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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 Financial Conduct Authority Consults on Regulatory Perimeter Guidance for Trading Venues
    09/22/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a consultation paper on proposed guidance on the regulatory perimeter for multilateral trading facilities and on possible future changes to smaller trading venues' regulatory obligations. The FCA's consultation follows proposals made in HM Treasury's July 2021 U.K. Wholesale Markets Review, the response to which was published in March 2022. Responses to the FCA's consultation should be submitted by November 11, 2022. The FCA plans to finalize the draft guidance and publish a policy statement in Q2 2023.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Policy Statement on Improvements to Appointed Representatives Regime
    08/03/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement and final rules on improvements to the Appointed Representatives regime. The AR regime allows authorized firms to appoint representatives to conduct certain regulated activities on their behalf. The FCA consulted on proposed changes to the regime in December 2021. The changes will take effect from December 8, 2022, although there is a transitional period for some of the rules (e.g., those relating to on-going submission of information and annual self-assessments), giving firms longer to comply. Principal firms will be required to provide data on their existing ARs within 60 days of the rules coming into force – the FCA will be sending out section 165 requests for information towards the end of 2022.

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  • UK Jurisdiction Taskforce Publishes Consultation on Transfer of Digital Assets
    08/01/2022

    The U.K. Jurisdiction Taskforce has published a consultation on the issuance and transfer of "digital securities" under English law. Digital securities are shares, bonds and other debt securities which are constituted by reference to a blockchain or distributed ledger. English law is commonly used as the governing law of choice for conventional debt securities in international markets, but a question arises as to whether English law can support the issuance and transfer of digital securities. The UKJT intends to publish a legal statement on the subject in December 2022.

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  • Stricter UK Financial Promotion Rules Going Ahead
    08/01/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published its final Policy Statement and Rules on financial promotions of high-risk investments and firms approving financial promotions. Many of these changes address or build upon recommendations of the Gloster Report or are otherwise related to the fallout from the London Capital & Finance plc scandal. The rules on risk warnings for financial promotions of high-risk investments will apply from December 1, 2022, and all other rules will apply from February 1, 2023. The FCA's related guidance (which is included in Annex 2 of the Policy Statement) will also apply from February 2023.

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  • UK Law Commission Consults on Law Reforms for Digital Assets
    07/28/2022

    Following the Call for Evidence on digital assets in 2021, the U.K. Law Commission has issued a consultation on proposals to reform the law of England and Wales to recognize and protect the rights of users of digital assets. The Law Commission believes that the law of England and Wales is sufficiently resilient, flexible and iterative to adapt to digital assets, including cryptoassets and stablecoins. However, the law Commission considers that law reforms are needed to ensure that digital assets gain from consistent legal recognition and protection. Responses to the consultation may be submitted until November 4, 2022.

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  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Publishes Final Rules and Guidance for New Consumer Duty
    07/27/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published its final rules and guidance for the new Consumer Duty, which is intended to establish clearer standards for consumer protection across the financial services industry. The FCA conducted two consultations, one in May 2021 and another in December 2021 (following its earlier Discussion paper and Feedback Statement in 2018/2019). The final rules and guidance take account of the feedback received to those consultations.

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  • UK Regulators Propose Requirements for Critical Third Parties' Services to UK Regulated Firms
    07/21/2022

    The Bank of England, Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority (together, the supervisory authorities) have published a discussion paper proposing measures to supervise and enhance the resilience of critical third parties (CTPs) to the U.K. financial sector. Responses to the discussion paper may be submitted until December 23, 2022. The supervisory authorities intend to consult on proposed requirements for CTPs in 2023.

    Currently, the supervisory authorities' direct powers over entities providing critical services to U.K. authorized firms, their service providers (authorized e-money institutions, payment institutions and registered account information services) and financial market infrastructures (together, U.K. regulated firms) are limited. The Financial Services and Markets Bill, introduced to Parliament yesterday, would grant HM Treasury and the supervisory authorities' new express powers to oversee such third parties. HM Treasury will be able to designate an entity as a CTP if it provides services to U.K. regulated firms and its failure would pose financial stability or confidence risk to the U.K.

