Weekly highlights—11 October 2018

Welcome to the weekly Financial Services highlights from the Financial Services team for the week ending 11 October 2018.

Brexit

HM Treasury publishes draft SIs amending retained EU law related to MiFID II and trade repositories

HM Treasury published two draft statutory instruments , which will make amendments to retained EU law related to markets in financial instruments and the registration and supervision of trade repositories. The government expects to lay the statutory instruments before Parliament under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 in autumn 2018. The draft Markets in Financial Instruments (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 will make amendments to retained EU law related to markets in financial instruments and the draft Trade Repositories (Amendment and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 will make amendments to retained EU law related to certain registration and supervision requirements for trade repositories.

HMT publishes explanatory memorandum to draft Solvency II and Insurance (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

HM Treasury published an explanatory memorandum to accompany draft statutory instrument Solvency II and Insurance (Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, which will make amendments to retained EU law related to the prudential regulation of the insurance sector that arise from the UK's withdrawal from the EU. The government expects to lay the statutory instrument before Parliament under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 in autumn 2018.

HM Treasury issues proposal for temporary transitional power to be exercised by UK financial regulators in the event of a no-deal Brexit

HM Treasury set out its proposal for a temporary transition tool to be exercised by the UK financial regulators—the Bank of England (BoE), the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)—in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario. The regulators will have the power to phase in requirements for UK regulated firms that will change under onshoring legislation. The power will be delegated to UK regulators in secondary legislation under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act (the Act) and will only be used in the no-deal scenario.

HMT publishes guidance relating to the ESAs and the ESRB regulations

HM Treasury published guidance which sets out its approach to regulations relating to the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) following the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Where the EU (Withdrawal) Act (the Act) incorporates directly applicable EU legislation related to the ESAs and ESRB into UK law, HM Treasury will use statutory instruments under the Act to amend or revoke those provisions as necessary. This is appropriate as once the UK has left the EU, the UK will be outside of the EU's regulatory and supervisory framework.

HMT publishes draft Brexit Regulation concerning bank recovery and resolution

HM Treasury published draft statutory instrument, the Bank Recovery and Resolution and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, which will make amendments to retained EU law related to UK implementation of Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD). The government expects to lay the statutory instruments before Parliament under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 in autumn 2018.

HMT publishes draft EU Exit SIs for investment funds and their managers

HM Treasury published two draft statutory instruments, which will make amendments to retained EU law related to investment funds and their managers. The government expects to lay the statutory instruments before Parliament under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 in autumn 2018. The draft Alternative Investment Fund Management (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 will make amendments to retained EU law related to the regulation of alternative investment fund managers and the draft Collective Investment Schemes (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 will make amendments to retained EU law related to the regulation of undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS).

FCA consults on Brexit approach in consultation papers 18/28 (CP18/28) and 18/29 (CP18/29)

The FCA published two consultation papers (CP18/28: Brexit: proposed changes to the Handbook and Binding Technical Standards and CP18/29: Temporary permissions regime for inbound firms and funds) which set out its proposals in the event the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without an implementation period. It also set out its approach to the regulation of credit rating agencies, trade repositories and data reporting services providers.

FMLC paper looks at impact of Brexit on UK and EU data protection regimes

The Financial Markets Law Committee (FMLC) published a report on issues of legal uncertainty arising from the Data Protection Act 2018 after the UK leaves the EU. The paper focuses on legal grey areas potentially hindering the continuation of the lawful flow of personal data between the UK, the European Economic Area and/or third countries following Brexit, as well as on the framework and mechanics for supervision and enforcement of the data protection regimes post-Brexit.

ISDA issues paper on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on OTC derivatives

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) issued a paper, The impact of Brexit on OTC derivatives: Other 'cliff edge' effects under EU law in a 'no deal' scenario. The paper sets out reasons why a no-deal Brexit scenario has the potential to create a disruptive cliff-edge change in the EU regulatory requirements that apply to over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives business in a way that may adversely affect EU27 or UK firms and their EU27 and UK clients and counterparties.

FPC: UK banking system strong enough to cope with cliff-edge Brexit

The Financial Policy Committee (FPC) of the Bank of England published a statement following its 3 October 2018 policy meeting. The FPC says it continues to judge that the UK banking system would be strong enough to serve UK households and businesses through a disorderly, cliff-edge Brexit, and that the risks do not warrant additional capital buffers for banks.

