On 1 March 2017, the FCA published a consultation paper proposing a number of policies aimed at improving the information made available to investors during the initial public offering ("IPO") process. The paper also includes new guidance from the FCA in respect of analysts' interactions with the issuer's management and corporate finance advisers.
The proposals aim to enhance the standards of conduct during the production of connected research and to encourage the preparation of more "unconnected research". Proposed measures include the introduction of new Handbook rules giving unconnected analysts access to an issuer's management before publication of connected research. This is intended to address the FCA's particular concern about conflicts of interest that arise in the connected research process. The proposals more generally intend to refocus the IPO information process around the prospectus, for example, by also requiring publication prior to the publication of any connected research.
The consultation will remain open until 1 June 2017. After the consultation period has closed, the FCA will consider the comments and feedback received from stakeholders. The FCA is expected to publish a subsequent policy statement setting out any changes to the FCA Handbook in Q4 2017.