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Financial Regulatory Developments Focus
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The following posts provide a snapshot of the principal U.S., European and global financial regulatory developments of interest to banks, investment firms, broker-dealers, market infrastructures, asset managers and corporates.

  • Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates Publishes Summary of Responses to Discussion Paper on SONIA Referencing Conventions
    08/07/2019

    The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates has published a summary of the responses it received to its March 2019 discussion paper on conventions for referencing SONIA in new financial contracts.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Discusses Enhanced Liquidity Requirements for UCITS
    08/06/2019

    Andrew Bailey, the Chief Executive of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, has written to Lord Myners of the House of Lords concerning the establishment of U.K. requirements for liquidity standards for Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) that are more stringent than existing EU requirements. Andrew Bailey's letter was prompted by Lord Myners' query as to whether the U.K. government has ever formally reviewed the case for imposing more stringent requirements or whether it must abide by the requirements in the EU UCITS Directive.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Funds
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Advice on EU Implementation of Basel III
    08/05/2019

    The European Banking Authority has published several documents setting out its advice to the European Commission on the impact and implementation in the EU of the Basel III 2017 reforms. On December 7, 2017, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision published the last part of the Basel III reforms. The revisions were to the standardized approach and the Internal Ratings-Based approach for credit risk, the Credit Valuation Adjustment risk framework, the leverage ratio framework, including the introduction of a leverage buffer for Global Systemically Important Banks, the operational risk framework and the new output ratio floor. The revised standards take effect from January 1, 2022, except that the output floor may be phased-in until January 1, 2027.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Concludes No Changes Needed to Banking Senior Managers Regime
    08/05/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published the findings of its review into the implementation of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime for the banking sector. The SM&CR came into force for banking firms in March 2016 with the aim of making individuals in the banking sector more accountable for their conduct. The FCA conducted the review to determine how the SM&CR has been implemented in the three years since its introduction. The review is intended to aid understanding of the impact of the regime and the FCA does not intend to make any policy changes on the basis of its findings. The FCA's review focuses on the implementation of the existing banking SM&CR, but an expanded SM&CR regime will come into force for all FCA solo-regulated firms from December 9, 2019. Firms falling within scope of the expanded regime should, where appropriate, also take the findings of the FCA's review into account in their implementation of the SM&CR.

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  • UK Committee Recommends Enhancing the Financial Conduct Authority's Powers and Remit
    08/02/2019

    The U.K. Treasury Committee has published a report on the Financial Conduct Authority's perimeter of regulation. The Report is part of the Committee's ongoing inquiry, The Work of the Financial Conduct Authority, which is considering: (i) the timeliness in which the FCA is able to take action; (ii) the transparency of the FCA's work and decisions; and (iii) the scope of the FCA's regulatory perimeter. This Report considers the last of these issues and makes several recommendations to the Treasury on the remit and powers of the FCA to enhance understanding of consumers of the regulatory perimeter, reduce harm to consumers and mitigate against regulatory arbitrage.

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  • EU Restrictions on Contracts for Difference Lifted in Wake of National Measures
    07/31/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced that it will not again renew its product intervention measure for Contracts for Differences. ESMA's product intervention powers under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation allow it to impose temporary prohibitions or restrictions on certain financial instruments, financial activities or practices to address a significant investor protection concern in the EU. ESMA's first restrictions on the marketing, distribution and sale of CfDs to retail clients applied from August 1, 2018 and was then extended every three months because ESMA did not consider that the consumer protection risk had been addressed. ESMA's view is that because most national regulators in EU member states have now adopted permanent measures, its own temporary restrictions do not need to be extended. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has imposed permanent restrictions on the sale, marketing and distribution of CfDs and CfD-like options to retail consumers. The rules will apply to all CfDs entered into from August 1, 2019, and to CfD-like options entered into from September 1, 2019.

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  • UK Regulator Provides Guidance on Regulatory Perimeter and Crypto-Assets
    07/31/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement and final Guidance on Crypto-assets. The Policy Statement summarizes the feedback received to the FCA's consultation on draft Guidance and sets out the FCA's response to that feedback. The final Guidance is, for the most part, the same as that on which the FCA consulted, except the FCA has made some drafting changes to provide further clarity and has added some guidance on stablecoins and airdrops. In addition, the FCA has revised the taxonomy by making a distinction between: (i) unregulated tokens, which are exchange tokens and utility tokens; and (ii) regulated tokens, which are security and e-money tokens.

