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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.

  • Financial Stability Board Further Delays Implementation Deadlines for Minimum Haircut Standards for Uncleared SFTs
    09/07/2020

    The Financial Stability Board has announced delays to the implementation of minimum haircut standards for non-centrally cleared securities financing transactions. 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. In 2015, the FSB published its regulatory framework and recommendations for haircuts on uncleared SFTs, which included timelines for the implementation of the recommendations by FSB member jurisdictions. The deadline for implementation was extended in July 2019 by the FSB because of the delay to implementation of the Basel III framework, including the minimum haircut standards on bank-to-non-bank SFTs, which was postponed to January 2022. In March 2020, a further delay to the implementation of the Basel framework to 2023 was announced, with the objective of relieving the operational burden on banks impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The FSB has decided to delay its framework again because it is expected to be implemented by many jurisdictions through the Basel III framework.

    Read more.
  • Certification Deadline Extended for UK-Solo-Regulated Firms
    09/01/2020

    A U.K. statutory instrument—The Bank of England and Financial Services Act 2016 (Commencement No. 6 and Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2020—has been published. This extends from December 9, 2020, to March 31, 2021, for solo-regulated firms (other than benchmark administrators) the deadline for completion of firms' first assessments of the fitness and propriety of their Certified Persons. HM Treasury agreed to the extension to assist firms impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Financial Conduct Authority recently consulted on extending certain other implementation deadlines for the Certification Regime and Conduct Rules and intends to publish its Policy Statement in October 2020.

    View The Bank of England and Financial Services Act 2016 (Commencement No. 6 and Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

    View details of the FCA's consultation.
  • EU Draft Technical Standards Published for Further Delaying Securities Settlement Discipline Rules to 2022
    08/28/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a final report and final draft Regulatory Technical Standards to further postpone the securities settlement discipline rules under the Central Securities Depositories Regulation to February 2022. ESMA announced on July 28, 2020 that it was preparing the draft RTS in response to a request from the European Commission to consider whether a further delay was needed due to the impact of COVID-19. The EU has already postponed the application date of the settlement discipline rules from September 13, 2020 to February 1, 2021 due to industry feedback that more time was needed to put in place the operational requirements for implementation of the rules. The draft RTS published today by ESMA would further delay the application date by a year from February 1, 2021 to February 1, 2022.

    View the final report and final draft RTS.

    View details of the amending RTS delaying the rules to February 2021.
    TOPICS: COVID-19Securities
  • UK Prudential Regulator Announces Termination of Temporary Approach to VAR Back-Testing Exceptions
    08/27/2020

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published a statement confirming that, following its review of the temporary approach that allows firms to offset increases in VAR back-testing exceptions through a reduction in risks-not-in-VAR capital requirements, it has decided to terminate the temporary approach from September 30, 2020. The PRA has made this decision because of the changes introduced to the EU Capital Requirements Regulation (known as the CRR Quick Fix package), which has applied directly across the EU since June 27, 2020.

    From October 1, 2020, firms should no longer apply any commensurate reduction in risks-not-in-VAR capital requirements. Firms should apply to the PRA to exclude back-testing options that do not result from deficiencies in their internal model occurring between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021.

    View the PRA's statement.

    View details of CRR Quick Fix.
  • Confirmation Announced of Revisions to EU Guidelines on Stress Testing of Money Market Funds
    08/27/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a statement confirming that the 2019 Guidelines on stress test scenarios under the Money Market Funds Regulation will be updated by the end of 2020 to reflect COVID-19 market developments. 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 its guidelines, and to report the outcomes to their national regulators. ESMA is required to assess annually whether the Guidelines should be updated to reflect market developments. ESMA states that it intends to update the Guidelines published in July 2019 to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the market, in particular, the liquidity challenges faced by MMFs. The 2019 Guidelines will continue to apply until the revised Guidelines apply—ESMA intends to publish the updated Guidelines in Q4 2020, following which they will be translated into EU national languages. The updated Guidelines will apply two months after the translations are published.

