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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.

  • Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Defers Basel III Implementation in Response to COVID-19
    03/30/2020

    The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has delayed the implementation timeline for Basel III to allow firms to focus on tackling the challenges resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Maintains MiFID II Equity Transparency Calculations Application Date
    03/27/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a statement in which it confirms that the existing date for the application of the equity transparency calculations will remain unchanged. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, which became effective on January 3, 2018, introduced pre- and post-trade transparency requirements for equity and non-equity financial instruments. On February 28, 2020, ESMA published the transparency calculations that will apply to new instruments from April 1, 2020 until March 31, 2021. Further calculations will be released ahead of that date once the data quality review for those instruments has been completed.

    ESMA's statement confirms that the new calculations will apply from April 1, 2020, as intended, because firms have had to implement new transparency calculations in the past and so do not need to revise their IT systems to comply with the obligation. In addition, ESMA is of the view that a delay could negatively impact those firms that have planned for the new calculations.

    View ESMA's statement.

    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Centre.
    TOPICS: COVID-19MiFID II
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Clarifies Senior Manager Responsibility For Work-Related Travel
    03/27/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a statement emphasizing the responsibility of relevant Senior Managers or equivalent persons in prioritizing which of their firm's employees cannot work from home and need to travel into an office or business continuity site to perform their role. The FCA's statement is relevant to all FCA-regulated firms across the U.K. and is made in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCA states that it expects the number of individuals that need to travel into an office or other place of work to be considerably less than would be required for a business-as-usual basis. The FCA provides a list of roles that it considers are capable of being performed from home. These are: financial advisers, staff who can safely and securely trade shares and financial instruments from home, business support staff, claims management companies and those selling non-essential goods and credit.

    View the FCA's statement.

    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Centre.
  • COVID-19: European Central Bank Recommends Suspension of Dividends by Large Eurozone Banks
    03/27/2020

    The European Central Bank has published an updated Recommendation requiring the largest Eurozone-based banks to suspend the payment of any dividends and buyback of shares until at least October 1, 2020. The Recommendation is addressed to significant institutions that are directly prudentially supervised by the ECB. Eurozone national regulators of smaller banks are expected to apply the Recommendation, as deemed appropriate. The Recommendation applies to both 2019 and 2020 dividends, but does not retroactively apply to dividends that have already been paid for the 2019 financial year. Where a bank believes that it is legally obliged to make a dividend pay-out, it should explain the reasons to its joint supervisory team.

    The purpose of the Recommendation is to ensure that banks are able to maintain their lending and therefore the support of businesses during the current global pandemic.

    View the ECB recommendation here.

    View the ECB press release here.

    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Grants Regulatory Forbearance for Financial Reporting in Wake of COVID-19
    03/27/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published guidance for issuers on compliance with their financial reporting requirements in light of the challenges presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Under the EU Transparency Directive, issuers of debt securities or shares must publish annual and half-yearly financial reports within four months and three months, respectively, of the end of the relevant reporting period.

    Read more.
  • COVID-19: EU Regulatory Forbearance for Banks and Investment Firms for Reporting Securities Financing Transactions
    03/26/2020

    UPDATE: Further to its statement published on March 18, 2020, the European Securities and Markets Authority has published a clarifying statement to confirm that the regulatory forbearance granted for banks and investment firms subject to the upcoming reporting obligation under the Securities Financing Transaction Regulation also applies to securities financing transactions subject to the backloading requirement.

    ESMA published its initial public statement on steps it is taking to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the EU financial markets. ESMA is granting regulatory forbearance for banks and investment firms subject to the upcoming reporting obligation under the SFTR. Banks and investment banks were due to start reporting SFTs from April 13, 2020. EU banks and investment firms have been rolling out necessary diligence to categorize their clients and confidentiality waivers ahead of the launch, as well as installing new IT systems to report. ESMA's regulatory forbearance delays the reporting obligation for banks and investment firms from April 13, 2020 to July 13, 2020, which is the date from which CCPs and central securities depositories must begin reporting SFTs. Other Financial Counterparties must report from October 12, 2020 and Non-Financial Counterparties from January 11, 2021.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: COVID-19Securities
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Expectations on Financial Resilience of Firms
    03/26/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a statement reminding firms that they are able to use capital and liquidity buffers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCA also stated that firms should plan ahead and ensure that any potential exit from the market is conducted in an orderly manner. The statement is relevant for firms that are solo-regulated by the FCA.