    The Guidance is intended to clarify the FCA's expectations for firms carrying on crypto-asset activities within the U.K. by providing insight for market participants on whether certain crypto-assets are within the FCA's regulatory perimeter or are otherwise regulated. The FCA highlights that the Guidance should be used by firms to understand the regulatory status of their crypto-asset activities, but assessing whether a crypto-asset or related activity is within the regulatory perimeter can only be done on a case-by-case basis. Firms should also refer to the FCA's Perimeter Guidance Manual (PERG) in its Handbook, and where firms need further clarification, they should contact the FCA and/or obtain external legal advice.

    The Guidance provides an overview of the U.K. regulatory perimeter and discusses relevant concepts, such as "by way of business." It also refers to the territorial scope of the regulatory perimeter, referring to the detailed guidance in PERG and highlighting that where part of an activity is carried on outside the U.K., a firm may still be carrying on a regulated activity in the U.K.

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  • UK Regulators Finalize Resolvability Assessment Framework for Banks
    07/30/2019

    Following their consultation earlier this year, the Bank of England and the Prudential Regulation Authority have finalized the new Resolvability Assessment Framework. The Framework comprises: (i) the BoE's approach to assessing resolvability, which includes the outcomes that the BoE considers necessary to support resolution; (ii) new PRA rules that require firms to assess their resolvability, submit a report to the PRA on the assessment and publish a summary statement on the assessment; and (iii) the BoE making public statements on the resolvability of each individual firm that is in-scope of the PRA's new rules.

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  • EU Equivalence for Australian and Singaporean Benchmarks
    07/30/2019

    Two equivalence decisions under the EU Benchmark Regulation have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The first decision declares as equivalent to the EU regime the legal and supervisory framework of Australia applicable to the administrators of financial benchmarks that are declared significant benchmarks by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. The second decision declares as equivalent to the EU regime the legal and supervisory framework of Singapore applicable to the administrators of financial benchmarks that are designated as designated benchmarks by means of the Securities and Futures (Designated Benchmarks) Order 2018. Both decisions will enter into force on August 19, 2019.

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  • EU Credit Rating Equivalence Decisions Repealed for Some; Reaffirmed for Others
    07/30/2019

    A series of Implementing Decisions on the equivalence with the EU Credit Rating Agencies Regulation of the credit rating regimes of certain non-EU countries have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The EU CRA Regulation provides that banks, investment firms, insurers, reinsurers, management companies, investment companies, alternative investment fund managers and CCPs may only use credit ratings for certain regulatory purposes if a rating is issued by: (i) an EU CRA registered with the European Securities and Markets Authority; (ii) a third-country CRA under the endorsement regime; or (iii) a third-country CRA under the equivalence/certification regime. Equivalence decisions for several jurisdictions were adopted in 2012 under the CRA Regulation, as it was at the time. The equivalence decisions were for Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Singapore, Australia, Mexico, the U.S., Japan and Hong Kong. CRAs from Mexico, the U.S. and Japan subsequently obtained certification from ESMA.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Consults on STS Notifications under Onshored Securitization Regulation
    07/30/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation on draft technical standards on the content and format of STS notifications under the U.K.'s onshored Securitization Regulation. The consultation closes on August 27, 2019. Unless Brexit is delayed further, the FCA intends to publish the final or near-final technical standards on or very near to Exit day, which is currently due to be October 31, 2019.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Communicates on Financial Services Equivalence
    07/29/2019

    The European Commission has published a Communication on equivalence in the area of financial services, including an annex that briefly sets out the equivalence decisions adopted by the Commission since January 2018. The Communication describes the Commission's current equivalence policy priorities, recent legislative improvements and the main assessment and the decision-making processes. It also sets out recent and ongoing work on equivalence assessments and monitoring.

