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The following posts provide a snapshot of the principal European and global wholesale financial regulatory developments of interest to banks, investment firms, broker-dealers, market infrastructures, asset managers and corporates. These posts focus on legal and compliance issues rather than accountancy or capital-related matters.

  • UK Payment Systems Regulator Panel Publishes Report on Digital Payments Initiative
    05/10/2022

    The U.K. Payment Systems Regulator Panel has published a report on its Digital Payments Initiative, which investigated potential barriers to the take-up of digital payments and possible solutions. The Panel advises the PSR on a continuous basis but undertook the Digital Payments Initiative as a special project to address the issue of consumers failing fully to embrace the benefits of digital payments.

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  • European Commission Consults on Revised EU Payment Services Directive and Open Finance
    05/10/2022

    The European Commission has published three consultations on the revised EU Payment Services Directive and on open finance. The results of the consultations will help inform the Commission's review of PSD2 and proposed legislation on a broader open finance framework, as part of plans developed under the 2020 EU Digital Finance Strategy and EU Retail Payments Strategy. The review of PSD2 will take stock of the impact that the Directive has had on the EU payments market and whether its objectives have been achieved. The open finance review will gather evidence on the current state of open finance, its further development and effective consumer protection. The EU is proposing to develop an open finance framework, as outlined under the EU's 2021 communication on the Capital Markets Union.

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  • European Banking Authority Publishes Report on Non-Bank Lending Sector 
    05/04/2022

    The European Banking Authority has published a report on the EU non-bank lending sector i.e., the growing number of financial intermediaries operating outside the EU financial services regulatory perimeter, including BigTech firms (e..g, Meta, Amazon and Google) and FinTech firms, which develop innovative technology for financial services.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Results of Review of Investment Platforms Market
    05/04/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Regulator has published a statement on the results of its review of the investment platforms market. The FCA launched its Investment Platforms Market Study in 2017 to investigate whether competition between investment platforms was working in the interests of consumers. Investment platforms enable consumers and financial advisers to review investment opportunities across a range of funds and execute and change their investments. In 2019, the FCA published a Final Report which concluded that consumers should be able to switch more easily between investment platforms, and proposed a series of measures to help achieve this. It also announced that it would review the industry's progress in adopting these measures in 2020/2021. The FCA's statement sets out the results of that review.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Commits to Three-year Strategy of Improving Outcomes of Regulation
    04/07/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a three-year Strategy on improving outcomes of regulation and its 2022/23 Business Plan. In the 2022-2025 Strategy, the FCA outlines its expectations of financial services across all sectors, with a view to the overall outcomes that firms should achieve. There are three outcomes for both the wholesale and retail markets, which are fair value, access and confidence. An additional outcome of suitability and treatment applies for the retail markets, to ensure that consumers are treated well and are sold products and services that are suitable for them. The 2022/23 Business Plan sets out the detailed work that the FCA will undertake over the next year to meet the commitments made in its Strategy.

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  • European Commission Consults on Potential Digital Euro
    04/05/2022

    The European Commission has launched a targeted consultation on a possible digital euro. The EU is considering introducing a digital euro for retail payments, which would be available alongside cash. A decision has not yet been made. The European Central Bank, responsible for the design and implementation of the digital euro, launched a project in July 2021 to get ready for the potential issuance of a digital euro. The introduction of a digital euro would require an EU regulation based on a proposal by the European Commission and agreed through the co-legislative process. Legislative changes would also be needed for existing legislation (e.g., under the revised Payment Services Directive). Central banks from non-euro area Member States also envisage issuing digital currencies.

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  • UK To Bring Stablecoins Used for Payments Under Regulation
    04/04/2022

    Following the call for evidence issued in January 2021, the U.K. government has confirmed that it will bring the issuing or facilitating the use of stablecoins used as a means of payment into the U.K. regulatory perimeter, in an announcement by John Glen, MP, at U.K. Fintech Week. The details were published in a response to the consultation.

