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Financial Services - Regulatory & Risk

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Calls for increased regulation following rise in FSCS bills

Published on 11 September 2020. By Shauna Giddens, Associate

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The FSCS levy for the 2020/2021 was released earlier this year, causing frustration amongst many advisors in the sector. That frustration continues, with the FSCS making large compensation payments in respect of defined benefit (DB) transfers where many question the lack of earlier FCA intervention, which might have alleviated the problems in this area.

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FCA appoints new CEO

Published on 25 June 2020. By Jennifer Inman, Paralegal

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has appointed Nikhil Rathi, the UK head of the London Stock Exchange, as its new permanent chief executive, making him the first BAME leader of the UK's city regulator.

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Equity Release Market Under the Spotlight

Published on 18 June 2020. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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Yesterday the FCA published its key findings from exploratory work involving "later life lending". This type of lending is broadly where consumers 55 and over use borrowing to access cash in later life. One of those options is equity release which was the focus of the FCA's work. The FCA's focus on equity release appears to have resulted from an initial review of the broader later life lending market, at which time the FCA identified some "poor outcomes" in equity release sales.

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FCA advice checker – FCA statement on what customers should look out for in DB transfer advice

Published on 11 June 2020. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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Wrapping up the documents published by the FCA on 5 June 2020 on the issue of defined benefit pension transfers (DB transfers), we address in this blog the FCA's "advice checker".

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The future of DB transfer advice - the FCA's policy statement

Published on 10 June 2020. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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In part 3 of our blog series on defined benefit pension transfers (DB transfers) we look at the FCA's policy statement on changes to the DB transfer rules. The change that has attracted most press attention is the ban on contingent charging but there are other parts to the policy statement that are likely to have a much more substantive impact on the DB transfer market going forward.

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Publication

HKEX published additional guidance specific to biotech companies

Published on 10 June 2020. By Janney Chong, Partner and Yvonne Tang, Senior Associate

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DB Transfers – the FCA's views on good and bad practice

Published on 09 June 2020. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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Continuing our blog series, one of the documents produced by the FCA on Friday was a guidance consultation document intended to meet requests from the industry to help advisers understand the FCA's expectations when advising on pension transfers and conversions. The document includes examples of the FCA's views of good and bad practice in the area of defined benefit pension transfers (DB transfers). The stated aim is to "improve the suitability of DB transfer advice" and "to give advisers confidence to give good advice". The FCA expects firms providing DB transfer advice to read the document and once finalised it is intended that firms use it to identify any weaknesses in their existing processes.

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DB transfers – further findings from the FCA's supervisory review

Published on 08 June 2020. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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The FCA produced four documents on Friday addressing defined benefit pension transfers – an update on their supervisory work, a guidance consultation setting out examples of good and bad practice, an "advice checker" for consumers (including helping them consider if they should make a complaint) and a policy statement setting out changes to the defined benefit pension transfer rules which are to largely come into force from 1 October 2020. All are essential reading for an area the FCA continues to fixate on and where it has focussed since the April 2015 pension freedoms.

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Update on the FCA's review of Defined Benefit transfer advice

Published on 21 May 2020. By Zoe Melegari, Associate

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The FCA has been looking to improve the quality of pension transfer advice for some time now. However, despite the crackdown on defined benefit transfers being announced as a strategic priority earlier this year, it appears that factors, such as Covid-19 have put the FCA's investigations into advice suitability on the back foot – for now, at least.

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Blog

Adams v Carey – the judgment – over 2 years in the making, where does it leave the SIPP market

Published on 19 May 2020. By Ashley Daniells, Associate and David Allinson, Senior Associate and Rachael Healey, Partner

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More than two years since the trial in March 2018, the High Court has dismissed the claim against Carey Pensions on all counts. The landmark case is sure to have far reaching ramifications for the SIPP industry and beyond.

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SIPP and SSAS providers face further test following in-specie ruling in favour of HMRC

Published on 13 May 2020. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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The Upper Tier Tribunal has overturned a decision of the First Tier Tribunal and found in favour of HMRC in a case that is likely to place further pressure on the SIPP and SSAS markets.