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  • UK Consultation on Draft Law Ensuring Trustee Oversight of Investment Consultants and Fiduciary Managers
    07/29/2019

    The U.K. Department for Work and Pensions has opened a consultation on draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Governance and Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2019. The consultation runs until September 2, 2019. The draft Regulations are intended to implement into law certain of the remedies made by the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority in its Investment Consultants and Fiduciary Managers Markets Investigation. The CMA published a Final Report in December 2018 that set out its finding of adverse competition in the investment consultants and fiduciary managers markets and the remedies to address that finding. The CMA's final Order to implement the remedies was published on June 10, 2019.

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    TOPICS: CompetitionFunds
  • European Central Bank Announces Publication Time for Euro Short-Term Rate
    07/26/2019

    The European Central Bank has announced the publication time for the new Euro short-term rate (or €STR) that will come into effect from October 2, 2019. €STR will represent the wholesale euro unsecured overnight borrowing costs of banks located in the euro area. The ECB has also published the final version of its Guideline in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Guideline is addressed to all Eurosystem central banks and will govern the rate and establish the responsibilities of the ECB and national central banks in determining and administering the rate.

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  • UK Regulators Consult on Amending EU Exit Instruments
    07/25/2019

    The Bank of England and the Prudential Regulation Authority have opened a consultation on further changes to EU Exit instruments following the extension of Brexit from April to October 31, 2019, which means that certain EU legislation that has been published since April will become retained law. The consultation closes on September 18, 2019.

    The consultation covers: (i) a proposed update on the Bank's and PRA's intended use of the temporary transitional power; (ii) proposals for the PRA Rulebook and Binding Technical Standards that will be retained, or 'onshored', in U.K. law; and (iii) the Bank's proposed BTS under the Central Securities Depositories Regulation.

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  • UK Draft Legislation for Post-Brexit EMIR 2.1 Published
    07/25/2019

    A draft U.K. statutory instrument to onshore into U.K. law, post-Brexit, the revised European Market Infrastructure Regulation (known as EMIR Refit) has been published - The Over the Counter Derivatives, Central Counterparties and Trade Repositories (Amendment, etc., and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2019.

    EMIR Refit was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on May 28, 2019 and, for the most part, has applied directly across the EU since June 17, 2019.

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  • European Banking Authority Publishes Opinion on Relation of Prudential Objectives to Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing
    07/24/2019

    The European Banking Authority has published an Opinion signaling the importance of money laundering and terrorism financing risks in the prudential supervision of EU Member States. The Opinion invites national prudential supervisors to make clear to institutions in their jurisdictions the expectation that prudential supervisors should be aware of AML/CTF risks that may affect the institutions they oversee. 

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  • UK Regulator Consults on Changes to Counterparty Credit Risk Treatment
    07/23/2019

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has issued a consultation on proposed additions to its Supervisory Statement on counterparty credit risk. The additions are intended to provide clarity to the market on how firms should satisfy the Capital Requirements Regulation's requirement to ensure senior management are aware of the limitations and assumptions included in models used to calculate exposure values for derivatives. The consultation is relevant to all firms captured by the provisions of the Capital Requirements Directive. Responses to the consultation are requested by October 25, 2019.

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  • Margin Requirements for Uncleared Derivatives Delayed for Certain Counterparties
    07/23/2019

    The target date at international level for regulators to introduce margin requirements for uncleared derivatives for counterparties with lower trading volumes has been extended for a year by the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the Basel Committee on Banking Standards. The amendment may, depending on regulatory responses, in turn impact small banks, asset managers, pension funds and insurers.

    In March 2015, the Basel Committee and IOSCO published a revised version of their policy framework for the exchange of margin for uncleared derivatives. The main revisions were to delay by nine months the phase-in period for the obligations relating to both initial margin and variation margin. Relevant international standards apply to entities that are financial firms and systemically important non-financial entities, the definitions for which are determined by national regulation.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Derivatives
  • UK Conduct Regulator Consults on Firms' Treatment of Vulnerable Consumers
    07/23/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation on its proposed guidance on how financial services firms should treat "vulnerable" consumers. The consultation will be divided into two stages: the first stage focuses on: (i) whether the draft guidance covers the right issues and provides sufficient clarity to firms on what they should do to improve outcomes for vulnerable consumers; (ii) the potential impact of the guidance on firms' costs and the potential benefit to consumers of the implementation of the guidance; and (iii) whether the guidance is sufficient to ensure firms take appropriate action to treat vulnerable consumers fairly or whether additional policy interventions are required. The second stage will seek input on a revised draft of the guidance, which will take account of feedback received during the first stage, together with a cost-benefit analysis. Responses to the first stage of the consultation should be provided by October 4, 2019.

