FCA updates on its Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDR) and investment labels consultation

We set out some of the feedback on our proposals and our next steps, including timing of the Policy Statement.

We are working to build a world-leading and competitive regime that will help the UK’s asset management sector thrive by setting standards that improve the sustainability information consumers have access to.

Consumers are at the heart of our proposals for SDR and investment labels. To create a UK market that functions competitively and effectively for the benefit of consumers, those consumers must be able to trust sustainable investment products.

Our consultation set out a package of measures to build confidence and to help consumers navigate the market and make better informed decisions.

The consultation closed on 25 January 2023. We were grateful to have received around 240 written responses. There is broad support for the proposed regime and outcomes we are seeking to achieve, and we have received rich, constructive feedback on some of the detail.

Feedback on our proposals and next steps

To take account of the significant response, we intend to publish the Policy Statement in Q3 this year, and the proposed effective dates will be adjusted accordingly.

We are carefully considering the feedback to ensure that first and foremost the regime protects consumers but also recognises and takes account of any practical challenges that firms may have.

This includes, but is not limited to, considering our approach to the marketing restrictions, refining some of the specific criteria for the labels and clarifying how different products, asset classes and strategies can qualify for a label, including multi-asset and blended strategies.

When we publish the Policy Statement, we will also clarify matters such as that primary and secondary channels for achieving sustainability outcomes are not prescribed, and that we do not require independent verification of product categorisation to qualify for a label.

There will be a place for all in-scope products within the overall package of measures. We agree it is important that consumers can navigate to those products that meet their needs and preferences. This includes products that may not qualify for a label, but nevertheless have some sustainability-related characteristics.

We have sought international coherence with other regimes and will continue to consider how to further support compatibility, while emphasising that we need robust standards for the UK to remain at the global forefront of sustainable investment. A strengthened regulatory framework for these products will increase opportunities and competition in the market and help foster growth and the demand and supply of products that better suit consumers’ needs and preferences.

We will continue to engage with our Disclosures and Labels Advisory Group and other stakeholders, including consumer groups. We thank all respondents and the many stakeholders we have engaged with for their constructive and detailed feedback.