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FOS complaints and hindsight – categorical statement from the Chief Ombudsman

Published on 11 May 2020. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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The FCA has been producing a range of temporary measures with the aim of ensuring that firms can work at pace during the pandemic for the benefit of customers. However, where procedures are bypassed or corners cut what will FOS do in response? The response from FOS to that questions raises another – the use of hindsight when coming to its decisions.

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The Financial Ombudsman Service's response to COVID-19

Published on 23 April 2020. By George Smith, Senior Associate and Laura Sponti, Paralegal

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A few weeks ago, the FOS announced it was closing its office in response to government guidance but was continuing to receive and respond to complaints both old and new. The FOS' latest newsletter offers useful further insight into the FOS' response to the current crisis.

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SM&CR temporary arrangements extended to 9 months for FCA solo-regulated firms

Published on 07 April 2020. By Jonathan Charwat, Senior Associate

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As well as giving general guidance on its expectations on how solo-regulated firms should be complying with SM&CR during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCA has announced that it will permit unapproved individuals to cover for Senior Managers for up to 36 weeks. In a separate joint statement, the FCA and PRA confirmed that this rule change will not apply to dual-regulated firms but that the position is under review.

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FCA's expectations of insurance firms

Published on 02 April 2020. By Jonathan Charwat, Senior Associate

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Over the last couple of weeks, the FCA has been publishing information and guidance for firms in relation to the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to its general update on COVID-19, the FCA has set out specific expectations of insurance firms.

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Back to Brexit – House of Lords EU Financial Affairs Committee recommendations on financial services after Brexit

Published on 01 April 2020. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

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The House of Lords EU Financial Affairs Committee has published recommendations on the financial services industry post-Brexit. The Committee recognised that this may not be a government priority due to COVID19, but EU negotiations and the future of the UK's financial services industry will be important issues in future months.

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COVID-19: key financial workers

Published on 31 March 2020. By Rob Paine, Associate

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released guidance on steps financial services firms should take to help identify 'key workers'.

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COVID-19 forces POS and FOS office closures – what does it mean for complaints?

Published on 30 March 2020. By Ashley Daniells, Associate and Christopher Cole, Associate

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The COVID-19 outbreak (and the subsequent UK lockdown) continues to impact our daily lives and it seems the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and The Pensions Ombudsman (POS) are not immune. With office closures announced, we look at the impact this will have on outstanding complaints and those yet to be made.

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New FCA signposting travel insurance rules

Published on 27 March 2020. By Lauren Murphy, Associate

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Earlier this month the FCA published a policy statement detailing new requirements aimed at helping consumers with pre-existing medical conditions (PEMCs) obtain travel insurance. The new requirements demonstrate the FCA's continuing focus on improving the treatment and protection of vulnerable consumers accessing insurance and other forms of financial services.

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COVID-19 – FCA's update for consumers

26 March 2020

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In the current unsettling time, in addition to publishing guidance for firms, the FCA is keen to maintain contact with consumers. The FCA wants to ensure consumers are being protected and therefore, is providing regular advice on the steps that consumers can take to stay aware of any potential impact on their finances.

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COVID-19: FCA's update for firms

Published on 23 March 2020. By Jonathan Charwat, Senior Associate

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The FCA's website may not be your first port of call to keep up-to-date on the COVID-19/coronavirus situation here in the UK, but it should be on your list. Why?, you may ask!

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Blog

FOS warns consumers to ensure insurance applications correct

Published on 23 March 2020. By Christopher Cole, Associate and Ashley Daniells, Associate

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The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has warned consumers of the risks in providing incorrect details in relation to insurance policies in a new insight report. The risks include policies being avoided due to misrepresentation or material non-disclosure or potentially facing a significant shortfall due to underinsurance.

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The FCA's key concerns for the pensions market in 2020

Published on 09 March 2020. By Zoe Melegari, Associate

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In its Sector Views published on 18 February 2020, the FCA has announced its strategic priorities for the pensions sector for this coming year. Key issues include transfer advice, which continues to be a supervision priority, and poor value products that lead to lower living standards in retirement.