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  • UK Payment Systems Regulator Revises Timeline for Market Review into the Supply of Card-Acquiring Services
    07/22/2019

    The U.K. Payment Systems Regulator has revised the timeline for its work on the market review into the supply of card-acquiring services. The PSR will publish its interim report for consultation in Q1 2020, instead of by the end of 2019 as initially set out in the Terms of Reference. The postponement has come about as the PSR has identified a number of additional issues that need to be addressed in the review.

    The market review is a response to concerns that the supply of card-acquiring services from specialist providers by merchants (to enable card payments to be accepted and processed on their behalf) may not be working well for some merchants and, ultimately, consumers. The market review is intended to examine the lack of transparency around merchants' fees for accepting card payments and barriers to competition in the card-acquirer services market.

    View the PSR's announcement.
  • HM Treasury Seeks Input on the Future of Regulatory Coordination in Financial Services
    07/19/2019

    Launching the first phase of the Future Regulatory Framework Review, HM Treasury has issued a call for evidence on regulatory coordination in the financial services sector. The Financial Services Future Regulatory Framework Review was announced in March 2019 by the Chancellor in his Spring Statement. The Review will assess whether the U.K. financial services regulatory framework is fit for purpose, including being able to support the sector to grow in the future. Four key challenges for the sector are identified: operating outside of the EU, new relationships following Brexit, technological change and other global challenges, such as climate change. The Review will entail a comprehensive evaluation of the regulatory framework in a phased process. The first phase covers coordination by the U.K. regulators. Later phases will cover other areas, to be announced once the arrangements for the U.K.'s exit from the EU are clearer.

    The call for evidence focuses on how the government and regulators work together to ensure the best outcomes for the financial services sector, consumers of financial services and the U.K. Feedback is requested on what stakeholders consider works well and the areas for potential improvement. Where possible, responses should provide examples. Responses to the call for evidence should be submitted by October 18, 2019.

    View the call for evidence.
  • Revised EU Guidelines on Stress Testing of Money Market Funds Published
    07/19/2019

    Following its consultation in late 2018, the European Securities and Markets Authority has published final reports and updated guidelines on stress testing money market funds and the requirements imposed upon MMFs to report information to national regulators under the EU Money Market Funds Regulation.

    The MMF Regulation has applied directly across the EU since July 21, 2018. MMFs are fund vehicles that invest in highly liquid short-term debt instruments, such as government bonds, and are often regarded as a short-term cash management function alternative to bank deposits. The MMF Regulation requires MMFs and MMF managers to measure the impact of the common reference stress test scenarios, as specified by ESMA in guidelines, and to report the outcomes to their national regulators. The first MMF reports are due by the end of Q1 2020.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Funds
  • Financial Stability Board Delays Implementation Deadlines for Minimum Haircut Standards for Uncleared SFTs
    07/19/2019

    The Financial Stability Board has extended the implementation timelines for its recommendations on securities financing transactions, in particular those on minimum haircut standards for uncleared SFTs. SFTs involve the use of securities to borrow cash or other higher investment-grade securities, or vice versa. Such transactions can include repurchase transactions, securities lending and sell/buy backs. The FSB published, in 2015, its regulatory framework and recommendations for haircuts on uncleared SFTs, which included timelines for the implementation of the recommendations by FSB member jurisdictions. The FSB notes that while progress is being made in implementing the recommendations, many jurisdictions have not yet done so. The FSB acknowledges that most of the delay is due to the new date for implementing the Basel III framework, including the minimum haircut standards on bank-to-non-bank SFTs, which was postponed to January 2022.