    Consistent with the proposals under the Future Regulatory Framework Review, the government will set the regulatory perimeter, objectives and principles and the regulators - the Financial Conduct Authority, the Bank of England and the Payment Systems Regulator - will set out the detailed requirements in rulebooks. The government also confirms that it intends to consult later in 2022 on regulating a wider set of crypto activities, including trading of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether.

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  • UK Regulator Finalizes Rules On Scope Of PRIPPs
    03/25/2022

    Following its consultation last year, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published its final policy and rule amendments on the scope of the rules governing packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (or PRIIPs). The FCA had aimed to bring in the new rules by January 1, 2022. Instead, the final rules and Regulatory Technical Standards will apply from March 25, 2022. Firms will have until December 31, 2022 to apply the new requirements. These changes are designed to bring legal certainty to the scope of the PRIIPs regime, as it applies to corporate bonds, and mitigate risks relating to misleading performance scenarios and summary risk indicators and concerns about the transaction costs calculation methodology. It is hoped that the amendments will promote liquidity and improve choice in the retail corporate bond market, and also reduce the complexity of key information documents (or KIDs), the key information disclosure documents that must accompany PRIIPs when they are made available to retail investors.

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  • UK Prospectus Review: Government Confirms Policy for Reforms to Boost London's Capital Markets
    03/01/2022

    Following its consultation last year, HM Treasury has set out its policy approach to amending the U.K. Prospectus regime. The current U.K. Prospectus Regulation will be replaced by legislation when parliamentary time allows. The changes will, among other things, separate the regulation of public offers of securities from the regulation of admissions of securities to trading, as Lord Hill recommended. In addition, the Financial Conduct Authority will be granted greater responsibility for the detail of the new regime through rules. The complete set of reforms will only apply once those rules are implemented. The main changes are set out below.

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  • HM Treasury Confirms Policy Approach on Wholesale Markets Review
    03/01/2022

    HM Treasury has published its consultation response to the Wholesale Markets Review, setting out summaries of responses received to its proposals and how changes will be progressed. There are certain areas that HM Treasury will not progress at this stage, and which will be subject to further consideration.

    For the proposals that are being taken forward, implementation may be by legislation or pursuant to the Financial Conduct Authority's rules. HM Treasury states that legislation will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. In certain instances, where details are currently set out in legislation, but would sit better in regulatory rules, the government intends to legislate to delegate responsibility to the FCA for preparing detailed rules, which it states will be part of the implementation of the Future Regulatory Framework review. The FCA is expected to consult on its proposals for existing rule amendments in the first half of this year.

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  • UK Complaints Commissioner Upholds Complaints Against UK Financial Conduct Authority's Compensation and Complaints Scheme
    02/15/2022

    The U.K. Financial Regulators' Complaints Commissioner has published its final report upholding complaints from over 400 complainants concerning: (i) the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority's failures of regulation concerning London Capital & Finance; and (ii) the FCA's subsequent refusal to compensate bondholders for its role in their losses.

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  • UK Regulator Drives Changes to Terms of Buy Now, Pay Later Firms
    02/14/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has secured changes to the contracts of four Buy Now, Pay Later firms – Clearypay, Klarna, Laybuy and Openpay. Certain terms, including contract cancellations, continuous payment authorities and right of set-off terms, will be made fairer and easier to understand. This was done under the FCA's powers as an unfair terms regulator under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to ensure that firms comply with consumer protection legislation. Clearpay, Laybuy and Openpay have also offered voluntarily to refund customers who were inappropriately charged late payment fees (Klarna does not charge late payment fees so no refunds were due). 

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  • UK Conduct Authority Consults on Wide-Ranging Change to Financial Promotion Rules
    01/19/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the financial promotion rules. The proposals range from rules relating to the approval by authorized firms of financial promotions of unauthorized firms and the new regime for qualifying crypto-assets and other high-risk investments. Many of this suite of changes address or build upon recommendations of the Gloster Report or are otherwise related to the fall-out from the London Capital & Finance plc scandal. Responses to the consultation may be submitted until March 23, 2022. The FCA intends to publish its final rules in Summer 2022.

