Primary market conditions in 2023 have continued to be impacted by interest rates, inflation, geopolitical instability and the winding down of central bank purchase programmes. ICMA’s primary market committees and working groups remain crucial forums that allow market participants to convene and discuss the effect of market conditions on market practice, access to markets and liquidity, as well as to engage across a range of regulation affecting primary markets.

In terms of regulatory activity, ICMA maintained a strong focus on the proposed changes to the EU prospectus regime (through the EU Listing Act) and the new UK prospectus regime (to replace by 2025 the legacy EU prospectus regime adopted in the UK post-Brexit). ICMA also continues to focus on other aspects of the EU Listing Act (such as market soundings), the EU Retail Investment Strategy (including PRIIPs and MiFID product governance) and the UK PRIIPs regime. In Asia, ICMA convened members to agree changes to Singapore selling restrictions in light of business conduct rule changes implemented by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and responded to the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission’s consultation on market soundings. 

Sustainability continues to be a key theme, with an ongoing focus on developments in the EU (such as the EU Green Bond Standard) and in the UK (as a part of the new prospectus regime) and their effect on issuance of sustainable finance instruments. On digitalisation, primary market members contributed to ICMA’s paper on “Considerations for risk factors and disclosure in DLT bond documentation” which analysed risk factor disclosure in recent Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) bond offering documentation and the next iteration of ICMA’s Bond Data Taxonomy. ICMA expects the EU and UK regulatory initiatives to remain a primary focus in 2024 as almost all of those changes remain in flight.



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