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  • UK Proposals for Regulating Systemic Payment Activities
    07/21/2022

    HM Treasury has opened a consultation on payments regulation and the systemic perimeter.  The consultation arose out of the Payments Landscape Review and the government’s commitment to consult on bringing systemically important entities within payment chains under Bank of England regulation.  Market developments and innovation have changed how risks are dispersed across payment networks. It is therefore likely, according to HM Treasury, that some entities operating in the payments space are not subject to systemic supervision by the Bank of England and as a result pose systemic risks to the U.K. financial system or even to those entities that are subject to Bank of England supervision.  This consultation makes various proposals to address such risks or issues. Responses to the consultation may be submitted until October 11, 2022.  The government will respond to that feedback in 2023.

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  • UK Government Publishes Financial Services and Markets Bill
    07/20/2022

    The U.K. government has published the much anticipated Financial Services and Markets Bill. Following its exit from the EU, the U.K. has undertaken a fundamental review of how financial regulation policy and rules should be made, reviewed and established in law, particularly in light of the return of the U.K.'s sovereignty. Furthermore, there has been a substantial assessment of the U.K.'s financial services rules and regulations, with some areas warranting further consideration. The Bill implements the outcomes of the Future Regulatory Framework Review, which assessed whether the U.K. financial services regulatory framework is fit for purpose and able to support future growth, particularly in light of challenges such as Brexit and climate change. On the same day, HM Treasury published its response to the final consultation in the FRF Review. The FSM Bill establishes a revised blueprint for financial services regulation by revamping the existing model under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and revoking retained EU law in financial services. The regulators will be delegated powers for detailed rulemaking, and as a result, become subject to enhanced Parliamentary oversight.

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  • International Bodies Confirm Application of Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures to Systemically Important Stablecoin Arrangements
    07/13/2022

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures have published guidance on the application of the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures to systemically important "stablecoin arrangements" that are considered to be systemically important FMI and that have a transfer function. "Stablecoin arrangements" combine a range of functions e.g., issuance, transfer, storage and exchange of coins that purport to be used as a means of payment and/or a store of value. The various functions may be performed by a single entity or may be unbundled and offered by a range of entities. According to the guidance, systemically important stablecoin arrangements that have a transfer function (i.e., facilitate the transfer of crypto tokens between users) should be considered to be systemically important FMIs and therefore subject to the PFMIs. Other types of stablecoin arrangement may be captured by CPMI/IOSCO principles, for example, stablecoin arrangements that are primarily used for making payments should adhere to the principles for payment systems. However, the current guidance only relates to stablecoin arrangements which perform transfer functions.

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  • UK Treasury Commitee Publishes Inquiry Into Crypto-Assets
    07/13/2022

    The UK Treasury Commitee has launched an inquiry into the role of crypto-assets in the U.K. and their regulatory framework. The inquiry poses questions on a range of subjects, including the likelihood of digital currencies (e.g., stablecoins) replacing traditional fiat currencies, the risks and opportunities posed by crypto-assets and the environmental implications of crypto-asset technology, as well as a range of questions on the optimal approach to regulation for the industry. Responses should be submitted by September 12, 2022. The inquiry comes in the wake of another period of volatility in the crypto markets, which has drawn attention to some of the risks of investing in these products.

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  • Crypto-Asset Market Turmoil: Financial Stability Board Issues Statement
    07/11/2022

    The Financial Stability Board has issued a statement on international regulation and supervision of crypto-asset activities. The statement is made in light of the crypto-asset market turmoil. The statement warns crypto-asset service providers to comply with existing legal obligations in the countries in which they operate, which would include anti-money laundering obligations. FSB members are implementing the Financial Action Task Force's recommendations for crypto-asset service providers to be registered for AML purposes and to comply with the so-called travel rule, which requires relevant originator and beneficiary information to accompany crypto-asset transactions.

