Category Pensions

UK pension plan gets fraud victory in US

We have written an article on the litigation involving a UK pension plan and a US entity in which it had invested. The pension plan alleged securities fraud on the part of the investee company, and succeeded in winning compensation for investors.

FCA proposes new rules on disclosing administration charges and transaction costs for personal pension schemes

The FCA is consulting on new rules to require scheme governance bodies to publish and disclose information about administration charges and transaction costs to members of personal pension schemes. Similar provisions in respect of workplace occupational pension schemes came into force in April 2018. FCA rules have required asset managers to report transaction costs and other […]

Insurance MoUs agreed between BoE, FCA, EIOPA and EU supervisors

The UK supervisory authorities have agreed memoranda of understanding with European counterparts, to facilitate the coordinated supervision of insurance entities in the event of a no-deal Brexit.  The MoUs cover supervisory cooperation, enforcement, information exchange and mutual assistance.

EU agrees draft directive to enhance consumer protection

The EU has agreed the terms of a draft directive that, if passed, will amend a number of consumer protection directives, including the consumer rights directive (2011/83/EU), to introduce measures such as: harmonised penalties for breaches of consumer protections, including the power to impose a fine, in certain circumstances, of up to 4% of a […]

FCA updates rules

FCA has made a number of amendments to various parts of its rulebook, including: amendments to COBS on information relating to pensions savings, taking effect from November 2019 and April 2020; introducing a Devolved Authorities’ debt advice levy; and exempting unauthorised mutual societies from paying fees.

BoE and FCA update on Brexit approach

BoE and FCA have updated their respective websites with coordinated information on their approach to a hard Brexit. BoE has published a series of materials setting out its updated plans to its supervisory approach to a hard Brexit. The papers cover: transitional relief for firms that will broadly (with exceptions) last for 15 months from exit […]

FCA calls for costs and charges disclosure improvements

FCA has issued a set of papers on costs and charges disclosures. its feedback statement on firms’ experiences of the PRIIPs requirements concludes that firms find certain issues, in particular relating to summary risk indicators and performance scenarios, hard to deal with, and that some KIDs display transaction costs that are unlikely to be a […]

FCA renews call for firms to prepare for Brexit

The FCA has published sector-specific information to help regulated firms ensure they are prepared for the consequences of  Brexit, including a no-deal Brexit. The guidance covers banking and payments, life insurance, pensions and retirement income, general insurance, retail investment and wholesale banks, markets and asset managers.  

Court rules that Brexit is not frustrating event for a lease

The High Court has ruled that a European agency cannot terminate the lease of their premises at Canary Wharf on the basis of Brexit being a ‘frustrating event’.  Our article provides more detail on this case and its implications.

Pan-European pension product moves a step closer

On 13 February 2019, a new ‘pan-European pension product’ (PEPP) moved a step closer as EU ambassadors endorsed the agreement on a proposed PEPP reached between EU institutions late last year. As a new class of personal pension scheme, it is intended to provide greater choice for consumers saving for retirement and to boost the […]

Government announces new powers to protect pension schemes

The Government has announced new powers to protect pension schemes. Read our article on recent developments.

Financial Stability Board 2019 work programme published

The Financial Stability Board has published its work programme for the forthcoming year. The areas upon which it intends to focus are: addressing emerging vulnerabilities in the financial system; working with standard-setting bodies to finalise and opererationalise post-crisis reforms; monitor the completion of reforms implementation; and evaluate the effect of the post-crisis reforms.  

Government consultation on investment by DC pension scheme

The DWP is consulting on proposals to encourage defined contribution (DC) pension schemes to consider investing in less liquid assets such as smaller and medium-sized unlisted firms, housing, green energy projects and other infrastructure. The proposals include: requiring larger DC pension schemes to document and publish their policy in relation to investment in illiquid assets, and […]

Government provides £329 million funding to NEST to meet master trust requirements

The Government has agreed to provide a contingent liability of £329 million to fund the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) Corporation so that it can continue to operate in the pensions market as a master trust. The Pension Schemes Act 2017 introduced a new authorisation and supervision regime for master trusts being used for automatic enrolment […]

FCA agrees Brexit MoUs with European securities regulators

As part of the preparation for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, the FCA has agreed MoUs with ESMA and with EU and NCAs, covering supervision, enforcement and information exchange, including in relation to credit rating agencies and trade repositories.