    Firms are encouraged to contact the FCA if they are unable to meet their capital requirements.

    View the FCA announcement.

    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • COVID-19: UK Regulators Issue Joint Statement on Financial Statement Requirements
    03/26/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, the Financial Reporting Council and the Prudential Regulation Authority have announced a number of measures and initiatives to assist firms during the current global coronavirus pandemic. These include:
    • a statement from the FCA on the publishing of audited financial reports for listed companies;
    • guidance from the FRC for companies preparing financial statements to be read in conjunction with PRA guidance on assessing expected loss under IFRS9; and
    • guidance from the FRC for audit firms.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator: COVID-19 Will Not Impact LIBOR Deadline
    03/25/2020

    On March 25, 2020, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority confirmed that COVID-19 is not expected to affect LIBOR preparations and the target date for LIBOR cessation of the end of 2021 still stands. The FCA does acknowledge, however, that some interim LIBOR milestones may not be met as a result of the pandemic, and it will continue to monitor the impact on such timelines carefully.
     
    View the FCA's statement on COVID-19 and LIBOR.
     
    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available at our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • International Organization of Securities Commissions Publishes Report on Global Stablecoins
    03/23/2020

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has published a report analyzing the regulatory issues arising from the use of global stablecoins and setting out how the existing IOSCO principles would apply to a global stablecoin, depending on its structure. IOSCO states that global stablecoins, depending on how they are set up, share features with regulated securities and other regulated financial instruments and services. Using a hypothetical global stablecoin case, the report analyzes how the IOSCO Principles and Standards would apply and also considers some of the broader implications. The report also includes an analysis, jointly conducted by IOSCO and the Committee on Payment and Market Infrastructures, of the applicability of the CPMI-IOSCO Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures. The conclusion is that the PFMI will apply to global stablecoin arrangements involving the performance of systemically important payment system functions or other FMI functions.

    View IOSCO's report on global stablecoin initiatives.
  • COVID-19: UK Financial Conduct Authority Confirms No Short Selling Ban (Yet)
    03/23/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a statement confirming that, in the wake to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is working with regulators in the U.S., the EU and elsewhere to ensure that the financial markets can remain orderly and open. Noting the recent volatility in the financial markets, the FCA confirms that the U.K. has not imposed a short selling ban and neither has the U.S. or any other major financial market. The EU has however temporarily reduced the threshold for the reporting of short positions. Net short position holders are required to notify the relevant national regulator of any net short position of 0.1% of the issued share capital of a company and of each 0.1% above that threshold. This also applies to listed shares on UK markets.  It is not necessary to notify existing positions above the new lower threshold that were not previously notifiable, until new trading takes place.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: COVID-19FundsSecurities
  • COVID-19: European Securities and Markets Authority Extends Consultation Deadlines
    03/20/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced that it is extending the consultation response dates to assist market participants as they implement arrangements to ensure business continuity during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Read more.
  • COVID-19: European Securities and Markets Authority Clarifies MiFID II Telephone Recording Requirements
    03/20/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a statement on the telephone recording obligations in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. MiFID II requires records to be kept of all services, activities and transactions undertaken by an investment firm, including recordings of telephone conversations or electronic communications relating to: (i) transactions concluded when a firm deals on own account (proprietary trading); and (ii) the provision of client order services that relate to the reception, transmission and execution of client orders. Firms are also required to implement and maintain a policy for the recording of these telephone conversations.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: COVID-19MiFID II
  • UK Joint Money Laundering Steering Group Consults on Crypto-Asset Exchange and Custodian Wallet Provider Guidance
    03/18/2020

    The U.K. Joint Money Laundering Steering Group has launched a consultation on its proposed new Guidance on how the U.K. Money Laundering Regulations apply to crypto-asset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers. The proposed Guidance will form a new Sector 22 section in Part II of the existing JMLSG Guidance. Comments on the proposed Guidance should be submitted by May 18, 2020.

