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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.

  • Group of Central Banks to Collaborate on Potential of Central Bank Digital Currencies

    The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Sveriges Riksbank, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank for International Settlements have announced that they have created a group to share experience as they assess the potential cases for central bank digital currency. The group will assess CBDC use cases, economic, functional and technical design choices, including cross-border interoperability and the sharing of knowledge on emerging technologies.

    View the announcement.
  • UK Court Confirms Bitcoin Status as Property for Certain Proprietary Claims

    A U.K. court has granted an interim proprietary injunction over Bitcoin held in an account of a cryptocurrency exchange after it had been transferred there as part of a cyber attack on a Canadian insurance company. The judgment in AA v Persons Unknown & Ors, Re Bitcoin [2019] EWHC 3556 (Comm) was given on December 13, 2019, and following the lifting of reporting restrictions, was released for publication on January 17, 2020. In coming to its decision, the High Court adopted the analysis as to the proprietary status of crypto assets set out in the recent legal statement by the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce. Although each case will depend on the relevant facts and issues, the decision confirms that crypto assets are a form of property capable of being the subject of a proprietary injunction.

    Read more.
  • Global Financial Innovation Network Announces Plans to Improve the Framework for Cross-Border Testing of Innovative Firms

    The Global Financial Innovation Network has published a report on lessons learned during the cross-border testing of innovative firms and their products. The GFIN was launched at the start of 2019 and is a network of organizations committed to supporting financial innovation in the interests of consumers. One of GFIN's priorities is to facilitate cross-border trials of emerging technologies across global jurisdictions (a global sandbox). The GFIN began a pilot with eight firms in April 2019, which aimed to develop testing plans for their cross-border trials. However, as none of the firms developed a testing plan that satisfied each jurisdiction's requirements, the GFIN could not progress things further. The GFIN has since met to consider how to take things forward and will further develop the framework of cross-border testing.

    The report describes the accomplishments and the challenges that arose during the pilot and sets out the proposed next steps and solutions to improve cross-border testing for the next phase. The solutions include establishing a central website for GFIN and creating a single application form for applicants, both of which should make it easier for prospective firms to find relevant information and submit an application. In the first half of 2020, the GFIN will open applications for the first formal cohort of participants.

    View the report.
    TOPIC: FinTech
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Report on Big Data and Advanced Analytics

    The European Banking Authority has published a report on big data and advanced analytics in the banking sector. The report sets out the findings of the EBA's review of big data and analytics and presents key pillars and elements of trust for the development, implementation and adoption of BD&AA by banks.

    Read more.
  • EU Political Agreement on Proposed Regulation on Cross-Border Crowdfunding Service Providers

    The EU legislative bodies have announced that political agreement has been reached on the proposed Regulation on European Crowdfunding Service Providers for Business. The proposed ECSP Regulation is part of the EU Capital Markets Union initiative and the Commission's FinTech Action Plan. It aims to increase access to finance through crowdfunding for innovative companies, start-ups and SMEs. The European Commission published the original legislative proposal on March 8, 2018. Since then, the text of the proposed ECSP Regulation has been amended.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Launches Consultations on Digitalization in the Financial Sector

    The European Commission has launched two consultations on digitalization in the financial sector. They form part of the EU’s new Digital Finance Strategy which aims to deepen the Single Market for digital financial services, promote a data-driven EU financial sector while addressing the risks inherent in that and enhance the digital operational resilience of the financial system. 

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes 2020 Work Program

    The Financial Stability Board has published its work program for 2020. The FSB confirms that it will continue to monitor developments to identify and manage new and emerging risks, work to finalize the outstanding components of the post-crisis reforms and assess the implementation of reforms as well as their effects. Key areas of focus will be:
    • LIBOR transition: the FSB will monitor implementation of the benchmark reforms and report on outstanding issues.
    • Global stablecoins: the FSB will launch a consultation on global stablecoins in April 2020.
    • Global payment systems: the FSB will work with other international bodies to develop and deliver a roadmap for using digital innovations to improve global cross-border payments.
    • FinTech: the FSB will report on the perspective of emerging market and developing economies.

