Author Archives: Andrew Barber
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 The draft guidance sets out a list of things FCA says firms should take into account, which would include: how valid the reason for variation is […]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 our successful seminar on 10th May, read our blog updates.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
The Bank of England has announced that TransferWise, an FCA-regulated non-bank PSP has joined Faster Payments as a direct participant. This is the first non-bank PSP to join a UK payment system settling in central bank money. BoE, FCA and the Payment Systems Regulator all heralded the development.
FCA has clarified its views on the regulation of cryptocurrency derivatives. It has previously explained that cryptocurrencies are, of themselves, not regulated although they may be part of other regulated products or services. Cryprocurrency derivatives, though, may be financial instruments for the purpose of MiFID 2. FCA says those who deal, arrange deals in, advise […]
Please join us for our Fintech and Insurtech Forum in London on 10 May. An expert panel will discuss the latest blockchain trends and breakthroughs. Attendance is free and you can register via our website.
The Court of Appeal has recently upheld the judgements of lower courts in a case where a loan was entered into on the express representation from the borrower that the property would not be used as a residence. When the borrower defaulted, it sought to argue that, despite having completed a question on the application […]
A paper published by the Whitechapel Think Tank, supported by UK Finance, looks at how technology can help the safe validation of identity and verification. It examines how distributed ledger technology can provide a decentralised and secure approach to validating identity and how this could benefit financial services providers and consumers.
FCA has reported that the defendants in its case against Capital Alternatives have been ordered to pay compensation and that it has obtained new undertakings from or injunctions against some of the defendants to protect against the risk of dissipating or diminishing assets.
The Department for Exiting the EU has published a draft Withdrawal Agreement following the conclusion of a key set of negotiations. David Davis and Michel Barnier both welcomed the progress. Mr Davis heralded the agreement, which provides (among other things) that international agreements that arise as a result of the UK’s membership of the EU will […]
In its latest meeting, the Financial Policy Committee focused on: the outlook for UK financial stability generally: it thought these were standard, excepting the Brexit risks, with risks from global vulnerability still being material. Risks from certain markets in the US and in China are elevated, but there seems to be some sign of increasing […]
FCA has updated on its work reviewing the motor finance sector. So far, it has drawn several comforting conclusions, including around general default rates. But the 3% of customers who have the lowest credit ratings have higher arrears and default rates. It also notes that commission arrangements could lead to dealers arranging more expensive than […]
Treasury has published a call for evidence on the role of cash and digital payments in the new economy. It asks for views by 5 June to help it explore how it can support digital payments, support transition from cash economies while maintaining support for cash payments for that that need it, and of course […]
The Payment Systems Regulator’s annual report says 2017 was a record-breaking year for new participants, and it expects many more PSPs to join in 2018. Its early projections suggest 11 PSPs could become direct participants in CHAPS, Faster Payments and Bacs during the year, as opposed to 4 new joiners in 2016. It also reports […]
The European Commission has published an action plan aimed at making Europe a global hub for Fintech. The plan is to make markets safer and easier for new players to access while enabling the financial sector to make use of new technologies. It wants to encourage a cross-border infrastructure for blockchain but using pilot projects. […]
FCA has provided an update on its work on product governance in small and medium sized retail banks. Its recent review looked at 2 year fixed rate savings products and how firms’ product governance frameworks help them to identify and manage the ongoing conduct risks of their products. It specifically wanted to assess how firms […]
FCA has written a Dear CEO letter to firms that enter into regulated second charge mortgage contracts, asking them to review their lending processes and confirm to FCA that the firm is acting responsibly when lending and has systems, processes and controls to ensure this. FCA is worried, following a review it carried out to […]
The Treasury Committee is concerned at evidence RBS has provided to it that indicates that 75% of current RBS restructuring employees previously worked in the GRG. Nicky Morgan said that although Ross McEwen, RBS Chief Executive, had assured the Committee that the culture in the current Restructuring group is fundamentally different to that of the […]
Treasury has announced an inquiry into the role of digital currencies in the UK. It will look at DLT and its potential impact on financial institutions and the infrastructure, and will look at the regulatory response to date.
