FCA announces further UK regulations

FCAThe Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced it will regulate seven additional major UK-based financial benchmarks in the fixed income, commodity and currency markets from 1 April 2015. This extends the FCA’s initial regulation of LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate), as introduced by HM Treasury in 2013.

Martin Wheatley, Chief Executive of the FCA, said: “I am determined to ensure that markets work well and preserve the UK’s reputation as a centre of excellence for financial services – this announcement is a vital step in achieving this. This builds on our work to strengthen LIBOR, and drive up standards on benchmarks across the board.”

The move extends the FCA’s approach to regulating LIBOR to the firms that administer, and where appropriate, contribute data or information to the following benchmarks:

  • SONIA (Sterling Overnight Index Average) and RONIA (Repurchase Overnight Index Average), which both serve as reference rates for overnight index swaps
  • WM/Reuters London 4pm Closing Spot Rate, which is the dominant global foreign exchange benchmark
  • ISDAFIX, which is the principal global benchmark for swap rates and spreads for interest rate swap transactions
  • London Gold Fixing and the LMBA Silver Price, which determine the price of gold and silver in the London market
  • ICE Brent Index, traded on the ICE Futures Europe (IFEU) exchange, which acts as the crude oil futures market’s principal financial benchmark.

Benchmark administrators and firms that contribute to benchmarks will be FCA-authorised. Key requirements include identifying potentially manipulative behaviour, controlling conflicts of interest and implementing robust governance and oversight arrangements.

The consultation closes on 30 January 2015, the FCA expect to publish final rules during the first quarter of 2015.