After stating earlier this month that they were working on a joint initiative with the Bank of England and other UK regulators to assist with covid-19 market challenges, the FCA published a relief response this afternoon. In tandem, the FCA’s March newsletter which was published today focused on covid-19.
The FCA stated that they stand “ready to take any steps necessary to ensure customers are protected and markets continue to function well”. Initiatives include scaling back or delaying work that ins’t critical to “protecting customers and market integrity”. Examples are extending the date for open calls for responses papers and reducing non-critical interactions with firms. The goal being to reduce regulatory burden and allow companies to focus on their companies.
Daily reporting and regulatory requirements
The FCA acknowledged that many firms have put in place work from home arrangements. Taking this into account, they explained that they expect firms to continue to maintain their compliance obligations. This included the recording of calls and submission of regulatory data such as transaction reporting.
Understanding that there are scenarios that could produce compliance gaps, the FCA stated that firms should continue to maintain records in order to submit reports as soon as possible and contact the regulator of any issues.
Market Abuse risks
With the volatile market reactions to covid-19, the FCA added that they expect firms to continue to ‘take all steps’ to stop market abuse risks from taking place, including enhanced monitoring. The FCA itself stated that they will continue to monitor for market abuse while having applied limitations short selling to specific stocks.
In their Newsletter, the FCA also covered Market Abuse Regulation (MAR), but focused on the obligations of listed firms. They noted that the coronavirus may cause problems for disclosure committees to meet but firms need to comply with their disclosure obligations. While not mentioned specifically, listed companies that announce negative covid-19 related news need to monitor for abuse risks such as insider trading.
In addition to their regulatory remarks, the FCA covered customer relief. They mentioned that they expect financial firms to use their flexibility to assist their clients. They noted a number of examples some firms were offering such as waiving fees related to withdrawals, providing flexibility on mortgage repayments and relief on credit card debt.
(Article image source: FCA)