Treasury consults on LP changes: Treasury is consulting on changes to the laws on limited partnerships (LPs) it outlined in its 2013 budget. Treasury's purpose is to ensure that the UK LP remains the market standard structure for European private equity and venture capital funds. It believes it can make many of the changes it wants by using a legislative reform order, which it can use to reduce the burden of legislation, but it may consult on further changes that would require a separate legislative process. The proposed amendments will apply to a UK LP that is a collective investment scheme (for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) – leaving out of account any applicable exemption) but is not FCA-authorised. Treasury wants the regime to cover only those LPs that are private fund vehicles. Its proposals cover primarily:

  • registration issues and ongoing filing and notification requirements. Treasury suggests a process for the designation on the register of LPs of those which are private fund vehicles at the point of registration. This will make it possible to see which LPs fall under the amended regime. There will also be a facility for removing from the register LPs that have been wound down; 
  • the role, function and rights of limited partners. Treasury proposes to introduce a change to the LP Act to set out a non-exhaustive list of activities that a limited partner in a private fund LP may undertake without being considered to take part in the management of the business, and therefore without losing their limited liability; and
  • obligations of, and restrictions on, limited partners in respect of capital. Treasury proposes to remove the requirement for limited partners in private funds to make a capital contribution, and the liability of limited partners in private funds for capital contributions that have been withdrawn. 

Other proposals include simplifying the registration and reporting process and allowing the partners (and where there is no general partner, just the limited partners) in a private fund to agree among themselves who should wind up the LP without having to obtain a court order. Treasury asks for comment by 5 October. (Source: Treasury Consults on Limited Partnership Changes)

Treasury consults on interchange fee cap: Treasury is consulting on rules implementing the EU's Interchange Fees Regulation. The Interchange Fee Regulation allows national governments to set caps below 0.30% and 0.20% for domestic credit and debit card transactions. From 9 December Treasury proposes the fees banks can charge will be capped at 0.30% and 0.20% for credit and debit card transactions respectively, with some allowance for a weighted average for debit cards. It also intends to exercise the time-limited exemption the Regulation allows to provide a transitional period in which three-party schemes which use issuers and acquirers can adjust their business models. Treasury asks for comments by 28 August. (Source: Treasury Consults on Interchange Fee Cap)