Weekly highlights—13 April 2017

Welcome to the weekly Financial Services highlights from the Lexis®PSL Financial Services team for the week ending 13 April 2017.

Brexit

AFME chair—Brexit shared challenge for Europe’s capital markets

On 5 April 21017, the Association for Financial Markets in European (AFME) chair Michael Cole-Fontayn, who is also the EMEA chairman for BNY Mellon, said that Brexit will prove to be a shared challenge for Europe’s capital markets.

European Parliament establishes 'red lines' on Brexit negotiations

On 6 April 2017, the European Parliament adopted a resolution officially laying down key principles and conditions for its approval of the UK’s withdrawal agreement. Any such agreement at the end of UK-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament. The resolution includes a number of points which will impact on negotiations on financial services, both with the EU and with third countries.

PRA publishes ‘Dear CEO’ letter on firm contingency planning for Brexit​

On 6 April 2017, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) sent a ‘Dear CEO’ letter, from deputy governor and PRA CEO Sam Woods, to firms on contingency planning for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The letter is relevant to banks, insurers and designated investment firms undertaking cross-border activities between the UK and the rest of the EU. This includes, for example, subsidiaries of US investment banks based in the UK doing business in the EU under passporting arrangements, as well as UK banks doing the same, and branches of institutions from other EU states operating in London.

House of Commons Library research briefing on EU Directives after Brexit

On 7 April 2017, the House of Commons Library published a paper considering what would happen to EU Directives following Brexit. The briefing paper lists the EU Directives in force, linking them to implementing measures in the UK. The paper also discusses the proposed Great Repeal Bill, which would ‘convert’ the EU legislation into UK law, so that the government and Parliament can then decide what to do with them as UK, not EU, measures.

IRSG proposes reciprocal market access scheme for Brexit

On 7 April 2017, the International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG) set out a proposed framework for how the UK and EU could agree reciprocal market access in financial and professional services as part of a new relationship post-Brexit. The model would be based on mutual recognition of each other’s regulatory and supervisory regimes, enabling firms based in the UK to continue trading services across the EU and vice versa, with minimal disruption to their customers.

New ECB webpage, workshop and FAQs on post-Brexit bank relocation

On 12 April 2017, the European Central Bank (ECB) published a new webpage and FAQs for banks considering relocating banking activities to the euro area. The ECB and several national supervisors have been approached by banking groups with questions about the supervisory approach in the euro area and about requirements by ECB Banking Supervision for banks potentially relocating business in the context of Brexit.

Financial Conduct Authority updates

FCA April 2017 policy development update

On 7 April 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) updated its policy development webpage for April 2017 setting out a schedule of recent and future FCA publications and highlighting changes from the previous schedule released on 3 March 2017.

FCA's Christopher Woolard explores the next phase of Project Innovate

On 10 April 2017, Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, delivered a speech entitled 'Innovating for the future: the next phase of Project Innovate', at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London. Mr Woolard discusses the FCA's Project Innovate, which is designed to help firms tackle regulatory barriers to innovation—whether it be through clarifying regulatory expectations, examining FCA rules or enacting policy changes—to give firms the opportunity to innovate in the interest of consumers.

FCA opens guidance consultation following FAMR recommendations

On 11 April 2017, the FCA announced it is consulting on guidance intended to clarify the regulatory framework relating specifically to four of the recommendations made by the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) in its final report. Consultation paper GC17/4: Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR): implementation part I (the consultation), sets out proposed guidance in response to FAMR recommendations. Responses are required to section 4 of the consultation by 23 May 2017, and to sections 2, 3 and 5 by 11 July 2017.

FCA paper looks at misleading adverts from behavioural science perspective

On 11 April 2017, the FCA published Occasional Paper No 26 alongside an Insight article 'Economical with the truth: three ways behavioural science can help to spot a misleading advert', which address aspects of financial advertising and how consumers might be misled.

Regulatory architecture

Revised Handbook for FSB Peer Reviews

On 6 April 2017, the Handbook for the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Peer Reviews was updated. Originally prepared in December 2009 by the FSB standing committee on standards implementation (SCSI) to develop a framework for FSB peer reviews, it was further revised in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2017 in response to SCSI members’ suggestions on ways to further enhance the functioning of peer reviews.

