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Financial Services - Regulatory & Risk

Blog

Accountants, auditors and actuaries beware: the FRC continues to show its teeth, as its future stands in the balance

Published on 18 July 2018. By Rachel Ford, Associate

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In widely publicised news, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) continues to levy record high fines and has cast criticism on a number of firms. What appears to be an unforgiving stance taken by the regulator seems to come in the wake of the review into whether or not it should be disbanded, or folded into another regulatory organisation.

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Blog

The future of SIPPs – FCA responds to the Work and Pensions Committee

Published on 05 July 2018. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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A couple of weeks ago we reported on 5 pointed questions raised by the Work and Pensions Committee of the FCA in relation to the SIPP market. Those questions included whether or not the FCA was considering banning non-standard investments in SIPPs. The FCA has now responded. The response includes the FCA's views on the due diligence it expects of SIPP providers when it comes to non-standard investments.

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Blog

IMF provides framework to analyse cyber risk for the financial sector

Published on 26 June 2018. By Ashley Daniells, Associate

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The increased risk of cybercrime is well known to all. Attacks against large companies has meant that the International Monetary Fund have taken action by publishing a working paper which predicts the average annual losses to financial institutions.

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Blog

Action required: mandatory disclosure of cross-border tax planning arrangements – effective (very) soon

Published on 12 June 2018. By Ben Roberts, Senior Associate

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New EU rules providing for mandatory disclosure of certain cross-border tax planning arrangements by intermediaries and taxpayers will enter into force on 25 June 2018. Although reports to tax authorities will not be required until July/August 2020, the retrospective nature of the new rules means that reportable arrangements implemented after 25 June could be reportable in this first batch of (2020) reports. Preparations for the new regime should therefore begin now.

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Blog

ESMA formally adopts new measures to restrict the sale of binary options and CFDs

Published on 08 June 2018. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate and Charlotte Thompson, Associate

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On 1 June 2018, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) formally adopted new measures to prohibit the sale of binary options and to place restrictions on the provision of contracts for difference (CFDs) to retail investors. The measures will apply to binary options from 2 July 2018 and CFDs from 1 August 2018.

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Blog

EFAMA publishes revised Stewardship Code

08 June 2018

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On 31 May 2018, the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) published its Stewardship Code, setting out best practice principles for asset managers (the Code).

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Blog

Pension watchdogs formalise information sharing

Published on 31 May 2018. By Sarah Dowding, Senior Associate

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The Pensions Ombudsman and The Pensions Regulator have signed an information-sharing agreement in light of the recent rise in pension scams. The agreement will see the organisations share information about complaints and concerns with the aim of protecting scheme members.

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Blog

SIPPs – the work and pensions committee asks some pointed questions of the FCA

Published on 31 May 2018. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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The Work and Pensions Committee has sent a letter to the FCA following its review of defined benefit pension transfers raising 5 pointed questions in relation to SIPPs.

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Blog

Crypto and Blockchain

25 May 2018

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In February, the House of Commons Treasury Committee announced an inquiry in to digital currencies. The inquiry covers the role of digital currencies in the UK and the potential impact of distributed ledger technology (blockchain) on financial institutions and financial infrastructure.

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Blog

TPR announces new approach for pension regulations

Published on 17 May 2018. By Ashley Daniells, Associate

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The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has announced new plans for the regulation of pensions, which will see a "clearer, quicker and tougher" approach. The plans are aimed at increasing standards in the pension sector following criticisms levied at TRP after the collapse of businesses such as Carillion and BHS.

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Blog

Cybercrime and its impact on D&O insurance

Published on 15 May 2018. By Ashley Daniells, Associate

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Cybercrime has risen in recent years, perhaps more than anybody ever expected. For a long time, the focus was on defending businesses against such crimes. Now, with more people aware of cybercrime and the risks, insurers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact such crime may have on D&O policies.