ESMA chair on the implementation of MiFID II and preparing for Brexit

The chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), Steven Maijoor, gave the keynote address at the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) General Assembly and Annual Meeting in Athens. The speech, entitled ‘The state of implementation of MiFID II and preparing for Brexit’, concentrates on two areas. First, Mr Maijoor covered in detail ESMA's work on MiFID II, explaining that while MiFID II is obviously relevant for EU trading venues, it is also, he believes, important for trading venues outside the EU. Secondly, he discussed how ESMA is preparing for Brexit, both in relation to trading and central clearing and from the perspective of a ‘no deal’ Brexit in general. He emphasised how the UK and EU27 financial markets are highly integrated, and how preparing for Brexit requires major efforts from all involved, including trading venues, central counterparty clearing houses (CCPs), national competent authorities (NCAs) and, of course, ESMA itself.

ESMA chair makes statement on Brexit

The chair of ESMA, Steven Maijoor, delivered a statement on MiFID II implementation, capital markets union (CMU), and Brexit to the Economic & Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) at the European Parliament. Mr Maijoor’s statement was part of the annual hearing of the chairs of the three ESAs. Discussing Brexit, Mr Maijoor said that as the supervisor of credit rating agencies and trade repositories in the EU, ESMA required appropriate contingency planning from individual supervised entities. He said ESMA was carefully monitoring the execution of these plans to ensure that they are meeting all the requirements in the EU27 in case of a no-deal by the end of March 2019.

Financial Conduct Authority updates

FCA publishes transcript of 2018 annual public meeting

The FCA published the trancript of its 2018 annual public meeting, which took place on 11 September 2018. It also published questions submitted in advance of the meeting, together with the FCA's answers.

FCA policy development update for October 2018

The FCA published the latest version of its policy development update, which provides information on its recent and upcoming publications. Future publications include a policy statement on its proposed general standards and communication rules for the payment services and e-money sectors (CP18/21), which is expected in January 2019.

FCA temporarily prohibits short selling in Banca IFIS and Biesse instruments

The FCA temporarily prohibited short-selling in Banca IFIS (ISIN: IT0003188064) and Biesse (ISIN: IT0003097257) instruments, under Articles 23(1) and 26(4) of the EU Short Selling Regulation (Regulation (EU) 236/2012). The measure is effective from 0:00 AM on 9 October 2018 until 11:59 PM on 9 October 2018. The FCA’s ban follows a decision made by another EU Competent Authority.

Prudential requirements

Council of the EU reports on proposals for investment firm prudential requirements

The General Secretariat of the Council of the EU published two reports (Council of the EU reports on proposal for a directive on the prudential supervision of investment firms and mending CRD IV and MiFID II and Council of the EU reports on proposal for a regulation on the prudential requirements of investment firms and amending CRD IV, MiFIR and the ESAs Regulation) addressed to delegates containing Presidency compromise proposals on the European Commission's proposed directive and regulation on the prudential requirements and supervision of investment firms. The reports, published on 9 October 2018, set out the Council's proposed amendments to the proposed directive and regulation.

EBA's updated Q2 2018 Risk Dashboard shows progress overall but bank profitability still a concern

The European Banking Authority (EBA) published its updated Risk Dashboard, showing data for Q2 2018. Capital ratios remain high, the downward trend of the ratio of non-performing loans (NPLs) to total loans was maintained, average return on equity (ROE) rose in Q2 2018 but profitability remains a concern, and the ratio of loans to deposits reached the lowest value since 2014.

BIS releases BCBS's latest Basel III monitoring report

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) issued a report presenting the results of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS's) latest Basel III monitoring exercise, based on data as of 31 December 2017. The BCBS established a rigorous reporting process to regularly review the implications of the Basel III standards for banks and has been publishing the results of such exercises since 2012. For the first time, the report sets out the impact of the Basel III framework that was initially agreed in 2010 as well as the effects of the BCBS's December 2017 finalisation of the Basel III reforms.

EBA reports on Basel capital and liquidity implementations

The EBA published two reports, which measure the impact of implementing the Basel III reforms and monitor the current implementation of liquidity measures in the EU. The EBA Basel III capital monitoring report includes a preliminary assessment of the impact of the Basel reform package as endorsed by the group of central bank governors and heads of supervision (GHoS) on EU banks assuming its full implementation. The report on liquidity monitors and evaluates the liquidity coverage requirements currently in place in the EU. The EBA estimates that the Basel III reforms would determine an average increase by 16.7% of EU banks' Tier 1 minimum required capital. The liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) of EU banks stood at around 145% in December 2017, materially above the minimum threshold of 100%.