ESMA publishes 2019 Regulatory Work Programme

ESMA has published its Regulatory Work Programme for 2019, setting out ESMA’s Single Rulebook work. The matters it is working on for the forthcoming year include: Post-trading RTS under EMIR; RTS relating to registration requirements under the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds Regulation and the European Venture Capital Funds Regulation; and A report to the Commission on […]

FCA and FRC focus on encouraging effective stewardship

The FCA is working with the the FRC to set out proposals and a discussion paper encouraging asset managers and others managing investments to take a closer interest in the operation of the businesses in which they invest. The FCA consultation is on measures implementing the second Shareholders Rights Directive which mainly affects FCA regulated […]

FCA consults on retirement outcome improvements

FCA is consulting on measures to improve retirement outcomes for consumers. Its concern is that consumers are using the pensions freedoms to move into drawdown and hold funds in investments that will not meet their needs. It feels consumers focus only on taking their tax-free cash and take the easiest method available to drawdown. To […]

SMCR optimisation consultation

As the FCA prepares for the extension of SMCR to most solo-regulated firms next December, it is consulting on a few areas regarding the existing regime for banks and large insurers previously  identified as wanting attention. The proposals set out in CP19/4 include: excluding the legal function from the scope of SMCR; amend the scope of […]

New Financial Services head at Womble Bond Dickinson

We are delighted that Jonny Williams has joined the financial services regulatory team at Womble Bond Dickinson UK. More information on Jonny and his appointment can be found here.

New FCA portal for mutual societies

The FCA has launched a new portal to enable mutual societies complete tasks and submit information to the FCA that was previously done online or by post, such as the submission of annual rules and accounts and applications for rule amendments. Mutuals societies can start to register as users of this portal; the FCA will […]

FCA publishes sector views

FCA has published its “Sector Views” setting out its observations from monitoring its 7 selected sectors of: retail banking retail lending general insurance and protection pensions and retirement income retail investments investment management and wholesale financial markets It produces this review to inform its overall approach and ultimately its business plan. The studies identify where […]

FCA consults on Brexit contractual continuity provision

At the end of last year, the the Treasury published draft regulations making provision for contractual certainty for firms currently passporting into the UK in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit. Following this, the FCA has published CP19/02 on Brexit and contractual continuity.  This consultation paper is aimed at such incoming firms.  It consults on […]

Single Financial Guidance Body launched

The Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB) was launched on 3 January 2019. It brings together three existing providers of financial guidance – the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise – to form a “one-stop shop”. The SFGB’s core functions will be: pensions guidance on workplace and personal pensions money guidance to […]

FCA opens window for CMCs to register for temporary permission

In December 2018, the FCA confirmed that as part of its take over of the regulation of CMCs from April 2019, it would require CMCs to register for temporary permission in order to continue to operate from April, and pending submission and approval by the FCA of  a ‘full’ application to continue to do business. […]

PRA consults on Brexit measures

As part of its preparation for onshoring EU legislation, the PRA has published CP32/18.  This consultation paper contains two consultations: the first sets out the PRA’s proposals regarding the PRA Rulebook and the Binding Technical Standards (BTS) that are to come within the PRA’s remit; the second relates to BTS that will come within the […]

FCA final rules and guidance for CMCs

Following a consultation earlier this year, the FCA has published a policy statement setting out the new rules and fees that will apply to claims management companies (CMCs) from April 2019. From 1 April 2019, the FCA will become the regulator of CMCs that are established or serve clients in England, Wales and Scotland. FOS will […]

