Contrary to previous proposals, the FSA has decided to allow oral queries (in addition to oral queries in cases of “exceptional urgency”) to be submitted on a named basis in relation to technical issues which arise during the provision of a sponsor service on a transaction. A Sponsor Service Enquiry Line (SSEL) will be established for this purpose but the UKLA expects a written submission to be necessary in the majority of cases before definitive guidance can be provided, as such requests will usually be complex and significant. This change is in response to feedback on the consultation paper issued in March 2012 from a number of sponsor firms and in recognition of the particular importance of the role of sponsor firms under the listing regime.
All other requests for individual guidance will need to be made in writing on a named basis. If the request is deemed to be reasonable, the UKLA may then begin an "interactive and iterative" oral discussion until the issue is resolved and guidance is given.
New UKLA Helpdesk
From 1 October 2012, the UKLA helpdesk will operate three separate telephone lines (contact and fax numbers will be available on the UKLA website from that date):
- Line 1 - General administrative queries: this will be for non-technical questions (eg. how to obtain copies of the rulebooks) and will operate from 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday;
- Line 2 - Listing applications: this will handle documents to be submitted when applying for admission, etc. and will operate from 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday;
- Line 3 - Emergency helpline: this line will specifically be for contacting the UKLA in relation to urgent live market situations, such as suspensions and urgent queries relating to disclosure of inside information. Where reasonable, this helpline will operate outside of office hours; and
- SSEL - this line will not have a separate telephone number but will be accessible by calling the general administrative queries line. It will operate from 9.30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. The UKLA will expect to deal with experienced members of the sponsor firm who have considered the query before contacting the helpdesk.
There is no doubt that the amended proposals will be welcomed by sponsors.