    The FSB reiterates that an effective regulatory framework should adopt the "same risk, same outcome/regulation" approach. The FSB is progressing work with other international standard-setting bodies to tackle potential financial stability risks presented by crypto-assets, including stablecoins. This includes reviewing existing applicable standards, identifying gaps, and adjusting those standards or developing new standards. The FSB's view is that stablecoins that are used as a means of payment potentially present significant risks to financial stability and should be subject to robust regulations and supervision, including transparency obligations and, importantly, holding sufficient reserves to mitigate financial stability risks. The FSB will report to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in October this year on the adoption of regulatory approaches to stablecoins.
  • EU Consultation on Guidelines for Applications to Operate DLT Market Infrastructures under the EU Pilot Regime
    07/11/2022

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has launched a consultation on proposed guidelines on standard forms, formats and templates to apply for permission to operate distributed ledger technology for market infrastructure. The EU Regulation on a pilot regime for DLT market infrastructures will permit certain DLT market infrastructures to operate with exemptions from some elements of otherwise applicable EU financial services legislation, which may otherwise inhibit the trading and settlement of crypto-assets. The DLT Regulation sets the conditions for operating a DLT multilateral trading facility (DLT MTF), DLT settlement system (DLT SS) and DLT trading and settlement system (DLT TSS), and will, for the most part, apply from March 23, 2023. ESMA is consulting on proposed guidelines on:
    • the minimum instructions that national competent authorities should provide to market participants for submitting their applications; and
    • the method that applicants should use to provide the requested information and documents to their competent authorities.

    Responses to the consultation may be submitted until September 9, 2022. ESMA will consider the feedback and intends to publish the final guidelines before the DLT Regulation applies.
  • Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Consults Further on Capital Requirements for Banks' Exposures to Crypto-Assets
    06/30/2022

    Following its consultation last year, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has launched a second consultation on bank prudential requirements for exposures to crypto-assets. The first consultation set out a preliminary proposal for the prudential treatment of crypto-assets, based on feedback to the 2019 discussion paper and other input from stakeholders. This second consultation proposes revisions to the initial proposals based on the feedback received and sets out proposed minimum standards based on the principle of "same risk, same activity, same treatment". Responses to the consultation may be submitted until September 30, 2022. The Basel Committee intends to publish final standards before the year-end; standards may be stricter than those presented in this consultation if feedback indicates any deficiencies.

    The Basel Committee is maintaining its approach of adopting different prudential treatments depending on whether a crypto-asset meets certain conditions. Crypto-assets that meet all of the conditions are referred to as Group 1 crypto-assets and will be subject to the existing Basel framework. Group 2 crypto-assets are those that do not meet the conditions and are therefore deemed to present additional and higher risks than Group 1 crypto-assets. Group 2 crypto-assets will be subject to an adapted prudential regime, with netting and a 100% capital charge. Group 1 and Group 2 crypto-assets could be tokenized crypto-assets and stablecoins; Group 2 could also include unbacked crypto-assets.

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  • UK Treasury Committee Makes Recommendation for Future Regulatory Framework Review
    06/16/2022

    The House of Commons Treasury Committee has published a report on the Future of Financial Services Regulation setting out its view on the priorities for regulatory change in the U.K. now that the U.K. has left the EU. The report considers some of HM Treasury's proposals in the Future Regulatory Framework Review and presents its related recommendations. It also makes specific recommendations for the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

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  • UK Money Laundering Regulation Changes Announced for September 2022
    06/15/2022

    Following its 2021 consultation on targeted amendments to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (the MLRs), the U.K. government has published a consultation response which summarises the feedback to the consultation and sets out the government's approach to making changes to the statutory instrument. The amendments will be made in the draft Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022, which are intended, for the most part, to take effect from September 1, 2022. A summary of the changes is set out below. The government will also soon publish its response to the call for evidence on the U.K.'s anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regulatory and supervisory regime, which covered the overall effectiveness and extent of the regime, whether key elements operate as intended, and the structure of the supervisory regime.