    Read more.
  • International Body Issues Statement on Liquidity Risk Management Recommendations for Investment Funds
    07/18/2019

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has issued a statement on its Liquidity Risk Management Recommendations for investment funds. The statement is in response to the U.K.'s Financial Policy Committee's Financial Stability report which stated that the IOSCO Liquidity Risk Management Recommendations do not prescribe how it should be ensured that funds' assets and investment strategies are consistent with their redemption terms. IOSCO's statement sets out how the Recommendations provide a comprehensive framework for regulators to address liquidity risks in funds. IOSCO notes that the Recommendations allow some flexibility as to how they are implemented by jurisdiction due to the diversity of the funds sector. IOSCO does not believe that a global prescriptive standard is appropriate and will undertake an exercise in 2020 to assess how the recommendations have been implemented across the globe.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Funds
  • Final EU Guidelines on EU Credit Rating Agency Disclosure Obligations and Advice on Sustainable Finance in the Credit Rating Market
    07/18/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published two documents relating to sustainable finance in the credit rating sector. The first document is technical advice for the European Commission, responding to the Commission's mandate in its 2018 Action Plan for Sustainable Finance for ESMA to assess the current practice within the credit rating market concerning sustainability considerations. ESMA has assessed the extent to which environmental, social or governance factors are considered within credit rating agencies' credit assessments. ESMA concludes that CRAs are including ESG factors in their ratings, but it is difficult to assess the extent to which each factor is being considered in the various asset classes. ESMA warns that credit ratings should not be understood as providing an opinion on sustainability characteristics of an issuer or entity and recommends that the CRA Regulation should not be revised to require the consideration of sustainability characteristics in CRAs' credit assessments. However, ESMA advises that it may be appropriate to update the disclosure requirements in the CRA Regulation to enhance the transparency on how CRAs are considering the ESG factors.

    Read more.
  • European Banking Authority Reports on Regulatory Perimeter, Regulatory Status and Authorization of Fintech Activities
    07/18/2019

    Fulfilling its mandate under the European Commission's FinTech Action Plan to map the current authorization and licensing approaches for innovative FinTech business models in Europe, the European Banking Authority has published a report on the regulatory perimeter, regulatory status and authorization of FinTech activities under its remit, in particular the banking, payment services and electronic money services sectors. The European Securities and Markets Authority published its related report on July 12, 2019.

    Read more.
  • EU Call for Evidence on the Impact of the Inducements and Charges Disclosure Requirements Under MiFID II
    07/17/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a call for evidence on the impact of the inducements and costs and charges disclosure requirements under the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. MiFID II restricts the payment or receipt of all fees, commissions and non-monetary benefits (which are defined as so-called "inducements") unless these enhance the quality of service provided to a client and do not impair an EU investment firm's duty to act in the best interests of its client. EU investment firms are obliged to disclose to each client all fees, commissions and non-monetary benefits received by them in connection with any investment service provided by them to that client.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: MiFID II
  • EU Report on Sanctions and Measures Imposed under MiFID II in 2018
    07/17/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a report on enforcement actions taken across the EU for breach of the revised Markets in Financial Instruments package. The report covers administrative sanctions and measures as well as criminal sanctions in aggregated form for 2018. ESMA notes that the data is limited because MiFID II has only applied since January 3, 2018, and some Member States were late in applying the requirements. Therefore, ESMA does not believe that it is possible to detect any trends using the limited data. ESMA will produce the same report annually, based on the submission of information from national regulators.

    View the report.
    TOPICS: EnforcementMiFID II
  • EURIBOR Benchmark Statement Published
    07/17/2019

    The European Money Markets Institute has published a Benchmark Statement on the administration of Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor). Earlier in July this year, the EMMI obtained authorization as the administrator of Euribor, which is a critical benchmark under the EU Benchmark Regulation. EMMI has made reforms to Euribor in order to ensure it meets the requirements of the Regulation, including adopting a new hybrid methodology, the phased implementation of which will be completed by the end of 2019.

    View EMMI's announcement and the Benchmark Statement.
  • UK's Expanded Senior Managers and Certification Regimes Enter into Force
    07/17/2019

    The Bank of England and Financial Services Act 2016 (Commencement No. 6 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2019 have been made. The Regulations bring into force, from December 9, 2019, the expanded Senior Managers and Certification Regimes for all Financial Conduct Authority solo-regulated firms authorized under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, which include asset managers and investment firms carrying out certain activities. These firms need to complete their initial certification assessments for existing certified staff and new hires by December 9, 2020, although they must have identified certification staff by December 9, 2019. A transitional provision states that the regime will only apply to Claims Management Companies that are authorized by the FCA by December 9, 2019 and to other CMCs on the date that they obtain their authorization.