Speech by FSB Secretary General on global financial regulation

On 6 April 2017, the FSB published a speech given by its secretary general, Svein Andresen, at the Eurofi High Level Seminar in Malta. Mr Andresen surveys the effects of global financial regulation in the decade following the start of the financial crisis, and outlined the FSB’s priorities for 2017. Mr Andresen highlights that, broadly, the post-crisis reforms have had their intended effects and that now is not the time to risk these hard-won gains.

European Commission speech on reducing uncertainty in the financial sector

On 6 April 2017, vice-president of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis delivered a speech at Eurofi on economic and financial perspectives in the world economy and the EU. Mr Dombrovskis said that while economic growth across the EU was good news, and accelerating Capital Markets Union (CMU) will finance further growth, there still remain vulnerabilities in the system which will need to be tackled to reduce uncertainty and strengthen recovery in the financial sector in a number of areas.

ECB executive board member outlines obstacles to banking union

On 6 April 2017, a member of the executive board of the ECB, Peter Praet, delivered a speech at the Eurofi Conference in Malta in which he says the European banking sector is still too fragmented, with limited sharing of cross-border risk, and there is ‘urgent need’ to complete the ECOFIN roadmap on banking union. Mr Praet says, while the institutional underpinnings of the banking union do not yet meet the requirements of a genuine single financial market, the creation of the single supervisory mechanism (SSM) has been ‘a leap forward in the establishment of a coherent regulatory framework’.

BoE governor’s speech—The high road to a responsible, open financial system

On 7 April 2017, in a speech, the Governor of the Bank of England (BoE), Mark Carney looks at London’s importance as a global financial centre, and the progress made by the UK and its G20 partners since the crisis to make the financial system safer, simpler and fairer.

ECB releases annual report for 2016

On 10 April 2017, the European Central Bank's (ECB) published its annual report for 2016, which highlighted how it has navigated a ‘global slowdown’ and ‘pronounced financial market volatility’. Detailing the organisation's work and progress during the year, the ECB says it has achieved this by way of new measures designed to expand its monetary stimulus, including lowering key policy rates, increasing the asset purchase programme from €60bn to €80bn a month, purchasing corporate bonds for the first time and launching new targeted longer-term refinancing operations. The ECB says these measures proved ‘very effective in easing financing conditions, sustaining the recovery and—eventually—supporting a gradual adjustment of inflation rates towards levels closer to our objective’.

Corrigendum on the Single Resolution Mechanism and Fund Regulation

On 10 April 2017, the Council of the EU issued a corrigendum correcting an error in Regulation (EU) 806/2014, which establishes uniform rules and a uniform procedure for the resolution of credit institutions and certain investment firms in the framework of a Single Resolution Mechanism and a Single Resolution Fund and amending Regulation (EU) 1093/2010.

FSB consults on review of G20 financial reforms

On 12 April 2017, the FSB opened a consultation on its proposed framework for post-implementation evaluation of the effects of the G20 financial regulatory reforms. The FSB says the framework will be used to assess whether the reforms have achieved the intended outcomes, and whether they have had any unintended consequences. Responses are sought by 11 May 2017.

Reporting requirements

ESMA responds to ‘Annual Improvements to IFRS 2015-2017’

On 5 April 2017, the chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), Steven Maijoor, wrote to the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) feeding back on the Exposure Draft (ED) ‘Annual improvements to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 2015–2017 Cycle. Mr Maijoor says the comments aim to improve the enforceability of IFRSs and the transparency and usefulness of financial statements. Like EFRAG, ESMA is generally supportive of the amendments proposed in the ED.

Prudential requirements

BCBS retains current regulatory treatment of accounting provisions for interim period

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) retained, for an interim period, the current regulatory treatment of accounting provisions as applied under both the standardised approach (SA) and internal ratings-based (IRB) approach. The BCBS proposed this retention in a consultation launched in October 2016. BCBS has also set out the transitional arrangements to take effect from 1 January 2018 and the corresponding Pillar 3 disclosure requirements, should individual jurisdictions choose to implement such transitional arrangements.