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  • EU Distributed Ledger Technology Pilot Regime Published
    06/02/2022

    The EU has published in the Official Journal of the European Union its Regulation on a pilot regime for market infrastructures based on distributed ledger technology. The pilot regime will permit certain DLT market infrastructures to operate with exemptions from some EU financial services legislation, which may otherwise inhibit the trading and settlement of crypto-assets. The regime is intended to promote legal certainty, support innovation, preserve market integrity and ensure financial stability for the use of DLT in crypto-asset and e-money token markets.

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  • UK Government Consults on Managing Systemic Stablecoin Firm Failures
    05/31/2022

    HM Treasury has opened a consultation on managing the failure of systemic digital settlement asset firms, including stablecoin firms. In April 2022, the U.K. government confirmed that it will bring the issuing of or the facilitating of the use of stablecoins used as a means of payment into the U.K. regulatory perimeter. Issuers of stablecoins for payments as well as other entities providing related services, including wallet providers and firms providing custody services, will be subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority. The government also noted that, to manage the failure of systemic stablecoin firms, it would be considering extending the definition of a payment system to include arrangements that facilitate or control the transfer of "digital settlement assets" (DSAs). Such firms that are deemed systemically important will also be subject to supervision by the Bank of England, meaning that they will be authorized by the FCA and recognized by the Bank of England, and the Bank will be the lead prudential regulator.

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  • Government Details Proposed Financial Services and Markets Bill
    05/10/2022

    Following the Queen's speech yesterday, the government has published a briefing pack setting out details of the bills that it intends to introduce, including the so-called Brexit Freedoms Bill as well as key legislation relevant to financial services. The government will introduce a Financial Services and Markets Bill, which will, among other things:
    • Introduce new statutory objectives for the financial services regulators to support growth and international competitiveness.
    • Implement the changes to the wholesale markets arising out of the Wholesale Markets Review. HM Treasury confirmed in March of this year that the changes that will be made by legislation and where powers will be delegated to the financial services regulators for rules to be made. Among the changes are the removal of the share trading obligation and the double volume cap, changes to the derivatives trading obligation, taking OTC derivatives that are economically equivalent to exchange traded commodity derivatives out of the position limits regime, and the establishment of a consolidated tape.

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  • Queen’s Speech Confirms Government Will Proceed with Brexit Freedoms Bill
    05/10/2022

    Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, delivered the Queen’s speech in which he announced that the government will be introducing the so-called Brexit Freedoms Bill, which was first announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on January 31, 2022, and is intended to make it easier to amend or remove retained EU laws to better suit the U.K.’s circumstances and policies. The Brexit Freedoms Bill will work in tandem with a government drive to reform, repeal and replace EU laws that are seen as outdated, cumbersome or otherwise not in the U.K.’s national interest.

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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 Financial Conduct Authority Acts to Improve Financial Crime Issues at Challenger Banks
    04/22/2022

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published the findings of its multi-firm review into financial crime controls at challenger banks. The FCA undertook the review in 2021 in response to the 2020 National Risk Assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing, which highlighted the risk that quick onboarding processes advertised by challenger banks could appeal to criminals. The FCA's review revealed that technology is being used well to identify and verify customers quickly and that there are not many differences between the financial crime risks facing challenger banks and those posed to traditional retail banks. However, there are several areas where improvements can be made, at the onboarding stage and beyond.  The FCA has requested all challenger banks to review its findings and implement the changes necessary to mitigate the risk of financial crime. As firms grow, their financial crime control resources, processes and technology should be appropriately adapted.

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  • UK Task Force Publishes Recommendation for Improving Post-Trade Processes
    04/21/2022

    report on the Future of Post-Trade. The Taskforce is made up of financial market industry individuals involved in post-trade processing activities and was set up as part of the Bank of England's response to the "Future of Finance" report, which set out a vision for the medium-term future of the U.K. financial system and the BoE's role in supporting that.

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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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  • Financial Stability Board Publishes 2022 Work Priorities
    02/17/2022

    The Financial Stability Board has published a letter to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors outlining its work priorities for 2022, which are:
     
    • Supporting financial market adjustment to a post-COVID-19 world: the FSB observes vulnerabilities in the financial system, such as embedded leverage in some parts of the system and rising real estate and other asset valuations, which could pose risks to stability in the event of tightening financial conditions. Uneven unwinding of pandemic support measures is also a risk and the FSB will prepare an interim report in July and final report in October on policy considerations to support a more even global pandemic recovery.