    Read more.
  • HM Treasury Confirms Tightening of Rules for Crypto-Asset Financial Promotions
    01/18/2022

    Following its July 2020 consultation, HM Treasury has published a consultation response on its proposals to amend the U.K.'s financial promotion rules. These include changes to subject unregulated crypto-assets to the financial promotions regime. The response summarizes the feedback to the consultation and outlines how relevant crypto-asset promotions will be regulated. The government is proceeding with its proposal to bring qualifying crypto-assets within the scope of the Financial Promotion Order as controlled investments. Qualifying crypto-assets will be fungible (freely replaceable by another of a similar nature or kind) and transferable (which excludes crypto-assets in closed systems). E-money and central bank digital currencies will be excluded from the definition. In a change from the original proposal, the government has decided to remove the reference to distributed ledger technology from the definition of a qualifying crypto-asset. The aim of this change is to future-proof the definition for technological innovation.

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  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Publishes Feedback Statement on Access to Wholesale Data
    01/11/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a feedback statement relating to the call for input on accessing and using wholesale data. In the feedback statement, the FCA summarizes the responses received and the FCA's findings on whether data are being priced and sold competitively. The FCA confirms that it will undertake the following work to gain a deeper understanding of the potential harm and, where appropriate, take steps to mitigate any harm. In particular, the FCA will focus on the following:
     
    1. Trading data: in Spring 2022, the FCA will run an information gathering and analysis exercise that concentrates on the pricing of trading data, underlying costs and the terms for the sale of trading data. The FCA's findings will be published later in 2022.
    2. Benchmarks: in Summer 2022, the FCA will launch a market study into how competition operates between benchmarks, which will include the pricing of benchmarks, contractual terms and obstacles to switching between benchmarks.
    3. Credit Rating Agencies: by the end of 2022, the FCA will begin a market study on the competition in the sale of credit rating data, including pricing, contractual relationships, difficulties in entry to the credit rating data market and innovation.
    4. Alternative data and advanced analytics: the FCA has commissioned research on the nature and scale of alternative data.
  • UK Regulator Issues Statement on Extension of Exemption for UCITS From PRIIPs Disclosure Requirements
    12/29/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a statement in which it confirms that it will amend the Technical Standards and related Handbook provisions to align with the extended exemption from the requirements of the U.K. Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulation for investment companies and persons advising on, or selling, units in UCITS from December 31, 2021, to December 31, 2026. The FCA states that it will not take enforcement action against firms that offer UCITS funds to U.K. retail investors and that provide either a key information document under the PRIIPs Regulation or a UCITS key investor information document. Following the government's announcement in June 2021, the Financial Services Act 2021 extended the exemption for UCITS.
  • EU Amending Technical Standards Improve PRIIPs Regulation Requirements
    12/20/2021

    An EU Commission Delegated Regulation (2021/2268) amending the Regulatory Technical Standards supplementing the EU Packaged Retail Investment and Insurance-based Products Regulation has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The amending RTS include provisions to:
    • Introduce new methodologies to calculate appropriate performance scenarios and a revised presentation of these scenarios.
    • Revise the summary cost indicators and changes to the content and presentation of information on the costs of PRIIPs.
    • Modify the methodology to calculate transaction costs.
    • Clarify the rules for PRIIPs offering a range of options for investment (known as MOPs), in particular, to identify the products' full cost implications.

