-quoted securities; and anyone investing or dealing in UK-quoted securities.

“It will be of interest to consumers who deal and invest in UK-quoted securities either directly or through institutions. It will also be of interest to issuers in their capacity as consumers of sponsor services,” the paper said.

The discussion paper was released following a meeting between the FCA and stakeholders including issuers, investors, sell-side firms and advisors, which sought initial views on potential improvement, and inspired the main topics of the paper.

The meeting and subsequent paper are part of the FCA’s work on improving UK primary markets, as set out in its 2016-17 business plan.

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA, said: “The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring markets function well, and a key part of that is ensuring the UK’s primary markets remain effective.”

“This review considers some important questions about the primary markets, and some potential enhancements, to ensure they continue to meet the needs of investors and issuers effectively.”

The FCA is accepting comment on the discussion paper until 14 May. The majority of responses will be open to public consultation, and any specific policy changes that arise as a result of the feedback will be issued in a further consultation paper.

Alongside the capital markets discussion paper, the FCA has also launched a consultation on proposed technical enhancements to its listing rules, considering improvements and guidance to ensure the rules meet the needs of issuers and investors.

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