ESRB discusses financial stability, insurance regulation at latest meeting

In its meeting on 27 September 2018, the general board of the ESRB discussed risks to EU financial stability, monitoring of derivatives markets, and the need to establish a broader macroprudential toolkit for insurance. The ESRB also released the 25th issue of its risk dashboard, which is a set of quantitative and qualitative indicators of systemic risk in the EU financial system.

EBA acknowledges adoption of amended supervisory reporting standards by the European Commission

The EBA acknowledged the adoption by the European Commission of the Implementing Act amending Regulation (EU) No 680/2014 (Implementing Technical Standards on Supervisory Reporting) with regard to the inclusion of prudent valuation into COREP as well as other amendments. The Implementing Act, which is based on the final draft ITS on supervisory reporting submitted by the EBA in April 2018, was adopted by the Commission on 9 October 2018, but its publication in the EU Official Journal is still pending.

Chair of ECB supervisory board gives speech on banking supervision

The chair of the supervisory board of the ECB, Danièle Nouy, gave a speech entitled ‘The financial market as a global village: integrated, innovative, international’, at the 9th FMA Supervisory Conference. In the speech, Ms Nouy talked about the single supervisory mechanism (SSM) and its special role in connecting regional and global dimensions. She noted that, in the past four years, European banking supervision has helped enormously in reducing risks in the banking sector.

Regulatory architecture

ECB VP lays out roadmap for strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union

The vice-president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Luis de Guindos, said that public authorities need to 'urgently complete' the reforms initiated when the global financial crisis erupted in 2008. In his view, this includes not only continuing on the path of reforms to reduce risks in the financial and public sectors, but also risk sharing alongside risk reduction across national borders.

ECB’s Yves Mersch on monetary policy and the growth outlook in the euro area

Yves Mersch, a member of the executive board of the ECB gave an update on monetary policy in the euro area, which he said is currently experiencing broad-based economic expansion, although global protectionism and vulnerabilities in emerging markets warranted continued monitoring. He said monetary policy measures introduced since 2014 had been pivotal to expansion, and that the underlying strength of the euro area economy is expected to persist on account of strong domestic demand dynamics.

ESMA chair makes statement on CMU

The chair of ESMA, Steven Maijoor, delivered a statement on MiFID II implementation, CMU, and Brexit to ECON at the European Parliament. Mr Maijoor’s statement was part of the annual hearing of the chairs of the three ESAs. Mr Maijoor discussed the progress made on CMU, saying it was important to keep up the momentum of the convergence activities, as a number of CMU areas require further attention, including participation of retail investors in capital markets.

FCA director calls for international regulatory co-operation

The executive director of supervision for investment, wholesale and specialists at the FCA, Megan Butler, delivered a speech in Hong Kong in which she called for international co-operation in financial regulation and urged countries not to fragment the work that had been done in the decade since the financial crisis with competing philosophies and regulatory agendas.

Authorisation, approval and supervision

Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 (Commencement No 4) Regulations 2018

SI 2018/1045: Certain provisions of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 will come into force in the UK on 6 October 2018. The commenced provisions relate to the transfer schemes of the regulation of claims management services. Provisions coming into force on 6 October 2018:

  • sections 27(1)–(14) of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 (FGCA 2018) (transfer to financial conduct authority of regulation of claims management services), and
  • FGCA 2018, Sch 4 (regulation of claims management services: transfer schemes)

Financial crime

National Crime Agency v A [2018] EWHC 2534 (Admin)

None of the matters raised by the respondent, seeking the discharge of an unexplained wealth order, under s 362A(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, individually or cumulatively, led to the conclusion that the order should not have been made. Accordingly, the Administrative Court, in dismissing the discharge application, held that, in all the circumstances, it had been and remained appropriate for the order to be made.

Lonsdale v National Westminster Bank plc [2018] EWHC 1843 (QB)

The claimant's application for an order requiring the defendant bank to permit inspection of the suspicious activity reports that had led to it freezing the claimant's bank accounts was granted. Besides allowing the claimant's application, the Queen's Bench Division also dismissed the parties' respective applications for strike out and summary judgment of the action.

Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation publishes annual review for 2017-18

HM Treasury's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) published its annual review, which provides an overview of OFSI's activities in 2017-18, as well as looking to the future. OFSI was set up in March 2016 to be a 'centre of excellence' for financial sanctions. Its objectives are to raise awareness of financial sanctions, to assess and address suspected breaches and provide a professional service to the public and industry.

MiFID II

ESMA opinions endorse BaFin and FCA position limits under MiFID II

ESMA published three opinions (Opinion on position limits on Phelix DE/AT Base Power contractOpinion on position limits on UK Natural Gas contracts and Opinion on position limits on Swiss Power Base contracts) endorsing position limits in commodity derivatives adopted under Article 57 of MiFID II by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) with respect to the Phelix DE/AT base power futures and options commodity contract and Swiss power base futures commodity contracts and by the UK FCA with respect to UK Natural Gas commodity futures and options contracts.

ESMA updates its Q&As on MiFID market structure and transparency topics

ESMA updated its Q&As on MiFID II and MiFIR market structure and transparency topics. The new MiFID II and MiFIR market structure and transparency Q&As cover:

  • classification of derivatives on derivatives for transparency purposes
  • default liquidity status of bonds (amendment to an existing Q&A)
  • scope of the pre-trade transparency waiver provided under Article 9(1)(c) of MiFIR
  • market making activities and incentives to be provided during stressed market conditions
  • treatment of bulk quotes for the calculation of the order to trade ratio
  • scope of Article 17(6) of MiFID II and Chapter IV (Articles 24-27) of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/589 (RTS 6)
  • arranging of transactions that are ultimately formalised on another trading venue
  • registration of a segment of an MTF as an SME growth market, and
  • maker taker schemes
ESMA chair makes statement on MiFID II implementation

The chair of ESMA, Steven Maijoor, delivered a statement on MiFID II implementation, CMU, and Brexit to ECON at the European Parliament. Mr Maijoor’s statement was part of the annual hearing of the chairs of the three ESAs. Mr Maijoor said MiFID II implementation is ‘a very good example of what ESMA’s contribution to investor protection, orderly markets and financial stability in the EU financial markets can and should be’. He stressed that the project is still ongoing, and said significant allocation of resources, in particular for data and IT issues, market monitoring and supervisory convergence work, was planned over the next months.

EESC welcomes EU plans on crowdfunding

The EESC published it's opinion on the European Parliament and Council of the European Union proposals to amend MiFID II and to create a regulation on European crowdfunding service providers for business in the Official Journal of the EU. The EESC says the proposals are aimed at introducing a European label for crowdfunding platforms which facilitates cross-border activities, and that they should allow crowdfunding services to scale up their activities and to develop at EU level while providing greater access to financing for entrepreneurs and businesses, especially small, young and innovative enterprises.

Markets and Trading

Council of the EU reports on proposed regulation on CCP authorisation and recognition

The General Secretariat of the Council of the EU published two reports addressed to delegates containing Presidency compromise proposals on the European Commission's June 2017 proposal for a regulation amending the European Securities and Markets Authority Regulation (Regulation (EU) 1095/2010) and the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (Regulation (EU) 648/2012) (EMIR) as regards the procedures and authorities involved for the authorisation of central counterparties and requirements for the recognition of third-country CCPs.

FIA responds to BoE/PRA/FCA discussion paper on operational resilience

The Futures Industry Association (FIA) published its response to the discussion paper ‘Building the UK financial sector's operational resilience’ (DP01/18/DP18/04) issued jointly by the BoE, the PRA and the FCA in July 2018. FIA supports the key objectives of the proposals in the discussion paper—to promote business continuity and maintain confidence within the financial sector in the event of a disruption to services but argues that any consideration of operational resilience should consider the integrated nature of the service providers within the clearing market infrastructure, and that harmonisation of requirements across jurisdictions is key​.

AFME issues guidance on analyst interactions under COBS 12.2.21A G

The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) published guidance on financial analysts' interactions with representatives of private companies and/or their financial advisers under COBS 12.2.21A G. The guidance sets out a number of scenarios in which interaction requests should be escalated within a firm to determine whether the interaction could amount to participating in a pitch.

ISDA and Linklaters launch beta version of new initial margin documentation tool

The ISDA and law firm Linklaters launched a test version of a new online tool that will allow firms to electronically negotiate and execute initial margin (IM) documentation. The IM module is the first step in a broader push to make ISDA documentation available online through ISDA Create, ISDA's new digital documentation platform.