    Read more.
  • HM Treasury Proposes Amendments to the UK Financial Promotion Exemptions
    12/15/2021

    HM Treasury has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the financial promotion exemptions for high net worth individuals and sophisticated investors. The aim of the proposals is to mitigate the misuse of the exemptions by some firms marketing inappropriate products to ordinary retail customers and to update certain aspects that were introduced about 20 years ago. The Treasury Select Committee's report on the failure of London Capital & Finance recommended that the exemptions be rethought to ensure greater consumer protection. The consultation closes on March 9, 2022.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Feedback and Further Consultation on New Consumer Duty
    12/01/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published feedback and a further consultation on its new proposed Consumer Duty. The FCA's previous consultation was published in May 2021 and set out the FCA's proposed rules for a new duty of care that firms would owe to retail clients when conducting regulated activities. The proposed duty will consist of an overarching Consumer Principle, three cross-cutting rules and four outcomes that firms should aim to achieve when conducting regulated activities. The latest consultation responds to feedback received on the original consultation and seeks input on the FCA's proposed final version of the rules.

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  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Announces New Approach to Speed Up Issuing Statutory Notices
    11/26/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a policy statement setting out its new approach to issuing statutory notices, which will take effect from November 26, 2021. The FCA publishes statutory notices when exercising certain enforcement and supervisory powers, such as varying or cancelling a firm’s authorization, refusing an application for authorization or approval of an individual, and imposing requirements on firms.

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  • European Securities and Markets Authority Issues Statement on Investment Recommendations on Social Media
    10/28/2021

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has issued a statement on the requirements under the EU Market Abuse Regulation for firms and individuals that make investment recommendations on social media.  ESMA is concerned about the potential harm to retail investors who may base their investment decisions on information made available on social media sites, in particular in situations such as the Gamestop case.  The EU rules, which are designed to prevent the misleading of investors, apply to anyone based in or outside the EU that distributes information proposing an investment decision about EU financial instruments listed in the EU or financial instruments that depend on or effect the price or value of a listed financial instrument. 

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  • European Supervisory Authorities Launch Call for Evidence on the EU's Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulation
    10/21/2021

    The European Supervisory Authorities have launched a call for evidence on the EU's Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulation. The PRIIPs Regulation requires manufacturers of PRIIPs to produce a standardized Key Information Document in an official language of all EU countries into which offerings are made. It also requires those advising on or selling PRIIPs to provide retail investors with KIDs in good time before the investor enters into the investment. The call for evidence closes on December 16, 2021.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Calls for Changes to Regulatory Perimeter
    10/21/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published its annual Perimeter Report. The report discusses the FCA's existing remit and highlights areas where potential consumer harm could be mitigated if the regulatory perimeter is amended. The FCA cannot amend the perimeter, this can only be achieved through legislation.

    Read more.
  • Proposed Amendments to the EU Short Selling Regulation
    09/21/2021

    The European Securities and Markets Authority is consulting on proposed amendments to the EU Short Selling Regulation. ESMA is reviewing the SSR provisions following two occurrences of market volatility. The first is the market reactions to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related regulatory response where numerous and varied short sale bans were imposed by various EU member states. The second is the market turmoil in the U.S. markets and elsewhere for so-called meme stocks, such as Gamestop. Responses to the consultation may be submitted by November 19, 2021, and ESMA is expected to publish its report to the European Commission early in 2022.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Consults on Changes to Listing Rules For SPACs
    07/27/2021

    Following its consultation earlier this year, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published final changes to its listing rules for special purpose acquisition companies that will come into effect on August 10, 2021. SPACs are companies set up for the purpose of raising money from investors to fund the acquisition of an operating business. They have attracted much attention over the last year as an alternative way for target companies to go public without going through the traditional initial public offering process. The initial decision to adjust the U.K. approach to SPACs was one of the recommendations made by Lord Hill in the U.K. Listings Review.

    Read more.
  • UK Regulator Consults on Scope of PRIIPs
    07/20/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published proposals to amend the scope of the rules governing packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (or PRIIPs). The FCA's proposals are designed to bring legal certainty to the scope of the PRIIPs regime, as it applies to corporate bonds. The consultation also addresses issues of misleading performance scenarios and summary risk indicators and concerns about the transaction costs calculation methodology. It is hoped that the amendments will promote liquidity and improve choice in the retail corporate bond market and also reduce the complexity of key information documents (or KIDs), the key information disclosure documents that must accompany PRIIPs when they are made available to retail investors.

