FS weekly highlights—30 January 2020

FS weekly highlights—30 January 2020

In this issue

 

 

Brexit news
UK, EU and international regulators and bodies
Authorisation, approval and supervision
Prudential requirements
Financial stability, recovery and resolution
Financial crime
Investigations, enforcement and discipline
Markets and trading
MiFID II
Regulation of capital markets and Capital Markets Union
Regulation of derivatives
Investment funds and asset management
Banks and mutuals
Consumer credit, mortgage and home finance
Regulation of insurance
Payment services and systems
Fintech and cryptoassets
Sustainable finance
Dates for your diary

 

Brexit news

 

European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Commencement No 5, Transitional Provisions and Amendment) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/74: Certain provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 come into force in the UK at 11:00 pm on 31 January 2020. Amendments are made to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Commencement and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2018, relating to the repeal of the European Union Act 2011, to amend the transitional provision in the First Commencement Regulations to make it clear that following the repeal of the reference to EU obligations in section 30 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 the remaining reference to international obligations does not include EU obligations during the period from 4 July 2018 to IP completion day.

Source: The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Commencement No. 5, Transitional Provisions and Amendment) Regulations 2020.

Financial Services (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/56: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2020 in preparation for Brexit. This enactment amends 12 pieces of UK secondary EU legislation in relation to financial services and markets to delay the application of a number of financial services temporary permissions and transitional regimes in the retained EU legislation created by the UK leaving the EU. It comes into force immediately before exit day.

Source: The Financial Services (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2020

PRA writes to CFOs on the removal of the bespoke liquidity risk appetite

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) wrote a letter to chief financial officers of PRA-regulated UK deposit takers and international banks concerning the removal of the bespoke liquidity risk appetite. The PRA says in light of the reduced chance of the UK leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement, firms were no longer expected to submit these returns after 23 January 2020.

Source: Letter from Sarah Breeden and David Bailey ‘Removal of bespoke liquidity risk appetite’.

Academics to discuss post-Brexit financial services with Lords’ committee

The House of Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee heard evidence from academics on the future of financial services after Brexit. On 29 January 2020 professor Niamh Moloney from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and professor David Miles from Imperial College London will discuss the importance of the EU for UK financial services and the extent to which the EU relies on the UK.

Source: Academics questioned on financial services after Brexit.

IRSG and Linklaters report on enhancing UK financial regulation following Brexit

The International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG) and Linklaters published a report which sets out recommendations aimed to enhance the UK’s financial regulatory architecture so it can meet challenges and opportunities following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Recommendations include: amending ‘onshored’ regulation (ie ‘domesticated’ EU regulation) to achieve better consistency with the UK’s existing regulatory architecture, formalising the role of international financial standards, consolidating financial regulation and tracking regulatory developments which may affect trade negotiations.

Source: Industry sets out vision for post-Brexit financial regulation.

 

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UK, EU and international regulators and bodies

 

ECON opinions on implementation of ESAs’ 2018 budgets

The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) published three separate opinions regarding the implementation of the 2018 budgets of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European Banking Authority (EBA), and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), together the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs). The opinions stress the importance of resources for the ESAs to meet sustainability challenges and the EBA to discharge its powers to combat anti-money laundering (AML) and the financing of terrorism (CFT).

Sources: Opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs for the Committee on Budgetary Control on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Securities and Markets Authority for the financial year 2018 (2019/2092(DEC))Opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs for the Committee on Budgetary Control on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Banking Authority for the financial year 2018 (2019/2090(DEC)) and  Opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs for the Committee on Budgetary Control on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority for the financial year 2018 (2019/2091(DEC)).

European Commission 2020 Work Programme as it relates to financial services

The European Commission adopted its 2020 Work Programme, setting out the actions it will take in 2020 in bring about ecological and digital transitions. Policy objectives relevant to financial services include financing a sustainable transition (as part of the European Green Deal), digital finance, deepening capital markets union (CMU) and completing banking union.

