We are delighted to speak at and host a half day seminar on 2 October with the Compliance Register on the extension to the SMCR.  For details and to book, please contact the Compliance Register.

The Treasury Committee has published its report following its Women in Finance inquiry, which sought to identify the barriers to women entering and progressing in the financial services industry.  It also examined the value to financial firms of having greater gender balance across all job grades and functions. The average gender pay gap in UK […]

MLD5 has now been published in the OJEU. It is dated 30 May and was published on 19 June.  Member States are required to implement it by 10 January 2020.

HM Treasury has published a summary of the submissions received to the call for evidence on problem debt. The call for evidence was issued in October 2017 to gain further insight from the debt advice sector and creditors about how best to design, implement, administer and monitor a six-week breathing space scheme and statutory debt management […]

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published its annual report 2017, in which it describes the work undertaken and its achievements in 2017. The report also includes the EBA’s key areas of focus for 2018. The work undertaken by the EBA and its achievements in 2017 include: finalising  important components of the Single Rulebook and […]

The Council of the EU has agreed a negotiating mandate for progressing the Commission’s proposals on cross-border marketing of funds. It has also published compromise texts based on the Commission’s originals to form the basis for negotiations with the European Parliament.

The PRA has issued PS12/18 and SS5/18, which sets out the PRA’s expectations of a firm’s risk management and governance of algorithmic trading.  The SS applies to all algorithmic trading activities of a firm, including in respect of unregulated financial instruments such as spot foreign exchange.  It should be read in conjunction with other applicable requirements, including […]

The EBA has published a consultation on draft Guidelines supplementing the Regulatory Technical Standards on strong customer authentication published in the OJ in March 2018, and applicable from September 2019. Article 33(6) of the RTS set out the conditions that must be met when an Account Servicing Payment Service Provider (ASPSP) wishes to provide access […]

The Payment Services Regulator (PSR) has published a Discussion Paper (DP18/1) on the use of data in the payments industry. The aim of the discussion paper is to better understand the actions the PSR may need to take in the future around the use of data in payment services. The PSR acknowledges that the UK’s payment sector is growing […]

The European Parliament has voted in plenary session to adopt the so called “EMIR Refit” Regulation. The European Commission has proposed that small financial counterparties (SFCs) should not be subject to the current EMIR clearing obligation where they deal with OTC derivatives at a low volume which would not present a systemic risk to the financial […]

FCA has written a “Dear CEO” letter on the financial crime risks of crypto-assets.  The letter notes the scope for cryptoassets to be used for both criminal purposes and non-criminal purposes that nonetheless present the risk for abuse. The letter sets out what FCA regards as good practice for how banks handle these risks. The letter suggests: that […]

The Council of the EU has agreed measures on criminal sanctions for money laundering offences.  A new Directive will set minimum rules for defining money laundering offences and the criminal sanctions for them. The maximum imprisonment will be only 4 years, with additional civil sanctions possible. The directive also caters for exclusion of legal entities […]

Verena Ross has spoken on progress towards a “genuine” single European financial market, focusing on the role of regulation and supervision. She commented that the EU now has a robust and integrated regulatory framework but stressed the importance of supervision. She discussed the importance of taking the time and effort required for proper implementation and […]

The Bank of England (BoE) has, together with the New Payments System Operator (NSPO) and the Payment System Regulator (PSR), launched a 6 week consultation on the adoption of a common global standard, known as “ISO 20022”, for payments in the UK. The standard will be adopted across the UK’s main interbank payment systems – […]

Nicky Morgan and Andrew Bailey have exchanged letters of the problems customers faced following TSB’s IT migration. The Treasury Committee had asked about the work FCA had done in advance of the planned migration, its assessment of the problems and its views on TSB’s evidence to the Committee and its communications with customers as well […]

FCA has fined Canara Bank £896,100 for failings in its AML systems, and has restricted it from accepting deposits from new customers for 147 days. FCA found that, for a period of over 3 years, the banks failed to maintain adequate systems and did not take sufficient steps to remedy weaknesses that it had been […]

FCA is consulting on draft rules for regulating claims management companies (CMCs) when it acquires regulatory responsibility for them on 1 April 2019. FCA is focussing on 3 key aspects: empowering customers to be confident they have chosen a value-for-money service that is appropriate for their needs; ensuring CMCs get redress for their customers in […]

Lisa Osofsky, former US federal prosecutor, more recently a Managing Director and Head of Investigations for EMEA at Exiger, will become the next Director of SFO. She will take up the post on 3 September.

