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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.

  • Final EU Guidelines on Disclosure of Risk Factors in Prospectuses
    03/29/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published final guidelines on how national regulators should review risk factors as required by the new Prospectus Regulation. The guidelines aim to encourage more appropriate, focused and streamlined risk factor disclosures for securities. The purpose of including risk factors in a prospectus is to ensure that investors can assess the risks related to their investment, therefore allowing them to make informed investment decisions. 

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • ​No-Deal Brexit Changes to UK Listing Rules, Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules and Prospectus Rules
    03/22/2019

    The Financial Conduct Authority has published a market bulletin that advises issuers and stakeholders of key changes to the Listing Rules, Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules and Prospectus Rules that will apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the U.K.’s primary market regime will apply to all issuers that have securities admitted to trading, or have applied for admission to trading, on a U.K.-regulated market or admitted to listing in the U.K., or that are making a public offer in the U.K. The rules will apply regardless of the country an issuer is incorporated in.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Adopts New Technical Standards under the Prospectus Regulation
    03/14/2019

    The European Commission has adopted a draft Delegated Regulation containing Regulatory Technical Standards on requirements for:
    • key financial information to be set out in the summary of a prospectus;
    • the publication of a prospectus;
    • the classification of prospectuses and practical arrangements to ensure machine readability of the classifications;
    • advertisements and their dissemination;
    • situations where the publication of a supplement to the prospectus is required; and
    • technical arrangements necessary for the functioning of the notification portal.

    The adopted RTS will repeal Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 382/2014 on the publication of supplements to a prospectus and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/301 on the approval and publication of the prospectus and dissemination of advertisements.

    The adopted RTS will enter into force 20 days after they are published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which will take place once it is approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. The adopted RTS will apply directly across the EU from July 21, 2019, which is when the remainder of the Prospectus Regulation applies.

    View the adopted RTS.

    View the annexes to the adopted RTS.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • European Commission Adopts Draft Regulation on the Format, Content, Scrutiny and Approval of a Prospectus
    03/14/2019

    The European Commission has adopted a draft Delegated Regulation on the format, content, scrutiny and approval of the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading on a regulated market. The draft Delegated Regulation is based on the technical advice provided to the Commission by the European Securities and Markets Authority in April 2018. The draft Regulation will repeal the existing Implementing Regulation under the existing Prospectus Directive (which will be finally repealed in July 2019) on the form and content of prospectuses.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • Report of the Technical Expert Group Subgroup of the European Commission on Green Bond Standard: Proposal for an EU Green Bond Standard
    03/06/2019

    In its Interim Report on green bonds, the Technical Expert Group has made a proposal for an EU Green Bond Standard. Green bonds are bonds specifically earmarked to be used for climate-related and environmental projects. The aim of the consultation was, in light of the European Commission’s Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth published in March 2018, to create a standard that would further improve the credibility of green bonds and help the EU market mature.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • New EU Prospectus Regulation: List of Thresholds Below Which Prospectus is Not Required
    02/08/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a revised list of thresholds below which an offer of securities to the public will not need a prospectus in EU member states. The Prospectus Regulation introduced a new threshold of €1 million, below which an offer does not require a prospectus. A Member State may decide to raise the threshold to a maximum of €8 million, provided that the offer cannot be passported to another Member State. ESMA has drawn up this list to create transparency across the various regimes adopted in the EU.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • EU-Wide Listing Thresholds Report
    02/08/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority published a document listing the thresholds below which an offer of securities to the public does not need a prospectus in the various Member States of the EU. The document contains information, provided by national regulators, setting out: (i) a short description of the national thresholds below which no prospectus is required; (ii) a summary of any national rules that apply to offers below that threshold; and (iii) hyperlinks to the relevant national legislation and rules. 

    View the report.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Consults on Proposed Changes to Handbook for Implementing the EU Prospectus Regulation
    01/28/2019

    The Financial Conduct Authority has published for consultation proposed changes to the Handbook. The changes are to align the Prospectus Rules sourcebook within the Handbook to ensure it is consistent with the new EU Prospectus Regulation that came into force on July 20, 2017.

    The EU Prospectus Regulation sets out information that companies need to disclose to investors and potential investors in a prospectus when raising capital. Even though certain provisions of the EU Prospectus Regulation were anticipated to come into effect after the U.K.’s anticipated exit from the EU on March 29, 2019, the EU Prospectus Regulation will still be applicable during any Brexit transition or implementation period.

