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  • Extension of Senior Managers Regime to Benchmark Administrators

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement and final rules and guidance on the application of the Senior Managers Regime to Benchmark Administrators. The final rules will apply from December 7, 2020 to Benchmark Administrators authorized in the U.K. that do not undertake any other regulatory activities. The FCA’s SMR was originally implemented for banks in 2016 and was extended to all FCA solo-regulated firms authorized under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 in December 2019. Benchmark administrators were only obliged to become FCA-authorized by the end of 2019 pursuant to the EU Benchmark Regulation, and so were granted a one-year extension from the roll-out of the SMR.
    The FCA consulted on the proposed rules for Benchmark Administrators in 2019 and the final rules largely implement those proposals as consulted on, with the following changes and clarifications:
    • Application of Senior Managers Regime to third-country benchmark administrators: the FCA has clarified that only U.K.-authorized benchmark administrators will be obliged to comply with the SMR; third-country benchmark administrators and exempt persons (including operators of Recognized Investment Exchanges) will not be expected to comply;
    • Categorization of benchmark administrators: all benchmark administrators (including commodity benchmark administrators) will be classed as “core” firms, but there will be a clear waiver process allowing administrators which are not suitable for this classification to move to limited scope; and
    • Scope of the Conduct Rules: the Conduct Rules will apply to all employees of benchmark administrators that undertake both regulated and unregulated financial services activities, but will be tailored for commodity benchmark administrators so that the individual conduct rules will apply only to individuals contributing to commodity benchmarks; this is intended to ensure that administrators that provide both commodity and other benchmarks receive parity of treatment.
    View the FCA's Policy Statement, final rules and guidance on the SMR for Benchmark Administrators.
    View details of the FCA's consultation on the extension of the SMR to Benchmark Administrators.
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