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  • Financial Stability Board Publishes Report on Risks to Financial Stability from Crypto-Assets
    02/16/2022

    The Financial Stability Board has published a report on the risks that crypto-assets pose to global financial stability. The FSB observes that the crypto-assets market is growing rapidly and could reach a point where it poses a threat to global financial stability. The market's rapid evolution also raises the risk of regulatory gaps and the opportunity for arbitrage by market players.

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  • European Supervisory Authorities Publish Report on Digital Finance
    02/07/2022

    The European Supervisory Authorities (the European Securities and Markets Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Banking Authority) have published a joint report on digital finance and related issues, in response to the European Commission's Call for Advice on digital finance, which was published in February 2021. The Call for Advice sought input to advance the EU Digital Finance Strategy, which was launched in September 2020 and set out the EU's plan to review the EU financial services legislative framework in light of developments in digital finance in order to safeguard financial stability and protect consumers. 

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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.

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  • 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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  • European Securities and Markets Authority Publishes Call for Evidence on Distributed Ledger Technology Pilot Regime and MiFIR Standards on Transparency and Reporting
    01/04/2022

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a call for evidence on the need to amend existing Regulatory Technical Standards under the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation to accommodate the upcoming distributed ledger technology pilot regime, which is expected to be published in spring 2022 and will begin to apply 9 months after its publication (i.e. the beginning of 2023). Responses to the call for evidence should be submitted by March 4, 2022.

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  • UK Conduct Regulator Consults on Improvements to Appointed Representatives Regime
    12/03/2021

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a consultation paper on proposed improvements to the Appointed Representatives regime. The AR regime allows authorized firms to appoint third parties to conduct certain regulated activities on their behalf. The FCA has identified shortcomings in principals' use of the regime, including a lack of proper oversight over ARs and poor controls over the regulated activities for which ARs had accepted responsibility. The collapse of Greensill Capital (UK) Limited in 2021 highlighted some of these issues, as one of Greensill's subsidiaries had acted as an appointed representative for another firm and its business had arguably grown to be far more substantial than was intended under the AR regime.

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  • Law Commission Confirms England and Wales Law Can Accommodate Smart Contracts
    11/24/2021
    The Law Commission has concluded that the existing law of England and Wales can accommodate smart contracts and there is no need for legislative reform. It has published advice to the U.K. Government and a separate summary of its conclusions on the subject. The Law Commission commenced its investigation into the ability of English law to accommodate both smart contracts and digital assets in September 2020. It has published a separate interim update on the digital assets project, which sets out the status and timing of the digital assets project. It anticipates publishing its digital assets consultation paper in mid-2022 as opposed to end-2021, as originally proposed.

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  • Bank of England and HM Treasury Announce Next Steps for UK Central Bank Digital Currency
    11/09/2021

    The Bank of England and HM Treasury have announced the next steps in the development of a U.K. Central Bank Digital Currency. 

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  • UK Government Sets out Key Actions to Secure Its Vision for Payments
    10/11/2021

    HM Treasury has published a response to the Payments Landscape Review call for evidence.  The government sets out the key areas and steps for government, regulators, and industry to achieve a payments sector at the vanguard of technology and innovation.  

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  • 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.

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  • UK Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform Publishes Recommendations
    06/16/2021

    The Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform has published its report, making several recommendations for reforming the U.K.'s approach to regulation as well as practical suggestions for implementing the reforms. The main recommendation tasks the government with building a U.K. regulatory framework that has proportionality at its core and that is based on the principles of the common law. The report also provides specific proposals for regulatory reforms across several sectors, identified as high growth sectors, including the financial services sector. The TIGRR recommendations will be progressed by the newly established Brexit Opportunities Unit, which is being led by Lord Frost, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office. Consultations on proposals to implement these ambitious recommendations are expected later this year.