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Blog

FSCS – reviewing the funding of the fund of last resort

Published on 09 May 2018. By Sarah Dowding, Senior Associate

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In its third consultation paper on this topic, the FCA has recently confirmed that: - FSCS claims in respect of investment advice will benefit from an increased compensation cap, from £50,000 to £85,000; - product providers will have to start making contributions to FSCS funding for insurance and investment advice claims; and - it proposes new rules to prevent personal investment firms' insurers excluding cover for claims where the firm or a third party becomes insolvent.

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Publication

Cryptocurrency pre-ICO funding – a regulatory overview

04 May 2018

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The FCA has issued a discussion paper targeted at the non-workplace pension market. The paper marks the start of the FCA's work looking at whether there is harm in the non-workplace pension market and to better understand the potential presence, nature, extent and cause of any harm.

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Publication

Pension transfers

30 April 2018

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The FCA tries again to get it right with new rules and a further consultation paper.

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Blog

The FCA publishes its 2018/19 Business Plan

Published on 23 April 2018. By Charlotte Thompson, Associate

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On 9 April 2018 the FCA published its Business Plan for 2018/19, demonstrating its continued focus on culture and governance in firms, tackling financial crime and the role of technology in the financial services industry.

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Blog

Unregulated cryptocurrencies – an end in sight?

Published on 18 April 2018. By Ashley Daniells, Associate and Matthew Watson, Associate

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Since their creation, cryptocurrencies have been somewhat of an enigma. Decentralised digital currencies such as Bitcoin have remained unregulated, despite becoming more prevalent in our day-to-day lives. That could be about to change with the FCA announcing plans to include them as part of their other regulated products or services.

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Blog

FCA success in the High Court: Compensation of £16.9m awarded to misled investors

Published on 16 April 2018. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

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A five-year court battle between the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") and Capital Alternatives Limited concluded on 26 March 2018 when the High Court used its restitution powers under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 to award compensation to investors who lost money invested with Capital Alternatives.

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Blog

ESMA cracks down on the sale of binary options and CFDs to retail investors

Published on 29 March 2018. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has announced its intention to prohibit the sale of binary options to retail investors and to place restrictions on the sale of contracts for difference (CFDs). This is the first use of ESMA's new intervention powers under MiFID II.

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Blog

FCA reviews approach to enforcement and penalties

Published on 28 March 2018. By Ashley Daniells, Associate and Sarah Dowding, Senior Associate

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The FCA has announced plans in its recent consultation paper on enforcement to review how it applies penalties which have gone from record highs to record lows over the past 5 years.

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Blog

Frederick & Others v Positive Solutions Limited – a win for principals on vicarious liability

Published on 14 March 2018. By David Allinson, Senior Associate and Lucy Joyce, Senior Associate

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The Court of Appeal has reinforced the idea that liability will only attach to a principal in cases where a tort committed by an agent can be shown to have been completed as an integral part of the business activities of the principal. Furthermore, all elements composing the tort must take place within the course of the agency. The case thickens the lines defining what conduct of an agent could lead to recovery from the principal.

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Blog

Changes on the horizon - FCA consults on non-workplace pensions

Published on 22 February 2018. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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The FCA has issued a discussion paper targeted at the non-workplace pension market. The paper marks the start of the FCA's work looking at whether there is harm in the non-workplace pension market and to better understand the potential presence, nature, extent and cause of any harm.

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Blog

Privilege: A welcome respite from ENRC?

Published on 05 February 2018. By Davina Given, Partner and Mafruhdha Miah, Associate

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Are interviews held with employees to prepare a report intended to deter a governmental authority from taking legal action privileged?

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Blog

ESMA to use new powers to attack the sale of CFDs and binary bets to retail investors

Published on 25 January 2018. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

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ESMA has launched a public consultation on measures to protect retail investors investing in contracts for difference (CFDs) and binary bets. Potential changes include wide-ranging restrictions on the marketing and sale of CFDs, and a complete prohibition on the sale of binary bets to retail investors. An intervention would mark ESMA's first use of its new powers under MiFID II, which came into force on 3 January.

