U.K policymakers debate prohibition on crypto investment products… Details inside

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  • January 24, 2023

  • The Regulatory Policy Committee of the United Kingdom has shared its thoughts on the measure taken by the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority had prohibited the sale, marketing, and distribution of derivatives and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) of crypto assets.

The United Kingdom’s Regulatory Policy Committee has challenged the stance of the Financial Conduct Authority on the sale, marketing, and distribution of derivatives and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) of crypto assets to the country’s retail investors. 

Prohibition by the Financial Conduct Authority

The Financial Conduct Authority, U.K’s top financial regulator, implemented the prohibition in question back in January 2021. The implementation restricted companies operating in the country from offering crypto investment products. This included derivatives, futures, options, and ETNs to retail investors. 

The prohibition came into force despite resistance from most respondents to the regulator’s consultation paper. According to a recent report compiled by the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), the FCA’s implementation was “not fit for purpose.” The FCA gave the rating to the Business Impact Target assessment (BIT). 

What is the Regulatory Policy Committee’s opinion?

According to the RPC, FCA’s measures led to an overall annual loss of more than £268 million. In the RPC’s opinion, the regulator failed to support its assumptions with evidence. Moreover, it had not provided enough explanation for the cost-benefit analysis used to derive the equivalent annual net direct cost to business (EANDCB). 

The document read:

“The assessment also fails to clearly establish what would happen to the market in the absence of the intervention, limiting the ability to determine the change resulting from the measure.”

The Regulatory Policy Committee claimed that the BIT by the FCA focused particularly on the negative impact of the prohibited crypto investment products. As per the RCA, the assessment also failed to identify if the prohibition will lead to a positive impact on product innovation.

The regulator was also advised to consider the impact that its measure will have on small and micro businesses (SMBSs).

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