Policymakers in the UK are currently debating whether selling, promoting and distributing derivatives and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) linked to cryptocurrencies to retail investors should be illegal.
In January 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the top British regulator, approved a ban on these products for retail clients. However, the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), a public advisory group supported by the government’s Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, has criticized the FCA’s decision.
The RPC argues that 97% of respondents to the FCA’s research opposed the planned prohibition and believed that retail investors are capable of evaluating the risks and value of crypto derivatives.
The RPC also criticized the FCA for not specifying the potential consequences of not implementing the prohibition and for not providing a breakdown of the calculations and methods used to assess the costs and benefits of the measure.
Additionally, the Committee estimates that the measure will result in an annual loss of approximately $333 million and assigns it a “red-level” rating, indicating that it is deemed unfit for its intended use.
The RPC stated:
“The BIT assessment has not included sufficient evidence to support the assumptions made, or adequately explained the approach to the cost-benefit analysis undertaken to produce the EANDCB seeking validation.”
The legislation cannot be immediately reversed due to the RPC’s unsatisfactory review. Considering the Committee’s connections to the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, it might indicate that the FCA and the government have differing views on what constitutes a legitimate regulation.
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