    Read more.
  • International Body Issues Statement on Disclosure of Environmental, Social and Governance Matters
    01/18/2019

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has issued a statement on the importance of issuers including environmental, social and governance matters when disclosing information material to investors’ decisions.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • European Commission Adopts Measures in Preparation for a No Deal Brexit
    12/19/2018

    The European Commission has published a Communication on Implementing the Commission's Contingency Action Plan for a no deal Brexit and has adopted all the legislative proposals and delegated acts announced in its November 2018 Contingency Plan. The actions relevant to the derivatives industry are the adoption by the Commission of:
     
    1. A temporary and conditional equivalence decision for CCPs already established and authorized in the U.K. CCPs established in third countries (which the U.K. will become on exit day) whose supervisory and legal regimes have been deemed to be equivalent to the EU regime may provide clearing services to clearing members or trading venues established in the EU. Such a CCP must be recognized by the European Securities and Markets Authority in accordance with the processes outlined in the European Market Infrastructure Regulation. The adopted decision would grant equivalence to the regulatory and legal regimes of the U.K. and Northern Ireland in relation to CCPs. The Commission's equivalence decision would apply for 12 months from exit day. ESMA remains to designate various U.K. CCPs.

    Read more.
  • Final EU Guidelines on Simple, Transparent and Standardized Criteria for Securitizations
    12/12/2018

    The European Banking Authority has published two sets of finalized guidelines under the Securitization Regulation which, along with targeted amendments to the Capital Requirements Regulation, forms part of the new EU Securitization Framework for simple, transparent and standardized securitizations from January 2019. Originators and sponsors will be required to notify the European Securities and Markets Authority of any securitization that meets the STS criteria to be able to use the "STS" designation. ESMA will maintain a list of all such securitizations on its website.

    Read more.
  • ​Further UK Legislation in Preparation for Brexit Comes Into Force
    12/06/2018

    Three pieces of U.K. legislation to onshore EU laws in preparation for Brexit have been made. These are:
     
    1. The Trade Repositories (Amendment and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1318).

    A number of technical changes have been made as a result of the consultation process, but these do not affect the fundamental intention and scope of the legislation. The Regulations come into force on December 7, 2018, except for the provisions amending the European Market Infrastructure Regulation, which will come in force on exit day. Advance applications for registration of a trade repository must be submitted to the Financial Conduct Authority between December 7, 2018 and immediately before exit day, instead of on exit day.

    These Regulations establish: (i) a temporary registration regime to enable U.K. and EU trade repositories to benefit - on complying with certain requirements - from temporary registration while the FCA considers their application; and (ii) a conversion regime that will allow U.K. trade repositories that are currently registered with the European Securities and Markets Authority to be registered as authorized U.K. trade repositories by the FCA from exit day.

    Read more.
  • UK Regulations Implementing the EU Securitization Regulation Made
    12/04/2018

    The U.K. Securitization Regulations 2018 have been laid before Parliament and will come into force on January 1, 2019. The Regulations implement the EU Securitization Regulation (also known as the STS Regulation) into U.K. law.

    The EU Securitization Regulation provides the criteria for identifying which securitizations will be designated as simple, transparent and standardized securitizations, a system to monitor the application of those criteria and common requirements on risk retention, due diligence and disclosure. It also allows (but does not require) originators, sponsors and securitization special purpose entities to use third-party firms to assess whether a securitization meets the STS criteria, provided that those firms are authorized by the relevant national regulator. Originators, sponsors or original lenders of a securitization will be required to retain on an ongoing basis a material net economic interest in the securitization of at least 5%. Related amendments to the Capital Requirements Regulation set out preferential regulatory treatment for investors, in particular, for bank investors, of their exposures to securitizations that are deemed to be STS securitizations.

    Read more.
  • European Supervisory Authorities Advocate Proportional Approach to Compliance With Certain Aspects of the Securitization Regulation
    11/30/2018

    The European Supervisory Authorities have issued a joint statement addressing two issues arising from the Securitization Regulation. The Securitization Regulation will apply directly across the EU from January 1, 2019 to securities issued under securitizations on or after January 1, 2019. Securitizations issued before that date may be referred to as STS securitizations, provided that they meet certain conditions.

    The first issue addressed in the joint statement relates to disclosure requirements for EU securitizations. The Securitization Regulation requires originators and sponsors to notify ESMA of any securitization that meets the "Simple, Transparent and Standardized" criteria. ESMA will maintain a list of all such securitizations on its website. Securitization special purpose entities, originators and sponsors of a securitization will be required to make certain information available via a securitization repository to holders of a securitization position, to the national regulators and, upon request, to potential investors. The European Securities and Markets Authority and the European Commission still have to address a number of market concerns on the proposed ESMA disclosure templates (that will be introduced as Technical Standards under the Regulation) as part of these transparency requirements. This is a process that will not be concluded by January 1, 2019.