    View the FSB work program for 2020.
  • UK Financial Policy Committee Highlights Risks of Open-Ended Funds and Global Stablecoins

    The Financial Policy Committee of the Bank of England has published its latest financial stability report. The report sets out the FPC's view of the resilience of the U.K. financial system and the main risks to the U.K.'s financial stability as well as the work being carried out to address those risks. The FPC states that the 2019 annual cyclical scenario stress test indicates that the U.K. banking system would be resilient to deep simultaneous U.K. and global recessions. Furthermore, the U.K. financial system is resilient to and prepared for any disruptions that may arise from a disorderly Brexit.

    Read more.
  • EU Expert Group on Regulatory Obstacles to Financial Innovation Publishes Recommendations on Regulatory Framework for FinTech

    The EU Expert Group on Regulatory Obstacles to Financial Innovation (or ROFIEG) has published a set of Recommendations and a Q&A on the establishment of an accommodative framework for FinTech in the EU. The ROFIEG was established by the European Commission in 2018 to provide expertise on technology in the financial services sector and, in particular, to review the EU’s legal and regulatory FinTech framework.

    Read more.
  • Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures Publishes Report on Wholesale Digital Tokens

    The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures has published a report on wholesale digital tokens. The report focuses on how digital tokens might be used to effect settlement in wholesale transactions, replacing existing systems where such transactions are settled by updating balances in account records on a centralized register. The CPMI confirms that any wholesale digital token arrangement would need to comply with the applicable regulatory requirements, including, if the arrangement is systemically important, the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructure.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes Reports on Implications of BigTech and Cloud Services

    The Financial Stability Board has published two reports on: (i) BigTech in finance and (ii) third-party dependencies on cloud services. The reports form part of the FSB’s ongoing work to analyze structural changes within the financial system in order to harness benefits and mitigate risks.

    Read more.
  • EU Statement on Stablecoins

    The Council of the European Union and the European Commission have published a joint statement on stablecoins. The statement reiterates many of the messages of the G7 working group paper on the impact of stablecoins. The EU statement confirms that no global stablecoin arrangement should begin to operate in the EU until the legal, regulatory and supervisory issues can be identified and dealt with appropriately. In the statement, the two EU bodies allude to the lack of information as a key impediment to global stablecoin arrangements being able to operate in the EU, in particular, because without it the authorities are unable to consider the impact on monetary policies or assess how to address other risks presented by this type of cryptoasset.

    View the EU statement on stablecoins.

    View details of the G7 working group paper on stablecoins.
  • European Central Bank Publishes Paper on Stablecoins

    The European Central Bank has published a paper providing an overview of the stablecoins market and looking ahead to its future development. The paper contains no binding rules or guidance and is designed for information purposes only. It outlines how stablecoins have emerged as an alternative to highly volatile cryptoassets, such as Bitcoin, by incorporating "stabilization" mechanisms that back the value of the stablecoins by tying them to underlying assets such as fiat currencies or commodities. Facebook's unveiling of its Libra stablecoin has attracted much attention from regulators, demonstrating the ongoing challenges faced by the cryptoassets. It goes on to describe the different types of stablecoins, the current status of stablecoin initiatives and considers potential use cases for stablecoins, such as transferring money without using financial institutions or cash. The ECB determines that it remains to be seen how the more innovative types of stablecoin will develop given their greater volatility and foresees that improvements in stablecoin governance may need to be made.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Publishes Report on Liability for Artificial Intelligence

    The New Technologies formation of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Liability and New Technologies has published a report on liability regimes for artificial intelligence. The report discusses existing laws concerning liability for emerging digital technologies and describes how those laws could be improved to cater for the new risks and challenges associated with new technologies. The New Technologies formation is a panel that was established by the European Commission in March 2018 and was asked to examine existing EU liability regimes and make recommendations for amendments to take account of emerging digital technologies where necessary.

    Read more.
  • Basel Committee Publishes Report on Open Banking and Application Programming Interfaces

    The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has published a report on “open banking” and the use of application programming interfaces. The term “open banking” refers to the sharing and leveraging of customer-permissioned data by banks with third-party developers and firms to build applications and services, including for example those that provide real-time payments, greater financial transparency options for account holders, marketing and cross-selling opportunities. Application programming interfaces are software intermediaries that enable information to be exchanged between applications. 