    Read more.
  • EU Lowers Short Sale Disclosure Threshold
    03/16/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced a Decision to lower the threshold for disclosing short positions in shares. Effective March 16, 2020, all holders of net short positions in shares traded on an EU regulated market (i.e., exchange) must notify the relevant national regulator if the position reaches or exceeds 0.1% of the issued share capital. Net short position holders must notify the relevant national regulator of any net short position of 0.1% of the issued share capital of a company and of each 0.1% above that threshold.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: COVID-19Securities
  • EU Working Group on Risk-Free Rates Consults on Voluntary Compensation for Legacy Swaptions
    03/13/2020

    The EU Working Group on Risk-Free Rates has launched a consultation on a proposed recommendation for voluntary compensation for legacy swaptions impacted by the CCP discounting transition to Euro Short-Term Rate (€STR). A Swaption is a type of interest-rate derivative contract. The CCP discounting switch from EONIA to €STR is planned for June 2020. The Working Group has identified that if the exercise date of swaptions is after the CCP transition date, the valuation of the products may change because of the discounting switch from EONIA to €STR. However, because the contracts are bilateral, the CCP compensation mechanism will not apply. The Working Group is seeking feedback on whether it should issue recommendations on the voluntary exchange of a cash compensation between bilateral counterparties to swaption contracts.

    The consultation closes on April 3, 2020.

    View the consultation paper.
  • Guidance Published on Digital Identification Technologies for Anti-Money Laundering Purposes
    03/06/2020

    The Financial Action Task Force has published Guidance on how digital identification technologies can be used to conduct some aspects of customer due diligence for anti-money laundering purposes. The FATF presents a risk-based approach to the use of digital ID software, relying on a set of open source, consensus-driven assurance frameworks and technical standards for digital ID systems. In addition, the FATF sets out a series of recommendations for relevant authorities, regulated entities (meaning financial institutions, virtual asset service providers and designated non-financial businesses and professions) and digital ID services providers. The Guidance is non-binding, however, it clarifies the FATF's standards.

    View the FATF's Guidance on digital ID.
  • Bank of England Announces LIBOR Initiatives and Publishes Discussion Paper on Risk-Free Rates Transition
    02/26/2020

    Andrew Hauser, the Executive Directive of Markets at the Bank of England, today announced the launch of two significant initiatives to boost the U.K.’s transition away from sterling LIBOR. Firstly, the BoE intends to begin publishing a compounded Sterling Overnight Index Average index from July 2020, enabling market participants to construct compounded SONIA rates which can be used as a replacement reference rate for term LIBOR-linked instruments. Secondly, from October 2020, the BoE will progressively increase the haircuts applied to LIBOR-linked collateral placed with the BoE as security against central bank loans, with a final haircut of 100% by the end of 2021.

    Read more.
  • EU Council Authorizes European Commission to Negotiate Post-Brexit Trade Agreement with the UK
    02/25/2020

    The Council of the European Union has authorized the opening of negotiations with the U.K. for a new partnership agreement between the U.K. and the EU. The Council's Decision (dated February 13, 2020) authorizes the opening of the negotiations, appoints the Commission as negotiator and stipulates that the negotiations must be conducted in consultation with the Working Party on the United Kingdom and in accordance with the Council's directives.

    The EU intends to enter into a free trade agreement with the U.K. For financial services, the Council directs that the arrangements between the EU and U.K. should be based on their respective equivalence frameworks, complemented by close and voluntary cooperation and consultation and transparency on equivalence decisions. The EU envisages that the FTA should be in line with existing EU FTAs with other countries for specific sectors, including the financial services sector.

    It is expected that the first session of negotiations will take place in early March.

    View the Council's decision authorising the opening of the negotiations.

    View the negotiating directives.
  • Draft UK Legislation to Onshore EMIR 2.2 Published for Feedback
    02/24/2020

    HM Treasury has published for feedback a draft statutory instrument to implement the revised provisions for CCPs in the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (known as EMIR 2.2.) into U.K. law once the Brexit implementation period ends (currently scheduled for December 31, 2020). HM Treasury is publishing the draft instrument to provide Parliament and stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed approach before the instrument is laid before Parliament. The draft instrumentOver the Counter Derivatives, Central Counterparties and Trade Repositories (Amendment, etc., and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020is due to be laid before Parliament in the Spring.

    Read more.
  • International Swaps and Derivatives Association Announces Results of LIBOR Fallbacks Consultation and New Pre-Cessation Fallbacks Consultation
    02/24/2020

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has published the results of its consultation on fallbacks to be introduced into standard ISDA documentation based on alternative risk-free rates for EUR LIBOR and EURIBOR. The fallbacks would apply if the relevant IBOR were to be permanently discontinued. Respondents to the consultation agreed with ISDA’s proposed approach of adopting a compounded setting in arrears rate with a backward-shift adjustment and historical median over a five-year lookback period approach to address technical issues associated with the fallback rates. ISDA therefore intends to develop fallback provisions on this basis. It will publish an anonymized summary of the consultation feedback in the coming weeks.

