FCA proposes measures to improve the effectiveness of UK primary listed debt markets

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published a report proposing a series of measures aimed at enhancing the UK’s debt listing regime.

In November 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launched an initiative whereby it began a series of meetings with a specially convened group of stakeholders in UK primary debt capital markets, the UK Debt Market Forum (the Forum). The Forum brought together a wide range of experts from the UK-listed primary bond listed debt markets.

The FCA’s aim was to seek these experts’ feedback and views in developing a package of practical measures which could be taken by the FCA and market practitioners, with the objective of making a positive impact on the effectiveness of the UK’s primary listed debt markets, without reducing the existing high standards for which UK primary markets are known.

The report outlines the measures the FCA has or will take as a result of our recent engagement with industry.  It highlights the developments in primary debt markets the Forum considered and the issues it discussed.  It lays out the proposed package of initiatives which have been developed by the FCA with input from the participants of the Forum, and which will now be put in place to achieve the aims of the Forum. The key measures include:

  • an extension of the scope of the FCA’s ‘Wholesale Debt Approach’ to reviewing wholesale debt documents
  • an extension of the scope of the FCA’s ‘Same Day Service’ under which we review prospectus supplements
  • a proposed new guidance note on omitting the requirement to provide historic financial information on guarantors
  • an ‘early engagement team’ designed to help prospective overseas issuers understand better the process of for listing debt securities’
  • a new engagement strategy designed to make the FCA’s UK Listing Authority (UKLA) Department staff more accessible to practitioners plus
  • various other practical service enhancements aimed at improving the ‘user-friendliness’ of the FCA’s listing processes

Tracey McDermott Acting FCA CEO commented:

“Our goal with the Debt Market Forum was to identify practical measures to enhance the UK’s primary debt markets whilst maintaining high standards. These proposals have done just that and we are confident that they are measures the industry will welcome and wishes to see. Engagement in the wholesale debt market remains a priority for the FCA and we will continue to ensure key stakeholders in this market are kept informed of our proposals.”

The FCA statement and related information are available here.