    View ESMA's statement.
    TOPICS: COVID-19Funds
  • UK Prudential Regulator Issues Updated Statement on IFRS 9 and Capital Requirements
    08/26/2020

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published a further statement on IFRS 9 and capital requirements in the context of COVID-19. In line with the Financial Conduct Authority's guidance in relation to mortgage payments, firms should consider tailored forbearance arrangements where, at the end of the COVID-19 payment deferral period, a borrower is unable to resume payments in full immediately, with all deferred sums either paid in full or capitalized. The PRA states that the tailored forbearance arrangements may be as good an indicator of significant increases in credit risk, credit impairments or defaults as forbearance before the pandemic. Any loans subject to tailored forbearance should not be automatically treated as having experienced SICR or become credit impaired or in default, and firms will need to exercise judgment where the position is not clear.

    The PRA also states that some of the guidance in its statement on March 26, and June 4, 2020 continues to be relevant, depending on the circumstances.

    View the PRA's statement.

    View details of the PRA's June statement.

    View details of the PRA's March statement.
  • EU Considering Further Delaying Securities Settlement Discipline Rules to 2022
    08/24/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced that it is preparing new Regulatory Technical Standards to further postpone the securities settlement discipline rules under the Central Securities Depositories Regulation. The move follows a request from the European Commission for ESMA to consider whether a further delay is needed in light of the impact of COVID-19. The Commission has adopted the draft RTS prepared by ESMA that will delay the application date of the settlement discipline rules from September 13, 2020 to February 1, 2021. Those RTS are now subject to scrutiny by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union and will only come into force once published in the Official Journal of the European Union. ESMA's announcement relates to a proposal for an additional delay until February 2022.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: COVID-19Securities
  • European Banking Authority Revises 2020 Work Program in Response to COVID-19
    08/14/2020

    The European Banking Authority has published an updated work program as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the EBA, it has only launched consultations that are critical, has kept interactions with industry to a minimum and has progressed work on technical standards according to the expected implementation timeline and degree of finalization.

    View the EBA’s updated 2020 work program.
    TOPIC: COVID-19
  • UK Conduct Regulator Urges Firms to Return Client Money if Reinvestment in Short Term is Unlikely
    08/12/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Dear CEO letter sent to U.K.-regulated firms providing non-discretionary investment services. The FCA letter makes clear that, where firms’ clients have increased the level of client money held with a firm, the firm should return client money that is unlikely to be reinvested in the short term. Many firms have reported an increase in client money levels as clients respond to the COVID-19 situation. The FCA states that senior management at firms should consider whether it would be in the best interest of their clients to return money that isn’t likely to be reinvested in the short term.

    View the Dear CEO letter.

    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • European Banking Authority Provides Clarity on Application of CRR Quick Fix Package
    08/11/2020

    The European Banking Authority has published guidance on the impact on supervisory reporting and disclosure of the EU's CRR Quick Fix adjustments, which were made in response to COVID-19. The CRR Quick Fix introduced changes to a broad range of requirements on firms under the Capital Requirements Regulation. It has applied directly across the EU since June 27, 2020. The EBA's guidance consists of:
     
    1. Guidelines on supervisory reporting and disclosure requirements in compliance with the CRR "quick fix" in response to the COVID‐19 pandemic (EBA/GL/2020/11). These Guidelines aim to clarify how firms should report the Implementing Technical Standards on supervisory reporting versions 2.9 and 2.10, and on the existing ITS on disclosure of leverage ratio.

    Read more.
  • Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Proposes Principles for Operational Risk
    08/06/2020

    The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has opened a consultation on proposed principles for operational resilience and updated Principles for the Sound Management of Operational Risk (PSMOR). The consultation closes on November 6, 2020.

