Authorization or Registration – Which BMR Route Should You Take?

The time has come for benchmark administrators to decide whether to apply for ‘registered’ or ‘authorized’ status under the EU Benchmarks Regulation (BMR) regime, which comes into force from January 1, 2018. In a new communication, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reminded benchmark administrators they have just two years from the implementation of BMR to transition to the new regime, and will be allowing firms to register their status from October 1, 2017.

Administrators that plan to continue issuing benchmarks under BMR must choose between the following two status types:

  • Authorization – Typically for administrators of ‘Critical’ or ‘Significant’ benchmarks, commodity benchmarks or interest rate benchmarks.
  • Registration – Typically for ‘supervised entities’ such as banks, credit institutions, investment firms, UCITS, management companies, AIFMs, etc.

‘Critical’ benchmarks are defined by the Regulation as benchmarks where the value of contracts supporting the benchmark is at least €500bn, or where a Member State recognizes a benchmark as critical. ‘Significant’ benchmarks, meanwhile, are benchmarks where the underlying value of contracts is at least €50bn, or where their withdrawal from the market would influence financial stability.

Buy-side firms are predominantly Users of benchmark as defined by BMR, but not exclusively: many firms that create blended or bespoke benchmarks will also be considered Administrators and therefore must register. For the majority of these firms, the ‘registered’ status will be appropriate as most bespoke or blended benchmarks do not fall into the ‘Significant’ or ‘Critical’ category. If you are in doubt, more information can be found at the FCA’s BMR page.

As Users of benchmarks, buy-side firms are under further pressure to understand whether the indices they use as references are considered as benchmarks under BMR. This is a significant piece of work that will require a wide-ranging inventory of all benchmarks used by the firm. To help buy-side businesses such as asset managers, asset servicers, and insurance companies understand their risk exposure as benchmark Users, we have produces a useful online questionnaire, which can be accessed here.

What is now clear, and which the FCA has highlighted in its latest communication, is that time is running out to act on BMR. Firms must make big decisions about their status and risk profile as soon as possible, and these decisions will impact the compliance processes and systems hey must put in place to adapt to the new regime. By working with managed service providers that specialise in financial data management and compliance technology, firms can help ensure they are addressing BMR comprehensively and in a way that is cost effective and efficient for their businesses.

To receive more information about RegFocussm BMR, the most advanced benchmarks validation solution on the market which solves all regulatory obligations under the new Benchmarks Regulation, , please contact us.

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