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Welcome to the weekly Financial Services highlights from the Financial Services team for the week ending 8 March 2018.
At HSBC's headquarters in London, the chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, gave a speech on UK-EU co-operation on financial services post-Brexit. The key message in the speech was that the UK and the EU should continue to collaborate closely on cross-border financial services and that any future bespoke trade partnership agreement between the UK and the EU should contain financial services.
The City of London's Lord Mayor, Charles Bowman, said in a speech in Madrid that a bespoke free trade agreement covering financial services is of vital importance to the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
However, in a speech given at Chatham House in London on 6 March 2018, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire stated that France did not agree that financial services can be part of a free trade agreement between the EU and the UK following Brexit.
Following the release of the EU’s draft withdrawal agreement, European Commission chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier gave a speech at BusinessEurope Day 2018 setting out the EU’s priorities for a ‘global Europe’. Barnier reiterated the EU’s priority for the Brexit negotiations is to ensure an orderly withdrawal in accordance with the phased approach agreed in the original terms of reference. The first phase of these discussions culminated in the December joint report which has formed the basis of the EU’s draft terms of withdrawal.
Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), stressed the importance of finalising EU legislation such as EMIR II well in advance of Brexit, in order to prepare for all contingencies, including a no-deal scenario. Speaking at a hearing before the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) on 26 February 2018, Mr Draghi warned that, post-Brexit, a significant amount of euro clearing will take place outside the EU and its regulatory safeguards.
Insurance Europe (IE) published guidance on the consequences of Brexit on existing contracts, warning that it is ‘very clear’ that there may not be enough time left for all transfers to be completed by March 2019. IE calls for a transition period to allow time for Brexit plans to be completed, and says ‘grandfathering’ is also needed for some type of businesses to uphold customers’ rights, ensure continuity and reduce uncertainty.
Theresa May gave a speech on the UK's future economic partnership with the EU at Mansion House, setting out five principles that will guide the UK in its negotiations with the EU. Prime Minister May ruled out existing passporting arrangements going forward as these would depend on the UK remaining a member of the single market, something which she confirmed the UK was not seeking.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published its latest quarterly consultation paper (CP18/6), with proposed miscellaneous amendments to the FCA Handbook. Proposals include changes to reflect the Payment Services Regulations 2017. Feedback is sought by different dates as set out in the consultation paper.
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 the EU Money Market Funds Regulation (CP18/4), which is expected in Q2 2018 after the consultation closes on 23 March 2018.
The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) published its regulatory digest for February 2018. This issue includes details of a speech given by the deputy governor for prudential regulation and CEO of the PRA, Sam Woods, at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), about the PRA's extensive package of reforms to make Solvency II work better in the United Kingdom. It also highlights the PRA's response to the Treasury Committee's inquiry into Solvency II, consultation paper CP5/18: Algorithmic trading and policy statement PS2/18: Pillar 2 liquidity.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) published its first report on financial education, which covers 2017/18. One of the mandates conferred on the EBA in Article 9(1)(b) of the EBA's Founding Regulation is to 'review and co-ordinate financial literacy and education initiatives by the competent authorities'. The EBA's report represents the EBA's first publication in fulfilment of this mandate.
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) published the Global Shadow Banking Monitoring Report 2017, presenting the results of the its annual monitoring exercise to assess global trends and risks from the shadow banking system.
The ECB published its opinion on the European Commission's September 2017 proposal for a regulation amending Regulation (EU) 1092/2010 on EU macro-prudential oversight of the financial system and establishing the European Systemic Risk Board (the ESRB Regulation). The ECB supports the limited number of targeted changes to the ESRB's governance and operational framework proposed by the Commission, which aim to further strengthen the ESRB's efficiency and effectiveness and enable the ESRB to better fulfil its mandate.
The European Parliament adopted the Banking Union annual report for 2017, which was approved and tabled for adoption by ECON in February 2018. The report considers progress made and future priorities for banking supervision, bank resolution and deposit insurance in the EU.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the FSB issued a statement welcoming the Correspondent Banking Due Diligence Questionnaire published by the Wolfsberg Group in February 2018 as one of the industry initiatives that will help to address the decline in the number of correspondent banking relationships. The questionnaire aims to standardise the collection of information that correspondent banks ask from other banks when opening and maintaining these relationships.
The chair of the supervisory board of the ECB, Danièle Nouy, gave a speech on the European banking sector, saying while banks face many challenges, these challenges are also opportunities. Ms Nouy said non-performing loans (NPLs) and other legacy assets, low interest rates and the rise of the FinTechs all presented difficulties for banks but, with the euro area economy growing, ‘now is the ideal time’ to tackle those challenges.
