Making London Great Again: Revamping of City Regulations

Making London Great Again: Revamping of City Regulations

What has just happened?

The Treasury is looking to reassert London’s dominance as the heart of worldwide finance with a revamp of financial rules and regulations. This announcement has been widely praised as it signifies the UK shaking off ‘its Brexit and Pandemic woes’ to reassert the dominance of London. [1]

What does this mean?

Any City worker and aspiring commercial lawyer will claim that London is at the centre of global finance. It has gained this reputation from the high standards of governance overseeing financial activities, the cosmopolitan melting pot of intelligent individuals and the security which English law provides to deals.

Although financial hotspots have been popping up globally with Singapore, Brussels and Brazil to name a few. London’s dominance has largely survived the growth of other finance capitals.

However, could the impacts of Brexit and the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic be enough to bring London’s dominance crashing down?

The government and Treasury’s proposals are the first in an armoury of measures looking to protect London as a ‘dynamic financial centre of the world’.[2]

The proposals set out in the UK Listing review can be described as two-fold, with substantive legislation changes as well as a planned overhaul of FCA powers and jurisdiction.

Firstly, the substantive changes are expected to target MifID legislation. The MifMID legislation was introduced following the 2008 crisis. It attached stringent rules to protect depositors through ensuring banks do not fail. The FCA has deemed the current regulation as ‘not designed to address the potential harm’. [3]

The aim is to introduce the UK Investment Firm Prudential Regime (IFPR), which will streamline the current regulation into a more simplified body of laws. The most notable change is the capital and liquidity requirements, this is set to be changed to a ‘meaningful’ requirement level. [3] As a result there will be improved competitiveness between FCA regulated investment firms and there will be lower barriers to entry for innovative, new firms. The overall aim of the revamp is to improve the international competitiveness of London based FCA regulated firms.

A further change is the handing of greater power to the FCA with the aim of enabling the FCA to shape the future rules of UK City financial markets. Although this change is unique as it bypasses the traditional route of making changes through parliamentary legislation, it will give the FCA ‘greater flexibility to improve UK competitiveness’. [5]

What does this mean for the legal sector?

Although the IFPR will not come into force until January 2022 and the regime is still subject to amendments, there are a range of intended changes which the legal sector will need to be prepared for. Furthermore, many of the changed will depend on the type and holding of the investment firms.

A key change is the capital holding requirement needed to ensure that the financial institutions are able to cope with unforeseen liquidity challenges.  The new approach brought by the IFPR is the ‘K factor’ capital requirement which is essentially an exposure based and mixed activity requirement level, intended to reflect the level of harm. The detail of the K factors is being verified as part of the amendment proceedings, yet they are split into 3 categories; risks to client (RtC), risks to market (RtM) and risks to firm (RtF).[5]

Another key area of change is the measure to improve ‘openness between UK and International markets’. Law firms are likely to be focused on the Overseas Funds Regime, which allows international investment funds in ‘equivalent jurisdictions’ to be marketed in the UK. [6] International funds will need to complete an application process in order to benefit from the measure. Therefore, law firms will need to be up to date on the process in order to guide their clients successfully through the process.

The Legists Content Team

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[1] Nathalie Tidman, ‘Hope floats from City listing overhaul but American audacity is vital’ (Legal Business, 12 March 2021) accessed on 4 April 2021.


[2] Daniel Thomas, ‘Ministers plan overhaul of capital markets to boost the City’ (Financial Times, 11 March 2021) accessed on 4 April 2021.


[3] FCA, ‘A new UK prudential regime for MiFID investment firms’ ( FCA, December 2020) accessed on 4 April 2021


[5] Alexandra Green, ‘FAQs: The Investment Firm Prudential Regime’ (Macfarlanes, 6 January 2021) accessed on 4 April 2021


[6] Clauses 24-26 and schedule 9 of the Bill




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