    Read more.
  • UK Legal Statement on CryptoAssets and Smart Contracts

    The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce has published a legal statement on cryptoassets and smart contracts under English private law. UKJT is part of the LawTech Delivery Panel, an industry-led group established in 2018, with the aim of identifying barriers and opportunities for growth. The legal statement provides the UKJT's view of the principles applicable under English and Welsh private law for determining when a cryptoasset will be considered property and when an enforceable contract is concluded through a smart contract. The intention of the statement is to help improve confidence among market participants and investors due to the perception of legal uncertainty on the legal status of cryptoassets and smart contracts.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Plenary Meets to Review Global Financial System Vulnerabilities, FinTech and its 2020 Work Program

    The Financial Stability Board has met in Paris to review key issues facing financial markets, including vulnerabilities in the global financial system, FinTech developments and its 2020 work program. 

    Read more.
  • IOSCO Confirms That Stablecoins Are Potentially Within the Securities Regulatory Perimeter

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has issued a statement confirming that it is possible, depending on their structure, for stablecoins to fall within the scope of securities market regulation. IOSCO has undertaken an in-depth study (not published) of stablecoins and has concluded that each proposed stablecoin, the manner in which it is intended to operate and the rights and obligations conferred on participants needs to be analyzed to assess the risks and benefits of the particular stablecoin. The statement is widely considered to be in response to Facebook's announcement about its proposed stablecoin, Libra. According to IOSCO, certain stablecoins may have features that are similar to securities and accordingly will be within the regulatory perimeter of some countries. IOSCO calls on entities that wish to launch stablecoins to engage with regulators so that any risks associated with the operation of the stablecoin might be mitigated.

    View IOSCO's statement.
    TOPICS: FinTechSecurities
  • G7 Working Group Reports on the Impact of Global Stablecoins

    The G7 working group on stablecoins has published a report investigating the impact of global stablecoins. The working group is comprised of senior officials from the G7 central banks, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International Settlements and the Financial Stability Board, and is chaired by Benoît Cœuré (Chair of the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures). 

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board to Assess Potential Risks of Stablecoins

    The Financial Stability Board has published a report on regulatory issues arising with respect to so-called stablecoins. The FSB defines a stablecoin as "a crypto-asset designed to maintain a stable value relative to another asset (typically a unit of currency or commodity) or a basket of assets" which may be "collateralised by fiat currency or commodities, or supported by algorithms".

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes Letter to G20 Ministers on Effect of Reforms and Future Work

    The Financial Stability Board has published a letter to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors describing the progress of post-financial crisis reforms and key focus areas for the future. Over the past ten years, the FSB has proposed a number of reforms to the global financial system, working with international organizations on implementation to improve financial stability.

    Read more.
  • UK Financial Policy Committee Issues Summary of UK Financial System

    The U.K. Financial Policy Committee has issued a summary of the resilience of the U.K. financial system to potential economic shocks and the vulnerabilities it faces. The summary follows the FPC’s meeting on October 2, 2019, at which the FPC agreed on its intended policy action going forward. The FPC is made up of Bank of England staff, the Chief Executive of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority and certain external members who work to identify, monitor and take action to remove or reduce systemic risks to the U.K. financial system.

    Read more.
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Strategic Focus Areas for 2020

    The European Banking Authority has published its 2020 Work Programme. The Programme details six strategic areas of focus for 2020 and these are:
    1. Support the development of the risk reduction package and the implementation of the global standards in the EU. The EBA will work on developing level 2 legislation required by the revised Capital Requirements Regulation and Directive, the revised Bank Recovery & Resolution Directive and the new Covered Bonds Directive and Investment Firm Regulation and related Directive (the latter two have not yet entered into force). The EBA will continue to work on the implementation of the market risk requirements, following the finalization of the Basel Committee on Banking Standard's fundamental review of the trading book (FRTB). In particular, in 2020, the EBA anticipates implementing the reporting requirement and certain aspects of the FRTB revisions for the internal model approach and for the treatment of non-trading book positions subject to FX or commodity risk. Another priority will be finalization of the EBA's roadmap for the internal ratings-based approach for calculating minimum capital requirements for credit risk.
    2. Providing efficient methodologies and tools for supervisory convergence and stress testing. The EBA intends to consult on Pillar 2 changes during 2020 and will conduct the 2020 stress test for EU banks.
    Read more.
  • International Organization of Securities Commissions Review of Suitability Requirements for Complex Products