FCA publishes final rules on expansion of FOS jurisdiction to SMEs

The FCA has now published final rules confirming the expansion of the jurisdiction of the FOS to include certain SME customers. The new rules will mean that from 1 April 2019, the FOS will be able to hear complaints from SMEs who meet two of the three following criteria – fewer than 50 employees; annual […]

FOS consults on plans for 2019/20

The FOS has published a consultation on its plans and budget for 2019/2020. It notes that from April 2019, its jurisdiction will be expanded by the addition of two significant areas of work: complaints made by SME customers of financial services, and complaints made by customers of claims management services. The consultation questions include inviting […]

New Corporate Governance Principles published

The Financial Reporting Council has published the final version of new Corporate Governance Principles for large private companies. We have published an article that summarises and discusses these Principles.

CMA announces reforms to the investment consultancy and fiduciary management sector

The CMA has announced a range of reforms to the investment consultancy and fiduciary management sector after finding competition problems. This follows an extensive market investigation into the sector which started last year, at the request of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The CMA’s final report sets out a number of changes to deal with its […]

Cost Transparency Initiative develops new cost transparency templates for institutional investors

The Cost Transparency Initiative (CTI) has been established to deliver templates to help institutional investors to access and assess information on costs. The CTI will run a pilot to test the new cost transparency templates and supporting technical and communications materials until January 2019. Following the pilot, it will roll out the templates to the asset management […]

FCA updates on “unacceptable” pension transfer advice

FCA has published the key findings from its recent information gathering exercise on pension transfer advice. This year it has collected information from an additional 45 firms and visited 18 of them. It found less than half the advice given was suitable and FCA is very disappointed that firms are still failing to give suitable […]

Pay directors the same pension contributions as their workforce, says the Investment Association

Directors should receive pension contributions in line with the rate given to the majority of the rest of the workforce, according to new Principles of Remuneration published by the Investment Association (IA). The IA has updated its executive pay guidelines in response to investor concerns that companies are not listening, or responding, to shareholders over […]

Consultation on Pensions Dashboard

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is consulting on proposals to create an industry-led system of multiple dashboards which will allow millions of people to access their pension facts and figures from most pension schemes in one place online. The government is proposing that the Single Financial Guidance Body (which will replace the Money […]

FCA publishes approach to authorisation and feedback statement

Following a consultation last year, the FCA has published the ‘FCA Mission: Approach to Authorisation’ and feedback statement. This document includes reference to the introduction of a new range of tools to help firms submit complete authorisation applications.  This should minimise the risk that submitted applications will be deemed incomplete and the time for assessment […]

Brexit Bill and policy note covering in-flight legislation published

As part of the preparation for a ‘hard’ Brexit, the Treasury has published a Policy Note that accompanies a draft Bill covering in-flight financial services legislation, currently progressing through Parliament. The Policy Note comments that in scope of the Bill are pieces of EU legislation agreed or in negotiation at the point of exit, with implementation […]

EIOPA’s chairman opens their 8th Annual Conference

EIOPA Chairman, Gabriel Bernardino, opened their 8th Annual Conference today in Frankfurt with his speech on insurance and pensions:  securing the future, which is also the theme of this year’s conference. His speech also looked back at EIOPA’s achievements in the last year and discussed their priorities for 2019. The one day conference will look at […]

Call for interest in new payment Standards Advisory Panel

The Bank of England and Pay.UK are inviting expressions of interest from senior stakeholders who could represent the payments industry on a newly created Standards Advisory Panel.  The new Panel will focus on the implementation of ISO20022, but also cover also payments standards for the UK. The deadline for applications is Monday 10 December 2018.

Ombudsman News focuses on retirement

The latest edition of Ombudsman News looks at complaints and trends around pensions. Complaints about pensions make up a very small proportion of all complaints, but as a pension is so important to consumers, FOS has focussed on assessing what it sees as the key rights, and included case studies on complaints involving defined benefit to […]

FCA makes new rules on safeguarded to flexible benefits transfers

FCA’s latest Handbook Notice heralds just one set of rule changes.  The changes are to COBS, PERG and examination standards in respect of pension advisers providing suitable advice to consumers about whether to transfer from safeguarded benefits to flexible benefits.

