The FCA has published Policy Statement 17/23: Reforming the availability of the information in the UK equity IPO process (PS17/23).

PS17/23 follows an FCA consultation published on 1 March 2017 (Consultation Paper 17/5) which followed an earlier Discussion Paper (Discussion Paper 16/3) that was published alongside the market study of investment and corporate banking.

In PS17/32 the FCA is publishing proposed new provisions for the Conduct of Business sourcebook (COBS) which are intended to improve the range, quality and timeliness of information that is made available to market participants during the UK equity initial public offering (IPO) process. In particular, the provisions seek to restore the centrality of a prospectus or registration document and enhance overall standards of conduct in the process.

The FCA is proposing a series of new COBS rules that ensure that, before any connected research is released, an approved prospectus or registration document is published, and unconnected analysts have access to the issuer’s management. The FCA is also introducing new COBS guidance to address the underlying conflicts of interest arising when analysts within prospective syndicate banks interact with the issuer’s representatives when an underwriting or placing mandate and subsequent syndicate positioning are being considered.

The FCA also considers in PS17/23 the identification of inside information in the context of the creation, receipt and disclosure of information in the IPO process, in particular information shared in analyst presentations. The FCA mentions that such issues will be considered in its work assessing the implementation of the Market Abuse Regulation.

The new COBS rules and guidance will take effect on 1 July 2018.

View PS17/23: Reforming the availability of information in the UK equity IPO process, 26 October 2017