The Bank of England (BoE) has published its response to the Treasury’s Call for Evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy. The BoE welcomes Treasury’s Call for Evidence. Key points include: the usage of cash is evolving, but there is, and is likely to remain for the foreseeable future, a significant public demand […]

HM Treasury and the Bank of England have announced that Bradley Fried has been appointed as Chair of the Court of the Bank of England, with effect from 1 July 2018. He will replace Sir Anthony Habgood who has been Chair since 2014.

FCA’s latest quarterly consultation proposes the usual minor miscellaneous changes to its Handbook, including; changes to the appointed representatives appointment firm: the changes are spurred on by IDD changes but generally require firms to make a statement that they have complied with their regulatory obligations as principal; the COBS rules for insurance distribution to ensure […]

FCA’s latest Policy Development Update heralds a policy statement on fees and levies rates in July. Otherwise its timetable is quiet, with a policy statement on the MMF Regulation due at some point together with feedback on an increasing number of proposals from quarterly consultations going back 2 years.

ESMA has exercised its product intervention powers under MiFIR to: ban the marketing, distribution or sale or binary options to retail investors from 2 July; and restrict the marketing of CFDs to retail investors from 1 August. The restrictions consist of leverage limits on opening positions, a margin close-out rule and a negative balance protection […]

The FCA has concluded its review into high-cost credit, and based on issues it found has published two consultations: CP18/12 on rent-to-own, home-collected credit, catalogue credit and store cards, and alternatives to high-cost credit, and CP18/13 on arranged and unarranged overdrafts. In the rent-to-own category, which covers hire-purchase and condition sale agreements, it found that […]

The Chief Executive of the Pensions Regulator (TPR), Lesley Titcomb, is stepping down at the end of her four year term in February 2019. Since she became Chief Executive in 2015, TPR has focused on becoming a more visible and proactively engaged regulator with the aim of ensuring that pension scheme members receive the benefits […]

The FOS has published its Annual Review for 2017/2018. Many of the complaints statistics highlight products that are the subject of ongoing regulatory scrutiny and activity: the FOS notes significant increases in complaints in home credit, hiring, leasing and renting, and payday loans: putting to one side PPI, one in four new complaints related to […]

ESMA has published its final guidelines on certain aspects of the MiFID 2 suitability requirements. The guidelines build on their MiFID 1 predecessor, and broaden them to address technological developments such as a the development of robo-advice and take into account supervisory experience and the results of reviews and surveys. The guidelines also include a […]

The FCA has published FG18/4: The FCA’s approach to the review of Part VII insurance business transfers, which sets out the FCA’s key considerations and general expectations when reviewing a Part VII transfer application.  The areas covered by the guidance include: factors and information requirements firms should consider before contacting the FCA documents that firms […]

The FCA has published an event summary describing output from a conference it held in March on Transforming Culture.  Following the conference, and the publication of its Discussion Paper on Transforming Culture in Financial Services, the FCA has identified four key thematic lines of enquiry around which to focus ongoing engagement with the financial services […]

ESMA has updated its FAQs on investor protection and intermediaries under MiFID 2. New questions added in May focus on: best execution: a new question addresses what is meant by “other liquidity provider”; client categorisation: new questions look at when and how a firm can assess whether it can treat an individual private investor as a professional client, […]

ESMA has updated its FAQs on the application of the UCITS Directive. The additions look at how to apply remuneration disclosure requirements to staff or the delegate of a UCITS management company who have been delegated investment management functions.

The FCA has published Handbook Notice No. 55, setting out: the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (Funding Review) Instrument 2018, the Handbook Administration (Data Protection) Instrument 2018, the Insurance Distribution Directive Instrument 2018, and the Supervision Manual (Reporting No 8) Instrument 2018. The Data Protection Instrument sets out administrative changes arising from the implementation of GDPR, […]

BoE, FCA and Treasury have published the progress report on the Fair and Effective Markets Review. It says significant progress has been made towards the recommendations. Key conclusions are that: the work on extending the SMCR will achieve the policy intent of the accountability framework already in place for PRA regulated credit and investment institutions; […]

Parliament has set up a new Committee to consider the Bribery Act. It plans to publish a call for evidence in due course.

