On 30 August 2012, the UK Listing Authority (UKLA) published the third edition of its Primary Market Bulletin (Bulletin). The main purpose of the Bulletin is to communicate the practical implications of forthcoming changes to the UKLA Helpdesk which were proposed in Quarterly Consultation Paper No 32 (12/5) and which are due to come into effect from 1 October 2012.
The UKLA confirms that it is intending to proceed with its proposal to no longer accept requests for individual guidance that are made on a ‘no names’ basis. In doing so, the UKLA is intending to bring its practice in line with other practice across the rest of the FSA. The UKLA notes concerns raised by market participants about seeking individual guidance on a named basis, particularly at the early stage of a transaction, owing to a belief that, in the event of a leak, they would be obliged to make disclosures in accordance with the Disclosure and Transparency Rules (DTRs) when they would otherwise not be required to do so. The UKLA confirms that it will not make presumptions about the stage of a transaction solely because it has been contacted for technical advice. It also confirms that contacting the UKLA in this way does not create a disclosure obligation under the DTRs where one would not otherwise exist.
The UKLA intends to amend its proposals requiring all requests for individual guidance to be submitted to it in writing. In addition to allowing oral queries to be submitted in cases of ‘exceptional urgency’, the UKLA intends to allow sponsors to submit oral queries on a named basis regarding technical issues which arise during the provision of a sponsor service on a transaction and is intending to establish a Sponsor Service Enquiry Line (SSEL) for this purpose. The UKLA expects such requests to usually be complex and significant, so it is likely that in the majority of cases a written submission will be required before definitive individual guidance can be provided. The UKLA confirms that all other requests for individual guidance should be submitted in writing on a named basis and it intends to continue to provide guidance and support on the FSA handbook rules. The UKLA will also provide a written response where a request is complex or significant or where it is specifically requested within current turnaround times.
The Bulletin also sets out how the new UKLA Helpdesk will operate in practice, with three separate lines for general administrative enquiries, listing applications and an emergency helpline. Information on the new UKLA Helpdesk, as well as the final details of implementation, will be available on the UKLA website from 1 October 2012.
(FSA, Primary Market Bulletin - Issue No.3, 30.08.12)