EU non-performing loan levels slowly reducing, report shows

On 6 April 2017, the European Parliament released a briefing on non-performing loans (NPLs) in the euro area, providing an overview of the various measures implemented across Member States to facilitate their resolution. It outlines ongoing initiatives at EU level and the debate in the public domain on the suitability of an EU-wide bad bank.

BIS says central banks should prepare now for future liquidity assistance events

On 6 April 2017, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) published a report on the provision of liquidity assistance (LA) by central banks. BIS says that some of the challenges that arose during the financial crisis are still in the system, and there is ‘a need to prepare in calm times to be able to provide LA effectively in times of stress’. The report argues that the main lesson to be learned from the crisis was that LA should be provided swiftly but only when there is a clearly identifiable liquidity problem and when other tools are not available.

EBA final draft ITS on CRR supervisory reporting

On 7 April 2017, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published a report containing the final draft version of implementing technical standards (ITS) amending the Commission Implementing Regulation on ITS on supervisory reporting (Regulation 680/2014) relating to operational risk, sovereign exposures and additional monitoring metrics for liquidity reporting (EBA/ITS/2017/01).

Financial Policy Committee's Donald Kohn speaks on financial stability

On 7 April 2017, in a speech, Donald Kohn, external member of the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), highlights issues surrounding the preservation of financial stability following the financial crisis, particularly in light of the Trump Administration’s reconsideration of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank).

Tackling NPLs to ensure resilience in euro area

On 7 April 2017, high ratios of non-performing loans (NPLs) in several Member States are ‘weighing on the performance of the EU banking sector and have negative implications for economic growth’, Vice President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, said in a speech at the Ecofin press conference. Among other things, Mr Dombrovskis stresses that tackling NPLs is chiefly the responsibility of Member States, because the level and structure of NPLs differ between nations.

EBA announces SREP roadmap

On 11 April 2017, the EBA released a roadmap of its multi-stage plan to update the common European framework for the supervisory review and evaluation process (SREP) in 2017-2018 and beyond. The document also summarises the ongoing policy initiatives affecting Pillar 2/SREP that will need to be reflected in the revised EBA guidelines on Pillar 2 topics.

Positive findings in EBA peer review of ITS on CRR supervisory reporting

On 11 April 2017, the EBA released a report on the peer review of its implementing technical standard (ITS) on supervisory reporting requirements under the Capital Requirements Regulation (EU) 575/2013 (CRR). The peer review assessed how supervisory authorities have ensured consistent and comprehensive implementation of the ITS, and concludes that most supervisory authorities have put in place robust processes and IT systems to ensure timely, complete and correct data reporting.

Risk management and controls

FSB-IOSCO Roundtable on compensation practices in the securities sector​

On 6 April 2017, the FSB published a summary of matters discussed at the FSB-IOSCO Roundtable on compensation practices in the securities sector in December 2016 and the main takeaways.

Gender pay gap reporting comes into force

On 6 April 2017, new legislation came into force which requires private and public sector employers with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay gap figures by April 2018. The government hopes the requirements will help ‘break the glass ceiling’ and create a more modern workforce. The regulations will cover approximately 9,000 employers and over 15 million employees, representing nearly half of the UK’s workforce.

ECB issues opinion on identification of critical infrastructures for the purpose of information technology security

On 10 April 2017, the European Central Bank (ECB) published an opinion on the identification of critical infrastructures for the purpose of information technology security. In the opinion, the ECB discusses, among other things, the impact of a German draft regulation on payment systems overseen by the ECB and the Eurosystem, as well as its impact on TARGET2-Securities.

FCA and PRA to investigate Barclays’ CEO following attempts to identify whistleblower

On 10 April 2017, the FCA and the PRA commenced investigations into Barclays chief executive officer, Jes Staley, following his alleged conduct relating to the bank’s whistleblowing programme and, more particularly, his attempt to identify a whistleblower. Mr Staley’s variable remuneration is set to be significantly reduced as a result and he will be given a formal written reprimand. An investigation has also been opened into Barclays Bank PLC itself relating to its responsibilities, systems, controls and culture following the allegation against Mr Staley.