Carillion’s rise and spectacular fall was a story of “recklessness, hubris and greed”. Last week, the Work and Pensions Committee and the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee published the final report of their joint inquiry into the collapse of Carillion – a “giant and unsustainable corporate time bomb”. If, as the report states, Carillion […]

OFSI has updated its guidance on reporting to it. There is a legal obligation to report to OFSI: known or suspected breaches of financial sanctions; knowing or suspecting that a person is a designated person; or knowing or suspecting that an entity holds frozen assets where that knowledge or suspicion arises in the course of business. OFSI’s […]

On 23 May, the Data Protection Act 2018 was finally passed into law. The new Act repeals the Data Protection Act 1998, and facilitates the implementation into UK law of the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679, which comes into effect on 25 May. We will be publishing an article in due course that will […]

Lloyd’s has published guidance for non-UK EEA coverholders on the actions they must take to ensure IDD compliance. The guidance focuses on agreement between all parties in the distribution chain on who the product manufacturer is, and the need to document this in the binding authority agreement.  Coverholders that are manufacturers should prepare appropriate IPIDs, […]

Lloyd’s has announced that it has received licence approval from the National Bank of Belgium for Lloyd’s Insurance Company S.A. Post-Brexit, this subsidiary of Lloyd’s will be able to write non-life risks from the EEA, and will be ready to start writing business from 1 January 2019.

The FCA’s Director of Supervision, Jonathan Davidson, has delivered a talk on Building Societies and the Future of Retail Banking at the Building Societies annual conference. In his speech, Jonathan raised the issue of whether the historically low repossession rates was actually a concerning indication: whether forbearance should be offered in cases where the borrower […]

The Treasury Committee has updated its webpage with the written evidence it has received to its digital currencies inquiry, which was launched in February 2018. The Committee received written evidence from a number of interested parties including the FCA and Bank of England.  

The Upper Tribunal has decided that it is reasonable for the Pensions Regulator to require companies from the corporate group of ITV to provide support for the Box Clever Group Pension Scheme. The scheme has 2,800 members and a funding deficit of around £115 million. Box Clever was formed in 2000 as a joint venture […]

Megan Butler has spoken at the AML TechSprint event. She focused on how data and technology can help to detect and disrupt criminal activity and how financial institutions staff can help in the fight against financial crime.  She spoke of the insights into criminal behaviour FCA has gained since it introduced the financial crime return. It […]

The ping pong stage of negotiations of the Sanctions and AML Bill took place as scheduled on 21 May, and the two houses of Parliament agreed the text which received Royal Assent on 23 May.

The first meeting of the UK’s new Cryptoassets Taskforce took place on 21 May 2018. The Taskforce was first announced in April by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the Government’s Fintech Sector Strategy. Senior leaders from the Government and the financial regulators met to agree the Taskforce’s objectives, which include exploring the impact of cryptoassets, […]

The FCA has published a memorandum of understanding (MoU) it has entered with the Insolvency Service (IS). The MoU sets out the agreement between the IS and the FCA that governs the exchange of information to better deliver the objectives of both organisations, in particular, in respect of information relating to misconduct, investigations and enforcement.   […]

The FCA has today published a decision notice in which it has banned a director, Darren Newton, from working in any regulated activity in the financial services sector. The FCA found that Mr Newton had used customers’ money to purchase a debt management firm, First Step Finance Limited. The FCA commented that this “showed a […]

JMLSG has published updates to its guidance in respect of asset finance and syndicated lending.  The guidance: in respect of asset finance, describes the main types of asset finance and discussed when its provision involves regulated activities for the purposes of FSMA. It then sets out key features that can decrease or increase money laundering […]

The European Central Bank (ECB) has published a summary of the responses it received to its second consultation on developing a euro unsecured overnight interest rate. The consultation follows the ECB’s decision to develop a daily euro unsecured overnight interest rate based on data already available to the Eurosystem. The rate is due to be finalised before 2020 and will complement […]

FCA is consulting on guidance for firms setting out what factors under the Consumer Rights Act they should take into account when they are drafting and reviewing variation terms. The draft guidance sets out a list of things FCA says firms should take into account, which would include: how valid the reason for variation is […]

Following its consultation on effective financial management and planning for insurance firms and groups, the PRA has now published its final policy statement PS10/18, and Supervisory Statement SS4/18, ‘Financial management and planning by insurers’. The Supervisory Statement (which has been modified in the light of responses to the consultation) includes a framework for the: development […]

Following our successful seminar on 10th May, read our blog updates.

