The Phasing Out of the UK's Financial Services Handbook: A Missed Opportunity for the EU's Single Rulebook and the Capital Markets Union Project?
12 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2020
Date Written: January 3, 2016
The following article was first published by Thomson Reuters (Professional) UK Limited in Vol. 31, Issue 1 of the Journal of International Banking Law & Regulation and remains topical in 2019 and beyond.
For over 14 years, the United Kingdom had a single rulebook for financial services that covered conduct of business and prudential matters. As an online, free and accessible resource, it translated the tome of complicated EU/UK financial services legislation into a comparably more user-friendly (non-legalese) rules-based resource. This Financial Services Handbook (“UK FS Handbook”) survived the transition as a single rulebook used by an integrated national competent authority (“NCA”) to two distinct successor NCAs, one acting primarily as a conduct supervisory, the other primarily as a prudential supervisor for certain regulated persons. Each NCA inherited parts of the UK FS Handbook but still used a single rulebook with rules being shown in a “Combined View”. For the European Union and its plan to create a truly Single Rulebook for EU financial services (“the EU Single Rulebook Project”) the UK FS Handbook, its successes and the regrettable split that ended its tenure as a single rulebook, may serve as a lesson for how to make that project a reality, as well as how to ensure both Banking Union (“BU”) and Capital Markets Union (“CMU”) can take root successfully and how to complete the EU’s Single Market. This article looks at these issues in turn, beginning with the evolution and changes to the UK FS Handbook, discussing what this entails for the EU’s efforts and what other UK resources could assist the EU regulatory and supervisory stakeholders in delivering on their goals against an environment with ever-changing rules that seeks to deliver simplicity and clarity for market participants.
Keywords: EU law, Financial markets, Financial regulation, Financial services, Regulatory Rules, Handbooks and Registers, Banking Union, Capital Markets Union, Brexit
JEL Classification: K00, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation