• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
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  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

The Libor verdict and changes to financial regulation

Former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes was found guilty of eight counts of conspiring to rig LIBOR and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Questions are now being asked as to what the relevant authorities are doing to prevent the further manipulation of financial benchmarks. Following the Wheatley Review in 2012, LIBOR, was specified as the only regulated benchmark. Under the Fair and Effective Markets Review ('FEMR')  published by the Bank of England in September 2014, it was proposed that several other financial benchmarks be brought under UK regulatory scope. As a result of this review on 1 April 2015 seven further benchmarks (ISDAFIX, Sterling Overnight Index Average (SONIA), Repurchase Overnight Index Average (RONIA), WM/Reuters (WMR) 4pm London Closing Spot Rate, London Gold Fixing, LMBA Silver Price and ICE Brent Index) were added to the list of benchmarks falling under UK regulatory scope.  

In Europe the European Commission published its proposal for a regulation on indices used as benchmarks in financial instruments and financial contracts on 18 September 2013. In drafting this regulation, the Commission envisaged that the new regulation will make it much more difficult to manipulate a benchmark for gain. An aim of the regulation is to protect investors in financial instruments and retail consumers whose mortgages and pension fund returns can be negatively affected through manipulation of relevant benchmarks. It is estimated that the benchmark industry generates around €2 billion in revenues for financial and commodity benchmark administrators world-wide and it is suggested that the size of the markets impacted could be over €1,000 trillion. This shows the scale of the potential problem were benchmark manipulation not combated through enhanced legislation. The regulation also seeks to address the issue of transparency in all aspects of benchmarks allowing users of a benchmark to make the most appropriate economic decisions.

The stated objectives of the regulation are to ensure governance and controls are in place at all stages of the benchmark process and for all functions operating therein. This in turn, it is hoped, will help restore confidence in the accuracy and integrity of benchmarks. The regulation will apply in respect of the administrators of the benchmark (‘Administrators’) and the methodology they use as well as the contributors to the benchmark (‘Contributors’) in relation to the conflicts of interest they may face and the details they submit. The regulation also seeks to ensure that adequate protection is afforded to all users of the benchmark (‘Users’) from institutional investors to retail consumers through enhancing transparency, ensuring rights of redress and ensuring suitability is assessed where necessary. It is hoped that through these changes benchmarks will reflect the economic reality they are intended to track.

The regulation is currently being debated in Europe and is expected to be finalised and published in the Official Journal towards the end of 2015. It will apply 12 months after publication.

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact the Financial Regulatory team at Kemp Little.

Read our related article on benchmark reform - for better or for worse