    Responses to the FCA's PRIIPs consultation should be submitted by September 30, 2021. The FCA is aiming to finalize the amendments by the end of this year and for the changes to take effect on January 1, 2022.

    Read more.
  • UK Listing Regulator Proposes Changes to UK Listings Regime
    07/05/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation on changes to the U.K. listing regime. This consultation follows the recommendations made by Lord Hill in the U.K. Listing Review as well as the Kalifa Review of FinTech. Responses to the consultation may be submitted until September 14, 2021.

    The U.K. government is currently consulting on changes to the U.K. prospectus regime, having launched the U.K. Prospectus Review last week.

    Read more.
  • UK Announces Extension of Exemption for UCITS from PRIIPs Disclosure Requirements
    06/01/2021

    HM Treasury has announced that the current exemption for Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities funds from the requirements of the U.K. Packaged Retail Investment and Insurance-based Products Regulation will be extended by five years to December 31, 2026.

    The U.K. PRIIPs Regulation, which was on-shored in the U.K. after Brexit and is based upon the corresponding and much-criticized EU regulation, requires "manufacturers" of PRIIPs to produce a standardized "key information document," designed to improve U.K. retail investors' understanding of the financial products they are purchasing. Technical Standards govern the presentation, content, review and revision of KIDs and the conditions for fulfilling the requirement to provide a KID. Under the U.K. PRIIPS Regulation, management companies, investment companies and persons advising on, or selling, units in UCITS are exempt from the requirements of the PRIIPs Regulation until December 31, 2021. UCITS funds still need to prepare a key investor information document (KIID) as required by the UCITS Directive, with different but broadly similar content requirements. The EU PRIIPs regime, which the U.K. has now adopted without material modifications, was intended to improve investor disclosures for more complex retail products such as index-tracking investments and insurance-wrapped products. However, it has resulted in deleterious impacts in other industries and has been widely criticized for its vagueness of scope and wide application, with particularly difficult consequences for bond issuers, listed derivatives and funds. The U.K. has announced that it is undertaking a broader review.

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Issues Call for Evidence on Digital Finance
    05/25/2021

    Following the publication by the Commission of its Digital Finance Strategy in September 2020, the Commission has asked the European Supervisory Authorities for technical advice on the regulatory and supervisory challenges of three areas, namely the growing fragmentation of value chains in finance, digital platforms and bundling of various financial services, and groups combining financial and non-financial activities.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Warns E-Money Firms on Misleading Customers
    05/18/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has written to the CEOs of electronic money firms asking them to ensure that their customers are aware of how their money is protected. According to the FCA, many e-money firms (some of which are start-ups and FinTechs) compare their services to traditional bank accounts and portray in their financial promotions their services as an alternative to a bank account, but do not adequately disclose the differences in protections between e-money accounts and bank accounts. In particular, e-money firms do not make it clear enough that Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection does not apply to e-money accounts. The warning follows the FCA's publication in summer last year of a letter to CEOs and guidelines on safeguarding which set out the FCA's expectations of e-money firms in light of the increased use of e-money accounts during the pandemic.

    Read more.
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Consults on New Consumer Duty 
    05/14/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation on proposed rules for a new duty of care that firms would owe to retail clients when conducting regulated activities. The duty would apply to authorized firms directly providing regulated services to retail clients but would also extend to other authorized firms involved in the supply and manufacture of regulated products, even where they have no direct contact with the end client. The FCA has been mandated to consult on the duty under the Financial Services Act 2021. The FSA 2021 implements changes to various aspects of U.K. financial services regulation following the U.K.'s exit from the EU. Responses to the consultation on the new consumer duty are due by July 31, 2021. The FCA must consult and publish an analysis of responses before January 1, 2022 and make general rules before August 1, 2022.