Source: European Commission 2020 Work Programme: An ambitious roadmap for a Union that strives for more.

UK’s financial services sector must address skills issues or lose out to rival cities

An independent review commissioned by HM Treasury reported that the UK’s financial services sector will lose talent to rival global centres and sectors if it does not take collective action now to tackle a growing skills and talent crisis. To ensure it remains globally competitive the UK financial services sector must address fundamental challenges including: the technical upskilling and retraining of staff, strengthening industry purpose and culture, and poor diversity within senior leadership.

Source: Urgent action is needed to address a skills and talent crisis in UK financial services.

HMT appoints Christopher Woolard as interim CEO of the FCA

HM Treasury announced that it had appointed Christopher Woolard as interim chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Woolard will take up the role on 16 March 2020, following Andrew Bailey’s departure to become governor of the Bank of England.

Source: HMT: Christopher Woolard appointed interim chief executive of the FCA.

Mel Stride to continue chairing Treasury Committee

The Speaker of the House of Commons announced that Mel Stride MP will resume his role as the chair of the Treasury Committee.

Source: Mel Stride to chair Treasury Committee.

 

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Authorisation, approval and supervision

 

FCA reminds firms to update their details on Connect annually

The FCA issued a reminder that, from 31 January 2020, firms that come under Sup 16.10 reporting requirements have to check, amend or confirm the accuracy of their firm details annually, using the FCA’s Connect portal. They will need to do this within 60 business days of their accounting reference date (ARD).

Source: Firms now need to update or confirm their firm details annually.

FCA updates its privacy notice regarding the Financial Services Register

The FCA updated its privacy notice. It now sets out further details about information held on the Financial Services Register, as further detailed in the FCA’s policy statement PS19/7.

Source: FCA privacy notice: the financial services register.

 

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Prudential requirements

 

ECB publishes 2019 SREP outcomes

The European Central Bank (ECB) published the outcomes of its 2019 supervisory review and evaluation process (SREP), which showed that overall SREP requirements and guidance for common equity tier 1 (CET1) capital—a bank’s highest quality capital—remained unchanged from 2018 at 10.6%. The average Pillar 2 requirement, set by the supervisor for each bank, stood at 2.1% and the non-binding Pillar 2 guidance at 1.5%, both unchanged from the previous year.

Source: ECB keeps capital requirements and guidance for banks stable and increases transparency.

PRA amends Pillar 2 capital framework

The PRA published policy statement PS2/20, which sets out feedback to responses to its consultation paper CP5/19, ‘Pillar 2 capital: Updates to the framework’ and final amendments to the Pillar 2 framework, as well as updates to its statement of policies (SoPs) and supervisory statements (SS). PS2/20 is only relevant to PRA-authorised banks, building societies and PRA-designated investment firms, and takes effect on 23 January 2020.

Source: Pillar 2 capital: Updates to the framework.

PRA writes to CFOs on the removal of the bespoke liquidity risk appetite

The PRA wrote a letter to chief financial officers of PRA-regulated UK deposit takers and international banks concerning the removal of the bespoke liquidity risk appetite. The PRA says in light of the reduced chance of the UK leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement, firms are no longer expected to submit these returns after 23 January 2020.

Source: Letter from Sarah Breeden and David Bailey ‘Removal of bespoke liquidity risk appetite’.

 

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Financial stability, recovery and resolution 

 

BIS paper looks at cross-border resolution co-operation and information-sharing

The BIS published a paper examining cross-border resolution co-operation and information-sharing: an overview of home and host authority experience. The paper examines the arrangements for global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) and other systemic banks, with a particular focus on arrangements other than crisis management groups (CMGs). The study finds there has been some progress in establishing a range of arrangements, but there are also instances where the information needs of host authorities on resolution planning continue to be unmet.

Source: Cross-border resolution co-operation and information-sharing: an overview of home and host authority experience.