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has published a report, "Thematic Review on Suitability Requirements with respect to the Distribution of Complex Financial Products". The report summarizes the outcome of the review IOSCO undertook of a sample of member jurisdictions' implementation of the IOSCO 2013 Suitability Requirements for the Distribution of Complex Financial Products, which aims to prevent mis-selling of complex products. The Suitability requirements comprise nine principles relating to classification of customers, general duties regardless of customer classification, disclosure requirements, customers protections, incentives and enforcement.

    Read more.
  • US Court Rejects Suit Over Office of the Comptroller of the Currency FinTech Charter

    Judge Dabney Friedrich of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) that would have prevented the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency from offering a special purpose national bank charter to certain non-bank financial services firms. The CSBS brought the lawsuit in October 2018 following the OCC's July 2018 announcement that it would begin accepting applications for the FinTech charter, arguing that the OCC lacks the authority to award bank charters to non-depository institutions. However, Judge Friedrich concluded that the CSBS did not have standing to bring the suit given the fact that the OCC has yet to award a FinTech charter to any non-bank financial services firms.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: FinTech
  • UK Court Grants Asset Preservation Order over Bitcoin

    A U.K. court has granted an asset preservation order over Bitcoin stolen in a "spear phishing" attack on a major crypto-currency trader. The decision confirms that proprietary claims over Bitcoin constitute serious issues that should be tried in the courts. Although the presiding judges did not make a final ruling on the legal questions surrounding the nature of Bitcoin ownership, it is believed that this is the first time the English courts have considered the nature of crypto-currencies as property.

    Read more.
  • UK Regulator Provides Guidance on Regulatory Perimeter and Crypto-Assets

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Policy Statement and final Guidance on Crypto-assets. The Policy Statement summarizes the feedback received to the FCA's consultation on draft Guidance and sets out the FCA's response to that feedback. The final Guidance is, for the most part, the same as that on which the FCA consulted, except the FCA has made some drafting changes to provide further clarity and has added some guidance on stablecoins and airdrops. In addition, the FCA has revised the taxonomy by making a distinction between: (i) unregulated tokens, which are exchange tokens and utility tokens; and (ii) regulated tokens, which are security and e-money tokens.

    The Guidance is intended to clarify the FCA's expectations for firms carrying on crypto-asset activities within the U.K. by providing insight for market participants on whether certain crypto-assets are within the FCA's regulatory perimeter or are otherwise regulated. The FCA highlights that the Guidance should be used by firms to understand the regulatory status of their crypto-asset activities, but assessing whether a crypto-asset or related activity is within the regulatory perimeter can only be done on a case-by-case basis. Firms should also refer to the FCA's Perimeter Guidance Manual (PERG) in its Handbook, and where firms need further clarification, they should contact the FCA and/or obtain external legal advice.

    The Guidance provides an overview of the U.K. regulatory perimeter and discusses relevant concepts, such as "by way of business." It also refers to the territorial scope of the regulatory perimeter, referring to the detailed guidance in PERG and highlighting that where part of an activity is carried on outside the U.K., a firm may still be carrying on a regulated activity in the U.K.

    Read more
  • European Banking Authority Reports on Regulatory Perimeter, Regulatory Status and Authorization of Fintech Activities

    Fulfilling its mandate under the European Commission's FinTech Action Plan to map the current authorization and licensing approaches for innovative FinTech business models in Europe, the European Banking Authority has published a report on the regulatory perimeter, regulatory status and authorization of FinTech activities under its remit, in particular the banking, payment services and electronic money services sectors. The European Securities and Markets Authority published its related report on July 12, 2019.