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  • UK Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum Publishes Report on Strengthening Digital Regulatory Cooperation
    05/04/2021

    The U.K. Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum has published a report on the measures that the U.K. Government may take to strengthen cooperation between digital regulators. The DRCF consists of the Competition and Markets Authority, Ofcom, the Information Commissioner's Office and the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (although the FCA's views are not represented in this report because it only joined the DRCF in April 2021, after the report was commissioned). The U.K. Government asked the DRCF to produce the report to determine whether further measures were needed to support cooperation between regulators.

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  • European Banking Authority Publishes Report on EU National Regulators' Mystery Shopping Activities
    05/03/2021

    The European Banking Authority has published its first report on the "mystery shopping" activities of EU national regulators. In this context, mystery shopping involves national regulators conducting undercover research to measure the quality of customer service and gather information about financial products and services at EU financial institutions. The EBA was mandated to coordinate the mystery shopping activities of national regulators from January 1, 2020. The report is the first stage in fulfilling that mandate. It focuses on activities conducted in relation to retail banking products and services (e.g. consumer credit, mortgage credit, basic payment accounts, payment services and car loans), as these are the products that fall within the EBA’s consumer protection mandate. The EBA will use the information to inform its coordination of mystery shopping activities going forward.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Discussion Paper on Strengthening the Financial Promotion Rules for High-Risk Investments
    04/29/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a discussion paper seeking feedback on how the U.K. financial promotion rules might be strengthened to reduce consumer harm arising from investing in inappropriate high-risk investments that do not meet a customer's needs. Feedback to the paper can be submitted until July 1, 2021. The feedback will help the FCA to develop the proposed rules on which it intends to consult later this year.

    According to the FCA, one of the main ways a consumer gains an understanding of the risks and regulatory protection associated with an investment is from the information included in a financial promotion. However, although the financial promotion might meet the FCA's requirement to be fair, clear and not misleading, the investment may still be inappropriate for that investor. High-risk investments are those to which marketing restrictions apply under the rules and include non readily realizable securities (NRRSs), peer to peer (P2P) agreements, non mainstream pooled investments (NMPIs) and speculative illiquid securities (SISs). Since January 2020, the marketing of speculative illiquid securities to retail investors has been banned, first under a temporary product intervention measure, then made permanent from January 1, 2021. The measure restricts the mass-marketing of non-transferable bonds (sometimes colloquially termed "mini-bonds") and preference shares to retail investors and requires improved disclosure to be made to high net worth and sophisticated investors.

    Read more.
  • HM Treasury Launches Consultation on Regulation of Non-Transferable Debt Securities
    04/19/2021

    HM Treasury has launched a consultation on the regulation of non-transferable debt securities, colloquially known as "mini-bonds". The consultation was prompted by the collapse of London Capital & Finance PLC, an FCA- regulated issuer of bonds which stated on their face that they were non-transferable, issued primarily to retail investors, which fell into administration in January 2019. An investigation into regulatory failings in the supervision of LC&F was subsequently launched and chaired by Dame Elizabeth Gloster, culminating in a report that was highly critical of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority's supervision of LC&F and included policy recommendations for HM Treasury. HM Treasury is now consulting on possible changes to the regulatory regime governing NTDS. Responses to the consultation should be submitted by July 12, 2021.

    Read more.
  • UK Regulators Publish Dear CEO Letter for Banks and Building Societies on Deposit Aggregators
    04/14/2021

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority have published a joint Dear CEO letter addressed to CEOs of U.K. banks and building societies on the risks of accepting deposits from deposit aggregators.

