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Financial Services - Regulatory & Risk

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OFT Annual Plan – Focus on economic growth

08 April 2011

The OFT's Annual Plan for 2011/2012, published on 31 March 2011, set out its priorities for the coming year and in the context of budget reductions of 25% over four years.

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RPC's Financial Services Update - April 2011

07 April 2011

Our Financial Services Update (April 2011 edition) is now available. It includes:

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Legal regulation catching up - and fast

07 April 2011

Yesterday saw the first publication of the SRA's "Handbook". The adoption of FSA terminology and approach continues.

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Who's watching the London Insurance Market?

05 April 2011

As anticipated back in February, the FSA's restructure in anticipation of the new split between the PRA and the FCA came into operation yesterday.

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Money Advice Service - costs lots of money but provides no specific advice

04 April 2011

The FSA today launched its rebranded Moneymadeclear and Consumer Financial Education Body as the Money Advice Service which will cost the industry £43.7m this year.

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FSA warns firms about outsourcing of transaction monitoring

01 April 2011

FSA regulated firms must comply with their transaction reporting obligations and ensure adequate procedures are in place to check the accuracy of their reports to the FSA.

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Complaints data is meaningless out of context

30 March 2011

Statisticians will say that today's publication by the FSA of its half-yearly complaints data on firms provides a useful insight into firms' behaviours.

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Bribery Act guidance finally published

30 March 2011

After several refusals, the Bribery Act guidance has finally made it over the fence. The revised guidance should not come as a great surprise to UK plc; least of all to the FSA regulated sector which has been geared up to tackle the risks of bribery and corruption since at least 2009 and the FSA's thematic reviews in this area.

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CMCs exposed to FOS and FSA attack under MoUs with CMR

29 March 2011

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) published last week between the FOS and the Claims Management Regulator (CMR) may help respondent firms to deal effectively with perceived misconduct by CMCs.

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Lack of controlled IT function - glitch delays FSA implementation of Approved Person rules

28 March 2011

The FSA announced last week it was delaying the implementation of its new rules on Controlled Functions because it had been unable to complete the necessary changes to its Online Notifications and Applications (ONA) system to process the new Controlled Function applications and notifications.

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FSA lays down law for CASS audits

25 March 2011

The FSA has turned its concerns about auditors' client assets reports into action with new rules and a clear policy statement. Client assets will remain a regulatory priority.

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Budget 2011: Focus on tax relief and avoidance / evasion

25 March 2011

As anticipated, this week's budget has targeted high net worth (HNW) individuals through its clampdown on tax relief and avoidance schemes.

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CAT mauls OFT's fining policy

22 March 2011

The OFT suffered a significant setback when the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) recently handed down its judgment on appeals by construction companies against fines levied by the OFT, undermining its 'minimum deterrence threshold'.

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Blog

What is suitability?

21 March 2011

Many mis-selling claims turn on whether or not the investment recommended was suitable.

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BIS Consultation on 'A Competition Regime for Growth' – evolution or revolution?

16 March 2011

BIS has published for consultation detailed proposals on the reform of the competition regime in the UK.

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Unravelling trust transactions: advisers in the firing line

Published on 16 March 2011. By Simon Laird, Global Head of Insurance

Advisers can no longer expect trustees to mitigate unexpected losses by unravelling transactions under the Re Hastings Bass principle, leaving those advisers exposed to negligence claims.

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Another victim of the FSA's CASS crusade

15 March 2011

The FSA today issued a Final Notice against ActivTrades Plc, a foreign exchange broker, that has been fined £85,754 for CASS breaches committed even after the high profile run of CASS cases in June last year.

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Gamekeeping, poaching and revolving doors

15 March 2011

Following on from Steven Francis' comments on the need for the FSA to appreciate the benefits of a revolving-door policy to its recruitment and retention of quality regulators,...

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TSC grills FSA on RDR

15 March 2011

Before the 9 March Treasury Select Committee (TSC) hearing on the RDR, Conservative MP Mark Garnier had promised to give FSA chief executive Hector Sants and chairman Adair Turner "hell".

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Damning criticism of the FSA - by the Chief Executive of the FSA

14 March 2011

In his recent speech on the new regulatory framework, the FSA's Chief Executive, Hector Sants, provided a damning critique of the FSA's past approach to consumer protection, effectively conceding the failure of the FSA's headline TCF initiative.

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Finality. Finally? Don't hold your breath…

10 March 2011

Giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee yesterday, FSA chief executive, Hector Sants conceded that the regulator is willing - if the Committee recommends - to re-examine whether a 15 year long-stop time bar should apply to financial services complaints.

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Gamekeepers and poachers should be friends

10 March 2011

We noted in August 2010 that staff were leaving the FSA in record numbers after the general election, including all three managing directors.