The ECB launched a public consultation on the draft principles underlying its expectations for banks’ internal capital adequacy assessment processes (ICAAPs) and internal liquidity adequacy assessment processes (ILAAPs). Feedback is sought by 4 May 2018.
The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) published HM Treasury letters to the House of Commons and House of Lords European Committees setting out details of the legislative progress in the Council of the EU of the proposed CRR, CRD V Directive and BRRD II Directive which together form part of the European Commission's Risk Reduction package:
HM Treasury letter to European Union Committee, House of Lords
The FCA published a webpage giving information on the transitional arrangement under the new Article 493 (4-7) of the CRR, which was inserted by Article 1 (2) of Regulation (EU) 2017/2395. The transitional arrangement allows exemption from large exposure limits in respect of public sector debt of Member States denominated in the domestic currencies of any Member States. The exemption runs for a period of three years from 1 January 2018 and applies to exposures incurred on or after 12 December 2017.
The EBA published a new webpage including the tools to access its data point model (DPM), which compiles the harmonised data requirements included in its technical standards and guidelines. The DPM is a data dictionary encompassing the harmonised data requirements developed by the EBA and included in its Technical Standards and Guidelines. Its purpose is to enable the harmonisation of the banking regulatory framework by providing a clear interpretation of data exchange requirements to all relevant stakeholders.
The BCBS published a report presenting the results of its latest Basel III monitoring exercise based on data as of 30 June 2017. Data has been provided for a total of 193 banks, comprising 106 Group 1 banks (including all 30 banks that have been designated as global systemically important banks (G-SIBs)) and 87 Group 2 banks.
The FSB published detailed guidelines for authorities on reporting securities financing data according to the November 2015 Securities Financing Data Standards, including the main aspects of the FSB's securities financing data collection (eg scope, frequency, reporting deadlines). The FSB also published a data template for national/regional authorities to report to the global aggregator and annexes to the guidelines aimed at helping data reporting/processing and improving data quality.
The EBA published its thirteenth report on the CRD IV—CRR/Basel III monitoring exercise on the European banking system. The report presents aggregate data on EU banks' capital, leverage, and liquidity ratios assuming full implementation of the CRD IV—CRR/Basel III framework. Overall, the results, based on data as of 30 June 2017, show a further improvement of European banks' capital positions, with a total average Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio of 13.8% (13.4% as of 31 December 2016).
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/308 of 1 March 2018 laying down implementing technical standards (ITS) for Directive 2014/59/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to formats, templates and definitions for the identification and transmission of information by resolution authorities for the purposes of informing the EBA of the minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities, was published in the Official Journal of the EU.
The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee considered the proposals adopted by the European Commission in December 2017 for prudential requirements for investment firms and prudential supervision of investment firms. The government has welcomed the Commission proposals and the Committee agrees that it makes sense to rationalise the prudential regime for investment firms in view of their specific business models and the risks they pose to their customers and the wider market.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) published a white paper, Innovation-driven cyber-risk to customer data in financial services, which sets out 19 solutions identified to address innovation-drivencyber-risk to customer data, developed using a three-stage process to identify cyber-risk challenges, and to design and prioritise solutions.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) updated its high-level principles for the relationship between the FATF and the FATF-style regional bodies (FRSBs), as well as its methodology for assessing compliance with the FATF Recommendations and the effectiveness of AML/CFT systems.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that Alex Hope pleaded guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice at the Inner London Crown Court. The charge related to his conduct following the imposition of a restraint order in 2012 and a confiscation order in 2016 arising from criminal proceedings brought by the FCA. Mr Hope has been remanded in custody until Thursday 15 March 2018, when it is anticipated that a date for sentencing will be set.
A draft Crime and Courts Act 2013 (Deferred Prosecution Agreements) (Amendment of Specified Offences) Order 2018 has been laid before Parliament under section 58(e)(h) of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, for approval by resolution of each House of Parliament. If implemented, it would make certain offences under the Financial Services Act 2012 (FSA 2012) eligible to be dealt with by deferred prosecution agreements (DPA).
The European Parliament adopted a provisional recommendation on cutting the sources of terrorist income (2017/2203(INI)). The text states that one of the key elements of the fight against terrorism is to cut off its sources of financing, including through the hidden circuits of fraud and tax evasion, money laundering and tax havens, and calls for greater co-operation across Member States.
The Home Office released guidance outlining the principles for sharing information within the regulated sector, and between the regulated sector and an authorised officer of the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The Joint Committee on Human Rights published its report on the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, noting that sanctions are an important foreign policy instrument deployed to protect human rights and encourage respect for the rule of law. The Committee have reviewed the Bill in order to ensure the government’s powers in this area are ‘effective and proportionate. Recommendations include clarifying reasons for reducing the threshold for making designation decisions.