    Read more.
  • EU High-Level Forum Sets Out Vision for European Capital Markets
    02/20/2020

    The European Commission’s High-Level Forum on the Capital Markets Union has published an interim report setting out its vision for the future of European capital markets. The CMU is an EU initiative which aims to enhance integration of EU capital markets, further safeguard financial stability, strengthen the international role of the euro and diversify sources of finance for small- and medium-sized enterprises. The High-Level Forum was established in November 2019 and consists of experienced industry executives and international experts who will work together to propose policy recommendations designed to contribute to the CMU.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • EU Working Group on Risk-Free Rates Publishes Report on Liquidity in EONIA transition
    02/19/2020

    The EU Working Group on Risk-Free Rates has published a report setting out recommendations for the transition of financial products from EONIA to the Euro Short-Term Rate (€STR). The recommendations aim to ensure liquidity in €STR cash and derivatives products and include practical recommendations, such as replacing EONIA with €STR products at the earliest opportunity and communicating with customers and other market participants about the transition.

    Read more.
  • European Systemic Risk Board to Evaluate Systemic Cyber-security Risk
    02/19/2020

    The European Systemic Risk Board has published a report on cyber-security risk, which it has identified as a source of systemic risk to the global financial system. The report notes that the increased digitalization and interconnectedness of the global financial system makes it heavily reliant on ICT infrastructure and vulnerable to cyber attacks. The report provides an overview of key regulatory and industry initiatives aimed at combatting cyber risk, which include: (i) the 2019 International Organization of Securities Commissions’ Cyber Task Force report on cyber regulation; (ii) the European Banking Authority’s Guidelines on management of information and communication technology and security risks; and (iii) the European Securities and Markets Authority’s 2020-2022 Strategic Orientation, which establishes the dangers of cyber threats as an area of focus for ESMA and the other European Supervisory Authorities.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Highlights Vulnerabilities in Global Financial System
    02/18/2020

    The Financial Stability Board has written to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors outlining the key focus areas for the FSB’s work ahead of the next G20 summit in Saudi Arabia in November 2020. The communication builds on certain areas highlighted as priorities in the FSB’s 2020 Work Program, published in December 2019.

    Read more.
  • European Systemic Risk Board Appoints Vice-Chair and Board Members
    02/17/2020

    The European Systemic Risk Board has appointed Jan Reinder De Carpentier as its new Vice Chair. New board members Pedro Machado and Jesús Saurina have also been appointed. The new appointees will take up their positions on March 1, 2020 and will hold them for five years.
     
    View the SRB's announcement.
     
    View the Council Implementing Decision giving effect to the appointments of the Vice-Chair and Board Members.
    TOPIC: People
  • Single Resolution Board Launches Consultation on Minimum Requirements for Own Funds and Eligible Liabilities Policy
    02/17/2020

    The Single Resolution Board has launched a consultation on proposed changes to its policy on minimum requirements for own funds and eligible liabilities (MREL) for Eurozone banks, designed to bring the SRB’s MREL policy in line with the changes introduced by the 2019 EU banking package for EU banks.  MREL is the EU's precursor to total loss-absorbing capacity (TLAC) standards at international level.  The SRB is responsible for ensuring the compliance of Eurozone-based institutions that are subject to the Single Resolution Mechanism (primarily Eurozone countries) with their resolution and recovery planning requirements.  It works with national regulators from Eurozone countries to determine MREL requirements. Responses to the consultation should be submitted by March 6, 2020. The SRB expects to publish its final MREL Policy Statement based on these responses by the end of April 2020 and will apply the policy to MREL decisions taken in early 2021.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Consults on MiFID II
    02/17/2020

    The European Commission has launched a consultation on reviewing the EU Markets in Financial Instruments package. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation have applied across the EU since January 1, 2018 and regulate the functioning and transparency of EU financial markets. The consultation closes on April 20, 2020. The Commission is due to publish a legislative proposal to amend MiFID II and MiFIR in Q4 2020.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: MiFID II
  • UK Payment Systems Regulator Publishes Policy Statement on Confirmation of Payee Requirements
    02/14/2020