FCA and PRA whistleblowing investigations a test for current provisions and regimes—Andrew Tyrie

On 11 April 2017, the chair of the House of Commons Treasury Committee, Andrew Tyrie, said the Barclays whistleblowers investigations being carried out by both the FCA and PRA will mark a test case for the whistleblowing provisions introduced in response to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, and that it will also be a test case for whether the Senior Managers' and Certification Regimes are capable of providing meaningful scrutiny and accountability of financial institutions.

Wonga confirms theft of customers’ details in cyber attack

On 11 April 2017, payday loan company Wonga confirmed a data breach resulting in up to 250,000 of its accounts being compromised following the theft of customers’ personal details. The data breach is now being investigated by the City of London Police and has been reported to the Financial Conduct Authority. Wonga is currently contacting all those affected.

PRA sets out its remuneration expectations

On 12 April 2017, the PRA published policy statement (PS)7/17, which provides feedback on responses to consultation paper (CP)33/16 'The PRA's expectations on remuneration'. The PS also includes supervisory statement (SS)2/17 'Remuneration', which brings together the PRA's existing supervisory statements on proportionality, the application of malus and other elements of remuneration, and additional expectations of firms. The PS and SS are relevant to all firms regulated by the PRA which fall within the scope of the Remuneration Part of the PRA Rulebook.

Financial crime

Former traders acquitted in Libor retrial

On 6 April 2017, two individuals, Stylianos Contogoulas and Ryan Michael Reach, were acquitted of conspiring to manipulate the Libor interest rate at Southwark Crown Court, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced. The two men, both former traders for Barclays Bank, were first tried in April 2015 alongside three defendants convicted of the same charges, in addition to a fourth who pleaded guilty earlier.

Public beneficial ownership register proposed for overseas entities holding UK property

On 6 April 2017, Proposals to create the world’s first public beneficial ownership register to increase transparency of overseas investments in UK property were set out by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It has published a call to evidence, asking overseas investors, property and transparency experts for their opinions on how this register could be delivered and its impact. The deadline for responses is 15 May 2017.

ESAs publish official translations of final guidelines on risk-based supervision under AMLD4

On 7 April 2017, the joint committee of the three European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA and ESMA—ESAs) published 22 language versions of the final guidelines on the characteristics of a risk-based approach to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing supervision under the Fourth Anti Money Laundering Directive 2015/849/EU (AMLD4) on preventing the use of the financial system for money laundering or terrorist financing.

Enforcement and redress

FCA re-opens HBOS Reading investigation

On 7 April 2017, the FCA announced it is to investigate the events surrounding the discovery of misconduct within the Reading-based Impaired Assets team of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS). The FCA had put its investigation on hold in early 2013 while Thames Valley Police carried out its enquiries, pending the outcome of the police investigation and resulting prosecutions.

FCA fines and bans two for market abuse

On 7 April 2017, the FCA announced it had banned and imposed financial penalties on two former Worldspreads Limited (WSL) employees. WSL, which operated a spread betting business, collapsed in March 2012.

Treasury Committee chair welcomes news of Lloyds compensating HBOS Reading fraud victims

On 10 April 2017, the Chairman of the Treasury Committee, Andrew Tyrie MP, remarked on the news that Lloyds will compensate HBOS Reading fraud victims, and that the FCA will restart its probe into the case. Welcoming the news, Mr Tyrie says 'the public deserves to know the full truth about this and other HBOS failures. The Treasury Committee will persist. That this is taking so long is regrettable, but understandable'.

ESMA reports on EU accounting enforcement in 2016

On 10 April 2017, ESMA published its annual report on the enforcement and regulatory activities of accounting enforcers within the EU in 2016.

FSCS announces its final levy for 2017/18 at £363m

On 12 April 2017, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) announced its levy for 2016/17. The FSCS will levy £337m in this financial year, £26m less than forecast in its Plan and Budget for 2016/17, published in January 2017. The levy in 2015/16 totalled £319m.

Markets and trading

Council of EU non-objection to EMIR delegated regulations

On 6 April 2017, the Council of the EU published meeting minutes which show it decided to raise no objection to two delegated regulations under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR): Commission Delegated Regulation of 2 March 2017 (C(2017) 1324 final) with regard to the list of exempted entities and Commission Delegated Regulation of 16 March 2017 (C(2017) 1658 final) with regard to the deadline for compliance with clearing obligations for certain counterparties. The regulations are delegated acts pursuant to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. They may now enter into force, unless the European Parliament objects. ​

ESMA final report on circuit breaker and trading halt guidelines

On 6 April 2017, ESMA issued the final report on the guidelines regarding the calibration of circuit breakers and the publication of the trading halts under MiFID II. The guidelines provide further detail on the parameters that trading venues should consider for the calibration of their circuit breakers, considering as such not only trading halts but also order price collars.