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Blog

FOS consultation on SME access to Ombudsman service

Published on 23 January 2018. By David Allinson, Senior Associate

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The FCA is currently consulting on proposed new rules to allow larger small and medium sized enterprises to refer complaints to the FOS.

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Blog

The FCA pledges to take action against providers of contracts for difference

Published on 12 January 2018. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

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The FCA has concluded that consumers are at "serious risk of harm" due to the poor practices of some providers and distributors of CFDs. The regulator will take further action against at least one firm in its latest crack-down on these "complex, high-risk" products.

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Blog

Thoughts on the FCA's fund fee transparency proposals

11 January 2018

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Alternative investment funds may soon be required to report total cost of ownership in a standardised form. Work on new templates in ongoing, and fund managers need to be aware of the situation and to be involved in this important debate that has so far been largely overlooked.

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Blog

Initial Coin Offerings – the digital financing process under global scrutiny

Published on 08 December 2017. By Rachel Ford, Associate

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In an era of social media platforms and the like, the technological world creeps into its corporate counterpart of today. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) storm the corporate world by force, but what does the future hold for the new phenomenon?

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Blog

FCA revisits FSCS funding proposals, and abandons plans for significant changes to professional indemnity insurance requirements

Published on 01 November 2017. By Robert Morris, Partner

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The FCA has published a second consultation paper on the thorny subject of FSCS funding. Although not widely reported so far, the new consultation makes it clear that the FCA will not, after all, consult on significant changes to personal investment firms' professional indemnity insurance requirements.

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Blog

FCA allows confidential report to be scrutinised by Treasury Select Committee

31 October 2017

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The FCA has allowed the Treasury Select Committee to review its s.166 report into RBS' Global Restructuring Group (GRG) and has published an interim summary of the report. It is possible that the threat of publication will play on the minds of firms subject to s.166 reports, which may reduce cooperation with skilled persons and therefore the efficacy of this investigatory power.

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Blog

The FCA makes clear its expectations of financial advisers

Published on 18 October 2017. By Charlotte Thompson, Associate

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FCA, regulatory, financial services

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Blog

Are there dark clouds on the horizon for SIPP providers?

Published on 17 October 2017. By David Allinson, Senior Associate

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According to Citywire, the FCA is poised to complete further supervisory work on the SIPP industry with a specific focus on non-standard investments. We understand that the FCA has questioned SIPP providers on the number of high risk investments they hold following a spate of complaints about such products in recent years.

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Blog

FCA criticised by Complaints Commissioner for its handling of enforcement limitation issues

Published on 04 October 2017. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

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The Office of the Complaints Commissioner recently upheld two complaints against the FCA for making a "serious mistake" in its management of limitation issues for two connected investigations. The Commissioner criticised the FCA not only for its mismanagement of the limitation issue, but also for the unnecessary delays in concluding its own internal investigation into these complaints.

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Blog

DB Transfers - now what?

Published on 04 October 2017. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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We know that the FCA is looking closely at defined benefit transfers; we already have the FCA's review of redress methodology and the defined benefit transfer rules. We now have the results of the FCA's review, into defined benefit transfers and it makes for uncomfortable reading for the financial services industry.

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Publication

The FCA: key themes for 2017/18

Published on 29 September 2017. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

A look at key developments for the FCA in 2017 and looking forward to 2018

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Blog

MiFID II & Inducements

Published on 21 September 2017. By Matthew Watson, Associate

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FCA MiFiD Inducements Consultation Paper

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Publication

FCA makes maiden market investigation reference

Published on 20 September 2017. By Lambros Kilaniotis, Partner and Melanie Musgrave, Senior Associate and James Mee, Partner and Alun Marriott, Managing Partner - RPC Consulting

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Blog

A level playing Field?