The Joint Money Laundering Steering Group received ministerial approval from HM Treasury for Parts I-III of the revised version of its guidance on the prevention of money laundering/combating terrorist financing (AML/CTF). Part II of the guidance is specifically addressed at financial services.
HM Treasury announced that it has directed the PRA to conduct an investigation into the supervision of the Co-op Bank. HM Treasury’s Direction requires the PRA to carry out an investigation into the actions, policies and approach of the Financial Services Authority, and latterly the PRA, as the institutions with statutory responsibility for the prudential supervision of the Co-op Bank during the period 2008 to 2013.
The FCA fined Guillaume Adolph £180,000 and banned him from performing any function in relation to any regulated financial activity. Mr Adolph formerly worked at Deutsche Bank as a short-term interest rate derivatives trader, and for a period of time he acted as the primary JPY LIBOR submitter for Deutsche. The FCA found that Mr Adolph improperly influenced several of Deutsche’s LIBOR submissions in disregard of governing standards.
The FCA banned the former chair of Co-op Bank, Paul Flowers, from the financial services industry. The FCA found that Mr Flowers’ conduct demonstrated a lack of fitness and propriety required to work in financial services.
Following an urgent application by the FCA, the High Court appointed Messrs Russell Downs, Douglas Nigel Rackham and Dan Yoram Schwarzmann of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as joint administrators of Beaufort Securities Limited (BSL) and joint special administrators of Beaufort Asset Clearing Services Limited (BACSL). Both firms have been placed into insolvency.
The FCA published final form checklists for benchmark administrator recognition and endorsement under the Benchmarks Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/1011). The FCA also published final versions of its application forms, and notes for firms that wish to apply to become an authorised or registered benchmark administrator or to endorse a third country benchmark. Firms should apply using the forms via the FCA's online system Connect.
The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) is consulting on its report on mechanisms used by trading venues to manage extreme volatility and preserve orderly trading. The report makes a number of recommendations intended to assist trading venues and regulatory authorities when making decisions about the implementation, operation and monitoring of volatility control mechanisms.
The FCA updated its webpage for firms subject to transaction reporting obligations under the recast Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR).
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) updated its validation rules concerning the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) with regards to the revised technical standards on reporting under Article 9 of EMIR.
The Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) published a report setting out potential future opportunities for utilities use across capital markets, as well as the challenges preventing utilities from coming to market. The report, Industry utilities: A perspective for capital markets, lays out best practice principles for developing utilities for the industry, providing guidance for market participants, as well as supervisors and regulators.
The claimant company was not entitled to rescission of swaps entered into with the defendant Royal Bank of Scotland and/or damages. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, rejected the claimant's contentions that RBS had made a negligent misstatement, a misrepresentation that the swaps had been hedges, a fraudulent implied representation about how LIBOR was set and had been wrong to have its portfolio revalued. The judgement is available here  EWCA Civ 355.
The FCA published a speech by its chief executive, Andrew Bailey, on the state of the UK’s financial markets. Speaking at the International Capital Market Association (ICMA), Mr Bailey provided an update on the implementation of MiFID II, which he said was working well for market participants. He also set out the work being done on replacements for LIBOR and the transition to alternative reference rates.
The CMA published a working paper concerning information on fees in relation to its phase 2 investigation into the supply and acquisition of investment consultancy and fiduciary management services in the UK. The working paper presents the CMA's analysis and emerging findings to date in respect of the information available to pension trustees on the fees and quality of investment consultants and fiduciary managers. It focuses primarily on whether trustees have access to the necessary information to assess (and subsequently monitor) their current and potential providers.
The FCA published the results of its retail banking product governance review, which looked at small and medium-sized retail banks. It examined how well banks consider customers’ needs when they design and sell products and provide after-sales services. The FCA has set out some areas where practice could be improved.
The FSB published updated data on correspondent banking relationships, using data provided by SWIFT. The data is published as part of the FSB’s action plan to assess and address the decline in correspondent banking relationships. The report finds that the reduction in the total number of active correspondents, as measured by the number of banks that have sent or received messages, continued in the first half of 2017. While there may be some seasonality in the changes in the latest six months, the number of active correspondents in June 2017 is also lower than in June 2016.
