Below is our highlight and comment upon this month’s most relevant legal changes that could affect your business.
New prospectus regime, what does it mean for my business?
This month we are beginning to see the impact of the new prospectus regime introduced across the EU on 21 July 2019. The new regime puts in place consistency where securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading on a regulated market in an EU Member State, to better protect investors.
In practical terms, the new regime should mean less red tape and better access to capital market fundraising. This will include a new fast track prospectus approval process for companies trading on a regulated market or an SME growth market for at least 18 months, and reduced disclosure for secondary issuers and small and medium enterprises (unlisted with less than 500 employees making offers of less than €20million). Regular issuers of securities will also have the option of preparing a Universal Registration Document (URD) stating legal, business, financial, accounting and shareholding information and a description of the issuer for that financial year. If the URD is approved for two consecutive years it can then file URDs without prior approval as a main part of the prospectus.
Where retail securities are offered to the public there is now a shorter prospectus summary required which reflects the previous Key Information Document stating the 15 most relevant risk factors (risk factors that are material to enable an investor to make an informed investment decision and which are specific to the issuer are all that must now be disclosed with the most material risk being mentioned first) and should amount to a maximum of 7 pages. There are transitional measures in place and so if you are unsure as to which regime applies to your prospectus, our corporate solicitors would be happy to help.
Calls for more openness about processing of data from the Libra network over their cryptocurrency
The Libra network (consisting of Facebook and 28 other companies) are looking to create a global cryptocurrency using blockchain technology and have been issued a statement by data protection authorities from around the world, including the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) this month, requesting more openness about the proposed Libra cryptocurrency and infrastructure. Particularly data protection authorities are interested in how customers' personal data will be processed to ensure this is in line with data protection laws. Questions relating to clear and transparent information, informed consent, data sharing, use of processors, data privacy impact assessments, and how privacy policies and standards will work consistently across multiple jurisdictions have been asked of the Libra network.
The Information Commissioner has said that “Facebook's involvement is particularly significant, as there is the potential to combine Facebook's vast reserves of personal information with financial information and cryptocurrency, amplifying privacy concerns about the network's design and data sharing arrangements". Once a response has been provided by Libra it will be interesting to see if any further action is taken by global data protection authorities and the impact this might have on Libra.
Can flexible working improve the mental health of employees?
A study of 115 companies indicates that 43% of those who did not have the option of flexible working felt that if they did have the option to work flexibly, it would enable them to better manage their mental health. Further, more than a third of those who do work flexibly believe that this has improved their mental health. Perhaps surprisingly, more than 50% of men and just 33% of women who do not have flexible working believe it would help them to manage their mental health. Mental health is gaining more prominence and recognition in wider society as well as in the workplace and whilst you are not under an obligation to accept a flexible working request you should have a clear, consistent and non-discriminatory flexible working policy in place, preferably in writing, and seriously consider any applications brought in accordance with that policy.
Flexible working is a major way of life here at Harper James, with our solicitors being based remotely. If you would like help in drafting a flexible working policy or have any further questions on this area, our employment lawyers can help.
*Please note that this update does not constitute formal legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Always ask a solicitor if you are unsure of how the law relates to your business*