The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement incorporating its response to the feedback it received on its proposals for the implementation of the Proxy Advisors (Shareholders' Rights) Regulations 2019, together with the final rules. The final rules make amendments to the FCA's Decision Procedure and Penalties Manual and Enforcement Guide, reflecting the new Regulations that came into force on June 10, 2019.
The Regulations implemented new obligations imposed upon proxy advisors by the revised EU Shareholder Rights Directive into the U.K. statutory regime. The FCA has the power to discipline and investigate proxy advisors under the Proxy Advisors Regulations and changes were therefore required to the FCA's rules to take account of these powers. The following new provisions have been included in the Decision Procedures and Penalties Manual:
- the FCA will publish a statement about a proxy advisor who has breached a relevant requirement; it will impose a public censure in contested cases and allow decision makers to use executive powers to decide on settled cases;
- the FCA will decide when to impose a financial penalty on a proxy advisor; and
- the FCA will decide when to impose a restitution requirement.
The FCA has also included a new section in its Enforcement Guide explaining how it will use its powers under the Regulations. The intended approach will broadly mirror that taken by the FCA in conducting investigations, sanctioning and using its regulatory powers under FSMA.