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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 Jurisdiction Taskforce Publishes Consultation on Transfer of Digital Assets

    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.

    Read more.
  • UK Government Publishes Financial Services and Markets Bill

    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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  • UK Treasury Committee Makes Recommendation for Future Regulatory Framework Review

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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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    ATTORNEYS : Thomas DoneganChloe Barrowman
    TOPIC : FinTech
  • European Supervisory Authorities Publish Report on Digital Finance

    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

    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

    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

    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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    ATTORNEYS : Chloe BarrowmanThomas Donegan
    TOPIC : FinTech
  • Law Commission Confirms England and Wales Law Can Accommodate Smart Contracts
    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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    ATTORNEYS : Chloe BarrowmanThomas Donegan
    TOPIC : FinTech
  • Bank of England and HM Treasury Announce Next Steps for UK Central Bank Digital Currency

    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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    ATTORNEYS : Chloe BarrowmanThomas Donegan
    TOPIC : FinTech
  • UK Government Sets out Key Actions to Secure Its Vision for Payments

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    Read more.
    TOPIC : FinTech
  • Kalifa Review of UK Fintech Published

    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

    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

    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

    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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  • European Supervisory Authorities Publish Joint Response on Proposed EU Digital Operational Resilience Act

    The European Supervisory Authorities (the European Securities and Markets Authority, the European Banking Authority and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority) have published a letter to the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission, setting out responses to the proposed EU Digital Operational Resilience Act, a new piece of EU regulation on digital operational resilience for the financial sector. The European Commission first published the draft DORA in September 2020. It forms part of the European Commission's digital finance strategy, which aims to embrace digital finance for the benefit of consumers and businesses while ensuring digital transformation is soundly regulated. The DORA is particularly focused on combatting risks arising from information and communication technologies in order to protect operational resilience and the performance of the financial system.

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    TOPIC : FinTech
  • European Commission Calls for Advice on Digital Finance from European Supervisory Authorities

    The European Commission has published a call for advice on digital finance and related issues from the three European Supervisory Authorities (the European Securities and Markets Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Banking Authority). The call for advice is in line with the Commission's 2020 digital finance strategy, which set out the Commission's intention to review existing financial services frameworks to protect consumers and the integrity of EU financial sectors.

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    TOPIC : FinTech
  • UK Government Proposes Extending Regulatory Perimeter to Capture Stablecoins

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

    Read more.
  • International Report on Educating Retail Investors about Crypto-Assets

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

    View IOSCO's report on investor education of crypto-assets
  • UK Financial Conduct Authority Establishes Temporary AML Registration Regime for Crypto-Asset Businesses

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has established a temporary registration regime for crypto-asset businesses that were operating in the U.K. prior to January 10, 2020. The regime will allow crypto-asset firms to continue providing services in the U.K., notwithstanding that they have not yet been registered with the FCA.

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  • Global Financial Innovation Network Invites Applications for First Cross-Border Testing

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has announced that it will be one of the 23 regulators participating in the cross-border testing initiative launched by the Global Financial Innovation Network. The other regulators involved are Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), Alberta Securities Commission (ASC), Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA), Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), Bank of Lithuania (LB), Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC), Capital Markets Authority (CMA, Kenya), Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), Central Bank of United Arab Emirates (CB UAE), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), Financial Services Commission Taiwan (FSC Taiwan), Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC), Hong Kong Insurance Authority (HKIA), Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (HKSFC), Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC), Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

    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 facilitating cross-border trials of emerging technologies across global jurisdictions (a global sandbox). GFIN has opened applications from firms to test innovative financial products, services or business models across more than one country or jurisdiction, and applications should be submitted by December 31, 2020.

    View the GFIN cross-border testing site.

    View the FCA's announcement.
    TOPIC : FinTech
  • ISDA Publishes Papers on Legal Issues for Smart Contracts and Distributed Ledger Technology

    The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, in conjunction with certain law firms, has published a series of papers analyzing key legal issues for smart contracts and distributed ledger technology across four jurisdictions: France, Ireland, Japan and New York. These are in addition to the papers covering England and Wales and Singapore, which ISDA published in January 2020.

    Read more.
    TOPIC : FinTech
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes Final Recommendations on Global Stablecoins

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

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  • Bank for International Settlements Report on Central Bank Digital Currencies

    The Bank for International Settlements, together with seven central banks (Bank of Canada, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, Sveriges Riksbank, Swiss National Bank, Bank of England and Board of Governors Federal Reserve System) has released a report on the principles and core features of central bank digital currencies. The central banks concerned do not give any opinions on whether they intend to issue CBDCs. Instead, the report sets out three key principles for a hypothetical CBDC, namely: (i) that it should do no harm to central banks' public policy objectives or interfere with financial stability; (ii) that it should complement existing forms of central bank money; and (iii) that it should promote innovation and efficiency, to deter users from adopting other, less safe instruments or currencies.

    Read more.
    TOPIC : FinTech
  • UK Conduct Regulator Bans Sale to Retail Clients of Derivatives Referencing Crypto-Assets from January 2021

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

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

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  • EU Report on the Potential for a Digital Euro

    The European Central Bank has published a report by the Eurosystem High-Level Task Force on a digital euro. The digital euro would be a form of central bank digital currency. No decision has been taken yet to issue a digital euro. The report sets out the reasons for having a digital euro, the potential impact of a digital euro, legal considerations, functional design possibilities and technical and operational approaches to digital euro services. A consultation on the potential launch of a digital euro is expected in October 2020.

    The Bank of England issued a discussion paper in March 2020 on the opportunities, challenges and design of a potential U.K. CBDC. The ECB and the BoE are two of the central banks that are investigating the potential of CBDCs. Other central banks include the Bank of Canada, the Bank of Japan, the Sveriges Riksbank, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank for International Settlements.

    View the ECB's report on a digital euro.
  • European Commission Sets Out EU Digital Finance Strategy

    The European Commission has published a Communication on its EU digital finance strategy for the coming years. The global economy has been transformed by digital innovation, and this includes financial services. The Commission's strategic objective is to embrace digital finance for the benefit of consumers and businesses while ensuring digital transformation is soundly regulated. To achieve this objective, the Commission sets out four priorities for the digital transformation of the EU financial sector over the next four years and the actions it will take to achieve them.

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    TOPICS : COVID-19FinTech
  • European Commission Proposal for Pilot Distributed Ledger Technology Regime Regulation

    The European Commission has published a proposal for a new EU Regulation on a pilot regime for distributed ledger technology. The pilot regime is intended to promote legal certainty, to support innovation, to preserve market integrity and to ensure financial stability for the use of DLT in crypto-asset and e-money token markets. The Commission has simultaneously published a proposed Regulation on markets in crypto-assets and e-money tokens. The proposed Regulations follow the Commission's consultation on an EU framework for crypto-assets, which closed in January 2020.

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    TOPICS : Cyber SecurityFinTech
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