    Read more.
  • UK Prudential Regulator Proceeds with Extension of Coverage under Financial Services Compensation Scheme
    08/04/2020

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published a Policy Statement and final rules on the temporary high balances coverage extension under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The PRA has decided to implement the proposal, made in July this year and in response to the coronavirus pandemic, to extend coverage under the FSCS for temporary high balances, from six months to 12 months from the date of the deposit or the first date the balance becomes legally transferrable to the depositor. The change will be effected by changes to the PRA's depositor protection rules and the Statement of Policy on the Deposit Guarantee Scheme. The change will take effect from August 6, 2020. The coverage will revert to six months from February 1, 2021.

    View the Policy Statement, updated rules and Statement of Policy.
  • European Central Bank Publishes Results of Bank COVID-19 Vulnerability Analysis
    07/28/2020

    The European Central Bank Banking Division has published the results of the COVID-19 vulnerability analysis it conducted on Eurozone banks directly prudentially supervised under the Single Supervisory Mechanism. The analysis was designed to establish how 86 Eurozone banks would be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and any vulnerabilities that may arise over a three-year horizon.

    Read more.
  • UK Prudential Regulation Authority Announcement on Bank Dividend Payments and Share Buybacks Beyond 2020
    07/28/2020

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published an announcement on its approach to dividend payments and share buybacks by large U.K. banks subject to its prudential supervision, in light of COVID-19. The PRA states that it intends to assess firms' plans for distributions beyond 2020 in Q4 2020, taking into account banks' current and projected capital positions and the level of uncertainty around the economy, market conditions and capital trajectories at that time.

    Read more.
  • European Central Bank Publishes Recommendation on Bank Dividend Distributions During COVID-19
    07/27/2020

    The European Central Bank has published an updated Recommendation on dividend distributions by significant institutions that are directly prudentially supervised by the ECB. The Recommendation states that, until January 1, 2021, no dividends should be paid out for the financial years 2019 and 2020, nor should share buy-backs aimed at remunerating shareholders take place. Banks that consider themselves legally required to pay out dividends should explain their underlying reasons to their joint supervisory team. Banks that plan to pay dividends to a non-Eurozone parent institution, parent financial holding company or parent mixed financial holding company should also discuss their intentions with their joint supervisory team.

    Read more.
  • EU Forbearance for Issuer’s Account for COVID-19-Related Lease Modifications
    07/21/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a statement on coordination of supervisory action on issuers’ accounting for lease modifications in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Issuers have encountered challenges in accounting for the large number of lease modifications granted in many jurisdictions. The International Accounting Standards Board issued an amendment to IFRS 16 in May 2020 which provided practical relief for lessees.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: COVID-19
  • UK Conduct Regulator Consults on Extending Certification and Conduct Rules Implementation Deadlines
    07/17/2020

    Following the announcement of the extension for solo-regulated firms of the deadline for completion of firms' first assessments of the fitness and propriety of their Certified Persons from December 9, 2020, to March 31, 2021, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has opened a consultation on extending certain other implementation deadlines for the Certification Regime and Conduct Rules. The extension of the deadline for firms' first fitness and propriety assessments was agreed to by HM Treasury in light of the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Read more.
  • HM Treasury Provides Guidance on Application of EU CRR Quick Fix Package During Brexit Transitional Period
    07/16/2020

    HM Treasury has published a statement on the application of the EU CRR Quick Fix package during the Brexit transitional period. The EU CRR Quick Fix package consists of a Regulation amending the Capital Requirements Regulation (and also amending the Regulation amending the CRR, known as CRR2) and it was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on June 26, 2020. The Regulation forms part of the EU's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Read more.
  • UK Prudential Regulator Proposals to Extend Coverage under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
    07/09/2020

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has opened a consultation on proposals for extending coverage of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for temporary high balances. Responses to the consultation may be submitted until July 23, 2020. The PRA is proposing to extend coverage under the FSCS for temporary high balances, from six months to 12 months from the date of the deposit or the first date the balance becomes legally transferrable to the depositor. The coverage would revert to six months from February 1, 2021. The proposal is made because of the impact of COVID-19 on consumers.