 

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Financial crime

 

HMT and HMRC consult on extending the Trust Registration Service under MLD5

HM Treasury and HMRC opened a technical consultation on extending the Trust Registration Service under the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (MLD5), including the draft legislation and proposals on the types of express trusts that will be required to register, data collection and sharing, and penalties. The government is interested in views on whether the draft regulations adequately reflect the Directive in terms of the scope of registration, the information to be collected, and the framework for making data-sharing requests. Responses are sought by 21 February 2020.

Source: Technical consultation: Fifth Money Laundering Directive and Trust Registration Service.

Treasury releases responses to Fifth Money Laundering Directive consultation

HM Treasury released responses to the consultation on the transposition of MLD5 into UK law on 23 January 2020. The consultation ran from 15 April to 10 June 2019, and invited views on the steps the government proposed to take to transpose MLD5 prior to withdrawing from the EU. The government wanted to hear how to ensure the UK's money laundering and counter terrorist financing regime effectively deterred crime, while not also placing an undue burden on businesses. The final regulations came into force on 10 January 2020.

Source: Transposition of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive.

Chris Hemsley outlines PSR’s work and strategy on combating APPS fraud

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) published a speech by its managing director, Chris Hemsley, delivered at the Westminster Business Forum: Payments, policy and regulation—infrastructure, innovation and end-user priorities, in London on 23 January 2020. Hemsley discussed the PSR’s strategy and projects, and issues including access to cash, New Payment Architecture, and fraud prevention, focusing particularly on the next steps to be taken in combating authorised push payment scams (APPS).

Source: Chris Hemsley's speech at the Westminster Business Forum—23 January 2020.

Dombrovskis speaks at ECOFIN press conference

The executive vice-president of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, gave a speech at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) press conference covering the European Green Deal (Sustainable Europe) Investment Plan, digital tax, and AML.

Source: Opening remarks of executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis at the ECOFIN press conference.

 

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Investigations, enforcement and discipline

 

P.F International’s appeal of FCA decision to vary its permissions struck out by Upper Tribunal

The FCA issued a press release following its successful application to the Upper Tribunal to strike out an appeal made by P.F International Limited (PFI), a franchise of the Kirby Vacuum Company. PFI has now exhausted its avenues of appeal. The firm had referred to the Upper Tribunal the FCA’s decision in November 2018 to remove the firm’s permissions for breaching lending rules. The FCA stated it intervened early to prevent harm to vulnerable customers.

Source: FCA succeeds in application to Upper Tribunal to strike out P.F. International’s challenge to regulatory decision.

 

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Markets and trading

 

FCA publishes ‘Dear CEO’ letter to benchmark administrators

The FCA published a ‘Dear CEO’ letter setting out its view of the potential for harm as well as the underlying drivers that benchmark administrators could pose to their customers and the markets in which they operate. The letter, dated 24 January 2020, is aimed at firms allocated to the FCA’s ‘benchmarks portfolio’ for supervision due to their benchmark administration activities. The FCA flags that many firms in this portfolio are new to regulation.

Source: Dear CEO Benchmark Administrator Supervisory Strategy.

ISDA publishes letters from FCA and ICE Benchmark Administration on LIBOR pre-cessation issues

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) published letters from the FCA and ICE Benchmark Administration on LIBOR pre-cessation issues. The letters respond to ISDA’s request for clarity on the ‘reasonable period’ during which a non-representative LIBOR would continue to be published in accordance with Article 11(4) of the Benchmarks Regulation (EU) 2016/1011 (BMR).

Source: New letters on pre-cessation issues welcome.

 

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MiFID II

 

Corrigendum to Investment Firms Regulation published in OJ

A corrigendum to Regulation (EU) 2019/2033 (the Investment Firms Regulation) was published in the Official Journal of the EU.

Source: Corrigendum to Regulation (EU) 2019/2033 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 on the prudential requirements of investment firms and amending Regulations (EU) No 1093/2010, (EU) No 575/2013, (EU) No 600/2014 and (EU) No 806/2014.