The NCA and Transparency International have warned of the risks Brexit presents of the UK being used as a vehicle for money launderers and corruption. Responding to the NCA’s identification of the risks, TI said: the UK should speed up plans to introduce a public register of the real owners of overseas companies that buy […]

OFSI has published a list of FAQs for importers and exporters focussing on the application of financial sanctions. It notes the separate regimes and potentially the need for separate licences that may be required from OFSI in relation to financial sanctions and the Export Control Joint Unit for trade sanctions. It notes some key risks […]

The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority has fined Anthony Gale, partner at Maurice Smiths solicitors who was also its compliance officer and MLRO, £10,000 for various conduct failings in relation to a number of mortgages. Mr Gale acted on a number of conveyances at the instruction of third parties without confirming the instructions with the client. The […]

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint about a credit card advertisement broadcast by Intelligent Lending Limited t/a Ocean Finance. The complainant challenged whether the advertisement should have included a representative APR. The radio advertisement, broadcasted in January 2018, stated “Apparently there are still some people who say they don’t want to apply for an Ocean credit […]

HM Treasury has published the response to its September 2017 consultation on the proposed Goods Mortgages Bill and has announced that it is no longer planning to introduce new legislation on this subject at this time. This follows a review of the existing legislation governing creation of security over goods by individuals which began in 2014. In a 2016 report, the Law […]

The Council has formally adopted MLD5 in its meeting of 14 May. The changes to MLD4, already agreed between the Council and Parliament, include: greater transparency of beneficial ownership of companies and trusts; addressing the risks of prepaid cards and virtual currencies; greater cooperation between FIUs; and enhanced checks on transactions involving high-risk countries. The […]

UK Finance, the Financial Data and Technology Association, the Electronic Money Association and techUK have jointly published voluntary guidelines. The guidelines are directed at account servicing payment service providers, account information and payment initiation services and technical service providers. The guidelines seek to increase customer protection in relation to ‘screen scraping’, including by promoting the […]

The Financial Guidance and Claims Act has received Royal Assent. The Act: establishes a single financial guidance body, and sets out its objectives, functions and funding details. It also sets out requirements on regulators to make guidance and permits the making of regulations that ban unsolicited direct marketing relating to pensions and other financial products […]

FCA has confirmed that it will “retire” with immediate effect FG12/15: RDR: independent and restricted advice, and FG14/1: Supervising retail investment advice: inducements and conflicts of interest. It consulted last December on the proposal to do so, as it considers their content has been largely superseded by rule changes, including those implementing MiFID 2.

PRA and FCA have published the first final notice for breach of an Individual Conduct Rule. They have jointly fined James (Jes) Staley £642,430 for breach of Individual Conduct Rule 2 (failure to act with due skill, care and diligence), after he tried to find out who had sent an anonymous letter. The letter claimed […]

The High Court has sanctioned an application by Lloyds Bank PLC, Bank of Scotland PLC and Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets PLC for a ring-fencing scheme. This is the second scheme to come before the courts and be approved, after Barclays Bank plc and Woolwich Plan Managers’ was approved in March. RBS’ scheme has been sanctioned by […]

The Government has published its response to the House of Lords EU Committee Report on financial regulation and supervision after Brexit. It offers assurances that: the UK will continue to lead global standards; the Government is already taking action under the EU Withdrawal Bill to incorporate the acquis. It is working on how to address […]

The “Ping-Pong” stage of the Sanctions and AML Bill will take place on 21 May.