    Read more.
  • UK Draft Legislation to Onshore EU Packaged Retail and Insurance-Based Investment Products for Brexit
    11/22/2018

    HM Treasury has published a draft version of the Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The EU PRIIPS Regulation requires a standardized disclosure document (called a Key Information Document or KID) to be provided when packaged investment or insurance-based investment products are sold to retail investors.

    The draft Regulations correct deficiencies in the U.K. Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products Regulations 2017 and in the directly applicable EU PRIIPS Regulation (and its secondary legislation) to be retained on Brexit. The draft Regulations will primarily be relevant for firms that manufacture, sell or advise on retail investment products that fall within the scope of the PRIIPs Regulation. This includes, but is not limited to, asset managers, insurers and investment advisors.

    Read more.
  • UK Government Publishes Guidance on Proposals to Onshore Primary Markets Legislation for Brexit
    11/21/2018

    HM Treasury has published explanatory guidance on a draft statutory instrument, the Official Listing of Securities, Prospectus and Transparency (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The statutory instrument is still under development and a draft will be published in due course. The draft Regulations will amend Brexit-related onshoring deficiencies in the U.K. legislation that implemented the EU Prospectus Directive, the Transparency Directive and the Consolidated Admissions and Reporting Directive, which together make up the EU legal framework for primary markets. No deficiencies have been identified for the CARD. 

    Read more.
  • UK Government Publishes Guidance on Proposals to Onshore EU Market Abuse Regulation for Brexit
    11/21/2018

    HM Treasury has published explanatory information on a draft statutory instrument, the Market Abuse (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018. The statutory instrument is still under development and a draft will be published in due course. The draft Regulations will affect the Financial Conduct Authority and all natural and legal persons which issue or trade in financial instruments admitted to trading or traded on an U.K. or an EU trading venue, including legal firms, professional service firms and any legal person that obtains access to the inside information of an issuer.

    Read more.
  • UK Prudential Regulator Finalizes Supervisory Approach for New EU Securitization Framework
    11/15/2018

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published a Policy Statement setting out its approach to supervision under the new EU securitization framework that will take effect from January 1, 2019. The PRA consulted on its proposals in May 2018. The incoming EU framework consists of: (i) the Securitization Regulation, which imposes general requirements for all EU securitization activity and outlines the criteria and process for designating certain securitizations as "Simple, Transparent and Standardised"; and (ii) revisions to the banking securitization capital framework within the Capital Requirements Regulation. Respondents to the PRA's consultation on its approach were largely supportive. The PRA has made some changes (outlined in the Policy Statement) to its consultation text in line with comments received.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Progress Report on Reforming Major Interest Rate Benchmarks
    11/14/2018

    The Financial Stability Board has published a progress report on ongoing reforms to major interest rate benchmarks. The FSB has been co-ordinating international reform work, through its Official Sector Steering Group, since 2014, when it made several recommendations aimed at addressing cases of attempted manipulation in relation to key IBORs and the decline in liquidity in certain interbank unsecured funding markets. The OSSG launched a third major initiative in 2016, to improve contract robustness to address risks of discontinuation of widely-used interest rate benchmarks. That initiative is being led by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, which launched a consultation on fallback rates in July 2018.

    The progress report provides an update since the FSB's progress report in October 2017 and covers:
     
    1. Developments in Interbank Offered Rates, including discussion of the future of LIBOR.
    2. Identification of and transition to risk-free rates, where appropriate, for transactions denominated in USD, EUR, JPY, GBP, CHF, AUD, BRL, CAD, HKD, MXN, SGD and ZAR.
    3. The development of fallback rates to enhance contractual robustness.

    The FSB proposes to publish a further progress report in late 2019.

    View the progress report.

    View details of the October 2017 progress report.

    View details of ISDA's July 2018 consultation on fallback rates.

    View FSB statement welcoming ISDA's July 2018 consultation.
  • EU Final Draft Technical Standards and Technical Advice Published Governing Securitization Repositories and Data Access
    11/12/2018

    On November 12, 2018, ESMA published a series of documents delivering on some of its outstanding mandates to provide draft technical standards and technical advice to supplement the Securitization Regulation. The Securitization Regulation will apply directly across the EU from January 1, 2019. ESMA has been mandated to provide draft regulatory and implementing technical standards and technical advice to supplement a number of the Regulation’s provisions. ESMA has also published a statement on its near-term implementation of the Securitization Regulation, to assist market participants in understanding ESMA’s role and its progress on its deliverables.

    View ESMA's Final Report on securitization.

