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SUP 8.6 Publication of waivers

Requirement to publish

SUP 8.6.1GRP

The FSA is required by section 148(6) of the Act to publish a waiver unless it is satisfied that it is inappropriate or unnecessary to do so. If the FSA publishes a waiver, it will not publish details of why a waiver was required or any of the supporting information given in a waiver application.

Matters for consideration

SUP 8.6.2GRP

When considering whether it is satisfied under section 148(6), the FSA is required by section 148(7) of the Act:

  1. (1)

    to take into account whether the waiver relates to a rule contravention of which is actionable under section 150 of the Act (Actions for damages); Schedule 5 identifies such rules;

  2. (2)

    to consider whether its publication would prejudice, to an unreasonable degree, the commercial interests of the firm concerned, or any other member of its immediate group; and

  3. (3)

    to consider whether its publication would be contrary to an international obligation of the United Kingdom (for example, the confidentiality obligations in the Single Market Directives)

SUP 8.6.3GRP

Waivers can affect the legal rights of third parties, including consumers. In the FSA's view it is important that the fact and effect of such waivers should be transparent. So the fact that a waiver relates to a rule that is actionable under section 150 of the Act (see SUP 8.6.2 G (1)) will tend to argue in favour of publication.

SUP 8.6.4GRP

In making waiver applications under section 250 of the Act or regulation 7 of the OEIC Regulations, SUP 8.6.2 G (2) should be read in application to rules in COLL or CIS as if the word "commercial" were omitted.1

SUP 8.6.5GRP

In considering whether commercial interests would be prejudiced to an unreasonable degree (see SUP 8.6.2 G (2)), the FSA will weigh the prejudice to firms' commercial interests against the interests of consumers, markets and other third parties in disclosure. In doing so the FSA will consider factors such as the extent to which publication of the waiver would involve the premature release of proprietary information to commercial rivals, for example relating to a product innovation, or reveal information which could reasonably be regarded as the firm's own intellectual property. In line with section 148(8) of the Act, the FSA will also consider whether prejudice to a firm's commercial interests could be avoided or mitigated by publication of the waiver without disclosing the identity of the firm.

SUP 8.6.6GRP

The FSA may consider publication unnecessary where, for example, the waiver relates to a minor matter that does not affect any third party and is unlikely to be of relevance or interest to other firms.

Firm's objection to publication

SUP 8.6.7GRP

If, after taking into account the matters in SUP 8.3.3 D to SUP 8.6.6 G, a firm believes there are good grounds for the FSA either to withhold publication or to publish the waiver without disclosing the identity of the firm, it should make this clear in its application (see SUP 8.3.3 D (7)). If the FSAproposes to publish a waiver against the wishes of the firm, the FSA will give the firm the opportunity to withdraw its application before the waiver is given.

Withholding publication for a limited period

SUP 8.6.8GRP

A decision to withhold a waiver or identity of a firm from publication may be for a limited period only, usually as long as the duration of the relevant grounds for non-publication. If the FSA proposes to publish information about a waiver that had previously been withheld, it will first give the firm an opportunity to make representations.

Means of publication

SUP 8.6.9GRP

The principal means of publication of waiver information will be the FSA's website (