    The U.K. Payment Systems Regulator has published a policy statement setting out its final decision on varying Specific Direction 10, which requires payment service providers to implement the Confirmation of Payee system by March 31, 2020. Confirmation of Payee is a system which ensures that certain identifiers (including name, sort code and account number) of a payee are verified against the records of a payment services provider before a payment is made.
    Read more.
  • European Banking Authority Consults on Guidelines on Systemic Risk Buffers for Sectoral Exposures
    02/12/2020

    The European Banking Authority has launched a consultation on proposed Guidelines on the appropriate subsets of sectoral exposures to which national regulators may apply a systemic risk buffer under the Capital Requirements Directive. CRD 5 amended the provisions on when a national regulator may set a systemic risk buffer for sectoral exposures.  The EBA is mandated to prepare Guidelines to enhance harmonization of the approach across the EU. CRD 5 must be transposed into Member State laws by December 28, 2020 and those laws must be applied from December 29, 2020. Responses to the consultation can be submitted until May 12, 2020. Once finalized, the Guidelines will apply to the relevant national regulators from December 29, 2020.

    View the consultation paper.

    View details of CRD 5 and CRR 2.
  • International Organization of Securities Commissions Reports on Risks and Regulatory Considerations for Crypto-Asset Trading Platforms
    02/12/2020

    Following its consultation last year, the International Organization of Securities Commissions has published a report on the key issues and risks related to trading of crypto-assets on crypto-asset trading platforms (referred to as CTPs). The report aims to assist IOSCO member jurisdictions to assess the issues and risks relating to CTPs and sets out key considerations to be taken into account, including related toolkits for regulators. The considerations are: (i) access to CTPs; (ii) safeguarding assets; (iii) conflicts of interest; (iv) operations of CTPs; (v) market integrity; (vi) price discovery; and (vii) technology. IOSCO states that where a regulator has determined that a crypto-asset is a security, the provisions on securities trading and regulation apply.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: FinTechSecurities
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Final Set of Recommendations for Improving the EU Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive
    02/11/2020

    The European Banking Authority has published the third in a series of three opinions on the implementation of the Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive in the EU. This opinion relates to DGS funding and uses of DGS funds. It is dated January 23, 2020. The first opinion related to the eligibility of deposits, coverage level and cooperation between deposit guarantee schemes and was published in August 2019. The second opinion, published in October 2019, was on DGS payouts. The opinions have been prepared to assist the European Commission in its obligation to report on the implementation of the DGSD.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Confirms Scope of Securities Financing Transactions Regulation for Non-EU Funds
    02/10/2020

    In a letter published by the International Securities Lending Association, the European Commission confirms that the reporting obligations of the EU Securities Financing Transactions Regulation will not apply to non-EU Alternative Investment Funds, even if the manager is an EU AIFM, except for SFTs concluded in the course of the operations of the non-EU AIF’s EU branch.

    View the letter.
    TOPICS: FundsSecurities
  • European Central Bank Proposes Guide on Assessing Counterparty Credit Risk
    02/07/2020

    The Banking Supervision arm of the European Central Bank has opened a consultation on a proposed guide on assessing counterparty credit risk. The proposed guide sets out the ECB's approach to assessing the internal models that banks use to calculate their exposure to counterparty credit risk under the Capital Requirements Regulation. The proposed guide would apply to those Eurozone banks for which the ECB is responsible for direct prudential supervision as part of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, and that are permitted to use internal model methods. The consultation closes on March 18, 2020.

    View the ECB public consultation.
  • EU Recommendations for Alignment of the EU Derivatives Trading and Clearing Obligations
    02/07/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a final report and recommendations on aligning the trading obligation under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation with recent changes made to the clearing obligation under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation by the EMIR Refit Regulation. ESMA's report to the European Commission will support the Commission's report to the European Parliament and Council that is due by December 18, 2020.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: DerivativesMiFID II
  • Macroprudential Weaknesses in EU's Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive to Be Addressed in AIFMD Review
    02/05/2020

    The European Systemic Risk Board has published a letter (dated February 3, 2020) to the European Commission on the weaknesses of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. The ESRB is responsible for macro-prudential oversight within the European Union. The AIFMD framework provides the ESRB with data to assist it to analyze systemic risks. The ESRB considers that the AIFMD reporting framework could be improved and wants the Commission to consider these issues as part of the review of the AIFMD. The letter sets out the ESRB's experiences with the scope and application of the AIFMD, in particular considering:
     