ABI and BIBA have published a set of guiding principles and action points that insurers and brokers should follow, which the associations intend will address some of the issues that currently lead to excessive differences between new and renewal premiums. The principles apply to home, motor and travel insurance, but exclude policies such as pet […]

ESMA has created a new portal for checking the authorisation status of investment firms, trading venues and DRSPs authorised under MiFID 2, UCITS management companies and AIFMs and also funds managed or marketed in the EU.

FCA’s latest Policy Development Update promises over the next couple of months the overdue feedback on fees and levies policy proposals with consultation on rates proposals.  No dates are set for any other key papers.

FCA has published its interim report into the mortgage market. Although it is pleased with how competition is working to the benefit of many people, it has made some suggestions for improvement.  It found that there are generally high levels of choice for consumers and that consumers engage with their options, with evidence of switching […]

Transparency International has welcomed a cross-party amendment to the Sanctions and AML Bill that will require all British Overseas Territories to introduce public registered to reveal the individuals behind companies formed in their jurisdictions. If they do not do so, a draft Order in Council should be prepared no later than the end of 2020 […]

NCA is to conduct a pre-investigative evidential review into allegations of fraud, money laundering and corruption in relation to the business of the then HBOS Impaired Assets Division in London and the South East, that went wider than the investigation which resulted in prosecutions last year.

Treasury has made the Insurance Distribution (Regulated Activities and Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2018 and laid it before Parliament on 1 May. The Order makes changes, mainly to the RAO, to reflect the changes to the regulatory perimeter consequent on IDD implementation and will fully come into force on 1 October. The main changes generally update […]

In support of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, the FCO has published out a Policy Note which describes the government’s intended approach to: licensing applications in relation to asset freezes, including how it intends to deal with applications it can foresee, general licenses and common grounds for application; maintaining a similar framework to the current one […]

The Bank of England has announced that the New Payment System Operator Limited (NPSO) has taken over responsibility for the Bacs and Faster Payment retail payment systems.  This consolidation is the result of work by both the Bank of England and the Payment Systems Regulator. The objective is to develop the capability and capacity of […]

The FCA has published its second annual report setting out responses from wholesale banking firms to the FCA’s conduct question set.  The FCA notes that the second report indicates progress has been made from the time when 5 Conduct Questions were first introduced, in 2015. The FCA indicates that they intend to extend the 5 […]

Following its consultation in 2017, the FCA has now published its final rules on reformed FSCS funding.  These rules will take effect from April 2019. Additionally the FCA has opened a consultation on draft rules relating to Professional Indemnity Insurance requirements for Personal Investment Firms, CP 18/11.  The proposed rules will require that policies do […]

BEIS is consulting on reforms to the laws governing Scottish Limited Partnerships to address the illegitimate uses to which some SLPs have been put. The Government has found evidence that SLPs have been exploited by money launderers, including one scheme that used over 100 SLPs to move up to $80bn. The proposals include introducing safeguards […]

Treasury has published its response to its consultation on cheque imaging. It received 15 responses, and engaged with 4 other institutions. All agreed that a copy of a cheque should be made available to customers on request, and most agreed that no cheque user should be left out of pocket as a result of any […]

FCA has published the final list of the most representative services linked to a payment account and subject to a fee for the purposes of the Payment Accounts Regulations. Firms will have to use the terminology from 31 October. There are 15 defined services: maintaining the account arranged overdraft unarranged overdraft refusing a payment due […]

PRA has published a policy and supervisory statement setting out its expectation of the model risk management practices firms should adopt when using stress test models. It expects firms to apply the principles proportionately, with the larger firms applying them in full. The principles require banks: to have an established definition of a model, and […]

Ahead of its adoption, the Council and Parliament text of MLD5 was published on 26 April. After formal adoption it will need to be published in the Official Journal, and it will come into force 18 months after that. Austria and the Commission both expressed disappointment that the transparency provisions were not more onerous.