GFXC launches new survey on awareness and adoption of the FX Global Code

The Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC) launched a new survey to measure awareness and adoption of the FX Global Code among market participants. The information collected will support the GFXC in promoting, maintaining, and updating the Code, and will help determine effective mechanisms for fostering adherence. The GFXC will consider the results of the survey at its next meeting, which will take place on 29-30 November 2018 in Paris.

BoE paper finds that macroprudential FX regulations ‘shift the snowbanks’ of FX vulnerability

The BoE published a staff working paper that considers whether macroprudential foreign exchange regulations on banks can reduce the financial and macroeconomic vulnerabilities created by borrowing in foreign currency. The paper finds that such regulations do appear to be successful in mitigating the vulnerability of banks to exchange rate movements and the global financial cycle, but partially shift the ‘snowbank’ of FX vulnerability to other sectors.

ESMA withdraws CRA registration from Polish SPMW Rating Sp z.o.o.

ESMA withdrew the credit rating agency (CRA) registration of the Polish SPMW Rating Sp z.o.o. (SPMW). The withdrawal follows the official notification to ESMA by SPMW on 30 August 2018 of its intention to renounce its registration under the conditions set out in Article 20(1)(a) of the CRA Regulation. ESMA confirms that SPMW effectively stopped its rating activities.

Investment funds and asset management

FCA consults on proposed improvements to the liquidity risk management rules

The FCA is consulting on new rules and guidance to reduce the potential for harm to investors in funds that hold illiquid assets, particularly under stressed market conditions. The FCA says the measures will also support its market integrity objective and help address financial stability concerns. The FCA argues that improvements could be made in the use of certain liquidity management tools, contingency planning, oversight arrangements and disclosure to retail clients. Feedback is sought by 31 January 2019.

EESC opinion on cross-border distribution of collective investment funds proposals

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) published it’s opinion on the European Commission’s proposals on cross-border distribution of collective investment funds, and the law applicable to the third-party effects of assignments of claims, in the Official Journal of the EU. The EESC says the proposals take account of the key regulatory obstacles to cross-border distribution of investment funds, namely marketing requirements, regulatory fees, notification procedures and administrative requirements at national level, but said the proposals do not tackle the harmonisation of tax rules. The EESC makes a number of suggestions to clarify and strengthen the proposals, and calls for further details and instructions to be supplied by ESMA.

Council of the EU raises no objection to three delegated regulations

The Council of the European Union confirmed that it will raise no objections to three delegated regulations with regard to (1) liquidity coverage requirement for credit institutions and (2) safekeeping duties of depositaries. The delegated acts are:

  • Commission Delegated Regulation of 12 July 2018 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 231/2013 as regards safekeeping duties of depositaries
  • Commission Delegated Regulation of 12 July 2018 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/438 as regards safekeeping duties of depositaries, and
  • Commission Delegated Regulation of 13 July 2018 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/61 to supplement Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 with regard to liquidity coverage requirement for credit institutions

ESMA updates its Q&As on AIFMD application

ESMA updated its Q&As on the application of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD). ESMA added a new Q&A clarifying the application of the notification requirements with regard to AIFMs managing umbrella AIFs on a cross-border basis.

FCA signs MoU with Hong Kong’s SFC on mutual recognition of funds

The FCA and Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) entered into a memorandum of understanding on mutual recognition of funds, which will allow eligible Hong Kong public funds and UK retail funds to be distributed in each other’s market through a streamlined process. It establishes a framework for the exchange of information, regular dialogue and regulatory co-operation.

Banks and mutuals

Treasury letter on implementation of RBS’s alternative remedies package

The government published a letter from the economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP, to the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Nicky Morgan MP, dated 30 July 2018. In the letter, Mr Glen sets out details of the timelines for the implementation of Royal Bank of Scotland’s state aid alternative remedies package.

Building Societies Association publishes guidance on revised UK Corporate Governance Code

The Building Societies Association (BSA) published guidance for building societies on the revised UK Corporate Governance Code (UKCG Code), which was issued in July 2018 and applies to reporting years starting on or after 1 January 2019. The UKCG Code is addressed to companies with a premium listing, but the PRA expects building societies to have regard to the UKCG Code in their corporate governance arrangements.