    1. The suitability of the reporting framework and access to data for monitoring systemic risk: the ESRB highlights that the AIFMD framework could be improved, particularly with regards to fund identification, fund classification, information on the interconnectedness of funds, information on leverage and liquidity risk, reporting frequency and access to data.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Funds
  • Further Consultation on Pre-Cessation Fallbacks Announced
    02/05/2020

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has announced that it will be issuing later in February 2020 a further consultation on how to implement pre-cessation fallbacks. A “pre-cessation” trigger in derivative contracts would cause LIBOR-based contracts to fall back to an alternative reference rate in the event that the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority deemed LIBOR no longer to be representative. 

    Read more.
  • EU Consultation on Revised Risk Factor Guidelines for Assessing Money Laundering Risks
    02/05/2020

    The European Banking Authority has launched a consultation on proposed revisions to the Risk Factor Guidelines for financial institutions to assess money laundering and terrorist financing risks. The proposed changes aim to take into account the most recent revisions to the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (i.e. 5MLD) and newly identified risks, including those specified in the EBA's implementation reviews. The consultation closes on May 5, 2020.

    Read more.
  • EU-Wide Supervisory Focus on MiFID II Suitability Compliance
    02/05/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced an EU-wide common supervisory action in 2020 on the application of the suitability requirements under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. National regulators of EU member states will simultaneously assess compliance with the applicable requirements by market participants established in their jurisdictions. The knowledge and experience of the national regulators will be shared through ESMA to enhance the convergence of supervisory practices. ESMA's Suitability Supervisory Briefing and Suitability Guidelines are relevant to this initiative.

    View ESMA's announcement.

    View details of ESMA's suitability supervisory briefing.

    View details of ESMA's suitability guidelines.
    TOPIC: MiFID II
  • EU Recommendations on MiFID II Product Intervention Amendments
    02/04/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published Technical Advice on the impact and functioning of the product intervention rules in the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation. MiFIR gives ESMA powers temporarily to prohibit or restrict the marketing, distribution or sale of financial instruments or types of financial activity. The European Banking Authority has similar powers in relation to certain structured deposits. National regulators of EU Member States are able to impose permanent product intervention measures. ESMA's Technical Advice to the European Commission is on the functioning of the MiFIR provisions and their impact, taking into account its experience and the feedback from market participants to its Call for Input last year.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: MiFID II
  • Amended EU Guidelines for National Regulators on Enforcing Financial Information Publication by EU Issuers
    02/04/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published amended Guidance for national regulators on the enforcement of financial information that issuers listed on regulated markets are required to publish under the EU Transparency Directive. The amended Guidelines will apply from January 1, 2022. ESMA is making the amendments following the peer review exercise it conducted in 2017. The amendments focus on the methods that regulators use to select issuers for financial information examination and the procedures applied during such examinations.

    View the amended Guidelines.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • EU Consultation on Potential Amendments to MiFID II's Equity Transparency Regime
    02/04/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has commenced a consultation on proposed amendments to the provisions of the Markets in Financial Instruments package on the transparency regime for equity and equity-like instruments, the double volume cap mechanism and the trading obligation for shares. The consultation is part of the larger review on the implementation of the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation. Feedback to the consultation will aid ESMA in preparing its report to the European Commission, which in turn is expected to report in 2020 to the European Parliament and Council of the European Union. ESMA's consultation closes on March 17, 2020. It intends to publish its final report to the Commission in July 2020. ESMA will be consulting separately on the transparency regime for non-equity instruments, such as bonds and derivatives.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: MiFID II
  • EU Moves to Delay Securities Settlement Discipline Rules to 2021
    02/04/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published draft amending Regulatory Technical Standards to delay the implementation of the settlement discipline requirements under the EU's Central Securities Depositories Regulation. The draft RTS would postpone the application date of the settlement discipline rules from September 13, 2020 to February 1, 2021, by amending the existing RTS (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/1229). The RTS cover measures for preventing settlement fails through automated matching, a hold and release mechanism and partial settlement. The RTS also provide measures for monitoring and addressing settlement fails, such as a mechanism for cash penalties and a buy-in process. ESMA has acted amid calls from industry associations and other stakeholders to delay the application date so that systems, procedures and measures can be put in place properly.