FCA writes to CEOs on SIPP due diligence

FCA has written a “Dear CEO” letter on the duties of SIPP operators in respect of due diligence. The letter refers to the judgement in the Berkeley Burke case and several other pending civil claims, and asks firms to consider the potential implications of these cases for them and their customers. The Berkeley Burke case, […]

FCA and Pensions Regulator publish joint strategy

The FCA and the Pensions Regulator have published a joint strategy outlining how they will work together to address changes in the pensions and retirement income sector. The joint strategy sets out four areas of focus:  access and participation, funding and investments, governance and administration, and consumer understanding and decision-making. The Regulators have prioritised the […]

FCA consults on Statements of Responsibilities and Responsibilities Map guidance

The FCA has published a consultation on proposed  guidance to help solo-regulated firms draft their Statements of Responsibilities (SoR) and (for enhanced firms) Responsibilities Maps, in preparation for the SMCR extension in December 2019. Although targeted at solo-regulated firms, the FCA notes that the guidance may also be useful for dual-regulated firms preparing or updating […]

FCA publishes Brexit consultations following HMT Guidance

As heralded at the end of last year, the FCA has now published two consultation papers that make provision for operations in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit next March. The first consultation sets out changes to the FCA’s Handbook and to those EU Binding Technical Standards, which, it is proposed, would be incorporated directly […]

FCA finalises pension transfer advice rules

FCA has published feedback and final rules and guidance following its consultation on improving the quality of pension transfer advice. Since the introduction of “pension freedoms” in 2015 members have had more options available to them in terms of accessing their defined contribution (DC) pension savings. This has resulted in a substantial increase in the number of […]

CMA brings forward investment consultant report date

The CMA has announced that it is bringing forward the date for publishing its final report on its investigation into the supply and acquisition of investment consultancy and fiduciary management services in the UK. Having considered the responses to its Provisional Decision Report, the CMA has announced that it will aim to publish its final […]

FCA consults on applying SM&CR to CMCs

The FCA has opened a consultation that sets out how it will apply the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) to Claims Management Companies (CMCs), following taking over regulation of them from 1 April 2019. The consultation also sets out when SM&CR may apply to CMCs, and what action they will need to take. The […]

Regulators launch new campaign to tackle pension scams

The FCA and the Pensions Regulator have launched a joint advertising campaign to raise awareness of pension scams, following research they have conducted which shows that pension scam victims each lost an average of £91,000 in 2017. The campaign, ScamSmart, is aimed at individuals aged 45-65 who are the group most at risk of pension […]

Law Commission confirms status of electronic signatures

In December 2017 the Law Commission confirmed that one of the projects it would be working on was addressing the absence of explicit case law and legislation that has given rise to uncertainty as to the validity of electronic signatures in some cases. Consequently, the Law Commission has now published early conclusions from its review […]

FSB launches peer review of LEIs

The Financial Stability Board has published the Summary Terms of Reference of a thematic peer review of the implementation of the Legal Entity Identifier. The thematic review seeks feedback from a range of stakeholders on issues such as: awareness and adoption of the LEI in various jurisdictions; types of private sector uses of the LEI; […]

FCA updated guidance for firms outsourcing IT

The FCA has updated FG 16/5, ‘Guidance for firms outsourcing to the ‘cloud’ and other third party IT services’. This update takes account of the publication of the European Banking Authority’s recommendations, and changes to relevant legislation.    