    The TIGRR report recommends the approach to regulation is reformed along traditional common law lines, moving away from the EU codified system. The report suggests that the government reconsiders the approach to regulation with the aim of enhancing productivity, encouraging competition and invigorating innovation.

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  • Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Proposes Capital Requirements for Banks' Exposures to Crypto-Assets
    06/10/2021

    The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has launched a consultation on bank prudential requirements for exposures to crypto-assets. The consultation follows the Basel Committee's 2019 discussion paper on the prudential treatment of crypto-assets. This latest consultation sets out a preliminary proposal for the prudential treatment of crypto-assets, based on feedback to the discussion paper and other input from stakeholders. The Basel Committee believes that setting the policy will be an iterative process and that a further consultation will be needed. Responses to this consultation may be submitted until September 10, 2021.

    The Basel Committee considers that the increasing growth of crypto-assets raises financial stability concerns and is increasing the risks encountered by banks. Certain crypto-assets are highly volatile and may pose risks for banks as exposures increase, including liquidity risk, credit risk, market risk, operational risk, money laundering/terrorist financing risk, and legal and reputation risks.

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  • UK Discussion Paper on Systemic Stablecoins Published
    06/07/2021

    The Bank of England has published a discussion paper on new forms of digital money that are potentially systemically important, focusing on systemic stablecoins. HM Treasury recently consulted on bringing certain crypto-assets into the U.K. regulatory perimeter and proposed that the BoE would regulate systemic stablecoins (under the Banking Act 2009) and that the Financial Conduct Authority would be responsible for consumer protection and conduct regulation. Feedback to the discussion paper can be submitted until September 7, 2021. The feedback will inform the BoE's next steps and it will consult on a specific regulatory framework for stablecoins, pending the finalization of the anticipated legislation.

    According to the BoE, systemic stablecoins would be those that have the potential to scale up and grow rapidly and become widely used for payments by individuals and non-financial businesses. Non-systemic stablecoins would be those that are not widely used for payments and would not be subject to regulation by the BoE. Systemic stablecoins would be: (i) denominated in sterling; (ii) backed by assets that make them stable in value, unlike crypto-assets that have no safeguard, such as Bitcoin; and (iii) would not be created by lending to the real economy, unlike commercial bank money.

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  • 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.

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  • UK Law Commission Consults on Digital Assets and Electronic Trade Documents
    04/30/2021

    The U.K. Law Commission has launched two consultations, one on digital assets and the other on electronic trade documents. Responses to the consultations can be submitted until July 30, 2021.

    Digital Assets

    The Law Commission has issued a Call for Evidence on digital assets following a request from the government for recommendations for reforms to U.K. laws that will ensure that the laws can accommodate both cryptoassets and other digital assets. The Call for Evidence will be followed by a consultation at the end of 2021 with proposals for law reforms.

    The existing laws of England and Wales do not provide legal certainty as to the legal status of digital assets. Providing certainty would encourage the use of the laws of England and Wales and jurisdiction in digital asset transactions. The Call for Evidence requests feedback about, and evidence of, the ways in which digital assets are being used, treated and dealt with by market participants. It also seeks views on the potential consequences of digital assets being "possessable."

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  • UK Chancellor Responds to Kalifa Review of UK FinTech
    04/26/2021

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has published a written statement on the U.K. Government's response to the Kalifa Review of U.K. FinTech. The Kalifa Review made a series of recommendations to ensure the U.K.'s competitiveness in fintech globally. HM Treasury welcomed the Review at the time. The Chancellor's statement describes the following actions that the U.K. Government has committed to in response.

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    TOPIC : FinTech
  • UK Government Announces Boost to UK FinTech and Financial Services
    04/19/2021

    The U.K. Government has announced plans to boost the U.K.'s fintech and financial services sectors. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak outlined the plans at U.K. FinTech Week, describing the government's vision for a greener and more technologically advanced financial services sector. The Government's announcement builds on the recommendations in the recent Kalifa Review of U.K. Fintech and Lord Hill's Review of the U.K. Listing Regime.