The FCA published a 'Dear CEO letter' addressed to firms that enter into regulated second charge mortgage contracts. It requests such firms to review their mortgage lending processes and confirm to the FCA, by 1 May 2018, that the firms in question are lending responsibly and that their processes, systems and controls ensure this.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) launched a framework which aims to reconnect British consumers with their lost savings, so-called ‘gone-away’ customers. With government figures estimating that 1.6 million pension pots—totalling around £400m—are lying unclaimed, the new framework will encourage the most effective techniques for providers to track down their lost customers.
The DExEU published a letter dated 23 February 2018 from the economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, to the chair of the House of Lords’ European Union Committee, Lord Boswell of Aynho, on the proposal for a regulation to establish a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS). Although the UK will not participate in the scheme, Mr Glen said the government was supportive of the work being done within the banking union to ensure the stability of the EU banking system and would continue to take part in formal and informal discussions.
On 1 March 2018, the European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Insurance Distribution Directive ((EU) 2016/97) (IDD), as regards the date of application of Member States' transposition measures. On 2 March 2018, the Council of the EU published the text of a proposed Directive. The text was published in advance of the Council of the EU's formal adoption of the Directive. On 5 March 2018, the Council of the EU published an I/A item note on the proposed delay of the transposition deadline of the IDD to 1 July 2018 and the application date to 1 October 2018. The note asks the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) to confirm the delay and includes a statement by the European Commission as an addendum.
The Lloyd's Market Association (LMA) published guidance for UK coverholders on the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD), which is due to come into force in the UK on 1 October 2018. The guidance is designed for UK coverholders and is intended to highlight certain important aspects of the IDD.
In advance of the Commons Report Stage of the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill (Monday 12 March), the government tabledamendments which take forward key recommendations of the Work and Pensions Committee aimed at protecting pensioners against scams and boosting take-up of free independent pensions guidance.
The Office for National Statistics published estimates of the total entitlement of households in the UK and abroad to pensions provided by UK government, pension funds and insurance companies. These are also the total obligations, or gross liabilities, of UK pension providers. Between 2010 and 2015, the total liability rose by just over one trillion pounds, to £7.6tr.
The European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution giving its consent to the conclusion of the bilateral agreement between the EU and the US on prudential measures regarding insurance and reinsurance. The agreement was signed on 22 September 2017.
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published a letter to the director general DG FISMA, Olivier Guersant, in response to the European Commission's ongoing consultation on the 'Fitness Check on Supervisory reporting'. The letter highlights the importance to the Solvency II supervisory reporting framework of supervisors receiving meaningful data in terms of granularity, coverage, frequency and within proper timelines, in order to identify and make an early assessment of the risks the insurance industry faces, both at micro and macro levels.
The FCA published the second set of data in its general insurance (GI) value measures pilot. The data relates to 36 insurers (including both UK and EEA firms) for the year ending 31 August 2017.
The Secretary General of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), Jonathan Dixon, delivered a speech on the role of the IAIS in times of turbulence from the global financial crisis, current changes in the environments of both insurers and regulators, and the future potential of turbulence and disruption from emerging risks.
The FCA confirmed that Alpha Insurance A/S ('Alpha'), an insurance firm authorised and regulated by the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has been placed into liquidation. It operates in the UK on a freedom of services basis.
EIOPA updated its Q&As on Solvency II.
The European Parliament published a draft report setting out a legislative resolution amending the European Commission's June 2017 proposal for a Regulation on a pan-European personal pension product (PEPP).
EIOPA published the monthly technical information for Solvency II relevant risk free interest rate term structures—end-February 2018. Some corrections and adjustments, in line with paragraph 115 of the Technical Documentation, were required after consultation and confirmation by the data provider. EIOPA has also published the monthly update of the symmetric adjustment of the equity capital charge for Solvency II—end-February 2018.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) published a speech by its head of legal, Carole Begent, at the Berwin Leighton Paisner and British Institute of International and Comparative Law ‘Competition in Financial Services’ conference on 28 February 2018. Ms Begent said the PSR wants to bring change to the payments industry, injecting competition and innovation where it is needed most and putting the interests of the people and businesses that use payment systems front and centre.
Crypto-currencies are failing to fulfil the roles of money, according to the governor of the Bank of England (BoE), Mark Carney. Speaking at the inaugural Scottish Economics Conference, Mr Carney said that they could nevertheless point to the future of money, and should therefore be regulated rather than banned.
The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), the global industry group for exchanges and central counterparties (CCPs), published a joint report with McKinsey on the FinTech landscape in the capital markets infrastructure (CMI) sector. The report looks at potential uses of new technologies, and areas likely to see the most innovation. It also outlines several strategic priorities that CMI providers—such as exchanges, CCPs, trading venues and securities depositories—could adopt to ensure they maximise the FinTech opportunity in their markets.
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