Corporate governance reporting and the impact on large private companies

We have written an article on the new corporate governance reporting requirements for certain large private companies. The requirements will come into force on 1 January 2019 applying to financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2019, with reporting effectively commencing in 2020 for the previous year. We also cover the consultation launched on […]

FCA publishes intervention approach documents

On a new page on its website, ‘Measuring our impact before we intervene‘, the FCA has published a group of documents that aim to provide an indication of how the FCA assesses the likely impact of its policies. These documents consist of: a paper setting out the FCA’s approach to conducting cost benefit analyses for […]

Treasury consults on pension cold calling ban

Treasury is consulting on a proposed ban on cold calling in relation to pensions. The consultation is a technical consultation on the wording of the legislation necessary to implement the ban, as the policy decision has already been taken following earlier consultation. The consultation period lasts only until 17 August, and Treasury hopes to lay […]

CMA proposes pension investment reforms

CMA has published a report proposing several reforms to allay its concerns over competition in the investment consultancy and fiduciary management sectors. CMA was concerned that: many pension schemes (around half) choose the same provider for fiduciary management that they use for investment consultancy. CMA is concerned the investment consultant can encourage this and it means […]

FCA proposes further consumer support and protection in the retirement income market

The FCA has launched a consultation on a package of measures designed to protect consumers, improve engagement and promote competition in the retirement income market. Alongside the consultation, the FCA has published the final report of its Retirement Outcomes Review, an investigation into how the pensions and retirement income sector has been working since the […]

FCA confirms that pension schemes will not need to start clearing OTC derivatives when EMIR exemption expires on 16 August 2018

On 3 July 2018, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a statement on the clearing obligations for pension scheme arrangements under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). EMIR introduced a temporary exemption for certain pension schemes from the obligation to clear their OTC derivative contracts to allow time for a suitable technical solution […]

FCA and PSR Chair discusses potential future algocracy

Charles Randell, the recently appointed Chair of the FCA and the PSR, has delivered a speech, in which he discussed the increasing dominance of algorithms in our day to day lives, and noted some of the consequent issues that will need to be grappled with, as  the rise of Big Data, AI and machine learning […]

Discussion Paper on building the financial sector’s operational resilience

The Bank of England, the PRA and FCA have published a joint discussion paper on its approach to improve operational resilience in the financial sector. The regulators envisage that boards and senior managers can achieve better standards of operational resilience through increased focus on setting, monitoring and testing specific impact tolerances for key business services. […]

Greater scrutiny of corporate transactions and punitive measures for wrong-doings

The Government has released a consultation document as part of its programme of change for defined benefit pension schemes. Protecting Defined Benefit Pension Schemes – A Stronger Pensions Regulator contains proposals to give the Pensions Regulator (tPR) increased ability to monitor corporate transactions and sets out “a robust framework for punitive measures to deter and […]

HMT, Bank of England and FCA set out approach to onshoring financial services legislation

The Treasury, the Bank of England and the FCA have published information about how financial services legislation will be on-shored under the EU (Withdrawal) Act, in particular to ensure the (hopefully unlikely) ‘hard Brexit’ scenario is addressed, if the negotiated implementation period is not able to take effect from March 2019. The Treasury intends to lay […]

Law Commission opens consultation on expanded definition of ‘insurable interest’

The Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission have published an updated bill that proposes an expansion to the concept of insurable interest for life-related insurance. By using the term ‘life-related insurance’, the bill intends to create a wider category of insurance than just traditional life insurance, thereby also covering other forms of insurance which […]

ESMA confirms end of LEI grace period

ESMA has issued a statement confirming that the six month grace period granted to those required by MiFIR to have a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), will end on 2 July 2017. ESMA will now work with national competent authorities to develop a supervision action plan which focuses on compliance with LEI reporting requirements.

Pensions Regulator CEO to step down

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 […]

Carillion inquiry criticises regulator

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 […]

Tribunal agrees Box Clever support

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 […]

RBS to pay £3.5bn to pension scheme ahead of ring-fencing

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has agreed to pay contributions of up to £3.5 billion to its pension scheme in readiness for UK ring-fencing legislation taking effect from 1 January 2026. RBS has agreed a  Memorandum of Understanding with the trustee of the Main Scheme of the RBS Group Pension Fund under which it will […]