 

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Regulation of capital markets and Capital Markets Union

 

ESMA to hold open hearing as part of CRA control system consultation

ESMA announced that it will hold an open hearing as part of its consultation on internal controls for credit rating agencies. The hearing will take place on 24 February 2020 from 13:30 to 16:00 in ESMA’s premises. The indicative agenda for the hearing will follow the structure of the consultation paper and discuss ESMA’s proposed guidance on the internal control framework and internal control functions.

Sources: ESMA announces open hearing on its consultation on internal controls for CRAs and  Open hearing on CP on internal controls for credit rating agencies

Associations ask for deferral of mandatory buy-in regime under CSDR

Fourteen industry associations issued a joint letter to the European Commission and ESMA on the implementation of the Settlement Discipline Regime under the Central Securities Depositories Regulation (EU) 909/2014 (CSDR).

Source: Joint associations’ letter to authorities regarding CSDR implementation.

 

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Regulation of derivatives

 

ISDA comments on the Chinese lunar new year holiday extension and market closures

ISDA published information about the extension of the Chinese lunar new year holiday and associated market closures. This holiday was originally scheduled to run from 24 January 2020 to 30 January 2020, but the Chinese government announced that it will now be extended to 2 February 2020 (inclusive) in order to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Source: Market closure announcement—Chinese New Year.

 

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Investment funds and asset management

 

AIC proposes solution to the redemption problem of illiquid assets in open-ended funds

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) issued a report on the dangers of holding illiquid assets in open-ended funds. It sets out the AIC’s solution to this problem—reliable redemption—and calls for urgent action from regulators and policymakers to tackle systemic risk in the financial system. Rather than ban open-ended funds from holding illiquid assets, as some have suggested, the AIC’s proposed solution matches redemption notice periods to how long it takes to sell the underlying assets.

Source: AIC issues report on the dangers of holding illiquid assets in open-ended funds.

 

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Banks and mutuals

 

FCA writes to major UK banks to request information on overdraft pricing

The FC) wrote to major UK banks to request further information about their new overdraft pricing in light of recent and upcoming reforms, and the measures those banks have in place to help customers who may be adversely impacted by the changes to this pricing. The FCA’s new rules on overdraft pricing, set out in its policy statement PS19/16, will come into force on 6 April 2020, although the ‘repeat use’ rules came into force on 18 December 2019.

Source: FCA requests further information about overdraft pricing from firms.

BIS paper looks at cross-border resolution co-operation and information-sharing

The BIS published a paper examining cross-border resolution co-operation and information-sharing: an overview of home and host authority experience. The paper examines the arrangements for G-SIBs and other systemic banks, with a particular focus on arrangements other than CMGs. The study finds there has been some progress in establishing a range of arrangements, but there are also instances where the information needs of host authorities on resolution planning continue to be unmet.

Source: Cross-border resolution co-operation and information-sharing: an overview of home and host authority experience.

PRA writes to CFOs on the removal of the bespoke liquidity risk appetite

The PRA wrote a letter to chief financial officers of PRA-regulated UK deposit takers and international banks concerning the removal of the bespoke liquidity risk appetite. The PRA says in light of the reduced chance of the UK leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement, firms were no longer expected to submit these returns after 23 January 2020.

Source: Letter from Sarah Breeden and David Bailey ‘Removal of bespoke liquidity risk appetite’.

ECB publishes 2019 SREP outcomes

The ECB published the outcomes of its 2019 supervisory review and evaluation process (SREP), which showed that overall SREP requirements and guidance for common equity tier 1 (CET1) capital—a bank’s highest quality capital—remained unchanged from 2018 at 10.6%. The average Pillar 2 requirement, set by the supervisor for each bank, stood at 2.1% and the non-binding Pillar 2 guidance at 1.5%, both unchanged from the previous year.

Source: ECB keeps capital requirements and guidance for banks stable and increases transparency.

