On December 2, the definition of "financial instrument" found in Part 6 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and in Article 5 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Prescribed Markets and Qualifying Instruments) Order 2001 (SI 2001/996) was amended by the publication of the Definition of Financial Instrument Order 2008 (SI 2008/3053). The amendments ensure that the term "financial instrument" is understood by reference to its definition in the EU Market Abuse Directive and the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID).
The definition is being amended to ensure that the UK remains fully compliant with its obligations under the EU Market Abuse Directive and MiFID. The provisions used to implement the UK’s obligations under these Directives need to be updated to ensure continued compliance with respect to subsequent amendments. The changes mean that the UK Financial Services Authority’s powers to make rules for the disclosure of information in relation to financial instruments will now extend to derivative instruments, which, although not giving a legal entitlement to acquire shares, in practice put their holders in an economically similar position. The most common example of this is a Contract for Difference (CfD), which currently falls outside the UK disclosure rules.