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Our panel of experts examines the impact of 2014’s legislation on financial services lawyers and their clients.
Duncan Black, partner, contentious financial services, Fieldfisher
Jon Holland, partner and co-head of the global financial services litigation team, Hogan Lovells
Nathan Willmott, partner, financial services investigations and head of the commercial dispute resolution group, Berwin Leighton Paisner
What were the key legislative developments of 2014?
Nathan Willmott: As we all know, the world of financial services regulation has become an ever changing environment—it seems that politicians in particular, but also domestic and European regulators, seem unable to leave systems in place for very long without tweaking them. Recently we have seen substantial changes as a result of the financial crisis, the LIBOR issues and the spot FX trading issues.
In addition to constantly changing rules, it seems that the political wind is in favour of entrusting the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with more and more responsibilities. In the past we have seen its responsibilities extended to include the sale of general insurance products, mortgage sales, benchmark regulation and—most recently—consumer credit firms. The consumer credit regime has for a long time stood separately from how other aspects of financial services are regulated in the UK. That has allowed practices to develop which are at odds with the types of customer outcomes that the FCA has sought to achieve. As a result, since taking responsibility for consumer credit the FCA has moved quickly to change market practices in a radical way, as part of its broader philosophy of early intervention.
Another big change, and one that has come in almost under the radar, was the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) replacing the longstanding Principles for Businesses with a new set of Fundamental Rules. These apply to all PRA regulated firms, including banks and insurers, and impose a significantly higher burden in terms of duties to manage risk, act in a prudent manner, and introduce the requirement under Fundamental Rule 8 to prepare for resolution (ie to
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