The FCA published a policy statement (PS16/4) on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) access to regulated benchmarks on 8 February 2016.

The policy statement follows a June 2015 consultation paper (CP15/18) on amendments to the Market Conduct sourcebook (MAR) requiring regulated benchmark administrators to grant access to licences to use benchmarks on a FRAND basis, including with regards to price.

In the policy statement, the FCA decided to limit the application of the new FRAND provisions to benchmark users that are central counterparties (CCPs), multilateral trading facilities (MTFs) and regulated markets (referred to in the rules, collectively, as "relevant users"). This corresponds to the scope of users covered by Article 37 of the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (Regulation 600/2014) (MiFIR), with the exception of organised trading facilities (OTFs) (which is a category of firms that will not be introduced until MiFID II comes into force). The FCA comments that it has effectively brought forward to 2016 the implementation of Article 37 of MiFIR.

If the final version of the EU Benchmark Regulation contains a FRAND requirement for users not covered by the FCA's FRAND rules, the FCA will consider extending the coverage of the FRAND rules so that those users are covered.

The final rules will come into force on 1 April 2016.