GLEIF encourages early registration for Legal Entity Identifiers

On 6 April 2017, the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) issued a reminder that, with new rules coming into effect in January 2018, investment firms should obtain a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) from their clients before providing services which would trigger related reporting obligations. MiFID II and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR), covering trading venues, investment firms and intermediaries, mean more market participants will require LEIs than before.

ESMA suggests next steps for CMU

On 6 April 2017, ESMA published its response to the European Commission’s consultation paper on the Capital Markets Union (CMU) mid-term review. The response suggests that supervisory convergence, financial data, small and medium-sized enterprises, and crowdfunding could be the next areas for the project to focus on.

ESMA briefing aims to smooth CRA Regulation implementation

On 6 April 2017, ESMA issued a Supervisory briefing to national Sectoral Competent Authorities (SCAs), regarding the application of Articles 8(c) and (d) of the Credit Ratings Agencies (CRA) Regulation, to assist them with their supervision and enforcement of these provisions and promote supervisory convergence through adoption of a common supervisory approach.

MiFIR ESCB exemption extended to third-country central banks

On 6 April 2017, the European Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation together with an annex supplementing MiFIR with regard to the exemption of certain third countries’ central banks from pre- and post-trade transparency requirements.

Analytical chapters of IMF Global Financial Stability Report​

On 7 April 2017, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published analytical chapters of its Global Financial Stability Report, which provides an assessment of the global financial system and markets, and address emerging market financing in a global context.

General Court—Actions for annulment by JPMorgan Chase Co and HSBC against Commission decision on a cartel in the Euro interest rate derivatives market published

On 10 April 2017, applications for actions brought on 17 February 2017 by HSBC Holdings plc and others, and by JPMorgan Chase Co and others, against European Commission decision C(2016) 8530 final of 7 December 2016 were published in the Official Journal of the EU. The matters are Case T-105/17 HSBC Holdings and Others v Commission and Case T-106/17 JPMorgan Chase and Others v Commission.

ESMA clarifies CCPs' portfolio margining under EMIR

On 10 April 2017, ESMA issued an opinion regarding the implementation of portfolio margining requirements for central counterparties (CCPs) under EMIR. Under the EMIR requirements, CCPs can offset or reduce the required margin across instruments which they clear if the price risk of the instrument is significantly and reliably correlated to the price risk of other financial instruments. In those cases, CCPs may apply portfolio margining.

Regulation on securities prospectuses receives first reading

On 10 April 2017, the European Parliament adopted a compromise amendment (amendment 11) to the proposal for a Regulation on the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading. The Commission's proposal as amended and the legislative resolution constitute the Parliament's first-reading position, as it reflects what had been previously agreed between the institutions.

European Parliament shares ESMA concerns over use of systemic internalisers

On 11 April 2017, the European Parliament published a series of letters to ECON, which highlighted concerns over the establishment of networks of systemic internalisers in an attempt to circumvent certain requirements of MiFID II.

BoE Money Markets Committee webpage created

On 11 April 2017, the BoE set up a webpage for its recently created Money Markets Committee (MMC), a senior-level forum for market participants and the relevant UK public authorities to discuss issues concerning the UK unsecured deposits and funding market, the securities lending market and the repo market.

ESMA to hold CRA Regulation open hearing

On 11 April 2017, ESMA announced it is to hold an open hearing on the proposed update of the ESMA guidelines on the application of the endorsement regime under Article 4(3) of the Credit Rating Agencies Regulation.

Steven Maijoor gives keynote speech at CMU mid-term review​

On 12 April 2017, the chair of ESMA, Steven Maijoor, delivered the closing keynote speech at the European Commission's CMU mid-term review public hearing. Topics covered in the speech included progress made on supervisory convergence, the need for stronger supervisory convergence powers, and ESMA’s work to address the risk of regulatory arbitrage linked to the UK’s exit from the EU.