    View the draft RTS.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • UK Joint Money Laundering Steering Group Proposes Amendments to Guidance
    02/03/2020

    The Joint Money Laundering Steering Group has opened a consultation on proposed amendments to its Guidance. The revisions to the Guidance are to account for changes introduced by The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019. The Regulations amend the existing Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017, incorporating changes arising from the EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. 

    Read more.
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Report on Diversity Practices in Banks and Investment Firms
    02/03/2020

    The European Banking Authority has issued a report on diversity practices in credit institutions and investment firms. The report is based on diversity data collected by national regulators under the Capital Requirements Directive. CRD requires banks (known as “credit institutions”) and investment firms to adopt policies promoting diversity in their management bodies. The report finds that 41% of institutions still do not have a diversity policy, despite a CRD obligation to implement one. Even amongst institutions that have implemented a policy, not all promote gender diversity. The EBA is calling on institutions and Member States to consider additional measures to promote a more balanced gender representation and to ensure compliance with diversity policy requirements. It intends to continue monitoring diversity in management bodies and to issue further benchmark studies in the future.
     
    View the EBA's report on diversity practices
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Consults on Pre-Trade Transparency Regime
    02/03/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a consultation to collect the views of market participants on the pre-trade transparency regime applicable to systematic internalizers for “non-equity instruments” (which include bonds, structured-finance products, emission allowances and derivatives) under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation. A consultation on the transparency regime for equity and equity-like instruments has been launched separately.

    Read more.
  • UK Prime Minister Sets Out Plan for Post-Brexit Relationship with EU
    02/03/2020

    The U.K. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has published a written statement on the U.K. Government’s proposed approach to negotiations on the U.K.’s future relationship with the EU. The U.K. formally left the EU on January 31, 2020 and entered an 11-month transition period, expiring on December 31, 2020, during which most EU legislation will continue to apply. The U.K. must now negotiate how the U.K. will interact with the EU after the end of the implementation period. 

    Read more.
  • European Commission Takes First Step to Formally Open Negotiations With UK on Future Relationship
    02/03/2020

    The European Commission has published a Recommendation for a Decision by the Council of the European Union authorizing the opening of negotiations for a trade deal between the U.K. and the EU. The draft Recommendation authorizes the opening of the negotiations, appoints the Commission as negotiator and establishes a special committee for consultation. The annex to the draft Recommendation sets out the proposed negotiating directives and describes the EU's vision for its future relationship with the U.K., based on the EU-U.K. Withdrawal Agreement. Once the Council adopts the decision, the Commission will formally open the negotiations.

    View the draft Recommendation and negotiating directives.
  • EU Consultation on Draft Technical Standards For Third-Country Firm Registration and Disclosure Under MiFID II
    01/31/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a consultation on proposed draft Technical Standards on the provision of investment services and activities in the EU by third-country firms under the Markets in Financial Instruments package. The consultation closes on April 28, 2020 and ESMA intends to submit the final draft Technical Standards to the European Commission in Q3 2020.

    The provisions in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation on third-country firms were recently amended. Among other things, the changes require third-country firms providing services to all types of clients to provide ESMA with further information. In addition, ESMA has increased powers over third-country firms providing services to eligible counterparties and per se professional clients, such as the ability to conduct on-site inspections and impose product restrictions or prohibitions.

    ESMA's consultation paper covers the proposed:
    • draft Regulatory Technical Standards on the information for registration of third-country firms and the information to be reported annually by third-country firms registered with ESMA;
    • draft Implementing Technical Standards on the format of applications for registration of third-country firms and the format of the information to be reported annually; and
    • draft ITS on the format of the information to be reported annually to national regulators by branches of third-country firms.

    View the consultation paper.
  • EU Opinion on Italian Accepted Market Practice in Accordance with the Market Abuse Regulation
    01/31/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published an opinion supporting the Italian Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa’s (Consob) revised accepted market practice on liquidity contracts for the purposes of the Market Abuse Regulation. The Market Abuse Regulation provides certain prohibitions against market manipulation but allows “accepted market practices” (AMPs) as a defense against allegations of market manipulation. To benefit from the defense, it is necessary to establish that a relevant transaction was conducted for legitimate reasons and in accordance with a formally accepted AMP. AMPs must be established by national regulators and notified to ESMA. ESMA will then issue an opinion on the compatibility of the AMP with MAR and whether its establishment would threaten market confidence.
    Read more.
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