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Publishes Report on the Licensing of FinTech Business Models

    Fulfilling its mandate under the European Commission's FinTech Action Plan to map the current authorization and licensing approaches for innovative FinTech business models in Europe, the European Securities and Markets Authority has published a report on the licensing of FinTech business models. The report sets out the key conclusions identified from the information collected from national regulators through two surveys that ESMA conducted in the last two years, and some of the actions that have been taken to address the emerging challenges. The report does not make any recommendations, but instead refers to previous advice and reports that make recommendations for an EU-level response to the issues.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: FinTechSecurities
  • US Regulators Clarify Position on Broker-Dealer Custody of Digital Asset Securities

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority have issued a joint statement clarifying how their traditional regulatory approaches would apply to how broker-dealers handle their customers' digital asset securities and transactions. Specifically, the statement focuses on how certain SEC and FINRA rules apply to broker-dealers that wish to take custody of digital asset securities or perform other noncustodial activities involving such assets.

    The SEC and FINRA staffs (collectively, the "Staffs") said that a number of firms have applied to FINRA to engage in broker-activities involving digital asset securities, and a number of registered broker-dealers have also submitted applications to expand their businesses to include digital asset securities services. Many of these applications cover proposed business models that would involve the applicant taking custody of digital asset securities, while others would involve certain noncustodial activities.

    Read more.
    TOPICS: FinTechSecurities
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Report on FinTech's Impact on Payment and Electronic Money Institutions' Business Models

    The European Banking Authority has published a report on the impact of financial technology on the business models of payment and electronic money institutions. The report aims to provide an overview of the current FinTech landscape and raise awareness of the main trends affecting business models. It follows major developments in the industry including the introduction of the revised Payment Services Directive (known as PSD2), the emergence of new market entrants offering innovative products and the growth of instant and mobile payment methods.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Proposes Banning the Sale to Retail Clients of Derivatives Referencing Crypto-Assets

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation proposing to restrict the sale, marketing and distribution of derivatives and exchange-traded notes that reference certain types of unregulated, transferable crypto-asset to all retail clients by firms in, or from, the U.K. The FCA consultation follows the final report of the U.K. Crypto-Assets Task Force in October 2018. The FCA's view is that although the U.K.'s market in crypto-assets is relatively small, there is still a consumer protection issue that needs to be addressed.

    Read more.
  • Bank for International Settlements to Establish Innovation Hub for Central Bank Financial Technology

    The Bank for International Settlements has announced it will establish an innovation Hub to encourage international collaboration on innovative financial technology for central banks. The Hub's purpose will be to: (i) identify trends in technology affecting central banks; (ii) develop "public goods" in the technology space aimed at improving the functioning of the global financial system; and (iii) act as a focal point for central bank innovation.

    Read more.
    TOPIC: FinTech
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Issues Response to EU Opinion on Strong Customer Authentication

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has issued a statement confirming its intended approach to enforcing firms' compliance with EU "strong customer authentication" rules that will apply across the EU from September 14, 2019.

    Read more.
  • Global Financial Innovation Network Publishes Progress Report

    The Global Financial Innovation Network, the group of financial regulators established in 2018 to support international financial innovation, has published a report on the progress made during its first year. The group is made up of 35 global regulators from 21 jurisdictions that work together to share knowledge and market experiences and enable innovative firms to interact with a network of regulators.

    Read more.
  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission Launches LabCFTC Accelerator

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has announced two new programs as part of its LabCFTC initiative. The first is LabCFTC Accelerator, which will provide the agency with a number of tools to drive its understanding and potential adoption of emerging technologies. The second is the CFTC's second annual FinTech Forward conference, which will take place on October 24, 2019 and bring together a variety of stakeholders in the FinTech ecosystem to explore the latest developments in the space.

    As part of the LabCFTC Accelerator program, the agency seeks to better understand emerging technologies through the use of tools such as internal pilots and tests, market research and innovation competitions. The topic for the upcoming innovation competition will be announced at the FinTech Forward 2019 conference.

    FinTech Forward 2019 will bring together innovators, regulators, market participants, thought-leaders and the general public to cover a number of areas in the FinTech space, including digital assets, commodities and platforms, machine learning and AI, RegTech and algorithmic trading. The agency also said it expects there to be a greater focus on international FinTech, as the event will coincide with the CFTC's Office of International Affairs' International Regulators Symposium. Registration for the FinTech Forward 2019 conference will be open to the public early this fall.

    View the CFTC's announcement.

    View details of the CFTC LabCFTC initiative.
    TOPIC: FinTech
  • Financial Action Task Force Publishes Guidance for a Risk-Based Approach to Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers

    The Financial Action Task Force has published the outcomes of its third and last Plenary meeting under the U.S. Presidency in Orlando on June 19-21, 2019. The FATF considered key issues such as strategic initiatives, mutual evaluations and the upcoming focus areas under the Chinese Presidency.