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  • UK Prudential Regulation Authority Identifies Error in "Higher Paid Material Risk Taker" Definition
    02/25/2021

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has identified an error in the definition of "Higher Paid Material Risk Taker" within Rule 1.3 of the Remuneration Part of the PRA Rulebook, implementing part of the EU's Fifth Capital Requirements Directive in U.K. laws before the end of the Brexit transitional period. The definition currently requires an individual to be treated as a Higher Paid Material Risk Taker when: (a) their annual variable remuneration exceeds 33% of their total remuneration; and (b) their total remuneration exceeds £500,000. Instead, an individual should be treated as a Higher Paid Material Risk Taker when either condition (a) or (b) are satisfied.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Sets Out Supervision Strategy of Retail Banks
    02/05/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a letter addressed to the CEOs of retail banks setting out the FCA's approach to retail bank supervision in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    In the letter, the FCA identifies the key risks of harm that retail banks' activities may pose over the next two years, sets out its expectations of the actions retail banks need to take to mitigate the risks and discusses the work that the FCA will undertake to ensure firms are meeting the expectations. The risks are grouped into the following four priority supervisory areas:
     
    1. ensuring fair treatment of borrowers, including those in financial difficulties;
    2. ensuring good governance and oversight of customer treatment and outcomes during business change over the next two years;
    3. ensuring operational resilience over the next two years and beyond; and
    4. minimizing fraud and other financial crime.

    View the FCA's letter.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Recommended Practices for Technology Change Implementation
    02/05/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a report on a multi-firm review setting out recommended practices for regulated firms to take to reduce consumer harm when technology change implementation fails. The FCA's review considered how financial firms manage technology change, the impact of technology change failures and the practices used across the industry that help to reduce the impact on consumers and market disruption of such failures. The FCA's report sets out the practices used by firms that contribute to change success and those that lead to change failure, the impact of change failures, governance and management arrangements, build and deployment of technology changes and the impact of the infrastructure used, in particular, the use of legacy systems and of public cloud-based infrastructure.

    View the FCA's report on the implementation of technology change.
  • UK Government Proposes Extending Regulatory Perimeter to Capture Stablecoins
    01/07/2021

    HM Treasury has opened a consultation on the proposed U.K. approach to crypto-assets and stablecoins, in particular a proposal to bring stablecoins into the U.K. regulatory perimeter. Responses to the consultation may be submitted until March 21, 2021. The government will consider the responses to the consultation and publish a response with further details on how the approach would be implemented in law. If the policy approach is followed, the regulators would consult further on rules for firms.

    Read more.
  • International Report on Educating Retail Investors about Crypto-Assets
    12/22/2020

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has published a report on how regulators can inform retail investors about the risks and characteristics of crypto-assets. The report sets out the potential risks to retail investors, such as lack of market liquidity, volatility, partial or total loss of the invested amount, insufficient information disclosure and fraud. It then goes on to provide guidance on how regulators can develop educational content on crypto-assets and inform the public about unauthorized firms, the various communication channels available to inform the public and how partnerships might be forged to develop and distribute educational content.

    View IOSCO's report on investor education of crypto-assets
  • UK Conduct Regulator Makes Permanent Ban on Marketing Speculative Illiquid Securities to Retail Investors
    12/10/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has made permanent its temporary ban on the marketing of speculative illiquid securities to retail investors. A temporary product intervention measure was introduced on January 1, 2020 for a period of one year while the FCA consulted on making the ban permanent. The measure restricted the mass-marketing of non-transferable bonds (sometimes colloquially termed "mini-bonds") and preference shares to retail investors and required improved disclosure to be made to high-net-worth and sophisticated investors.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes Final Recommendations on Global Stablecoins
    10/13/2020

    Following its consultation earlier this year, the Financial Stability Board has published a final report on the regulation, supervision and oversight of global stablecoin arrangements. In the report, the FSB discusses the characteristics of GSCs, the risks posed by GSCs, existing approaches to regulating and supervising GSCs and issues with cross-border supervision of GSCs. Alongside the report, the FSB has published a summary of the responses to its consultation.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Bans Sale to Retail Clients of Derivatives Referencing Crypto-Assets from January 2021
    10/06/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement and final rules prohibiting the sale, marketing and distribution to retail clients of derivatives and exchange traded notes referencing certain types of unregulated, transferable crypto-assets by firms acting in, or from, the U.K. The ban will apply from January 6, 2021.