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    TOPICS : FinTechSecurities
  • Bank of England and HM Treasury Announce Central Bank Digital Currency Taskforce
    04/19/2021

    The Bank of England and HM Treasury have announced a joint central bank digital currency Taskforce. The Taskforce will be chaired by Jon Cunliffe, Deputy Governor for Financial Stability at the Bank of England and Katharine Braddick, Director General of Financial Services at HM Treasury, with other U.K. authorities involved as and when required.
     
    The Taskforce's primary function is to oversee investigations into a possible U.K. CBDC. At present, the U.K. has not yet decided whether to issue a CBDC.

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    TOPIC : FinTech
  • Kalifa Review of UK Fintech Published
    02/26/2021

    HM Treasury has published the highly-anticipated Independent Strategic Review of U.K. Fintech, led by Ron Kalifa OBE. The aim of the recommendations is to, among others, ensure the U.K.'s competitiveness, attract investments for individual fintechs and raise the U.K.'s status as a global hub. The Kalifa Review makes recommendations in five key areas: (i) policy and regulation; (ii) skills and talent; (iii) investment; (iv) international attractiveness and competitiveness; and (v) national connectivity. The delivery of these recommendations is to be led by the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology, which is mandated by the Government but led by the private sector. This post focuses on the policy and regulation discussion.

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  • Bank of England Publishes Plan for UK Financial Sector Data Collection
    02/23/2021

    The Bank of England has published a plan to transform its ability to collect data from the financial services sector over the next decade. Three key principles of the plan are: (i) defining and adopting common data standards that are consistent across the financial sector; (ii) modernizing reporting instructions to improve how they are written and implemented; and (iii) integrating reporting to facilitate a more efficient approach to data collection. The Transformation Plan was prompted by Huw Van Steenis' 2019 report on the "Future of Finance", which highlighted the importance of data standards and protocols and the value of harnessing data. The BoE published a response to the "Future of Finance" report, in which it undertook to deliver a world-class data strategy.

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  • EU Launches Review of the Financial Collateral Directive
    02/12/2021

    The European Commission has launched a targeted consultation related to post-trade services, which considers the EU Financial Collateral Directive. The Commission is also consulting on the Settlement Finality Directive, combining the review of these two Directives since they are closely related. The consultations close on May 7, 2021. The FCD establishes a harmonized EU framework for the use of financial collateral to secure transactions. It provides for close-out netting provisions to be enforceable under their terms and ring-fences the operation of financial collateral arrangements should one of the parties become insolvent, creating protections from the usual insolvency laws of a Member State. The FCD consultation does not cover the re-use of financial collateral given under a security financial collateral arrangement by a collateral taker as this issue has recently been addressed in the Securities Financing Transactions Regulation. The consultation focuses on issues relating to the recognition of close-out netting provisions and its impact on SFD systems.

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  • EU Launches Review of the Settlement Finality Directive
    02/12/2021

    The European Commission has launched a targeted consultation related to post-trade services, which considers the EU Settlement Finality Directive. The Commission is also consulting on the Financial Collateral Directive, combining the review of these two Directives since they are closely related. The consultations close on May 7, 2021. The SFD establishes various insolvency carve-outs for designated market infrastructure systems and provides for finality of transactions within such systems. Under the protections currently afforded by the SFD, transfer orders which enter into designated systems within certain deadlines are guaranteed to be finally settled and cannot be unwound at the behest of insolvency officials, regardless of whether the sending participant has become insolvent or transfer orders have been revoked in the meantime. The SFD essentially excludes "insolvency claw-back" rules, such as those for transactions at an undervalue or trading by insolvent or near-insolvent entities, from applying to holdings in designated systems and modifies the timing of "moratorium" rules which prevent transactions by insolvents. This also gives certainty as regards holdings in central securities depositories and as to the finality of transactions in some clearing and payment systems. Under the SFD, each EU Member State automatically recognizes systems that have been designated by other Member States. However, there is no EU regime for third country systems, a lacuna which has already been fixed by the U.K. in its SFD laws after Brexit.

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