    View ESMA's Final Report on technical advice.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • EU Final Draft Technical Standards and Technical Advice Published Governing Securitization Repositories and Data Access
    11/12/2018

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a series of documents delivering on some of its outstanding mandates to provide draft technical standards and technical advice to supplement the Securitization Regulation (also known as the STS Regulation). The Securitization Regulation will apply directly across the EU from January 1, 2019. ESMA has been mandated to provide draft regulatory and implementing technical standards and technical advice to supplement a number of the Regulation's provisions. ESMA has also published a statement on its near-term implementation of the Securitization Regulation, to assist market participants in understanding ESMA's role and its progress on its deliverables.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • European Money Markets Institute Launches Second Consultation on Hybrid Methodology for Euribor
    11/12/2018

    The European Money Markets Institute has published a second consultation paper (dated October 17, 2018) on its proposals to introduce a hybrid determination methodology for the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor). EMMI is the administrator for Euribor, a major euro interest reference rate for unsecured interbank short-term lending and borrowing. Euribor was classed as a critical benchmark of systemic importance for financial stability by the European Commission in 2016.

    The consultation paper sets out a summary of EMMI's findings during the testing phase for the newly proposed hybrid methodology, which took place between May and July 2018, and provides details on EMMI's proposals for the different methodological parameters that were yet to be specified when EMMI's first consultation was issued in March 2018. The consultation paper seeks feedback from market participants on a number of questions on aspects of the proposed methodology.

    Read more.
  • EU Legislation Published to Update Supervisory Reporting Requirements
    11/09/2018

    A Commission Implementing Regulation supplementing the Capital Requirements Regulation has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Implementing Regulation amends the existing Implementing Regulation ((EU) No 680/2014) to reflect the gradual supplementation and amendment of elements of the CRR reporting requirements by the adoption of further Regulatory Technical Standards. The Amending Regulation was adopted by the European Commission on October 9, 2018. It amends the existing Implementing Regulation to set out:
    • additional requirements relating to prudent valuation adjustments of fair-valued positions;
    • additional requirements to accommodate the reporting on securitization positions subject to the revised securitization framework; and
    • minor changes to the reporting requirements on the geographical distribution of exposures.

    The Amending Regulation will enter into force on November 29, 2018 and will apply directly across the EU from December 1, 2018.

    View Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1627.
  • Technical Standards Under the EU Benchmarks Regulation to Apply From January 2019
    11/05/2018

    A series of ten Commission Delegated Regulations, comprising all of the Regulatory Technical Standards to supplement the EU Benchmarks Regulation, has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

    The Benchmarks Regulation, which took effect directly across the EU in January 2018, sets out the authorization and registration requirements for benchmark administrators, including third-country entities, and the requirements for governance and control of administrators. It provides for different categories of benchmarks depending on the risks involved, imposes additional requirements on benchmarks considered to be "critical" and gives powers to national regulators to mandate, under certain conditions, contributions to or the administration of critical benchmarks. The RTS outline the behaviors and standards expected of administrators of and contributors to benchmarks. Draft Commission Delegated Regulations setting out the RTS were adopted by the European Commission in July 2018.

    All of the Commission Delegated Regulations will enter into force on November 25, 2018 and they will apply directly across the EU from January 25, 2019.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • UK Conduct Regulator Evaluates Impact of UK Benchmark Reform Since 2015
    10/22/2018

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published an evaluation paper on the impact of bringing seven additional benchmarks within the U.K.'s regulatory and supervisory perimeter in April 2015, in response to the recommendations of the Fair and Effective Markets Review.  The necessary changes to the FCA's Handbook and guidance were effected by the Benchmarks (Amendment) Instrument 2015, a legal instrument made by the FCA. In the evaluation paper, the FCA clarifies that this benchmarks-related evaluation does not cover changes due to other policies that affect benchmarks, such as the EU Benchmarks Regulation or principles set by EU or international bodies.

    The evaluation has been conducted in line with the FCA's approach to ex-post evaluation of the impact of its work, which it outlined in a discussion paper in April 2018. The FCA has conducted the benchmarks-related evaluation to understand: (i) the impact of the Benchmarks (Amendment) Instrument 2015 on markets and firms' costs; and (ii) whether the FCA's regulatory intervention met its objective of increasing the robustness of benchmarks and restoring market confidence.

    Read more.
  • Draft UK Post-Brexit Legislation Published to Onshore the EU Central Securities Depositories Regulation
    10/22/2018

    HM Treasury has published a draft of the Central Securities Depositories (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, along with explanatory information. 

    Read more.
  • EU Supervisory Authority Reports on ICO and Crypto-Asset Risks and Potential Regulation
    10/19/2018

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published an own-initiative report prepared by its Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group. The purpose of the report is to provide advice to ESMA on steps it might take to contain the risks of Initial Coin Offerings and crypto-assets, on top of existing regulation.

