FCA proposes revised test for sponsor competency and sparks debate on joint sponsor arrangements

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) continues its work to enhance the effectiveness of the UK listing regime. In its new consultation paper, CP 14/2, among other proposals the FCA proposes various changes to the sponsor competency regime and initiates market discussion on joint sponsor arrangements. The consultation paper further proposes other amendments to the listing rules and the prospectus rules. Responses are requested to be submitted by 30 April 2014.

In recognition that sponsors have a crucial role to play in the integrity of the premium listing regime, and following on from the coming into force of its new statutory disciplinary and supervisory powers last year, the FCA has proposed various amendments to Chapter 8 of the listing rules (LRs) that govern the sponsor regime. In particular, the FCA proposes to revise the competency test in order to ensure that all sponsors are ‘experts’ in applying and interpreting applicable regulation. It is hoped that the proposals will enhance the transparency of the sponsor approval process and boost competition in the sponsor market, both of which should bolster the integrity and quality of a UK premium listing.

Consequently, the FCA has proposed a number of changes to the competency test for sponsors. The proposals centre around three key elements…

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