Published on 31 August 2017. By David Allinson, Senior Associate

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Frank Field's Work and Pensions Select Committee is intending to review the impartiality of defined benefit pension transfer advice. What could this mean for the advisory industry and its PI insurers?

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Blog

SIPP complaints to FOS still on the up

Published on 30 August 2017. By Rachel Ford, Associate

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Complaints to the FOS about SIPPs continue to rise, having sky rocketed in the first quarter of 2017.

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Blog

PSR issues public censure on payment system operator

Published on 15 August 2017. By Charles Buckworth, Partner

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The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has recently announced its first enforcement outcome, as it issued a public censure against a payment system operator.

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Blog

Could 'clickstream data' put firms' websites in the spotlight?

Published on 08 August 2017. By Rachael Ellis, Associate

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Rachael Ellis considers the FCA's use of clickstream data to examine customers' engagement with charges information.

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Blog

No duty of care owed when conducting a redress procedure

Published on 04 August 2017. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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The Court of Appeal has found that banks did not owe a duty of care when conducting a past business review (PBR) of previous sales of interest rate hedging products. Although the decision is in the context of the review procedure agreed between the FCA and banks, the decision is likely to apply to all PBRs, except formal 'consumer redress schemes' under s404 FSMA.

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Publication

New corporate criminal offence

03 August 2017

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Failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion

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Blog

CMA approves new payment systems operator

Published on 25 July 2017. By Charles Buckworth, Partner

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On 12 July 2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approved the consolidation of the operators of Cheque and Credit Clearing Company, Faster Payments and Bacs into a new payment systems operator (NPSO). This consolidation was one of the key recommendations in the PSO Delivery Group's (PSODG) Report of 4 May 2017.

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Blog

High Court sheds light on compulsory jurisdiction of Financial Ombudsman Service

Published on 19 July 2017. By Matthew Evans, Senior Associate

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The High Court has provided some clarification of the scope of the compulsory jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The decision has left the scope of that jurisdiction open to discussion, and appears to suggest that the courts will take a more mechanical approach to reviewing regulatory decisions.

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Blog

MiFID II Policy Statement: still not had a chance to read it?

Published on 14 July 2017. By Rachael Ellis, Associate

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Rachael Ellis summarises some of the FCA's key new conduct requirements arising from MiFID II now that it has published its final rules.

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Blog

FCA releases its final rules for implementation of MiFID II

05 July 2017

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The FCA has released its final policy statement (PS17/14) detailing aspects of its implementation of MiFID II, including final rules and its response to the six preceding MiFID II consultation papers dating back to 2015.

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Blog

Retail CFD firms face potential EU market-wide restrictions and further criticism from the FCA

Published on 03 July 2017. By Lucy Kerr, Senior Associate

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The European Securities and Markets (ESMA) has announced it is considering imposing restrictions on contracts for difference (CFD) trading that would mean seismic changes for the industry, whilst the FCA has announced its serious concerns about the CFD industry's continued failure to meet expectations regarding the treatment of retail clients.

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Blog

FCA proposes remedies following asset management sector market study

28 June 2017

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The FCA today published the final findings of its asset management market study and it has announced the remedies that will be implemented to address the concerns previously identified.

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Blog

Cowboys beware; the AML Sheriff is on her way

Published on 26 June 2017. By Rachael Ellis, Associate

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With under a year until the first Financial Action Task Force ("FATF") visit to the UK in a decade, the FCA is consulting on proposed changes to its Handbook as the new money laundering regulations ("MLR 2017") come into force today.

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Blog

Will robo-advice mean checkmate for human financial advisers?

Published on 09 June 2017. By George Smith, Senior Associate

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With continuing advances in artificial intelligence and the rise in 'robo-advisers', is financial advice following in the footsteps of chess, where computers have long since outstripped humans in ability? Are human financial advisers nearing checkmate or is the endgame still unclear?

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