    View the consultation paper.
  • European Commission Consults on Proposed Revisions to EU Cybersecurity Rules
    07/07/2020

    The European Commission has launched a consultation on proposed revisions to the EU Directive on the security of network and information systems across the Union (commonly known as the NIS Directive), which is designed to protect the security of EU network and information systems. The NIS Directive sets out, among other things, the parameters of national network and information security strategies to be implemented by Member States for providers of "essential services", which include credit institutions (as defined under the EU Capital Requirements Regulation) and financial market infrastructures.

    Read more.
  • European Banking Authority Report on Implementation of EU Prudential Framework During COVID-19
    07/07/2020

    The European Banking Authority has published a report on the implementation of certain prudential policies introduced by the EBA to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report focuses on two areas in particular: implementation issues around the EBA's Guidelines on legislative and non-legislative moratoria on loan repayments and the criteria that institutions should follow for the identification and treatment of operational risk events and losses.

    Read more.
  • Financial Action Task Force Publishes 12-Month Review on Revised FATF Standards for Virtual Assets
    07/07/2020

    The FATF has published the results of its 12-month review into the revised FATF standards published in June 2019, designed to help tackle money laundering and terrorist financing risks connected with virtual assets and virtual asset service providers. The FATF's revised standards introduced a new Interpretive Note to Recommendation 15 on New Technologies, which clarified how countries should apply the FATF standards to virtual assets and VASPs, as well as updated guidance on a risk-based approach for virtual assets and VASPs. When the revisions were published, the FATF undertook to conduct a 12-month review of the changes.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Statement on Open Access Regime for Exchange-Traded Derivatives
    07/06/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published an updated statement on the open access regime for trading and clearing exchange-traded derivatives. The Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation provided a temporary opt-out from the open access requirements for trading venues and clearing houses in relation to ETDs. The opt-out was due to expire on July 3, 2020. However, in light of COVID-19, the EU has announced it is postponing the implementation of the open access regime for ETDs until July 3, 2021. The FCA's statement acknowledges the EU's postponement of the regime and states that the amended open access regime will form part of retained EU law that will be transposed by the U.K. post-Brexit and will continue to apply in the U.K. after the end of the transition period.

    Read more.
  • EU Notice on Postponement of Open Access Provisions for Exchange-Traded Derivatives
    07/03/2020

    A notice of information has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union, postponing the entry into application of open access provisions for exchange-traded derivatives under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation until July 3, 2021.

    MiFIR requires a trading venue to provide open and non-discriminatory access to a CCP so that a CCP can clear trades in transferable securities, money market instruments and ETDs concluded on a trading venue of their choice. There is a reciprocal requirement on CCPs to provide open and non-discriminatory access to a trading venue that wishes to clear financial instruments through a particular CCP. These provisions have been in force for over-the-counter products (i.e. those not traded on a regulated market) for some time. The European Securities and Markets Authority published a statement in June 2020 setting out the circumstances in which trading venues and CCPs may refuse requests for access, acknowledging the strain placed on trading venues and CCPs by COVID-19, which may impact their ability to deal with such requests.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Statement on COVID-19 Impact on Benchmark Reform
    07/01/2020

    The Financial Stability Board has published a statement on the impact of COVID-19 on global benchmark reforms. Although the FSB acknowledges some aspects of benchmark reform will be delayed due to the effects of COVID-19, many areas can go on as planned and the FSB considers that firms should continue to make wider use of risk-free rates to reduce reliance on IBORs. Firms should also ensure their transition programs facilitate a transition away from LIBOR before the end of 2021. The FSB will publish a report on the remaining challenges for benchmark transition later in July.

    View the FSB's statement on the impact of COVID-19 on LIBOR benchmark reform.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Announces Expectations for Approved Persons Regime for Benchmark Administrators During COVID-19
    06/30/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has announced its expectations for benchmark administrators and firms using Appointed Representatives that are subject to the Approved Persons Regime during COVID-19. The APR has been superseded by the Senior Managers and Certification Regime for most solo- and dual-regulated firms. However, as benchmark administrators were a new category of authorized firm, they were granted a one-year extension from the roll-out of the SM&CR and so remain subject to the APR until December 7, 2020, when the SM&CR for benchmark administrators that do not undertake other regulated activities will be implemented.