    The prohibition will apply to the marketing, distributing or selling of crypto derivatives in, or from, the U.K. to retail clients by MiFID investment firms, MiFID optional exemption firms, U.K. branches of third-country investment firms and to EEA MiFID investment firms that currently passport into the U.K. and which will continue operating after the Brexit transitional period ends on January 1, 2021.

    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 Commission Publishes Capital Markets Recovery Package in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
    07/24/2020

    The European Commission has published a series of proposed legislative amendments to reduce the burden on financial institutions during the coronavirus pandemic in relation to their obligations under the EU Securitization Regulation, the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and the Prospectus Regulation. The package is referred to as the Capital Markets Recovery Package and is designed to make it easier for companies to raise capital and increase banks' capacity to finance the recovery.

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  • Outcome of European Supervisory Authorities’ Review of PRIIPs Technical Standards Published
    07/21/2020

    The Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities has published a letter addressed to the European Commission informing it of the outcome of the ESAs’ review of the Regulatory Technical Standards (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/653) on the presentation, content, review and revision of a standardized “key information document” and the conditions for fulfilling the requirement to provide a KID. The RTS supplements the Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulation, which introduced a requirement for manufacturers of PRIIPs to produce a KID with the intention of improving retail investors’ understanding of the financial products they were purchasing.

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  • UK Proposals to Tighten Financial Promotion Rules By Unauthorized Firms
    07/20/2020

    HM Treasury has released proposals to amend the U.K.’s financial promotion rules to provide increased consumer protection from misleading advertisements and a lack of suitable information. The U.K. financial promotion rules provide that a person may not communicate a financial promotion—an invitation or inducement to engage in an investment activity—unless the communication is exempt, the firm is authorized to carry on a regulated activity or the communication is approved by an authorized firm. Only financial promotions that are not real-time may be approved by an authorized person, and any approval must comply with the Financial Conduct Authority’s financial promotion rules. Any communication must be fair, clear and not misleading.

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  • UK Proposals to Extend Regulatory Perimeter to Capture Promotion of Unregulated Crypto-Assets
    07/20/2020

    HM Treasury has released proposals to amend the U.K.’s financial promotion rules to subject unregulated crypto-assets to the financial promotions regime. The Government proposals aim to enhance consumer protection, ensure market integrity and fight against financial crime. Responses to the consultation can be submitted until October 25, 2020. The Government is separately consulting on limiting the ability of authorized firms to approve financial promotions of unauthorized firms without consent from the Financial Conduct Authority.

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  • UK Plans to Accelerate Regulator’s Process for Cancelling Firm Authorization (in Certain Situations)
    07/20/2020

    HM Treasury has published a policy statement setting out how it intends to change the Financial Conduct Authority’s cancellation of authorization process for firms that are no longer carrying out regulated activities under the FCA’s remit. The FCA’s regulatory scope has expanded since the provisions were set out in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. HM Treasury is concerned that the inability of the FCA to act quickly to cancel a firm’s authorization and remove details of the firms from the Financial Services register may lead to consumer harm. The Government is therefore planning to add a simpler process whereby the FCA can remove a firm’s authorization where it suspects that the firm is no longer undertaking regulated activities, such as where a firm fails to pay its fees or file a regulatory return. The existing procedure, which requires the FCA to demonstrate that a firm is failing to fulfil the threshold conditions, has failed to carry on a regulated activity or that it is advantageous for the FCA to use its powers to meet its operational objectives, will not be amended. A bill to make the changes will be laid when Parliamentary time allows.

    View the policy statement on changes to the FCA’s cancellation of authorization process.

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