Consumer credit, mortgage and home finance

'Dear CEO' letter sets out FCA expectations for debt packager firms

The FCA published a 'Dear CEO' letter setting out its expectations of debt packager firms providing debt advice and counselling services. The FCA says that it undertook a review of a small sample of debt advice provided by these firms and is 'very concerned' about poor standards, which could result in enforcement action. This will continue to be an area of focus for the FCA.

EBA publishes official translations of updated complaints-handling guidelines under Mortgage Credit Directive

The EBA published final versions of the updated Joint Committee guidelines on complaints-handling, which have been translated into the official languages of the EU. The update extends the scope of application of the guidelines to the authorities supervising the new institutions established under the Mortgage Credit Directive (Directive 2014/17/EU). Competent authorities now have until 4 December 2018 to confirm whether they comply or intend to comply with the guidelines.

John Glen responds to Treasury Committee report on household finances

The Treasury Select Committee published a September 2018 letter from the economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP, in which he thanked the committee for its work preparing the report on Household finances: income, saving and debt. Mr Glen said the government continues to monitor household finances closely and is developing and implementing further measures to support them. Among other policies, Mr Glen said the government had taken action to support those with problem debt, through capping the cost of high-cost short-term credit.

LSB reviews progress made on implementing the Vulnerability Taskforce’s principles and recommendations

The Lending Standards Board (LSB) published a review of the progress made in implementing the Vulnerability Taskforce’s principles and recommendations set out in its February 2016 report on improving outcomes for customers in vulnerable circumstances. The report identifies areas where improvements need to be made in the application of the principles and recommendations, as well as areas of good practice which could be considered for adoption more widely.

UK Finance and FMB issue guide to development finance for SME housebuilders

UK Finance and the Federation of Master Builders published a guide to development finance for small-to-medium enterprise (SME) housebuilders. It offers practical advice to smaller housebuilders on how they should present their project to lenders to improve their chances of success, as well as the alternative options available if an application for finance is turned down.

Payment services and systems

ECJ gives judgment on interpretation of ‘payment account’ under the PSD

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) responded to a request for a preliminary ruling concerning the interpretation of Article 4(14) of the Payment Services Directive (PSD). The request was made in proceedings between two Austrian entities, the Federal Chamber of Workers and Employees (having legal standing in order to assert consumers' interests) and ING-DiBa Direktbank Austria, concerning the lawfulness of the standard terms and conditions of the contracts offered by that bank.

Treasury Committee publishes PSR’s LINK update letter

The chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Nicky Morgan MP, published an 11 September 2018 letter from the managing director of the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), Hannah Nixon, updating the committee on LINK and the provision of free-to-use (FTU) ATMs in the UK.

Government announces new measures to tackle late payments to small businesses

Small Business Minister, Kelly Tolhurst proposed new measures to address the issue of large companies abusing their position in the market by delaying payments to small businesses. The proposed measures aim to encourage trade bodies to highlight best and worst practices in payment behaviour in efforts to provide practical improvements and help small businesses grow. Alongside the proposals, Tolhurts launched a consultation seeking views on how the government can develop a responsible payment culture. The call for evidence closes on 29 November 2018.

EBA publishes official translations of updated complaints-handling guidelines under the PSD

The EBA published final versions of the updated Joint Committee guidelines on complaints-handling, which have been translated into the official languages of the EU. The update extends the scope of application of the guidelines to the authorities supervising the new institutions established under the recast Payment Service Directive (Directive (EU) 2015/2366). Competent authorities now have until 4 December 2018 to confirm whether they comply or intend to comply with the guidelines.

Insurance and pensions

FCA issues policy statement on improving the quality of pension transfer advice

The FCA published Policy Statement (PS) 18/20: Improving the quality of pension transfer advice, which provides feedback from its consultation on the subject, and final rules and guidance. The PS confirms that the FCA is taking forward most of the proposals put forward for consultation in March 2018, which mainly related to transfers from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) pension schemes. The FCA says the new rules should improve the advice that people get when considering transferring their pension, including as a result of the pension freedoms.

Insurance Europe issues paper on preparing for cyber insurance

Insurance Europe, together with the Federation of European Risk Management Associations and the European Federation of Insurance Intermediaries, issued a paper entitled Preparing for cyber insurance. The report aims to provide guidance to organisations that are considering buying cyber insurance and to help businesses of all sizes and across all sectors better manage their cybersecurity risks and insurance needs.