    Read more.
  • UK Prudential Regulator Statement on EU CRR ‘Quick Fix’ Package
    06/30/2020

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published a statement on the EU Capital Requirements Regulation ‘Quick Fix’ package, confirming that it applies directly to all PRA-regulated firms. The CRR Quick Fix package has applied across the EU since June 27, 2020. The CRR Quick Fix package is part of the EU’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    In its statement, the PRA confirms that U.K.-regulated banks already applying the CRR transitional arrangements for IFRS 9 must implement the revised calculations as a result of the Quick Fix package, which extended by two years the transitional measures for the implementation of IFRS 9. In addition, a bank contemplating ceasing to apply the IFRS 9 transitional measures must first obtain PRA approval to do so. The PRA is encouraging those banks to submit their requests by July 31, 2020, which requests must include a written explanation of the basis on which senior management has satisfied itself with the continuing adequacy of the bank’s financial resources.

    Read more.
  • Extension of Fitness and Propriety Assessments for UK FCA-Regulated Firms
    06/30/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has announced the extension for solo-regulated firms of the deadline for completion of firms’ first assessments of the fitness and propriety of their Certified Persons. In light of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on financial institutions, HM Treasury agreed to extend the deadline from December 9, 2020, to March 31, 2021, although the legislation to formalize the extension is yet to be finalized. The FCA states that firms that are able to carry out their assessments before the March 2021 deadline, should do so.

    Read more.
  • UK Prudential Regulator Updates Statement on Regulatory Reporting
    06/26/2020

    The U.K. Prudential Regulator has announced that, given the time firms have had to adjust to working during COVID-19 and the need for prudential regulators to access data in a timely manner, the PRA expects that, in general, firms will submit regulatory reports on time going forward. Firms experiencing difficulty with this should contact their supervisor. This amends the statement made by the PRA on April 2, 2020, when it stated that it would accept delayed submission of certain regulatory returns with deadlines on or before May 31, 2020. The PRA's previous statement, which confirmed its flexibility on receiving firms' Pillar 3 disclosures, still stands, although the PRA notes that it does not expect publication timelines for Pillar 3 disclosures to be affected by COVID-19 in most cases.

    View the PRA's statement on regulatory reporting during COVID-19.

    View the PRA's April statement on regulatory reporting.
  • EU Banking ‘Quick Fix’ Regulation Published
    06/26/2020

    A new EU Regulation amending the Capital Requirements Regulation (and also amending the Regulation amending the CRR, known as CRR2), has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. It is known as the CRR Quick Fix package and applies from June 27, 2020. The Regulation forms part of the EU’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

    Read more.
  • EU Amends Technical Standards on Prudent Valuation in Response to COVID-19
    06/25/2020
    An EU Regulation amending the Regulatory Technical Standards on prudent valuation has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The amending Regulation amends Delegated Regulation (EU) No 101/2016 (which supplements the EU Capital Requirements Regulation) by increasing the aggregation factor applicable to the core approach from 50% to 66% until December 31, 2020, with the aim of it applying for the June 30, 2020, COREP reporting. The amending Regulation applies from June 26, 2020.

    View the amending Regulation.
  • European Banking Authority Extends Payments Moratoria Guidelines
    06/18/2020

    The European Banking Authority has extended the applicability of its Guidelines on legislative and non-legislative loan repayments in light of the ongoing effects of COVID-19. The Guidelines were originally published in April 2020 and stated that, where payment moratoria were based on national law or a private-sector initiative broadly applied by credit institutions in response to COVID-19, they would not be classified as forbearance or distressed restructuring measures. The Guidelines as originally published applied to moratoria applied before June, 30 2020. That deadline has now been extended to moratoria applied before September 30, 2020.
     
    View the EBA's updated statement on its Guidelines on payments moratoria.
     