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Publication

Happy Birthday to the SIPP

06 March 2020

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This week marks the 30th anniversary of the first self invested personal pension (SIPP).

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Defined Benefit pension transfers and SIPP FOS complaints on the rise

Published on 26 February 2020.

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Official FOS figures from the end of 2019 show Defined Benefit pension transfers and SIPP complaints are on the rise although the percentage of these complaints upheld has dropped. How will the FOS respond in an area where we have seen a heavy CMC presence?

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A new issue for SIPP providers?

Published on 14 January 2020. By Ashley Daniells, Associate and Rachael Healey, Partner

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Self invested personal pension providers are facing a new type of complaint brought in relation to investments made via investment managers – is this a potential area of risk for SIPPs or is this taking their obligations one step too far?

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FCA sees SM&CR as catalyst and opportunity to transform culture in financial services

Published on 09 January 2020. By Lauren Murphy, Associate and Jonathan Charwat, Senior Associate

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Its recent 'Dear CEO' letter, the FCA sets out its expectations on firms and Senior Managers in tackling non-financial misconduct. For some time the FCA has emphasised the importance of culture at firms causing financial conduct issues. In this recent letter, the FCA makes clear that non-financial misconduct will be a key focus for its supervision of firms and senior managers.

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Emerging Risks: crypto-assets under international and domestic regulatory scrutiny

Published on 30 October 2019. By Carina McFadden, Associate and Ashley Daniells, Associate

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The latest in our emerging risks series of blogs discusses the long-running saga of cryptocurrency regulation. At an international level, the Financial Stability Board has been looking at the regulation of stablecoin. On the domestic front, the Financial Conduct Authority has published a consultation paper regarding the recovery of their costs for supervising cryptoasset businesses.

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Actuarial monitoring scheme announced

Published on 16 October 2019. By Ashley Daniells, Associate and George Smith, Senior Associate

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The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) has launched a new monitoring scheme, designed to improve the effectiveness of actuarial regulation, as well as make wide-spread improvements across the profession. The Actuarial Monitoring Scheme was created following a consultation by the IFoA.

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Emerging Risks: Equity release products increasing, despite concerns over lack of understanding

Published on 12 September 2019. By Ashley Daniells, Associate

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Equity release products are becoming an increasingly popular option to home owners looking to release cash, especially with the over 65 population. However despite the increase in use and the encouragement of these products from the Equity Release Council, advisers need to tread with caution to ensure customers are aware of the potential pitfalls.

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Abridged Advice and Workplace Pension Schemes - digging deeper into the FCA's Latest Pension Transfer Consultation Paper

Published on 15 August 2019. By Anthony Cutler, Associate

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Now that the dust has settled on the FCA's latest Consultation Paper on Pension Transfers (CP19/25), is there more to the regulator's proposals than first met the eye?

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The Senior Managers and Certification regime: The Final Countdown

Published on 08 August 2019. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

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With only a few months to go until the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) is extended to apply to all sole-regulated firms, the FCA has released further near-final rules and produced a report on its findings as to how firms in the banking sector have embedded the regime since March 2016.

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Court of Appeal guidance on liability of financial advice networks for appointed representatives

Published on 31 July 2019. By George Smith, Senior Associate

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In what circumstances is a financial advice network liable for the acts and omissions of its appointed representatives (ARs)? The Court of Appeal has today provided valuable guidance for those operating this business model. The decision will be welcomed by financial advice networks in confirming, in particular, that they are able to place restrictions on the business of ARs for which they have accepted responsibility.

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FCA announces new rules on peer-to-peer lending

Published on 08 July 2019. By Ashley Daniells, Associate

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The FCA has published its policy statement on peer-to-peer (P2P) lending following a lengthy public consultation into the crowdfunding industry in general. The policy statement introduces a large number of new rules for P2P platforms and includes restrictions on direct marketing to non-sophisticated / high net worth investors unless they are receiving regulated advice, and ensuring such investors do not place more than 10% of their investable capital in P2P platforms.

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Brexit: A blessing or a curse for accountants?