 

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Consumer credit, mortgage and home finance

 

FCA writes to major UK banks to request information on overdraft pricing

The FCA wrote to major UK banks to request further information about their new overdraft pricing in light of recent and upcoming reforms, and the measures those banks have in place to help customers who may be adversely impacted by the changes to this pricing. The FCA’s new rules on overdraft pricing, set out in its policy statement PS19/16, will come into force on 6 April 2020, although the ‘repeat use’ rules came into force on 18 December 2019.

Source: FCA requests further information about overdraft pricing from firms.

UK Finance CEO sets out work in progress to help mortgage prisoners

The CEO of UK Finance, Stephen Jones, replied to a letter on mortgage prisoners from the economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP. Jones said UK Finance is committed to working with relevant members, the FCA and government to help find solutions that assist customers with mortgages provided by firms that are no longer active in the market. The trade body has engaged with all of its mortgage members to ensure prospective lenders can now work at pace to develop suitable product for eligible borrowers from within this population.

Source: UK Finance responds to Glen’s mortgage prisoner letter.

John Glen urges lenders to offer new deals to eligible mortgage prisoners

The government published a letter from the economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, to the CEO of UK Finance, Stephen Jones, on the topic of mortgage prisoners. Following a discussion with Jones earlier this month, and with FCA CEO Andrew Bailey, Glen says he expects as many UK Finance members as possible to move quickly to offer new deals to around 14,000 mortgage prisoners who are up to date with their payments, are likely to meet commercial lending criteria and could benefit meaningfully from switching to a cheaper deal.

Source: Letter from John Glen to Stephen Jones on mortgage prisoners.

 

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Regulation of insurance

 

EIOPA publishes annual report on use of exemptions and limitations from Solvency II reporting

EIOPA published its annual report on the use of exemptions and limitations from regular supervisory reporting during 2018 and Q1 of 2019 by national competent authorities under Solvency II (Directive 2009/138/EC). The report addresses the issue of proportionality of the reporting requirements.

Source: EIOPA publishes information on the use of limitations and exemptions from reporting under Solvency II.

EIOPA updates Risk Dashboard with 3Q 2019 data

EIOPA updated its Risk Dashboard with 3Q 2019 Solvency II data. Despite the recent easing of monetary policy by major central banks, EIOPA says the macroeconomic environment remains subdued and the prolonged low interest rates challenge the insurance sector. Market risks, while remaining at a high level, show a decreasing trend due to lower implied bond market volatility since October 2019.

Source: European insurers face stable risk exposures, but macro and market risks remain high.

IE says Solvency II review shouldn’t solve problems ‘that don’t exist’

Insurance Europe (IE) said ‘excessive conservativeness hinders insurers’ ability to help Europe’s transition to a sustainable economy and to provide the long-term products their clients demand’. Speaking at a conference organised by the European Commission on the 2020 review of Solvency II, IE president and CEO Andreas Brandstetter, said ‘Solvency II is good, but it is not perfect, and the 2020 review is the right opportunity to improve it. However, we definitely don’t need to revolutionise the framework, or to develop solutions to problems that do not exist.’

Source: Solvency II 2020 review: why would one of the world’s most prudent and conservative prudential regimes need “prudential enhancements”?.

Insurance Europe criticises data protection regulations for imposing barriers

The head of conduct of business at Insurance Europe, William Vidonja, highlighted the inadequacies of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR 2016) in relation to insurers. According to Vidonja, the lack of harmonised application between Member States creates legal uncertainty for insurers—notably for the processing of health data. He also criticised the GDPR 2016 for its inability to be flexible in a digital age, where insurers often rely on digital innovation, such as in the use of blockchain technology. Vidonja therefore noted that further work still needs to be done to provide a friendly regulatory framework for insurers.

Source: More work needed for GDPR to achieve its aims.

 

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Payment services and systems

 

PSR issues call for input on competition in the New Payments Architecture

The PSR issued a call for input on competition issues that could arise in the UK’s New Payments Architecture (NPA)—the UK payments industry’s proposed new way of organising the clearing and settlement of payments between banks, known as interbank payments, which are ‘a key part of everyday life for businesses and consumers alike’. The call for input closes on 24 March 2020.