    View details of the EBA's original statement on its Guidelines on payments moratoria.
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Peer Review of Deposit Guarantee Scheme Stress Test Results
    06/17/2020

    The European Banking Authority has published the results of its peer review of EU deposit guarantee schemes. The EU Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive establishes requirements for EU DGSs, including that Member States conduct stress tests of their DGSs. Member States were required to report on their stress tests by July 3, 2019, and the EBA has based its peer review report on the results of the tests. The report is intended to assess the resilience of EU DGSs and identify good practices and areas for improvement.

    Read more.
  • UK Payment Systems and Conduct Regulators Publish Joint Statement on Access to Cash
    06/16/2020

    The U.K. Payment Systems Regulator and U.K. Financial Conduct Authority have published a joint statement on their approach to maintaining access to cash for those that need it in light of bank branch and cash machine closures due to COVID-19. The regulators have adopted a series of actions, including mapping which regions have seen branch and cash machine closures, working with banks, building societies, the Post Office and Link to ensure access to these facilities is re-established as soon as possible and focusing on the needs of vulnerable consumers who require ongoing access to cash. In the longer-term, the regulators will work to ensure reasonable access to cash is maintained, including through use of shared services and local community initiatives, and anticipate additional powers to preserve access to cash from upcoming legislation announced in the U.K. Government’s 2020 budget.
     
    View the PSR's statement on access to cash.
     
    View the FCA's statement on access to cash.
     
    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • European Securities and Markets Regulator Publishes 2019 Annual Report and Updated 2020 Work Program
    06/15/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published its 2019 Annual Report together with an updated version of its 2020 Work Program, incorporating changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
     
    ESMA’s 2019 Annual Report discusses ESMA’s work in 2019, which included: (a) the entry into force of EMIR 2.2, including significant new responsibilities for ESMA in the authorization and supervision of CCPs; (b) ESMA’s common supervisory action on the application of the revised Markets in Financial Instrument Directive’s requirements on the assessment of appropriateness, for which ESMA will consider whether any follow-up work is needed in 2020; (c) reviews of MiFID II and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, including on fair access to, and lowering the cost of, market data and the consolidated tape; and (d) sustainable finance, including technical advice delivered to the European Commission on the integration of sustainability risks for investment firms and investment funds into relevant EU legislation, a report on undue short-termism in securities markets and contributions to the technical expert group on sustainable finance which is due to deliver technical advice on delegated legislation relating to the EU Benchmarks Regulation.

    Read more.
  • EU Statement on Open Access Requests for Exchange-Traded Derivatives
    06/11/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a statement on the open access provisions for exchange-traded derivatives under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation.

    MiFIR requires a trading venue to provide open and non-discriminatory access to a CCP so that a CCP can clear trades in transferable securities, money market instruments and ETDs concluded on a trading venue of their choice, which will in turn allow the members of a trading venue to select the CCP they wish to use for clearing. There is a reciprocal requirement on CCPs to provide open and non-discriminatory access to a trading venue that wishes to clear financial instruments through a particular CCP. These provisions are controversial since they mean that valuable intellectual property and IT systems developed by exchanges effectively must be made available to competitors or new market entrants. It has been argued that the open access requirements make the EU unattractive as a location for exchange businesses due to the commercial disadvantages that result for those exchanges which have successfully invested in innovation.

    Read more.
  • UK Regulators Acknowledge European Systemic Risk Board Recommendation on Financial Institution Distributions
    06/08/2020

    The Bank of England and U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority have publicly acknowledged the ESRB's Recommendation on the restriction of distributions during COVID-19. The ESRB recommends that EU financial institutions refrain from making dividend distributions, entering into buy-backs of ordinary shares or creating obligations to pay variable remuneration to material risk takers where those actions reduce the quantity or quality of own funds at the EU group level and sub-consolidated or individual level. The BoE and PRA note that the Recommendation applies to U.K. authorities during the Brexit transition period.

    View the BoE and PRA's joint statement on the ESRB's Recommendation.

