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The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Disclosure of Confidential Information) Regulations 2001

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Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

These Regulations specify the circumstances in which confidential information, within the meaning of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (c. 8) (“the Act”), can be disclosed. Section 348 of the Act provides that—except as permitted by such regulations—confidential information must not be disclosed by a primary recipient, or by any person obtaining the information directly or indirectly from a primary recipient, without the consent of the person from whom the primary recipient obtained the information and (if different) the person to whom it relates. “Confidential information” is defined as information which—

(a)relates to the business or other affairs of any person; and

(b)was received by the primary recipient for the purposes of, or in the discharge of, any functions of the Financial Services Authority (“the FSA”), the competent authority for the purposes of Part VI of the Act (official listing—currently the FSA) or the Secretary of State, under any provision made by or under the Act.

But information is not “confidential information” if it has previously been lawfully made available to the public, or is in the form of a summary or collection of information which is so framed that it is not possible to ascertain from it information relating to any particular person.

“Primary recipients” of confidential information are the FSA, the Secretary of State; persons employed by them, or auditors or experts instructed by them; or a person appointed to make a report under section 166 of the Act (reports by skilled persons).

Disclosure of confidential information in breach of section 348, or use of such information in breach of the Regulations, is an offence under section 352 of the Act.

Part II of these Regulations sets out the circumstances in which confidential information may be disclosed by or to the FSA, the Secretary of State or the Treasury; for the purposes of criminal proceedings and investigations; for the purposes of certain civil proceedings; or in pursuance of a Community obligation. Regulation 7 provides that where information is disclosed subject to a restriction on use, it may not be used in breach of that condition without the consent of the person who disclosed it.

Part III makes provision for the disclosure of information which is subject to restrictions on disclosure in the EC directives relating to financial services. Such information—subject to the provisions of regulation 9—may be disclosed to or by the persons listed in Schedule 1, for the purposes of the functions indicated there.

Part IV makes provision for the disclosure of information which is not subject to directive restrictions. Such information may be disclosed by or to the persons listed in Schedules 1 and 2, for the purposes of the functions indicated there; or for the purposes of certain disciplinary proceedings, as set out in Schedule 3.

Part V makes transitional provision about information obtained under former financial services legislation (to be repealed under the Act). Before the repeal of that legislation, information obtained under it may be disclosed for certain purposes permitted by these Regulations (regulation 14). After the repeal of that legislation, such information is to be treated in the same way as “confidential information” under the Act, and is to be subject to the provisions on disclosure in these Regulations (regulation 15).

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