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Fuzzy-matching and the sanctions regimes

10 March 2011

Given the ongoing political unrest in the Middle East and the speed at which individuals, entities and entire regimes can be added to HM Treasury and OFAC's consolidated sanctions lists (most recently, Libya and Tunisia), ...

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Kaupthing arrests: will advisers be liable regardless?

09 March 2011

The dramatic news today about dawn raids and nine arrests made by the SFO in London and Reykjavik at the culmination of a year-long investigation into Kaupthing's collapse will, regardless of the outcome of the criminal enquiries, have little bearing on any liabilities faced by advisers for complaints from clients who lost money in the collapse of the Icelandic bank.

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Going, going, gone concern

09 March 2011

The Chief Executive of the FSA in a recent speech has talked about how the new FCA will approach prudential regulation of those firms for which it is responsible. This includes all insurance brokers.

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The FSA's last risks warning

04 March 2011

The new FCA's focus will be 'conduct risk', "that is, the risk that firm behaviour will result in poor outcomes for customers."

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OFT promises faster enforcement kick off

03 March 2011

The OFT has published final Guidance setting out its process and procedures when undertaking Competition Act investigations.

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Equal treatment means just that – ECJ confirms invalidity of derogation from Gender Directive

01 March 2011

In a landmark judgment published today, the ECJ ruled that insurers cannot charge different premiums to women and men based on gender. As anticipated by us and the UK insurance market, the ECJ has agreed with the Advocate General's recommendations in the Test-Achats case.

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Gender Directive: will Sheilas' Wheels stop rolling?

01 March 2011

The insurance industry anxiously awaits the European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment in the Test-Achats case expected today.

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Publication of enforcement action: only after Warning Notice but still a bad idea

25 February 2011

On Thursday morning last week, I caused a stir with my reaction to the leaked news (in an FT interview) about the new FCA's planned approach to publication of enforcement cases.

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A slightly happier ending for non-deliberate market abuser

23 February 2011

I wrote on 2 February about David Massey and his partial success before the Tribunal.

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Section 404 and the single firm

21 February 2011

When the FSA decided against turning the endowments and PPI mis-selling problems into formal s.404 reviews (akin to the Pensions Review), it was assumed s.404 would remain in the regulatory tool-box; an idle threat that the FSA would struggle to put into action.

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Lloyds Bank's £500m problem is the first 'single firm consumer redress scheme'

21 February 2011

Lloyds Bank announced today that it has agreed an estimated £500m 'customer review and contact programme' relating to potentially confusing information about the Halifax standard variable mortgage rate between 2004 and 2007.

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FSA does its little bit to help the Middle East

18 February 2011

Political instability in any country can result in sudden cash or asset movements out of the jurisdiction.

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FSA avoids April Fool!

17 February 2011

The FSA has announced that it will begin the process of reorganisation to create a new prudential business unit and consumer and markets business unit on 4 April.

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Meteor hit by arbitrary FOS decision

15 February 2011

The industry press has reported that Meteor Asset Management had a complaint upheld by FOS about advice on Lehmans structured products because they apparently failed to disclose the downgrade in credit rating (to below Standard & Poor’s A+ grade) and, consequently, the advice was unsuitable thereafter.

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A victory for financial services firms who play by the rules

11 February 2011

In the recent case of Michael Duthie Wilson, PS Trustees Ltd v MF Global UK Limited, GNI Limited (In Members' Voluntary Liquidation) [2011] EWHC 138 (QB) it was held that financial investment brokers had complied with the COB rules when the Claimants as 'intermediate customers' and were not liable for trading losses suffered by them.

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Extended warranty cover plans in breach of s.19 FSMA

09 February 2011

The FSA's recent action in Re Digital Satellite Warranty Cover Ltd to wind up companies with 'public interest' petitions for carrying on insurance business without FSA authorisation, in breach of the general prohibition in s.19 FSMA, demonstrates its willingness to take robust action to tackle those who attack the perimeter by engaging in regulated activities without authorisation.

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An innocent crime? FSA's fine for market abuse halved by Upper Tribunal

02 February 2011

The Upper Tribunal has ruled that the FSA was too harsh when fining a former banker for market abuse.

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The FSA sets new standards of professionalism

31 January 2011

The FSA's Policy Statement on professionalism (part of the RDR) was published on 20 January 2011.

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Legal Ombudsman swamped by complaints against claims management companies (CMCs)

Published on 27 January 2011. By Graham Reid, Legal Director, Professional Regulation

The Legal Ombudsman, which launched in October 2010 under rules similar to the FOS' DISP regime, recently reported to a professional negligence conference that some 20,000 enquiries were received in its first few months.

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CASS pain for BarCap

26 January 2011

The FSA has fined Barclays Capital for client money breaches.

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Nick Clegg champions FoI at FOS

07 January 2011

In a speech today, Nick Clegg championed freedom of information (FoI) at the FOS:

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