    Read more.
  • Recommended Legal Action Plan for Transition from EONIA to €STR
    07/16/2019

    Following its consultation earlier this year, the working group charged with implementing the European market's move away from EONIA, has published a recommended legal action plan for new and legacy contracts referencing EONIA. The implementation of the recommended legal measures is intended to address issues arising from the transition from EONIA to the euro short-term rate (known as €STR). €STR is a risk-free rate and, with a fixed spread, will replace EONIA as a reference rate in a variety of euro-denominated financial contracts, including derivatives, collateral remuneration for derivatives and cash products such as commercial paper, repurchase agreements and default interest payable under syndicated loans.

    Read more.
  • UK Proposes Rules to Implement France's Large Exposure Limit for Highly Indebted Corporates
    07/16/2019

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published a consultation on proposals to reciprocate the French measure on large exposures, following a recommendation by the European Systemic Risk Board. In July 2018, France's Haut Conseil de stabilité financière (HCSF) imposed a measure under the Capital Requirements Regulation that lowers the large exposure limit, from 25% to 5% of a firm's eligible capital, for French G-SIIs and French O-SIIs for their exposures to French NFCs that are 'highly indebted'.

    The PRA is proposing to apply the same 5% large exposure limit for exposures to certain French NFCs through amendments to the Large Exposures part of the PRA Rulebook. The proposals would apply to Global Systemically Important Institutions and Other Systemically Important Institutions from January 1, 2020.

    Responses to the consultation should be submitted to the PRA by September 6, 2019.

    View the consultation paper.
  • EU Consultation on Performance Fees for Retail Funds
    07/16/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a consultation on proposed guidelines on performance fees in Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities. The consultation closes on October 31, 2019 and ESMA will publish its final guidelines once it has considered all of the feedback.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Funds
  • EU Consultation on Guidelines on Compliance Function Requirements under MiFID II
    07/15/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a consultation paper on proposed guidelines on the compliance function requirements that are set out in the revised Markets in Financial Instruments package. The consultation closes on October 15, 2019 and ESMA intends to publish its final guidelines in Q2 2020. The final guidelines will replace ESMA's guidelines that were issued in 2012 under MiFID I because some of the 2012 guidelines are now set out in MiFID II or its secondary legislation and so reflect the enhanced role of the compliance function under MiFID II.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: MiFID II
  • European Banking Authority Provides Guidance to Aide Convergent Implementation of the Liquidity Coverage Ratio in the EU
    07/12/2019

    The European Banking Authority has published its first report on its monitoring of the Liquidity Coverage Ratio implementation in the EU. The LCR has applied as a 100% minimum binding standard across the EU since January 1, 2018, ahead of the Basel implementation date of January 1, 2019. The LCR requirements are set out in the Capital Requirements Regulation and the Capital Requirements Directive, supplemented by the LCR Delegated Regulation (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/61). The LCR Delegated Regulation allows national regulators some discretion when implementing the LCR requirements. The EBA's report sets out its observations on the implementation of the LCR, focusing on the level of divergence of implementation of the LCR across the EU. To enhance a more convergent implementation of the LCR, the EBA also provides some guidance for national regulators and banks on operational deposits, retail deposits excluded from outflows and notifications on additional liquidity outflows.

    The EBA intends to continue monitoring implementation of the LCR, including the extent to which national regulators and banks apply its guidance incorporated in the report and will assess whether any more formal guidance is needed.

    View the EBA's report.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Publishes Report on the Licensing of FinTech Business Models
    07/12/2019

    Fulfilling its mandate under the European Commission's FinTech Action Plan to map the current authorization and licensing approaches for innovative FinTech business models in Europe, the European Securities and Markets Authority has published a report on the licensing of FinTech business models. The report sets out the key conclusions identified from the information collected from national regulators through two surveys that ESMA conducted in the last two years, and some of the actions that have been taken to address the emerging challenges. The report does not make any recommendations, but instead refers to previous advice and reports that make recommendations for an EU-level response to the issues.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: FinTechSecurities
  • EU Legislative Package for Cross-Border Distribution of Investment Funds Published
    07/12/2019