    View details of the ESRB's Recommendation.

    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • European Systemic Risk Board Announces Further Actions to Combat Impact of COVID-19
    06/08/2020

    The European Systemic Risk Board has announced a series of further actions designed to combat the impact of COVID-19 on European financial markets. The actions relate to the five priority areas already identified by the ESRB as requiring particular focus in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as follows:
    • Implications for the financial system of guarantee schemes and other fiscal measures to protect the economy: the ESRB has published a Recommendation introducing minimum requirements for national monitoring of the financial stability implications of the various debt moratoria and guarantee schemes introduced by Member States to support economies through COVID-19 (Recommendation A); national regulators are also advised to regularly report information on these schemes to the ESRB in accordance with reporting templates to be published by the ESRB by June 30, 2020 (Recommendation B); national regulators implicated by the Recommendation should communicate the actions they have taken, or intend to take, in response to the Recommendation A by July 31, 2020 and Recommendation B by December 31, 2020;
    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Guidance on Branch Access During COVID-19
    06/04/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published guidance for banks on continuing to make branch access available for essential services. In considering reopening and operating branches, banks should balance the needs of their customers against the safety and welfare of their staff. Maintaining access to essential services for vulnerable customers, such as access to cash, telephone banking and in-person payments, should be a particular priority. Firms should also prioritize the reinstatement of access to cash and essential services in local areas which have lost access to bank branches as a result of the pandemic, and, where this is not possible, should ensure they communicate clearly with customers through websites and physical signs at branches to point them to alternatives, including Post Office services.
     
    View the FCA's guidance on branch access during COVID-19.
     
    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Update on COVID-19 Response and 2020 Expectations
    06/04/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority’s Executive Director of Supervision for Investment, Wholesale and Specialists, Megan Butler, has given a speech setting out the FCA’s current priorities, its expectations of firms during the COVID-19 pandemic and the outcomes it is focusing on for the wealth management sector, as well as the future priorities for financial regulation.
     
    The FCA initially prioritized immediate relief for firms and consumers, including on mortgages and unsecured lending products, at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, but is now looking at how it will respond to the challenges of COVID-19 on a more long-term basis. This longer-term approach includes ensuring a good level of operational resilience (in line with the FCA’s ongoing consultation on that topic), that markets can continue to function well, that customers are treated fairly and protected from scams and that the FCA understands firms’ financial resilience so that they can fail in an orderly manner. 

    Read more.
  • UK Prudential Regulator Publishes Further Guidance on IFRS 9 and Capital Requirements
    06/04/2020

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published a “Dear CEO” letter providing further guidance on IFRS 9 and capital requirements in the context of COVID-19. The PRA published a “Dear CEO” letter in March 2020, advising firms on the application of certain key concepts (including the definition of "default" in the Capital Requirements Regulation and expected credit loss accounting under IFRS 9). This guidance related in large part to payment holidays, many of which are now coming to an end. The PRA’s latest guidance therefore focuses on exits from those initial payment deferrals. 

    Read more.
  • Bank of England Warns Financial Market Infrastructures Against Profit Distributions
    06/04/2020

    The Bank of England has written to CEOs of U.K. financial market infrastructure providers, urging them to carefully consider the additional risks and potential financial and operational demands of COVID-19 when determining shareholder distributions or variable remuneration. U.K. FMI providers are expected to discuss any intended shareholder distributions with the Bank of England.
     
    View the BoE's Dear CEO letter to FMIs.
     
    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • EU Extends Period for Lower Short Sale Disclosures
    06/03/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a Decision renewing the temporary lower threshold for disclosures of net short positions in shares. ESMA's original Decision has been in effect since March 16, 2020 and was due to expire on June 16, 2020. The Decision to renew the measures will apply from June 17, 2020 for a further three months. The lower thresholds apply to all holders of net short positions in shares traded on an EU regulated market (i.e., exchange) who must notify the relevant national regulator if the position reaches or exceeds 0.1% of the issued share capital and of each 0.1% above that threshold.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: COVID-19Securities
  • UK Prudential Regulator Publishes Statement on Electronic Signatures
    06/02/2020

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published a statement on the use of electronic signatures in the context of remote working arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PRA has stated that, in the absence of specific legal provisions to the contrary, firms are entitled to use electronic signatures to submit forms and other regulatory documents to the PRA. The advice does not extend to the use of electronic signatures more generally.