The Bank of England has published a report on its supervision of financial market infrastructures (FMI). The report measures performance against its 2017 annual report, as well as looking ahead. The report: Defines FMIs and their importance; Explains BoE’s supervisory role and BoE’s interaction with national and international regulators; Reports on BoE’s supervision over the […]
The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), has published a guide on the impact of Brexit on wholesale financial services contracts. The guide takes the form of FAQs and is intended to help clients of banks in understanding how cross-border relationships will be affected by the UK’s decision to leave the EU and, by […]
FCA has published a “Dear CEO” letter setting out its comments on the quality of prudential returns. It is concerned that a significant number of firms are submitting returns that contain inaccurate or incomplete data and, as a result, feels it needs to ask CEOs of IFPRU and BIPRU firms to review their firms’ regulatory […]
An illegal money lender has been sentenced to imprisonment of 3.5 years for offences under FSMA and the CCA. In addition to bringing the successful prosecution against Dharam Gopee, FCA also successfully obtained a Serious Crime Prevention Order against him. Mr Gopee was refused a consumer credit licence by the OFT and did not get […]
ESMA has updated its Q&As on transparency and market structure issues under MiFID 2. The latest additions cover pre-trade transparency waivers.
Following a Feedback Statement in which FCA identified key areas of concern in the high-cost credit sector, it has published an update on the work undertaken since the July 2017 publication. This presents an emerging picture for intervention in some markets, but equally a limitation on what can be achieved through traditional regulatory intervention. The […]
FCA has published a “Dear CEO” letter emphasising the work required to combat authorised push payment (APP) fraud. This follows the Which? super-complaint in September 2017, and the Payment Systems Regulator’s response in November. FCA explains combating APP fraud and financial crime in general is a priority articulated in its 2017/2018 Business Plan. FCA hopes […]
FCA has published a statement following concerns raised about the performance scenarios in the PRIIPs KID. Some firms have noted that occasionally this information may appear to optimistic and risk misleading consumers. FCA says that where a manufacturer is worried the scenarios in their KID are too optimistic, it may provide explanatory materials to put […]
FCA has opened a consultation on plans to provide more small businesses with access to FOS. The changes proposed would allow FOS complaints redress to approximately 16,000 SMEs, charities and trusts, by changing the eligibility criteria to access FOS. Under the proposals, eligible businesses would be those that satisfy the following criteria: Under 50 employees; […]
AFME has published a revised post-trade due diligence questionnaire to help global custodians. The new version harmonises and simplifies the DD process and now includes 20 additional questions to the original 2016 questionnaire.
PRA is consulting on changes to its Supervisory Statement 9/13 to reflect its expectations for reporting in the minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities. It seeks comments by 9 April.
Charles Randell CBE has been appointed the new chair of FCA and the PSR with effect from 1 April.
FCA has updated its consultation paper on its proposals for rules to help customers in persistent credit card debt. The revised proposals follow feedback on its April consultation. Respondents were in favour of FCA’s proposals in principle and it has now done a new analysis of the costs to business of its remedies – the […]
The Commission has recognised a number of trading venues in the US, Australia and Hong Kong as equivalent for the purposes of the MiFID 2/ MiFIR share trading obligation. This follows publication in the OJEU of the decision of equivalence in relation to certain US swaps markets.
FCA has written a Dear CEO letter, expressing its concerns on the continued practice of “payment for order flow”. Despite FCA having criticised the practice in the past, it is aware that many brokers are still doing it, and are devising strategies to get round the even stricter MiFID 2 restrictions. FCA warns firms that […]
EBA has published its final guidelines on security measures for operational and security risks of payment services required by PSD2. The guidelines require PSPs to have in place: an effective operational and security risk management framework processes to detect, prevent and monitor potential security breaches and threats risk assessment procedures regular testing processes to raise […]
The latest edition of Market Watch looks at: a reminder that an investment firm’s transaction report must reflect the transaction from its own perspective, reporting its immediate counterparty or client (whether or not subject to MiFIR). Whether to report at block or allocation level depends on what the immediate counterparty confirms as “executions” a reminder […]
FCA has published its final rules to require personal and business current account providers to publish information that will help comparison of services from different providers. The rules, which will create a new chapter in BCOBS, require providers to publish details of: services, helplines and their availability contact details for help, including 24 hour helplines time needed to […]
Treasury has announced it is to offer financial support for the development of an application to allow those who rent properties to record and share their rent payment data, with a view to this helping them to improve their credit scores. It is inviting bids to its “Rent Recognition Challenge”, which will open to applications […]
The decision to consider the legal and supervisory framework of the USA applicable to designated contract markets and swap execution facilities as equivalent to MiFIR standards under MiFIR has been published in the OJEU. The Annex to the decision names over 20 markets which are equivalent to EU trading venues.