    A Regulation and a Directive aimed at facilitating the cross-border distribution of investment funds have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Directive amends the Directive on Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities and the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive by introducing new provisions and amending certain existing provisions of those pieces of legislation. The new Regulation aims to increase transparency on the rules and procedures applicable to cross-border marketing of investment funds and regulatory fees and charges levied by national regulators. Member states are required to transpose the Directive into national laws by, and apply those laws from, August 2, 2021. Certain provisions of the Regulation will apply directly across the EU from 1 August 2019, with the remaining provisions applying from August 2, 2021.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Funds
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Launches Consultation on Disclosure Guidelines Under EU Prospectus Regulation
    07/12/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a consultation on its proposed guidelines on compliance with disclosure requirements under the new EU Prospectus Regulation. The Consultation Paper may be of particular interest to investors, issuers, offerors or persons asking for admission to trading on a regulated market and any market participant who is affected by the new Prospectus Regulation. Responses to the consultation should be submitted by October 4, 2019. ESMA intends to publish a final summary of all consultation responses and a final version of the guidelines in Q2 2020.

    Read more.
  • EU Evaluates MiFID II's Success in Improving Trade Data Quality, Availability and Costs
    07/12/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a consultation on the development of pre- and post-trade transparency data and the functioning of the consolidated tape for equity instruments under the revised Markets in Financial Instruments package. The consultation paper sets out ESMA's initial views, taking into account feedback received during earlier roundtables and questionnaires. Responses to the consultation should be provided by September 6, 2019. ESMA will consider the feedback it receives in preparing its final report, which it intends to submit to the European Commission in December 2019. The final report will assist the Commission in preparing its review reports to the European Parliament and Council of the European Union, which are expected to be published in 2020.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: MiFID II
  • EMIR Refit: EU Clarification on Derivatives Trading and Clearing Obligations
    07/12/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a Statement clarifying the application and interaction of the EU derivatives clearing and trading obligations following the entry into force of the revised European Market Infrastructure Regulation, known as EMIR Refit.

    EMIR Refit has, subject to limited exceptions, applied directly across the EU since June 17, 2019. EMIR Refit amended the definition of a Financial Counterparty, bringing central securities depositories authorized under the EU Central Securities Depositories Regulation within scope and categorizing all Alternative Investment Funds as FCs (or, for non-EU funds, as third-country entities equivalent to FCs). It also introduced a clearing threshold for FCs, meaning that small FCs are exempt from the clearing obligation. In addition, Non-Financial Counterparties that meet the clearing threshold no longer must clear all derivatives that they enter that are subject to the clearing obligation, but only those derivatives in the asset class for which they have exceeded the threshold.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: DerivativesMiFID II
  • UK Payment Systems Regulator Launches Consultation on Supply of Card-Acquiring Services
    07/11/2019

    The U.K. Payment Systems Regulator has launched a consultation on the PSR's proposed approach to assessing the profitability of card-acquiring service providers for U.K. merchants and consumers. The Consultation Paper may be of particular interest to providers of card-acquiring services, merchant trade bodies and merchants, as well as card scheme operators and issuers. Responses to the consultation should be submitted by August 1, 2019. Following the consultation, the PSR intends to publish a report setting out its interim conclusions on the supply of card-acquiring services.

    Read more.
  • Firms Criticized for Non-Compliance with the EU Contracts For Difference Product Intervention Measures
    07/11/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a Statement cautioning contracts for difference providers to comply with its temporary product intervention measure restricting the marketing, distribution or sale of CfDs to retail clients. The measure is due to expire at the end of the day on July 31, 2019, unless ESMA again renews it.

    In its Statement, ESMA states that it has noticed and is concerned that certain firms are not complying with the temporary CfD restriction or any similar permanent national measure. ESMA reminds firms that the temporary CfD restriction does not apply to eligible counterparties or professional clients, including to retail clients who opt to being treated as professional clients, as defined in the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. However, firms must comply with the MiFID II requirements when dealing with a retail client that requests to opt up to being treated as a professional client, including by alerting clients to the loss of protection afforded by the temporary CfD restriction. ESMA also reminds firms that they should not incentivize a retail client to become a professional client by using language that promotes the status or benefits of professional clients.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Final Prospectus Regulation Rules
    07/11/2019

    The Prospectus Regulation Rules Instrument 2019 has been published, setting out the new FCA Prospectus Regulation Rules sourcebook. The Instrument also makes amendments to certain other sections of the FCA Handbook as well as to the FCA's Enforcement Guide and Perimeter Guidance manual. The new rules aim to align the U.K. rules with the EU Prospectus Regulation and will take effect from July 21, 2019.