    Read more.
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Opinion on Strong Customer Authentication Under Payment Services Directive

    The European Banking Authority has published an Opinion on market approaches to payment authentication that will be deemed compliant with the new rules on strong customer authentication coming into force later this year.

    Read more.
  • Bank of England Publishes Report on the Future of the UK Financial System and the Bank's Priorities for the Future

    Huw van Steenis, the Bank of England financier appointed by the BoE in 2018 to review the future of the U.K. financial system, has published his "Future of Finance" report, setting out a vision for the medium-term future of the U.K. financial system and the BoE's role in supporting that. The report was based on consultations with entrepreneurs, financiers, tech firms, global investors, consumer groups, charities, policymakers and business leaders across the U.K. and overseas. In response, the BoE has published a document which sets out the actions it intends to take to deal with the challenges and opportunities identified in the report.

    Read more.
  • Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Discusses Supervisory Initiatives and Approves Implementation Reports

    Central bankers and banking supervisors of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision met this week to discuss a range of policy and supervisory initiatives. 

    Read more.
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Publishes First Annual Perimeter Report

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published its first annual perimeter report, which (i) describes the boundaries of the FCA's regulatory oversight, (ii) considers challenges to the regulatory perimeter and (iii) sets out its aims for the future. The motivations behind the report include recent high profile controversies involving firms on the periphery of the FCA's regulatory perimeter (including London Capital & Finance which issued non-transferable bonds to consumers), innovations in technology that test the boundaries of the perimeter and the post-Brexit future of U.K. financial regulation.

    Read more.
  • G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meet in Japan

    The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors have published a Communiqué from the most recent G20 Summit held in Japan.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes Report on Decentralized Financial Technologies

    The Financial Stability Board has published a report on the use of decentralized financial technologies and the implications these may have for financial stability, regulation and governance. The report has been delivered to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors ahead of the G20 meeting on June 8-9, 2019.

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Delivers Report on Crypto-Assets

    The Financial Stability Board has published a report on crypto-assets outlining the actions being undertaken by various international organizations in response to the challenges posed by crypto-assets and the FSB's own proposed course of action for the year ahead. The report will be delivered to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors at the next G20 meeting in Japan on June 8-9, 2019.

    Read more.
  • US-UK Financial Innovation Partnership Announced

    The U.S.-U.K. Financial Regulatory Working Group has announced the establishment of a Financial Innovation Partnership between the U.S. and the U.K. The objective of the Partnership is to strengthen bilateral engagement on emerging trends in financial services innovation. It will focus on regulatory engagement and commercial engagement by providing opportunities for the private sector in one country to engage with industry associations and market participants in the other country.

    The U.S.-U.K. Financial Regulatory Working Group, formed in April 2018, is a forum for treasury staff and financial regulatory authorities to exchange views on the regulatory relationship between the United States and the U.K. The objectives of the Working Group are to further financial regulatory cooperation, improve transparency, reduce regulatory uncertainty, identify possible cross-border implementation issues, address regulatory arbitrage and work towards achieving compatibility of U.S. and U.K. laws and regulations.

    View the announcement.
  • UK Financial Conduct Regulator Seeks Input on a Cross-Sector Sandbox

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Call for Input on a Cross-Sector Sandbox, seeking input on whether a U.K. cross-sector sandbox is needed. The FCA has observed that due to emerging technologies, business models are constantly changing in all markets and that firms are diversifying into different sectors. In addition, across all sectors, firms are increasingly using big data. As a result, the FCA believes that the different sectoral U.K. regulators need to find new practical ways of collaborating. The FCA recently undertook a study into how a cross-sector sandbox involving multiple regulators could be established, engaging with a range of regulators, such as the Civil Aviation Authority, the Gambling Commission, the Information Commissioner's Office, Ofcom, Ofgem and the Prudential Regulation Authority, a small group of firms and other stakeholders. The study showed that there is potential for a cross-sector sandbox, but that further discussion is needed to understand the degree of interest and need before an operating model can be developed.

