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UK Regulators Publish Final Securitisation Rules

On 30 April 2024, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a policy statement (PS24/4) setting out its final firm-facing rules relating to securitisations and summarising feedback to its earlier consultation for the UK securitisation markets (CP23/17). The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA and together with the FCA, the Regulators) also published a policy statement, in parallel with PS24/4, on its final firm-facing rules for those firms over which it has supervisory responsibility (PS7/24). This also follows the PRA’s own parallel consultation (CP15/23).

Background 

As part of the UK’s post-Brexit regulatory reforms, the UK government is working to repeal and replace retained EU financial services law with new UK domestic rules. In July 2023, the UK government published a draft statutory instrument (SI) to replace the UK’s onshored version of the Securitisation Regulation (UK SR).

Following the publication of the SI, the PRA launched CP15/23 on its proposed firm-facing requirements on 27 July 2023 and the FCA launched its parallel consultation CP23/17 on 7 August 2023. Both of these consultations are explored in further detail in our previous article (available here). While there is some duplication between the two rulebooks, the Regulators noted that they have coordinated their approach with a view to creating a coherent framework.

The Final Rules 

In PS24/4, the FCA has sought, among other things, to incorporate the feedback received on its draft rule proposals set out in its final rules, which are called the ‘Securitisation (Smarter Regulatory Framework and Consequential Amendments) Instrument 2024’.

PS24/4 makes the following key amendments to CP23/17:

  1. Timeline for implementation. The Regulators have confirmed the implementation timeline for the requirements (see the Next Steps section below), which allows for a six-month transition period for pre-implementation securitisations.
  2. Due diligence – public vs private securitisations. The FCA has adjusted the wording of its final rules to accommodate both public and private securitisations. Specifically, they refer to information provided ‘before pricing or original commitment to invest’ (in appropriate places) to reflect that private securitisations do not have “pricings” per se. In addition, the FCA has included guidance to reflect the fact that ‘pricing’ in the Simple, Transparent and Standardised (STS) template is to be understood as also including the ‘original commitment to invest’.
  3. Due diligence – disclosures by ‘manufacturers’. The FCA has adjusted the due diligence requirements for secondary market investors in relation to disclosures made by ‘manufacturers’ (i.e., the term used by the FCA as shorthand for originators, original lenders, sponsors and/or securitisation special purpose entities, each as defined in the UK SR) by:
    i) introducing a distinction between primary and secondary market investments, so that secondary market investors are not required to conduct due diligence on documents and information that are no longer relevant (e.g., information provided prior to initial pricing such as at issuance, etc.); and
    ii) clarifying that investors are required to conduct due diligence on the most up-to-date information available at the time of the investment, as opposed to documents from the timing of ‘pricing’ or ‘commitment’.
  4. Delegation. The FCA has clarified that it is possible for an institutional investor to delegate its due diligence requirements to an entity that is not an institutional investor, subject to the institutional investor retaining the responsibility for compliance with due diligence requirements. In practice, this means that institutional investors will no longer be able to delegate the responsibility for compliance with the due diligence requirements to AIFMs that are not authorised in the UK, as such AIFMs no longer fall within the definition of an ‘institutional investor’ under the SI.
  5. Risk-retention. The FCA has clarified the scope of the prohibition on hedging of the material net interest required to be retained under the risk retention requirements. Specifically, the FCA has confirmed that hedging in these circumstances is permitted for institutional investors so long as it does not compromise the alignment of interest, in line with the EU’s Risk Retention Technical Standards (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2023/2175). In addition, the FCA confirms that there is no need for risk retention in the context of securitisations of own-issued debt instruments, including covered bonds.
  6. Alignment with the PRA. PS24/4 aligns its drafting with that of the PRA rulebook in areas where the rules are similar – both in the language and ordering of the FCA’s rules. The FCA has stated that in a number of cases, however, it has retained the language on which it consulted where, for example, it considered it provided clarity. In non-shared areas, such as STS provisions, the FCA has retained the language and structure of the rules as proposed in CP23/17.

The FCA’s final rules will be included in the FCA’s securitisation sourcebook (known as SECN) alongside the final FCA securitsation reporting templates, which are in the same form as those currently in effect. Similarly, the PRA’s final rules will be implemented into the PRA rulebook by adding a new Securitisation Part, with consequential amendments to the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (CRR) Part and the Non-Performing Exposures Securitisation (CRR) Part.

Next Steps 

The implementation date for the FCA and PRA rules is 1 November 2024, subject to revocation of the UK SR and related technical standards.

The commencement order that will bring into force the revocation of the UK SR and related technical standards has not yet been laid before Parliament. HM Treasury anticipates making this commencement order later this year once the SI comes into force. The FCA has stated that it will consider delaying or revoking the rules if the commencement order is not made.

The Regulators plan to consult on further changes to their securitisation rules in Q4 2024/Q1 2025, although timings are potentially subject to change. In this second consultation, the Regulators plan to review the definition of public and private securitisations and the associated reporting regime, among other areas for policy consideration.

EU Divergence

HM Treasury and the Regulators have generally sought to retain the existing onshored Securitisation Regulation and associated technical standards in the FCA and PRA rulebooks, save for some targeted adjustments. These adjustments will lead to some potentially notable divergence between the UK’s new regime and the regime in the EU, including in relation to the following:

  • Template requirements. While the EU requires institutional investors to ensure disclosure templates are completed regardless of whether the sponsor, originator or SSPE are located in or outside of the EU, UK institutional investors are only required to ensure that certain prescribed information is provided, regardless of the format. Instead, UK sponsors, originators and SSPEs are under a separate obligation to comply with transparency requirements including the use of disclosure templates.
  • Originator sole purpose test. SECN references certain factors to be taken into account when assessing whether an originator has been established and is operating for the “sole purpose” of securitising exposures. The EU regime has a similar test, but focuses on whether the securitisation and related risk retention assets are the “sole or predominant source of revenue” of the originator. The UK’s regime does not set the same hurdle for meeting the sole purpose test, instead referring more generally to the retainer’s ability to meet its payment obligations.
  • Change of risk retainer. Under the EU’s rules the holder of a retained interest may not sell, transfer or otherwise surrender its rights in relation to the retained interest, unless due to its insolvency, “legal reasons beyond its control”, or where there is retention on a consolidated basis. The new UK regime does not include “legal reasons beyond its control” as a reason to disapply the sale restriction.

PS24/4, PS7/24, CP23/17, and CP15/23 can be found here, here, here and here, respectively.

©2024 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
by: Christopher Collins, Peter Englund, Neil Robson, Nathaniel W. Lalone, Ciara McBrien, and Sara Portillo of Katten 
For more news on FCA Securitisation Rules, visit the NLR Financial Institutions & Banking section.

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