EIOPA reinforces NCA co-operation in the supervision of cross-border insurance distribution

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published a Decision, plus appendices, on the co-operation of national competent authorities with regard to the supervision of cross-border insurance distribution activities of insurance undertakings and insurance intermediaries.

EIOPA chair gives speech at ECON annual hearing

The chair of EIOPA, Gabriel Bernardino, made a speech in Brussels to ECON, at EIOPA's annual hearing with ECON. Mr Bernardino focused on the convergence of supervisory practices across the EU, outlining EIOPA's achievements in this area, its future needs to drive supervisory convergence, and preparations for future challenges, including Brexit, sustainable finance and cyber insurance.

EU-US Insurance Project announces upcoming forum

The EU-US Insurance Project is to hold a public event on 10 November 2018 in Luxembourg. The event will include discussions of key areas linked to the Project’s initiatives, addressing challenges and opportunities for the insurance sector in the EU and the US related to cyber security risks and the cyber insurance market, the use of big data and intra-group transactions.

FCA and The Pensions Regulator to hold joint TechSprint

The FCA and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) are to hold a joint TechSprint in Edinburgh on 27 and 28 November 2018. The event will challenge participants to come up with innovative approaches to help consumers engage with and navigate their pension options.

CMA issues legal directions to Lloyds following PPI Order breaches

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued legal directions to Lloyds Banking Group for breaches of the Payment Protection Insurance Market Investigation Order 2011 (the PPI Order) after it failed to provide customers with correct data and annual reminders. The CMA required Lloyds to put effective systems and procedures in place to prevent similar breaches from happening in the future.

Fintech and virtual currencies

FSB report on crypto-assets and financial stability

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a report on Crypto-asset markets: Potential channels for future financial stability implications. It sets out the analysis behind the FSB’s proactive assessment of the potential implications of crypto-assets for financial stability.

European Parliament adopts resolution on distributed ledger technologies and blockchains

The European Parliament adopted a non-legislative resolution on distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) and blockchains: building trust with disintermediation. The Parliament lists the many uses and advantages of DLTs and blockchains across several different sectors including the financial sector.

European Economic and Social Committee responds to Commission’s FinTech action plan

The EESC published it’s opinion on the European Commission’s FinTech action plan, which aims to create a more competitive and innovative European financial sector, in the Official Journal of the EU. The EESC considers that the action plan could be instrumental in deepening and broadening capital markets by integrating digitisation, help drive the capital markets union, and could be a vital stimulus for the SME sector which accounts for 99% of all EU businesses by increasing funding opportunities and enabling SMEs to adopt simpler and more affordable solutions.

HMT states that Britain can become the natural global home for FinTech

HM Treasury issued a press release stating that the chancellor of the exchequer will position Britain as the ‘natural global home’ of new and innovative financial services after Brexit at the IMF annual meeting in Bali (10-13 October) and will herald Britain's approach to using technology to save customers money and open up the market to popular new banking apps.

IA reveals first cohort of FinTech firms at official launch of Velocity accelerator

The Investment Association (IA) unveiled at Velocity (its specialist FinTech accelerator for the asset management industry) launch event held on 9 October 2018 the first cohort of FinTech firms which will be joining Velocity. The event was concluded with a keynote speech from the economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP.

Sustainable Finance

WFE sets out sustainability principles for exchanges

The WFE published five sustainability principles for member exchanges, aiming to make finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development, and promoting the transition towards an inclusive, and sustainable economy.

John Glen updates European Scrutiny Committee on EU sustainability proposals

The economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP, wrote to the chair of the European Scrutiny Committee, Sir William Cash MP, clarifying the government’s position on EU proposals for regulations on low carbon benchmarks, the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment, and on disclosures relating to sustainable investments.

Dates for your diary

Date Subject Event
12 October 2018 Payment Services Directive (PSD2) Deadline to responses to the FCA consultation paper’ CP18/25: Approach to final Regulatory Technical Standards and EBA guidelines under the revised PSD2
14 October 2018 Fintech and virtual currencies Deadline for responses to the FCA’s (in collaboration with 11 financial regulators and related organisations) consultation on the role the Global Financial Innovation Network should play in delivering its objectives.
17 October 2018 Senior Managers and Certification Regime Deadline for responses to the PRAs consultation paper’CP 20/18: Strengthening accountability: implementing the extension of the SM&CR to insurers (Part 2)
Filed Under: Weekly Highlights

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