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  • European Banking Authority Publishes Guidelines on COVID-19 Exposures Reporting
    06/02/2020

    The European Banking Authority has published guidelines on bank reporting and disclosure of exposures subject to measures designed to protect borrowers from the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The measures include payment moratoria, which are exempt from prudential treatment as forbearance measures and therefore not subject to the usual supervisory reporting framework. Public guarantee schemes introduced in many Member States are also not captured by existing reporting frameworks. This has created a data gap, which has implications for the risk-analysis of individual institutions and for overall financial stability in the EU.

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  • FCA Publishes Final Guidance on COVID-19 Measures for Mortgage Providers
    06/02/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published final guidance on how mortgage lenders should treat customers coming to the end of a payment holiday, or those yet to request one, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance will come into force on June 4, 2020 and remain in force until October 31, 2020, unless renewed or updated. The guidance covers: (i) fair treatment of customers seeking, or coming to the end of, a payment deferral; (ii) options for customers able, or unable, to resume full payments; (iii) the interaction of the guidance with the FCA’s Mortgage Conduct of Business Sourcebook; (iv) training, monitoring, record keeping and Credit Reference Agency reporting; (v) repossessions; and (vi) debt help and money guidance.

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  • Guidance Published on Financial Services Exclusions in the UK Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill
    06/01/2020

    Following the introduction of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill into Parliament on May 20, 2020, the U.K. government has published a series of guidance notes on the measures proposed in the Bill. The proposed measures, first announced by Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on March 28, 2020, are intended to protect companies and businesses facing major funding and operational difficulties in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Once final, the Bill will amend current U.K. insolvency law by, among other things, introducing a new moratorium, establishing a new restructuring plan procedure for failing companies that includes a mechanism to bind a dissenting class of creditors to the plan, and banning termination clauses that would come into effect when a company enters into insolvency, begins a moratorium or starts the new restructuring plan procedure. The Bill will also temporarily remove the threat of personal liability from wrongful trading for directors of companies where they face financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19, which will apply retrospectively from March 1, 2020.

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    TOPIC: COVID-19
  • International Organization of Securities Commissions Publishes Statement on COVID-19 Disclosure for Issuers
    05/29/2020

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions, the international policy forum for securities regulators, has published a statement on the disclosure standards that securities issuers should adhere to in the context of COVID-19.

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    TOPICS: COVID-19Securities
  • UK Conduct Regulator Announcement on Continuing Professional Development for Regulated Firms
    05/27/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority will temporarily allow regulated firms subject to continuing professional development requirements to carry over any uncompleted CPD hours to the following 12-month period, for years ending before April 1, 2021. Firms should review the FCA’s conditions for carrying over CPD requirements, which include where an individual, due to the current exceptional circumstances arising from COVID-19, will be unable to complete their CPD hours in their current CPD period. The FCA also notes that firms are still expected to demonstrate that relevant individuals remain competent to carry out their work and it expects most individuals to be able to continue to complete CPD while on furlough or working from home.
     
    View the FCA's announcement on CPD requirements.
     
    Details of other regulatory responses to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 Research Center.
  • European Commission Publishes Adjusted 2020 Work Program
    05/27/2020

    The European Commission has published an adjusted 2020 Work Program to reflect the unexpected challenges arising from COVID-19. The Commission still intends to deliver on the commitments made under its original Work Program, published in January 2020, but has adjusted the timing of certain actions necessary to achieve its objectives. An update on the delivery and expected timing of the objectives under the adjusted Work Program are set out in an amended version of Annex 1 on the Commission’s website.

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