Benchmarks are used in a wide range of markets to help set prices, measure performance, or work out amounts payable under financial contracts – this makes them integral to our strategic objective of ensuring that markets function well.
On 1 January 2018 the EU Benchmark Regulation (BMR) took full effect. This replaced the previous UK regulatory regime that captured eight benchmarks that were specified by the HM Treasury and significantly widens the scope of benchmark regulation across the EU.
Under the BMR, the FCA is the competent authority responsible for authorisation and registration of EU benchmark administrators, recognition of third country administrators, endorsement of third country benchmarks, enforcement, and supervision of benchmark administrators, users, and contributors in the UK. FCA’s BENCH guidance sets out what parts of the Handbook are applicable to benchmark submitters and administrators.
Under the BMR’s transitional provisions, UK firms involved in benchmark administration were required to submit their application through one of the prescribed routes (authorisation or registration) prior to 1 January 2020.
Third country benchmark administrators will need to be approved through the recognition or endorsement regimes, where a BMR Equivalence decision does not apply to them, prior to 1 January 2022. The Government has announced that it intends to extend this until the end of 2025 in forthcoming legislation.
Benchmark administrators that are authorised or registered under BMR and third country benchmarks can be found on the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) Benchmarks Register.
In the UK we work closely with HM Treasury and the Bank of England to ensure the effective regulation of benchmarks. Globally, the FCA has also been highly influential in setting standards, and through its co-chairing of International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and Financial Stability Board (FSB) committees.