Investment funds and wealth management

European Parliament votes on money market funds regulation

On 5 April 2017, the European Parliament voted to adopt a revised text of the proposed money market funds Regulation. Under the EU ordinary legislative procedure, the revised text will now be referred back to the European Commission. The Regulation was originally proposed by the Commission in September 2013, and the European Parliament and Council reached political agreement on it in November 2016.

European Parliament non-objection to PRIIPs Regulation RTS

On 5 April 2017, the European Parliament raised no objection to the Commission Delegated Regulation of 8 March 2017 supplementing the PRIIPs Regulation (C(2017) 1473 final). This Commission Delegated Regulation lays down regulatory technical standards (RTS) with regard to the presentation, content, review and revision of key information documents (KIDs) and the conditions for fulfilling the requirement to provide KIDs.

AIFMD (Reporting) Instrument 2017—FCA updates webpage

On 6 April 2017, the FCA updated its ‘AIFMD updates’ webpage to provide further information on the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (Reporting) Instrument 2017 (FCA 2017/3).

ESMA thematic study on operation of home and host responsibilities under AIFMD and UCITS

On 7 April 2017, ESMA published the findings (ESMA34-43-340) of its thematic study on notification frameworks and home-host responsibilities under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive 2011/61/EU (AIFMD) and the Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directive 2009/65/EC (UCITS IV). ESMA carried out its thematic study in 2016 to review the notification frameworks set out in the AIFMD and UCITS IV to promote the smooth operation of the EU passports for marketing and management of funds.

ESMA updates AIFMD and UCITS Q&As

On 7 April 2017, ESMA updated its Q&As on the application of AIFMD and the application of UCITS.

MMF first reading text to be approved by Council

On 10 April 2017, In an Information Note, the Council of the EU confirmed that the text of the proposed money market fund regulation included a compromise amendment (amendment 12) agreed with the Council. The Council should therefore be in a position to approve the text adopted by the European Parliament.

Insurance Europe calls for clarity over PRIIPS RTS

On 10 April 2017, Insurance Europe said it welcomes the recently adopted RTS for the PRIIPs Regulation, but changes are required in the Level 3 measures to ensure proper implementation and legal certainty.

Consumer credit, mortgage and home finance

Standard Financial Statement transition and timelines

The Standard Financial Statement launched on 1 March 2017 when several organisations began using the new format. However, the Money Advice Service announced on 6 April 2017, that a transition window will run for around 12 months from 1 March 2017 to allow time for a wider group of organisations to implement appropriately.

New reports aim to simplify terms and ‘nudge’ consumers into better financial planning

On 11 April 2017, the Financial Advice Working Group (FAWG) prepared two reports for HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority, on improving the financial wellbeing of UK consumers, and on potential new terms for ‘advice’ and ‘guidance’ which would help consumers to better understand these services when they take decisions about their financial future.

Insurance and pensions

No need for rushed UFR changes, says Insurance Europe DDG

On 5 April 2017, the Deputy Director-General of Insurance Europe, Olav Jones, responded to EIOPA plans to make changes to the Solvency II Directive 2009/139/EC ultimate forward rate (UFR) from 1 January 2018, saying there is no need to make rushed changes to the UFR because Solvency II already takes a very conservative approach and has several safeguards.

EIOPA publishes methodology for Ultimate Forward Rate under Solvency II

On 5 April 2017, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published the methodology to derive the Ultimate Forward Rate (UFR) and its implementation process. The UFR methodology will be applied for the first time in the calculation of the risk-free interest rates of January 2018 to be published in February 2018.

EIOPA monthly update on the equity capital charge for Solvency II

On 7 April 2017, EIOPA published the technical information on the symmetric adjustment of the equity capital charge for Solvency II with reference to the end of March 2017.

Regulation correcting certain language versions of Solvency II Delegated Regulation published in the Official Journal

On 8 April 2017, Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/669 of 16 December 2016 correcting the Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, French, Greek, Lithuanian, Maltese, Romanian, Slovak and Swedish language versions of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/35, which supplements Solvency II was published in the Official Journal of the EU.