    Based on the success of the FCA's financial regulatory sandbox, the FCA suggests that a cross-sector sandbox would provide a single-point-of-entry sandbox for firms to test innovative propositions with multiple U.K. regulators. The FCA acknowledges that challenges exist to its proposal, including uncertainties about demand for the sandbox and a misunderstanding of its purpose. However, it is of the view that most of the challenges could be overcome or mitigated, as has been the case with its existing sandbox. The FCA has published the Call for Input to facilitate further discussions on the concept of a cross-sector sandbox. Responses are invited until August 30, 2019.

    View the call for input on a cross-sector sandbox.
    TOPIC: FinTech
  • European Banking Authority Confirms 2019 Focus

    The European Banking Authority has published its annual report for 2018, setting out details of the work it undertook in 2018 and its focus areas in 2019. The EBA will, in 2019, focus on: (i) finalizing the guidelines on loan origination as part of its contribution to tackling non-performing loans in the EU; (ii) implementing the changes arising from the revised Capital Requirements Regulation, which was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on June 7, 2019; (iii) implementing the new Investment Firm Regulation and Directive by preparing various technical standards, guidelines and reports; (iv) preparing technical standards and guidelines, as required under the EU Securitization Regulation, that facilitate the use of internal models for banks investing in securitization positions; (v) assisting with the EU's implementation of Basel IV; (vi) the impact of FinTech, in particular, on payment institutions' and e-money institutions' business models; (vii) identifying regulatory and supervisory areas affected by the use of big data and developing best practices and principles for the application and implementation of data analytics by institutions; (viii) continuing to assess the risks of crypto-assets; (ix) supporting the European Commission's work on sustainable finance; and (x) improving the supervision of anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing.

    View the EBA's annual report 2018.
  • International Body Consults on Issues Relating to Regulating Crypto-Asset Trading Platforms

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has launched a consultation on the key issues to consider for regulating crypto-asset trading platforms (referred to as CTPs). The consultation paper, which aims to assist IOSCO member jurisdictions to assess the issues and risks relating to CTPs, is based on information obtained from national regulators on the operation of CTPs and their current or proposed regulatory approaches. The consultation does not cover Initial Coin Offerings, focussing instead on the secondary markets. Responses to the consultation are due by July 29, 2019.

    The consultation paper describes certain issues and risks related to trading of crypto-assets on CTPs. The paper also sets out key considerations and corresponding toolkits for each consideration. The considerations are: (i) access to CTPs; (ii) safeguarding assets; (iii) conflicts of interest; (iv) operations of CTPs; (v) market integrity; (vi) price discovery; and (vii) technology. The toolkits are for regulators to use to address the key considerations and related issues and risks. In addition, IOSCO notes that useful guidance on the issues is already available in its Objectives and Principles of Securities Regulation and the Assessment Methodology.

    View the consultation paper.
  • UK Consultation on Legal Uncertainty in the Application of English Private Law to Cryptoassets, Distributed Ledger Technology and Smart Contracts

    The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce has published a consultation paper on key issues of legal uncertainty regarding cryptoassets, distributed ledger technology and smart contracts. The UKJT is involved in preparing an authoritative legal statement on the status of cryptoassets and smart contracts under English private law. The final statement will consider whether English private law sufficiently covers cryptoassets, DLT and smart contracts and where legal uncertainty may arise. The issues in the consultation are limited to English private law and do not include any issues on regulatory characterization, taxation, criminal law, partnership law, data protection, consumer protection, settlement finality, regulatory capital, anti-money laundering or counter-terrorist financing.

    UKJT is part of the LawTech Delivery Panel, which was established in 2018, with the aim of identifying barriers and opportunities for growth. The consultation closes on June 21, 2019.

    View the consultation paper.
  • US Authority Settles Charges Against Peer-to-Peer Virtual Currency Exchanger for Violating Registration and AML Requirements

    The U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has announced that it has settled charges against Eric Powers, a peer-to-peer exchanger of convertible virtual currency, for violating the registration, program and reporting requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act. This marks FinCEN's first enforcement action filed against a peer-to-peer exchanger of virtual currency and represents the first time that FinCEN has disciplined an exchanger of virtual currency for failure to report currency transactions, as required under the Bank Secrecy Act.

    Read more.
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