BEIS has published guidance on the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012. New rules come into force on 13 January 2018 as a result of PSD2 that ban surcharges on a wide range of transactions, while limiting them in others. PSD2 bans merchants from charging a fee on the basis of a consumer’s choice of payment […]
Megan Butler has spoken on assessing the value of financial advice. She spoke of the growing importance of financial advice as increasing numbers of people need help making “sense” of their choices. Recent FCA studies have shown that, in 2015, 93.1% of advice on investments, pension accumulation and retirement outcomes was suitable. This figure was […]
The European Commission has finally adopted the RTS under PSD2 on strong customer authentication (SCA) and common and secure open standards of communication. The key purpose of the RTS is to create stringent security procedures to reduce payment fraud levels and protect confidential data. The key requirement is for at least two independent elements in […]
The Law Commission has published its final report on the Goods Mortgages Bill. This marks the end of a project that started in 2014, aimed at addressing the problems the outdated Bills of Sale Acts cause for borrowers, purchasers and lenders engaging in logbook loans. The particular problems the new Bill seeks to address are: […]
We’ve written a briefing on recent regulatory warnings about ICOs, and how they may fall within the UK’s regulatory perimeter.
At the Westminster Business Forum on retail banking and payments, Karina McTeague, Director of Retail Banking Supervision, delivered a speech on the regulatory priorities in the retail banking sector. She explained FCA’s priorities as articulated in its business plan, and said all have application to retail banking. FCA is looking closely at how retail banks […]
FCA has fined Paul Walter, a bond trader formerly with Bank of America Merrill Lynch International, £60,090 for market abuse. It found Mr Walter created a false and misleading impression about the supply and demand in the market for Dutch State Loans, and did so 12 times in summer 2014. Mr Walter had entered a […]
Following ESMA’s recent warnings to consumers and firms on the dangers of participation in initial coin offerings (ICOs), FCA has continued the regulatory focus on cryptocurrencies by issuing a consumer warning about contracts for differences (CFDs) with cryptocurrencies. CFDs are financial instruments that allow investors to speculate on the price of an asset, and CFDs are […]
ESMA has become the latest body to denounce initial coin offerings (ICOs), issuing statements directed at investors and firms highlighting the distinct risks involved. Echoing FCA’s previous warnings , ESMA has focused on the risks of investors to losing all their invested capital, and firms conducting ICOs potentially also carrying on regulated investment activities. Investors are […]
At FCA’s latest board meeting, it made a new guide, the MiFID 2 Guide (to be known as M2G). The Guide takes the form of regulatory guidance under FSMA. FCA had consulted on the guide, which comprises two sections, each setting out how FCA has transposed MiFID 2 and signposting the derivations and context of […]
The Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) has a denied a request for an extension of time to a Mr Stephen Cooper, who had challenged his identification in an FCA decision notice against WH Ireland Limited, outside the 28 day statutory period, on the basis that the reasons contained in the notice were prejudicial to […]
The Lords’ EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee has written to the Chancellor calling for an urgent agreement on a post-Brexit “standstill” transition point for the financial services sector. Baroness Falkner said the industry has repeatedly warned it cannot continue to service cross-border clients after 2019 if a transition period is not agreed by the end of […]
The Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) has upheld FCA’s decision to cancel the permission of Larksway Investments (an insurance broker), following non-compliance with a FOS award. FOS had upheld a complaint against Larksway in relation to a claim on a specialist landlord’s insurance policy, which Larksway was required to comply with promptly under DISP. […]
FCA’s latest Policy Development Update promises, before the end of the year: policy proposals for regulatory fees and levies policy statement on the second consultation on FAMR implementation policy statement on IDD consultation CP17/33 feedback on certain parts of occasional consultation and quarterly consultations
BrightHouse, a rent-to-own company providing household goods to customers on hire purchase agreements, has committed to pay over £14.8 million to 249,000 customers following engagement with FCA. In 2014, FCA had identified BrightHouse’s processes relating to lending application affordability assessment and collections did not always produce good outcomes for customers. In response, the firm has worked to […]
The Treasury Committee has launched a new inquiry into the UK’s economic relationship with the EU, which amongst other things will consider: Transitional arrangements; Preparedness for ‘no deal’; and The long-term economic relationship. The inquiry is now open, and is accepting written submissions. The first evidence session (to be held 25 October) will focus on the progress […]
In line with its 2017/18 Business Plan, FCA has begun its thematic review of the debt management sector. FCA has taken a particular interest in this sector, owing to the increased risks faced by (particularly vulnerable) consumers where firms fail to meet their needs. In 2014, FCA declared that debt management firms needed to “raise their game” if they […]
The Commission has published its formal request to the ESAs to report to it on the cost and past performance of the main categories of retail investment, insurance and pension products. It notes the reporting should be based on what is required under key EU legislation, and appreciates the amount of work is such that […]
Following the controversy of FCA’s refusal to publish the skilled persons’ report into the treatment of customers in the RBS Global Restructuring Group and its correspondence with the Treasury Committee on the issue, Andrew Bailey has now agreed to the Treasury Committee’s proposal to scrutinise the report. Under the proposal, the Treasury Committee will appoint a […]
ESMA has announced the launch of the second phase of its Financial Instrument Reference Database (FIRDS). It provides access to reference data that will eventually allow market participants to identify instruments subject to the MAR and MiFID 2/MiFIR reference data reporting requirements.
