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Capital Markets Update: April 2024

Welcome to the current edition of Capital Markets Update, the monthly briefing from the Corporate Group at Walker Morris, rounding up the previous month’s regulatory developments within the equity capital markets, and looking ahead to future developments.

Capital Markets Update April 2024

March’s news

Pre-Emption Group publishes annual monitoring report

On 5 March 2024, the Pre-Emption Group published its first report monitoring the use of the revised statement of principles for the disapplication of pre-emption rights for UK-listed companies. The report examines the implementation of the principles by FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies for annual general meetings held between 4 November 2022 and 31 July 2023. In general, the report finds that there has been widespread adoption of the principles by companies, with broad shareholder support for disapplication authority requests.

Amendments to Financial Promotion Order reversed

On 6 March 2024, the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) (Amendment and Transitional Provision) Order 2024 (and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum) was published. The Order, which comes into force on 27 March 2024, reverses changes to the exemptions in the Financial Promotion Order 2005 for high net worth individuals and self-certified sophisticated investors that had been made at the end of 2023.

Second tranche of new UK Listing Rules published

On 7 March 2024, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published the second tranche of the new draft UK Listing Rules relating to its reforms to the UK listing regime. The second tranche proceeds on the basis set out in CP23/31, which included the first tranche of the Listing Rules focusing on the requirements for commercial companies with a primary UK listing of equity shares. Submissions on the draft Listing Rules are requested by 2 April 2024.

Report published by the Parker Review Committee

On 11 March 2024, the Parker Review Committee published an update report which includes the results of its latest survey on the ethnic diversity of boards and senior management of FTSE 350 companies and large private companies. The scope of the Review was extended in 2023 to include senior management and large private companies and the report includes the data collected so far in relation to this extended scope.

HM Treasury outlines next phase of regulatory reform

On 21 March 2024, HM Treasury outlined the next phase of its plan to repeal EU-derived legislation across the financial services landscape and deliver a new domestic regulatory regime within the framework created by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023.

FCA publishes policy statement on statutory panel appointments

On 22 March 2024, the FCA published a policy statement setting out its intended approach for appointing members of the FCA’s independent statutory panels, which include the Listing Authority Advisory Panel and the Markets Practitioner Panel.

FCA publishes guidance on social media financial promotions

On 26 March 2024, the FCA published finalised guidance on financial promotions on social media. The guidance clarifies the FCA’s expectations of firms and other persons communicating financial promotions on social media and indicates how firms can approach complying with their existing regulatory obligations.

Looking ahead to April 2024

1 April – new version of the QCA corporate governance code applies to accounting periods beginning on or after this date.

2 April – submissions on the draft Listing Rules are requested by this date.

29 April – changes to FCA technical standards to enhance the content of post-trade transparency in equity secondary markets apply from this date.

30 April – closing date for responses to FCA proposals to increase transparency around enforcement investigations.

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