Published on 08 July 2019. By Matthew Watson, Senior Associate

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A recent survey has indicated that the accountancy profession is well placed to accommodate the uncertainties surrounding Brexit.

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New pension transfer data – FCA's concerns remain

Published on 20 June 2019. By David Allinson, Senior Associate

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The FCA has published the results of data received from firms carrying out DB transfers and set out the next steps in its supervisory work.

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FCA and PRA jointly fine bank for repeated outsourcing failings

Published on 12 June 2019. By Ashley Daniells, Associate

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R. Raphael & Sons PLC (Raphaels), one of the UK's oldest lenders, has been criticised and fined jointly by the FCA and PRA after it was found that the bank had failed to manage its outsourcing arrangements properly.

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Financial Reporting Council considers the test for "misconduct"

Published on 20 May 2019. By Robert Morris, Partner and Matthew Watson, Senior Associate

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A recent Financial Reporting Council (FRC) Tribunal decision provides some welcomed clarity on the distinguishing features of misconduct and negligence for those in the accountancy profession.

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All bets are off for binary options

Published on 04 April 2019. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

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Following consultation, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced on 29 March 2019 that, as of 2 April 2019, the sale, marketing and distribution of binary options (including securitised binary options) to retail consumers will be prohibited indefinitely.

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FCA promises "greater clarity" over Crypto regulation

Published on 31 January 2019. By Ashley Daniells, Associate

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made further progress in relation to the regulation of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, in an attempt to tackle the growing market. The aim of regulation will be to provide greater clarity to both the industry and consumers.

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Pension Transfers – FCA provides an end of year report

Published on 14 December 2018. By Matthew Watson, Senior Associate

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As the end of the calendar year approaches the FCA's recent publication indicated that the regulator remains concerned as to the suitability of pension transfer advice. If the FCA's recent review was an end of term school report this would be best summed up as "could do much better".

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Regulation of cryptocurrencies inches ever closer

Published on 21 November 2018. By Ashley Daniells, Associate

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The long awaited regulation of cryptocurrencies has moved one step closer, with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announcing plans to consult on regulation before the clock strikes twelve on 31 December 2018. The news comes after pressure for regulation has grown following a $15 billion crash.

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The Barclays Case – Criminal Corporate Liability

Published on 20 November 2018. By Sam Tate, Partner and Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

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The UK Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) final attempt to prosecute Barclays in connection with Qatari loans ended on October 26 with the rejection of its High Court application to reinstate criminal charges against the bank.

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Anti-money laundering legislation meets the art market

Published on 19 November 2018. By Davina Given, Partner

The art market is often described as the last unregulated market. Even if that is true, it is set to change in the next couple of years, with the market being brought firmly within the ambit of European Union anti-money laundering legislation.

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Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal rules on fraudulent or deceptive conduct in share dealings

Published on 15 November 2018. By Jonathan Crompton, Partner and David Smyth, Senior Consultant

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In another landmark case for the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong, the Court of Final Appeal has ruled on the ambit of section 300 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571 – the Ordinance), and confirmed that it covers insider trading in shares listed outside Hong Kong.

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Crypto Assets and ICOs as seen by the SMSG - Part 2

Published on 09 November 2018. By Ella Shanks, Associate

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On 19 October 2018, the Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) published a report on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto assets. The report is a useful one-stop shop for relevant definitions, classifications and statistics and we summarise the highlights in this two-part series.

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Interest-only mortgages - the new PPI?

Published on 08 November 2018. By Anthony Cutler, Associate

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A new wave of complaints is hitting the mortgage market, concerning interest-only mortgages taken out before the financial crisis. Why is this happening and what should we look out for?

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Part three: food for thought – some key features of the SMCR

06 November 2018

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Having laid out the basic architecture under the SMCR, this final part of the series looks more closely at various elements of the new regime, which we consider particularly noteworthy and which give rise to specific issues to be addressed.

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Crypto Assets and ICOs as seen by ESMA's SMSG

Published on 05 November 2018. By Ella Shanks, Associate

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On 19 October 2018, ESMA's Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) published a report on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto assets. The report is a useful one-stop shop for relevant definitions, classifications and statistics and we summarise the highlights in this two-part series.

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