    In the report, the term “crypto-assets” is used to refer to coins, tokens, virtual and cryptocurrencies or other digital or virtual assets collectively. The acronym "ICO" is used to refer to an initial offering of any crypto-asset. The report sets out a taxonomy of crypto-assets, based on the distinction between payment tokens, utility tokens, asset tokens and hybrids used by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

    Read more.
  • UK Regulator Considers Potential Regulatory Refinements for Climate Change
    10/15/2018

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Discussion Paper on climate change and green finance in which it calls for comment on potential changes to its regulatory approach in these areas. The Discussion Paper sets out specific action that the FCA intends to take in the short term in four focus areas - capital markets disclosures, public reporting requirements, green finance and pensions.

    First, the FCA is considering whether the regulatory approach to disclosures by issuers in the capital markets should be amended. In particular, the FCA is asking for comments on: (i) the difficulties that issuers may have in determining materiality of climate-related issues such that a specific disclosure would be warranted; (ii) whether investors would benefit from greater comparability of disclosures; (iii) whether further prescribed requirements on climate-related disclosures should be introduced to facilitate more consistent disclosures by issuers. This final point includes whether the introduction of a "comply or explain" approach to the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures would facilitate more effective markets.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Consults on Enforcement Powers under the Securitization Regulation
    10/12/2018

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a further consultation on implementation of the EU Securitization Regulation. The Securitization Regulation (also known as the STS Regulation) and a related amendment to the Capital Requirements Regulation came into effect on January 17, 2018. The majority of the provisions of the Securitization Regulation and the related amendment to the CRR will apply directly across the EU from January 1, 2019. While the Securitization Regulation is directly applicable, HM Treasury must make certain legislative amendments to align provisions of U.K. law with the Regulation. The FCA must also align its Handbook and launched a first consultation in August 2018 on its proposals for Handbook amendments.

    In this further consultation, the FCA is consulting on proposed amendments to its Decision Procedure and Penalties manual (DEPP) and to its Enforcement Guide, to reflect the expected provisions of a Statutory Instrument which is expected to be laid before Parliament by HM Treasury in December 2018.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • Financial Stability Board Recommends Vigilant Ongoing Monitoring of Crypto-Assets
    10/10/2018

    The Financial Stability Board has published a report entitled "Crypto-asset markets: Potential Channels for future financial stability," in which it outlines its findings following its assessment of the crypto-asset markets in 2018.

    The FSB has considered the primary risks present in crypto-assets markets as low liquidity, volatility, leverage risks, as well as technological and operational risks (including cyber security risks). The FSB considers that crypto-assets lack the key attributes of sovereign currencies and do not serve as a common means of payment, a stable store of value or a mainstream unit of account. Based on the available information, the FSB considers that crypto-assets do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time. However, the FSB's report highlights that there could be financial stability implications from these primary risks through a variety of transmission channels including: (i) confidence effects; (ii) financial institutions' exposures to crypto-assets, related financial products and entities that are financially impacted by crypto-assets; (iii) the level of market capitalisation of crypto-assets; and (iv) the extent of their use for payments and settlements.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: FinTechSecurities
  • UK Conduct Regulator Consults on Brexit-Related Changes to Its Rulebook and Binding Technical Standards
    10/10/2018

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published its first consultation on proposed changes to the FCA Handbook to ensure a functioning legal and regulatory framework for financial services in the event of a "no-deal" scenario whereby the U.K. exits the EU on March 29, 2019 without a ratified Withdrawal Agreement in place and there is consequently no transitional period for firms. The proposed amendments will not take effect if the U.K. enters into a transitional period after exit day.

    The consultation includes the FCA's proposals in relation to the Binding Technical Standards it has been empowered by HM Treasury to amend prior to Brexit and to maintain afterward. These are the retained EU "Level 2" delegated and implementing regulations that set out regulatory technical standards and implementing technical standards. The consultation also sets out the FCA's proposed approach to non-legislative "Level 3" materials such as guidelines, recommendations and opinions that will also be onshored.

    The FCA states in the consultation that the majority of the proposed changes are consequential in nature and follow the amendments to retained EU law that HM Treasury is proposing, as set out in the series of financial services-related statutory instruments being made under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

    Read more.
  • European Supervisors Announce 2019 Work Priorities
    10/09/2018

    The Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (that is, the European Banking Authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority) has published its 2019 Work Programme. EIOPA will Chair the Joint Committee in 2019. The Work Programme provides details of the Joint Committee's key workstreams for 2019.

