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.
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.
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.
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.