Sources: PSR seeks views on competition and innovation in the UK’s New Payments Architecture and CP20/2—Call for input: Competition and Innovation in the UK's New Payments Architecture.

Chris Hemsley outlines PSR’s work and strategy on combating APPS fraud

The PSR published a speech by its managing director, Chris Hemsley, delivered at the Westminster Business Forum: Payments, policy and regulation—infrastructure, innovation and end-user priorities, in London on 23 January 2020. Hemsley discussed the PSR’s strategy and projects, and issues including access to cash, New Payment Architecture, and fraud prevention, focusing particularly on the next steps to be taken in combating APPS.

Source: Chris Hemsley's speech at the Westminster Business Forum—23 January 2020.

 

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Fintech and cryptoassets

 

FCA and BoE set up artificial intelligence/machine learning forum

The FCA and the Bank of England (BoE) are establishing a forum to further constructive dialogue with the public and private sectors to better understand the use and impact of artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), including the potential benefits and constraints to deployment, as well as the risks associated with the application of AI/ML. The Financial Services AI Public Private Forum (AIPPF) will explore means to support safe adoption of these technologies within financial services, and whether principles, guidance, regulation and/or industry good practice could support safe adoption.

Source: Financial services AI public private forum.

New fintech VC fund tracks super angels

Innovate Finance published a blog post about SyndicateRoom’s new venture capital (VC) fund: Access EIS. This fund intends to invest in successful UK startups by tracking performance data of the best active startup angel investors in the UK (‘super angels’).

Source: New fintech VC fund aims to become early backer of every single future British unicorn.

 

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Sustainable finance

 

ICMA-supported working group on sustainability/KPI-linked bond products

The executive committee of the Green Bond Principles, the Social Bond Principles and the Sustainability Bond Guidelines, supported by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) have announced that they will establish a working group on emerging sustainability/key performance indicator (KPI)-linked bond products.

Sources: Green Bond Principles establishes a Working Group on sustainability/KPI-linked bonds and Green Bond Principles establishes a Working Group on sustainability/KPI-linked bonds—press release.

Dombrovskis speaks at ECOFIN press conference

The executive vice-president of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, has given a speech at the ECOFIN press conference covering the European Green Deal (Sustainable Europe) Investment Plan, digital tax, and AML.

Source: Opening remarks of executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis at the ECOFIN press conference.

Curation’s chief content officer argues in favour of bespoke ESG metrics

UK Finance released a blog post written by Nick Jardine, chief content officer at Curation, on the subject of whether non-standardised ESG metrics are such a bad thing. Jardine argues that ‘far more important than establishing a universal framework [for ESG criteria] is encouraging all firms to adopt sustainable principles as part of their corporate policy’. Indeed, he believes that ‘setting concrete goals for organisations on a case-by-case basis [would be] a far more effective way of pursuing ESG goals than presenting companies with a superficial checklist’.

Source: Are non-standardised ESG metrics such a bad thing?

 

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Dates for your diary

 

DateSubjectEvent

 

31 January 2020

 

Complaints, compensation and claims management

 

Deadline for responses to the FOS consultation on its proposed plans and budget for 2020 and its future strategy, looking ahead to 2025 and beyond.

31 January 2020Authorisation, approval and supervision

The Supervision Manual (Reporting No 11) Instrument 2019 (FCA 2019/93) comes into force on this date.

 

31 January 2020Regulation of insurance

Deadline for responses to EIOPA’s field test of proposed new Solvency II reporting and disclosure templates.

 

 

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About the author:
Prior to joining LexisNexis in 2016 as a paralegal, Lauren was an adjudicator at the Financial Ombudsman Service. There she resolved consumers’ complaints, and gained knowledge about a wide variety of financial products. Before this she studied Law at Nottingham Trent University.