    Read more.
  • Global Foreign Exchange Committee Update and Survey on Adoption of the FX Global Code
    10/04/2018

    The Global Foreign Exchange Committee has published an update on the ongoing work of its four priority working groups: (i) the cover and deal working group; (ii) the disclosures working group; (iii) the buy-side outreach working group; and (iv) the working group on embedding the FX Global Code. The GFXC was established in 2017 as a forum for participants in the wholesale foreign exchange markets and its terms of reference include addressing misconduct in FX markets by facilitating adoption of the global principles of good practice enshrined in the FX Global Code.

    The update refers to the recent launch (on September 28, 2018) of a survey by the working group on embedding the FX Global Code. Completed surveys are requested by October 19, 2018. The aims of the survey are to measure awareness and adoption of the FX Global Code among market participants and to inform the GFXC's further work on embedding and integrating the code into the global FX markets. The survey results will be considered at the GFXC's next meeting, which will be held in November.

    View the survey.

    View the press release.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Publishes Its 2019 Priorities
    10/01/2018

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published its Annual Work Programme for 2019, dated September 26, 2018. ESMA sets out its focus areas for 2019 and provides details of expected outputs within each of the areas. ESMA also indicates that a number of pieces of EU legislation may be reviewed. These include the Market Abuse Regulation and the clearing obligation under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation, in addition to the reviews that have already been announced.

    Read more.
  • UK Parliamentary Committee Calls For Urgent Regulation of Crypto-Assets
    09/21/2018

    The U.K. House of Commons Treasury Committee has published a report calling for crypto-assets to be regulated in the U.K. as a matter of urgency. The Treasury Committee considers that the current "ambiguity of the UK Government and regulators' position is clearly not sustainable" and is recommending that an amendment be made to the Regulated Activities Order to bring crypto-assets within the U.K. regulatory perimeter, supervised by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Committee does not specify in the report the activity related to crypto-assets that should go into the RAO, but recommends that it should at least include the issuance of crypto-assets through Initial Coin Offerings and the provision of crypto-exchange services. This will, according to the Committee's report, address anti-money laundering risks and consumer protection, aligning investor protections with those adopted in the U.S.

    The Committee is also seeking various actions by the Government and the U.K. regulators.

    Read more
    TOPICS: FinTechSecurities
  • International Standards Body Encourages Regulatory Clampdown on OTC Leveraged Products
    09/19/2018

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has published a report on retail OTC leveraged products, alongside a statement warning retail investors of the risks of investing in illegal or fraudulent binary options. This step at international level follows the temporary prohibition of the marketing, distribution or sale of binary options and the restrictions on the marketing, distribution or sale of CFDs to retail clients introduced in the EU earlier this year, which the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority fully supported.

    The report covers rolling spot forex contracts, CFDs and binary options offered and sold on a domestic and cross-border basis by intermediaries to retail investors. The report includes three toolkits providing guidance to IOSCO member jurisdictions on methods for mitigating the harm to retail investors investing in these products.

    Read more
  • UK Regulators Ask Large Banks and Insurers for LIBOR Transition Plans
    09/19/2018

    The Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority have published letters addressed to the CEOs of the largest banks and insurers supervised in the U.K. asking for confirmation of each firm's preparations for transition from LIBOR to risk-free rates. The regulators are requesting these firms to provide the following by December 14, 2018:
    • A summary of the firm's assessment of key risks relating to LIBOR discontinuation and details of actions the firm intends to take to mitigate those risks, approved by the board; and
    • The names of the Senior Manager(s) responsible for the provision of the firm's response to the letter and for implementing its transition plans.

    The letter relates to the ongoing global benchmark reform effort instigated by the Financial Stability Board, in particular, the transition from LIBOR to alternative rates by the end of 2021. Firms that have not received the letter are not subject to the information request, but the regulators ask those firms to nevertheless consider their LIBOR transition plans, where relevant.

    View the letters.
    TOPIC: Securities
  • New International Guidance Addresses Conflicts of Interest and Conduct Risks in Equity Capital Raisings
    09/18/2018

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has published a final report setting out Guidance to its members to address the significant potential conflicts of interest arising from the role of intermediaries during key stages of an equity raising. IOSCO consulted on a draft version of the guidance between February and April 2018.

    IOSCO has identified a number of key risks. In the early, pre-offering, phase of an equity raising, conflicts of interest can arise if analysts employed by firms managing the securities offering are at risk of being under pressure to present a positive view of the issuer. During the investor education and price-formation phase, there is a risk that these "connected" analysts may produce conflicted research and conflicts can also be present during the allocation of securities. IOSCO considers that there can be both conflicts of interest and risks of misconduct where staff employed within firms that are managing an equity raising enter into personal transactions related to the capital raising. These issues can damage investor confidence and the effectiveness of the capital markets as route for issuers to raise finance.