PRA insurance stress test 2017 begins

On 11 April 2017, the PRA sent a request to the UK's largest general insurers to provide information about the impact of a range of stress tests on their projected Own Funds, as well as providing additional information on their sectoral exposures to the UK economy.

Payments and fintech

Mobile Proxy Forum releases minutes

On 6 April 2017, the minutes of the sixth and seventh meetings of the Mobile Proxy Forum’s (MPF) steering committee were made available. Created in January 2016 on the recommendation of the Euro Retail Payments Board, the MPF brings together representatives of companies operating in the person-to-person (P2P) mobile payment area. The European Payments Council provides secretarial support.

PSR publishes guidance on Interchange Fee Regulation

On 7 April 2017, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) published two infographics to provide guidance on how the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR) affects retailers and consumers.

EPC new rules for SPL service for P2P mobile payments

On 7 April 2017, the European Payments Council published rules for operating, joining and participating in the standardised proxy lookup (SPL) service together with a new webpage relating to the rules.

FCA discussion paper on distributed ledger technology

On 10 April 2017, the FCA published a discussion paper, DP17/3, regarding the potential for future development of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the markets it regulates. The FCA is particularly interested to explore where the balance of risk and opportunities may lie in relation to DLT.

UK is the global FinTech hub, says the Chancellor

In a speech at the inaugural International FinTech Conference in London, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, gave a speech where he heralded new innovations such as artificial intelligence, robotics, big data analytics, biotech and financial technology (FinTech) as putting the UK at the cutting edge of what has become known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Mark Carney—FinTech can deliver faster service, greater choice and keener pricing

On 12 April 2017, the governor of the BoE, Mark Carney, gave a speech at the International FinTech Conference 2017, saying that past experiences of technological innovations should be drawn on to help ensure FinTech boosts growth and promotes financial stability. Lessons of the past could be learned from the failures of light-touch regulation, out-moded codes of market conduct, inadequate settlement and clearing infrastructure which all contributed to the global financial crisis.

European Payments Council releases SEPA card payments group minutes

On 12 April 2017, the EPC released the minutes of the second meeting of the ad hoc multi-stakeholder group on mobile contactless SEPA card payments, held on 21 February 2017. The committee’s objective is to further harmonise mobile contactless card payments, by updating the EPC Mobile Contactless SEPA Card Payments Interoperability Implementation Guidelines. At the meeting, the group discussed the vision, scope, objectives and audience of the Guidelines, and shared their views regarding the development of mobile contactless payment use cases, covering different payment contexts.

International—financial services and related sectors

BoE Shari’ah compliant liquidity facilities consultation

On 6 April 2017 the BoE published a consultation paper ‘Shari’ah compliant liquidity facilities: establishing a fund-based deposit facility’. Consultation responses, from UK Islamic banks and other interested parties, must be submitted by 23 May 2017.

Cases

Upper Tribunal—Tax and Chancery Chamber
Ford and another v Financial Conduct Authority

[2017] UKUT (TCC)

This decision of the Upper Tribunal relates to applications for witnesses summonses and letters of request in connection with the references to the Upper Tribunal by two directors of Keydata Investment Services Limited of decision notices issued by the FCA in which it was found that, in relation to their conduct as directors, they were each in breach of Statements of Principle 1 (integrity) and 4 (relations with regulators) and that each was not a fit and proper person to perform functions in relation to any regulated activity carried on by an authorised person, exempt person or exempt professional firm.

The Queen's Bench Division
Thomas and another v Triodos Bank NV

[2017] EWHC 314 (QB)

The Queen's Bench Division held that in a commercial borrowing transaction, which involved the claimant customers switching their borrowing from a variable rate to a fixed rate for a term of ten years, the defendant bank had been liable in misrepresentation in respect of redemption penalties liable upon making the switch, and for breach of its information duty in not clearly explaining how relevant clauses of their loan agreements would operate in the event of early repayment. Accordingly, the claimants were entitled to compensation in respect of the same, with quantum to be determined on a later date.

Dates for your diary

Key Date Subject Event
18 April 2017 UK Regulatory Architecture The FCA expects to publish its Mission, the Business Plan for 2017/18, Sector Views and the Fees consultation paper, with responses due 9 June 2017.
Filed Under: Weekly Highlights

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