BoE has updated its MoU on resolution planning and crisis management between it, the PRA and Treasury. The MoU clearly sets out the duties of each entity and was last updated in April.
The Bank of England (BoE) has confirmed an implementation date of 23 April 2018 for reforms to the Sterling Overnight Index Average (SONIA) interest rate benchmark. The March 2017 reforms will result in the following changes: BoE taking on the end-to-end administration, including calculation and publication of SONIA; the coverage of SONIA being broadened to […]
FCA has published several new and updated pages on its website with new application forms for firms making applications under PSD2. The updates cover payment institutions, e-money institutions and account information service providers.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published final guidelines on the procedure for payment service users and other interested parties to submit complaints against PSPs in respect of alleged infringements of PSD2. The guidelines specify the information competent authorities (CAs) must request from complainants and the information CAs should use in their response to complaints. CAs are now […]
The Bond Dickinson financial services team is delighted to have achieved a Legal 500 ranking. The new directory described the team as providing ‘responsive, practical, commercial and cost-effective’ advice to a wide variety of clients within the retail sector of the financial services industry. It says that “‘Very knowledgeable’ team head Andrew Barber has ‘in-depth […]
The ECON in the EP has voted to harmonise the bail-in hierarchy by supporting the Commission proposal for a new category of “non-preferred” senior class of debt instruments in line with the TLAC standard. The instruments cannot be a derivative or have any derivative component, and will sit between senior liabilities and own funds instruments […]
ESMA has published a set of Q&As on post-trading issues under MiFID 2 and MiFIR. There is currently only one question, on rules for straight-through processing.
In a bid to bolster the capital’s reputation for financial and legal services post-Brexit, the City of London Corporation (CLC) has announced its backing for the development of a new court complex on Fleet Street to replace all of the City’s current court services except the Old Bailey. The space will provide for 18 courtrooms and focus […]
Andrew Hauser, Executive Director for Banking, Payments and Financial Resilience, has commented on the work of BoE’s FinTech Accelerator programme since its launch in June 2016. The programme sought to improve BoE’s understanding of FinTech products and firms, and also to give these firms an insight into the questions and needs central banks might have, […]
PRA is consulting on changes to its large exposures rules to provide: enhanced guidance on application of criteria for core UK group and non-core LE group permissions; changing the non-core LE group calibration basis for firms that have both permissions; and changing how the non-core permission applies at UK consolidated group level. Consultation closes on […]
The PRA has outlined proposals on groups policy and double leverage in its latest consultation paper. Groups policy speaks to the distinction between individual legal entities (and the particular jurisdiction they are in) and the broader multi-jurisdictional banking groups of which they form a part, and the difficulties inherent in the PRA regulating both. Groups policy is […]
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has today published its annual work programme in which it announced its strategic priorities for next year and beyond. EBA comments on the Commission’s legislative programme for the year, involving a review of the CRR and BRRD developments and the consequences of the BCBS’ revision of the trading book; the implementation […]
Sam Woods, speaking at Mansion House, commented on what he predicts to be an increasingly prevailing dynamic in financial institutions and financial regulation. Geofinance is the impact of geography on how banks, insurers and regulators operate, and Woods remarks that it “is likely to be the defining challenge of the next few years.” Woods stated “stability begins at home” […]
FOS has published feedback to its consultation on changes to the time limits for PPI complaints. It merely confirms the amendment to the Voluntary Jurisdiction in line with FCA’s changes to the Compulsory Jurisdiction. The relevant instrument took effect at the end of August.