    Any prospectus approved by the FCA before July 21, 2019 will be governed by national law under the old Prospectus Directive regime until either: (i) the end of the prospectus' validity; or (ii) July 21, 2020. Prospectuses submitted for approval on or after July 21, 2019 must be in line with the EU Prospectus Regulation and the FCA's new Prospectus Regulation Rules sourcebook.

    View the Prospectus Regulation Rules Instrument 2019.

    View details of the FCA Policy Statement on the Prospectus Regulation Rules sourcebook.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes New Measure of Market Cleanliness
    07/09/2019

    The U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority has published details of its Abnormal Trading Volume ratio, a new metric by which the FCA intends to measure "market cleanliness". Market cleanliness refers to the level of market abuse activities, such as insider dealing or market manipulation, affecting transactions in the market. The FCA currently monitors market abuse using a variety of tools, including the mandatory submission of suspicious transaction and order reports by those involved in executing certain types of financial market transactions.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Annual Report
    07/09/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published its Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended March 31, 2019. The report considers topics including: (i) key highlights from 2018/2019; (ii) the U.K.'s withdrawal from the EU and the FCA's proposed approach to regulation in the wake of Brexit; (iii) the FCA's cross-sector and sector priorities; and (iv) perimeter issues. The report follows the publication of the FCA's first Annual Perimeter Report in June 2019, which provides a review of the FCA's regulatory perimeter.

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  • US Regulators Clarify Position on Broker-Dealer Custody of Digital Asset Securities
    07/08/2019

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority have issued a joint statement clarifying how their traditional regulatory approaches would apply to how broker-dealers handle their customers' digital asset securities and transactions. Specifically, the statement focuses on how certain SEC and FINRA rules apply to broker-dealers that wish to take custody of digital asset securities or perform other noncustodial activities involving such assets.

    The SEC and FINRA staffs (collectively, the "Staffs") said that a number of firms have applied to FINRA to engage in broker-activities involving digital asset securities, and a number of registered broker-dealers have also submitted applications to expand their businesses to include digital asset securities services. Many of these applications cover proposed business models that would involve the applicant taking custody of digital asset securities, while others would involve certain noncustodial activities.

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    TOPICS: FinTechSecurities
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Report on FinTech's Impact on Payment and Electronic Money Institutions' Business Models
    07/08/2019

    The European Banking Authority has published a report on the impact of financial technology on the business models of payment and electronic money institutions. The report aims to provide an overview of the current FinTech landscape and raise awareness of the main trends affecting business models. It follows major developments in the industry including the introduction of the revised Payment Services Directive (known as PSD2), the emergence of new market entrants offering innovative products and the growth of instant and mobile payment methods.

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  • HM Treasury Publishes Report on Activities of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Supervisory Bodies
    07/08/2019

    HM Treasury has published a report on the activities undertaken by the U.K.'s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing supervisory bodies in 2017-2018. The report follows the publication of the Financial Action Task Force's Mutual Evaluation Report, published in December 2018. The Mutual Evaluation Report found that the U.K.'s AML/CTF regime was the strongest of all the countries assessed by the FATF. However, the report still identified shortcomings in regulated firms' compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and the performance of supervisory bodies responsible for overseeing AML/CTF activity.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Proposes Banning the Sale to Retail Clients of Derivatives Referencing Crypto-Assets
    07/03/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation proposing to restrict the sale, marketing and distribution of derivatives and exchange-traded notes that reference certain types of unregulated, transferable crypto-asset to all retail clients by firms in, or from, the U.K. The FCA consultation follows the final report of the U.K. Crypto-Assets Task Force in October 2018. The FCA's view is that although the U.K.'s market in crypto-assets is relatively small, there is still a consumer protection issue that needs to be addressed.

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