    Read more.
  • Bank of England Launches Public Register for the UK Money Markets Code
    09/17/2018

    The Bank of England has announced that its Money Markets Committee has launched a public register to display the statements of commitment from market participants that have agreed to abide by the UK Money Markets Code and would like their statements to be included on the register. The public register is accessible via a dedicated BoE webpage.

    The Code is a voluntary industry code launched in April 2017, written by market participants. It sets out best practice expected from participants in the deposit, repo and securities lending markets and incorporates revised relevant sections of the Non-Investment Products Code, and also a revision and update of the Gilt Repo Code and Securities Borrowing and Lending Code.

    View the public register

    View the Money Markets Code
  • Working Group Recommends Replacement of EONIA With New Euro Short-Term Rate
    09/13/2018

    The European Central Bank has announced its recommendation of the Euro short-term rate - ESTER - as a euro risk-free rate by a private sector working group. The group also recommends that ESTER replaces the Euro overnight index average, EONIA, because EONIA no longer complies with the EU Benchmark Regulation and will be restricted from January 1, 2020. The recommendations of the working group are not legally binding.

    According to the ECB, ESTER will also provide a basis for developing fallbacks for contracts referencing the EURIBOR because the reformed ESTER methodology will be assessed for compliance with the Benchmark Regulation in 2019. ESTER reflects wholesale Euro unsecured overnight borrowing costs of Euro area banks and will be produced by ECB by October 2019, at the latest.

    Read more.
  • EU Delegated Regulation on Settlement Discipline Published
    09/13/2018

    A Commission Delegated Regulation on settlement discipline has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Delegated Regulation sets out Regulatory Technical Standards on settlement discipline as required under the Central Securities Depository Regulation. 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. The RTS will apply directly across the EU from September 14, 2020.

    View the RTS.
  • EU Disagreement on EU Technical Standards for Reporting of Securities Financing Transactions
    09/05/2018

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published an Opinion on the European Commission's proposed amendments to the final draft Implementing and Regulatory Technical Standards on reporting under the Securities Financing Transactions Regulation. Various parts of the SFTR came into effect on January 12, 2016. However, the new reporting obligation for SFTs is not yet in force. Securities financing transactions involve the use of securities to borrow cash or other higher investment-grade securities, or vice versa. Such transactions can include repurchase transactions, securities lending and sell/buy backs. The SFTR requires, amongst other things, all securities financing transactions to be reported to EU recognized trade repositories, including details on the composition of collateral, whether collateral is available for reuse or has been reused, the substitution of collateral and any haircuts applied. The reporting obligation will apply to financial and non-financial counterparties, subject to exceptions for central banks and similar bodies.

    Read more.
  • European Banking Authority Proposes Revised Implementing Technical Standards for Reporting of Securitization Information
    08/28/2018

    The European Banking Authority has published a consultation paper setting out proposed amendments to existing Implementing Technical Standards on supervisory reporting, to align the reporting of securitizations with the new EU securitization framework. The new securitization framework took effect in January 2018 and comprises: (i) the Securitization Regulation (also known as the STS Regulation), which lays down common due diligence for institutional investors, risk retention and transparency measures and establishes a category of simple, transparent and standardized securitization in the EU; and (ii) a Regulation making targeted amendments to the Capital Requirements Regulation to provide for the capital treatment of STS securitizations and certain SME synthetic securitizations, including measures to reduce reliance on external credit ratings.

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  • EU Final Draft Technical Standards on Reporting and Disclosure Requirements for Securitizations
    08/22/2018

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a final report and technical standards on the disclosure and reporting requirements under the EU Securitization Regulation (or STS Regulation). The Securitization Regulation requires originators and sponsors to notify ESMA of any securitization that meets the "Simple, Transparent and Standardized" criteria. ESMA will maintain a list of all such securitizations on its website. Securitization special purpose entities, originators and sponsors of a securitization will be required to make certain information available via a securitization repository to holders of a securitization position, to the national regulators and, upon request, to potential investors. The Securitization Regulation will apply directly across the EU from January 1, 2019 to securities issued under securitizations on or after January 1, 2019. Securitizations issued before that date may be referred to as STS securitizations provided that they meet certain conditions.

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  • EU Implementing Regulations for Benchmark Regulation Published
    08/09/2018

    Two Commission Implementing Regulations supplementing the Benchmark Regulation have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Benchmark Regulation, which took effect across the EU in January 2018, sets out the authorization and registration requirements for benchmark administrators, including third-country entities, and the requirements for governance and control of administrators. It provides for different categories of benchmarks depending on the risks involved, imposes additional requirements on benchmarks considered to be "critical" and gives powers to national regulators to mandate, under certain conditions, contributions to or the administration of critical benchmarks.