FCA has published an undertaking from PPRO Financial Limited to make changes to its prepaid card terms and conditions. The Dutch AFM had referred the matter to FCA after it received complaints from customers under the “Consumer Protection Cooperation Directive). As a result, FCA carried out an investigation and found several problems, as a result […]
PRA has published an update on its expectations on firms when they use the IRB approach.
PRA has refined its Pillar 2A capital framework from 1 January 2018 as part of its SREP reviews. It has published a new policy statement and update to its supervisory statement with instructions for reporting.
PRA has published changes to its reporting requirements relating to the leverage ratio, to apply to firms’ reporting and disclosure requirements from end of December 2017 onwards. The changes require banks to exclude from the calculation of total exposure measure those assets which are claims on central banks which are matched by deposits in the […]
FCA has updated on its work looking at how firms are advising customers on defined benefit pension transfers. It had noted the risks that many firms refer their customers to specialist transfer firms. FCA is concerned these transfer firms sometimes give advice without considering the receiving scheme or investments, or knowing the intentions of the […]
PRA has published a statement of policy on its approach to setting its minimum requirements for eligible liabilities and own funds (MREL). The statement explains PRA’s approach in relation to going- and gone-concern resources, and its expectations on different size of firms.
FCA has updated its website to provide a set of new pages on PSD2. The pages aim to help firms that are: currently regulated as payment service providers currently excluded from regulation under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 or providing services that will fall under regulation for the first time as a result of PSD2.
ESMA has published its final draft RTS implementing the trading obligation under MiFIR. The standards, part of the move to make OTC trading in liquid derivatives take place on organised venues, covers interest rate swaps and credit default swaps. ESMA has decided to make the following products subject to the trading obligation: Fixed-to-float interest rate […]
ESMA and the national regulators in EU member states have updated their work plan for the opinions MiFID 2 requires on pre-trade transparency waivers and position limits. Around 700 of the former and 110 of the latter opinions need to be issued, so there is a plan to ensure they can be implemented pending the […]
FPC has reviewed developments since its last meeting on 21 June and assess the outlook for UK financial stability. Its conclusion was that ‘overall risks to UK financial stability from the domestic environment are broadly unchanged at a standard level’, though risks of greater vulnerabilities may loom on the horizon. The headline statements were as follows: internationally, market […]
PSR published its initial findings following its investigation into authorised push payment scams at the end of 2016. It plans to publish a progress report in November, with its thoughts on the next steps.
FCA has published an Occasional Paper looking at the ageing population and financial services. FCA’s research has found there is a risk that the financial services needs of older people are not being fully met, and thinks there is potential for firms to do more to help them. It has identified several issues which will […]
FSCS has announced a new agreement with banks and building societies, supported by industry associations, that will lead to institutions using the “FSCS protected” badge consistently across website, mobile banking apps and customer information sheets. The banks and building societies have 18 months to make necessary changes.
The Commission has proposed a package of reforms to further develop the CMU. The package comprises: EU-wide supervisory priorities set by the ESAs, which will also take a greater role in supervising the work of national regulators – in particular in checking how they allow market participants to outsource functions to third countries direct capital […]
The FCA has today published its long awaited policy statement and approach document on the implementation of PSD2. The Policy Statement confirms changes to the Handbook and Approach Document guidance, and new non-Handbook directions for excluded firms, to reflect PSD2 and the PSRs 2017. This follows the two consultations the FCA issued in April (CP17/11) and July (CP17/22). FCA has made some […]
FCA has responded to Nicky Morgan’s letter about the leaking of a s166 report on RBS’ treatment of customers in its global restructuring group. Andrew Bailey has reiterated that FCA does not think it is in the public interest to publish the full report, and that it plans to publish a detailed summary. Nicky Morgan […]
ESMA has updated its FAQs on MiFID 2 and MiFIR market structures. The updates relate to access to CCPs and trading venues and address timings of notifications and applications for exemptions by trading venues.
In a Dear CEO Letter, the FCA explains that it recently undertook a review of how consumer credit firms approach and deal with customer complaints. FCA reviewed data, final response letters and website information on complaints from a range of consumer credit firms. FCA found examples of good practice to the benefit of consumers but also found material non-compliance […]
The FCA has today made a statement on Initial Coin Offerings or ‘ICOs’. The FCA has said that ICOs, which can vary widely in design, are ‘very high-risk, speculative investments.’ They went further to say that ‘whether an ICO falls within the FCA’s regulatory boundaries or not can only be decided case by case.’ The […]