The European Commission has updated its website with notices on plans for Brexit in several industry sectors including financial services. The latest news reports a request from the Commission and Treasury to the ECB and BoE to convene a technical working group on risk management in the transition period. There are also some terms of […]

FCA (in one case together with FOS) has made several instruments amending the Handbook. Changes include: changes to FEES (from 1 April) to ensure better mapping of tariff data and that Directive and non-Directive insurers are treated consistently. Further change creates a new fee-block for consumer credit lending as a mechanism for collecting the levy for […]

Michel Barnier has spoken to Eurofi. He described Brexit as a lose-lose situation, with no added value.  He said: there can be no frictionless trade outside the Customs Union and Single Market so businesses will be faced with barriers and checks that are not in place today and this will have an impact on value […]

Andrew Bailey has given a regulatory perspective on asset management. His speech considered: market-wide risks: he looked at the growth in the asset management sector and particularly the increase in proportionate growth of the asset management sector over others. open-ended funds: he considered the risks of funds offering daily redemption in illiquid assets which also […]

In a recent speech, Vice-President of the EC, Valdis Dombrovskis, warned of the consequences arising from the fact that the transition period agreed at a European level was part of the overall future withdrawal agreement.  Therefore, if finalisation of the withdrawal agreement was compromised due to issues such as the Irish border and governance of […]

The FCA has published a speech by its Chief Executive, Andrew Bailey, in which he spoke about open markets through the prism of Brexit, including the prospects and reasons for a transition period and what the steady-state future could look like. Bailey highlighted the paramount need for financial stability and argued that this would be […]

FATF has updated on recent discussions with the FinTech and RegTech sectors. It has recently focused on: using digital IDs for CDD. Institutions increasingly use this, and discussions focused on whether there is any need for change or clarification in the FATF recommendations to support the practice; and the regulatory landscape for crypto-assets. Participants stressed […]

The European Commission has reported that consumers still face some obstacles when trying to compare investment funds, life insurance or personal pensions. The report finds that recent EU measures, such as MiFID 2 and the PRIIPs Regulation, should help, but that consumers find a great variance in costs for similar product categories cross-border. It also says most consumers […]

Peter Wyman’s report on a review of debt advice funding has been published. The report makes several recommendations, including: face-to-face advice should still be widely available but there should be general and phased shifts by free-to-client providers from face-to-face to phone and then to webchat; free-to-client providers should commit to 20% efficiency savings over the next 2 financial years, […]

Robert Barrington, Executive Director of Transparency International, has written to David Green at the SFO warning that DPAs, while a useful tool that TI supports must nevertheless be used properly, so as not to become a “soft option” for those guilty of corruption. TI is concerned that discounted DPA settlements will give that impression. The […]

As part of the proposed process of transferring the regulation of Claims Management Companies to the FCA, HM Treasury is consulting on draft regulations  that will form part of a final statutory instrument creating a new framework of regulation for Claims Management Companies (CMCs). The draft regulations set out the proposed permissions that CMCs will […]

Barclays has confirmed that FCA and PRA have issued draft warning notices in respect of their investigations into the the bank and its group CEO Jes Staley in respect of an attempt by Mr Staley to identify the author of an anonymous letter. The regulators propose a fine for breach of Individual Conduct Rule 2 […]

Philip Hammond is to use the G7 and IMF meetings in Washington this week to call for: international agreement on denying North Korea access to finance. He wants all jurisdictions to push their banks and insurance companies to be more alert to spotting new methods of deception that attempt to bypass restrictions; and the IMF to target global corruption. He […]

FCA has updated its website on pre-application stages for firms wishing to become authorised. The changes focus on what asset managers should consider.

HM Treasury and the US Treasury Department have announced the formation of a Financial Regulatory Working Group, to formalise engagement on bilateral regulatory cooperation. The group is scheduled to meet twice a year

Following its vote to approve MLD5, the EP has now published the provisional version of the approved text.

FCA has created a new page on its website explaining the basic advice regime under MiFID 2 and the IDD. It explains it needed to update its guidance to firms to explain the impact of these pieces of legislation. In particular, it addresses how it needed to apply some MiFID 2 requirements (or “at least […]

The latest complaints data from FCA shows 3.76m complaints were received by firms in the second half of 2017. This is a significant increase on the previous half year, with 1.55 million complaints relating to PPI – 40% more than the previous half year and the highest level for over 4 years. Similarly, firms paid […]

FCA has written a “Dear CEO” letter on irredeemable preference shares and similar instruments. FCA is looking to ensure investors have all the information they need to assess the risks and rewards of certain fixed income shares and is particularly concerned about those described or implied in some way to be permanent. It therefore wants […]