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    TOPIC: Securities
  • Upcoming Priorities for the Global FX Code
    08/06/2018

    The Global Foreign Exchange Committee has published a paper entitled: "The FX Global Code at One Year: a Look Back and a Look Ahead." The FX Global Code was published by the GFXC in May 2017. It superseded and substantively updated existing guidance for participants in FX markets previously provided by the Non-investment Products (NIPs) Code. The Code comprises a set of global principles of good practice for the FX market, covering a broad range of areas, including ethics, governance, execution, information-sharing, risk management, compliance, trade confirmation and settlement.

    The paper discusses the achievements of the GFXC and the way in which the Code has been received by market participants over the past year. These include increased awareness of and commitment to the Code, further integration of the Code into the business practices of FX market participants and evolution of the Code with changes in the FX market, in particular for transparency and disclosure.

    The GFXC's upcoming priorities are outlined in the paper. These include:
    • continuing the existing GFXC working groups - the disclosures working group and the cover and deal working group; and
    • establishing two new GFXC working groups - one on buy-side outreach and the other to further integration of the Code.

    View the paper.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Consults on Rule Alignments for EU Securitization Framework
    08/01/2018

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation on proposed changes to its rules to ensure consistency with the provisions of the directly applicable EU Securitization Regulation (also known as the STS Regulation) and related amendments to the Capital Requirements Regulation, which take effect across the EU on January 1, 2019. This forthcoming EU legislation will introduce a new framework for simple, transparent and standardized securitizations, intended to make the EU securitization market function more effectively.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: FundsSecurities
  • Global Recommendations for Trading Venues to Manage Extreme Volatility
    08/01/2018

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has published a report on mechanisms used by trading venues to manage extreme volatility and preserve orderly trading. Following its consultation earlier this year, IOSCO is making eight recommendations for trading venues and their regulators to consider when implementing, operating and monitoring volatility control mechanisms to preserve orderly trading.

    Read more.
  • Final Draft EU Technical Standards on Securitization Risk Retention Requirements
    07/31/2018

    The European Banking Authority has published a final report and final draft Regulatory Technical Standards under the EU Securitization Regulation (or STS Regulation) on the risk retention requirements for originators, sponsors and original lenders. The Securitization Regulation requires, among other things, originators, sponsors or original lenders of a securitization to retain on an ongoing basis a material net economic interest in the securitization of at least 5 %. The final draft RTS specify in greater detail the risk retention requirement, including the modalities of retaining risk, the measurement of the level of retention, the prohibition of hedging or selling the retained interest and the conditions for retention on a consolidated basis.

    The final draft RTS have been submitted to the European Commission for endorsement. The final RTS will apply directly across the EU twenty days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

    The Securitization Regulation, which will apply from January 1, 2019, has replaced the risk retention requirements in the Capital Requirements Regulation. Once the final RTS enter into force, the existing Commission Delegated Regulation ((EU) No 625/2014) on risk retention requirements, made under the Capital Requirements Regulation, will be repealed.

    View the final draft RTS.

    View the existing Delegated Regulation on risk retention requirements

    View details of the EBA's consultation on the draft RTS.
  • European Banking Authority Makes Policy Recommendations for Proposed Introduction of European Secured Notes
    07/24/2018

    The European Banking Authority has published a final report in response to a call for advice from the European Commission, in the context of the Commission's Capital Markets Union project, to help the Commission assess the case for introducing European Secured Notes, an additional instrument which would be available for institutions to gain funding on the capital markets, particularly infrastructure loans and loans to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. ESNs are defined in the call for advice as "dual recourse financial instruments on an issuer's balance sheet applying the basic structural characteristics of covered bonds to two non-traditional cover pool assets - SME bank loans and infrastructure bank loans."

    The Commission asked the EBA to assess whether a dual recourse instrument, similar to covered bonds, may provide a useful funding option to banks engaged in lending to SMEs and infrastructure projects and to determine an appropriate EU framework and regulatory treatment for this new product.

    In the final report, the EBA: (i) assesses the business case for ESNs; (ii) analyzes the potential implications of issuances of ESNs on asset encumbrance; and (iii) considers the risk profile of SME loans and project finance. The EBA makes suggestions on the pool eligibility criteria and the structure and features of ESNs and on their potential regulatory treatment. The EBA makes five main policy recommendations on crucial aspects for the Commission to consider when possibly designing the legislative framework for ESNs. These relate to the structure, cover assets and regulatory treatment of SME ESNs, the EBA's reservations about introducing Infrastructure ESNs and the impact of ESNs on asset encumbrance.

    View the final report.
    TOPIC: Securities
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