Capital Markets in Financial Services UK
- Select a blog category
On 12 November 2018, approximately 6 months after the adoption of the 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD), the European Parliament published further rules to strengthen the fight against money laundering through the 6th EU Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD).
Member States are required to transpose the 6AMLD into national law by 3 December 2020. After which, relevant regulations must be implemented by firms within Member States by 3 June 2021.
On Wednesday 19 September 2018 the Prudential Regulation Authority (“PRA”) and Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) wrote to the CEOs of major banks and insurance companies regarding the ongoing global benchmark reform effort, specifically the transition from LIBOR to alternative rates.
MiFID II took seven years from consultation to implementation and generated 30,000 pages of rules.1 Nine months have passed since the go-live date on 3 January. Firms could be forgiven for finally wanting to tick it off their “To Do” lists. However, they can’t take that red pen out yet – we haven’t yet reached our destination on the MiFID journey. As with all things regulation, there is always more to do. And where there are rules, more often follow.
Solvency II seeks to value assets and liabilities at the amounts for which they could be exchanged or settled between knowledgeable, willing parties in an arm’s length transaction. However, when it comes to capturing equity release mortgages (“ERMs”) in regulatory capital calculations, applying that broad principle is undoubtedly “easier said than done”. That no doubt explains why, in its latest consultation in this area, the PRA has adopted a notably cautious approach. In sum, this represents a sharp tightening of the PRA’s policy position on ERMs, and one that extends, rather unusually, to specifying the quantum of particular assumptions that the PRA expects should underlie ERMs’ effective regulatory value.
“The prices of many cryptocurrencies have exhibited the classic hallmarks of bubbles including new paradigm justifications, broadening retail enthusiasm and extrapolative price expectations reliant in part on finding the greater fool.” Mark Carney, March 2018.
The London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) underpins in the order of $300 trillion in financial products and is one of the most significant reference rates used by financial market participants. However, during the last financial crisis the inadequacies of LIBOR became evident, which in turn triggered a concerted effort by market participants and authorities to fix them. Despite these efforts, in July 2017, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced a transition away from LIBOR as the key interest rate index used in calculating floating or adjustable rates for loans, bonds, derivatives and other financial contracts. The FCA’s intention is that, at the end of 2021, it will no longer seek to persuade, or compel, banks to submit to LIBOR.
New technologies and evolving business models have required regulators to review their capabilities and respond to new risks posed. And the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is no exception. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has vested considerable powers to the ICO to regulate and supervise data privacy risks. Increasing concerns about the wholesale use and processing of personal data by firms are reflected in the ICO's recently published Technology Strategy, which outlines its objectives and focus areas through eight technology goals.
The ICO strategy’s leitmotif is that technological advances “need not come at the expense of data protection and privacy rights” and that “privacy and innovation are not mutually exclusive”. Through the development of its technology strategy, the ICO’s overall aim is to remain relevant by ensuring that the monitoring and understanding of technological change, and its impact on information rights, are a core component of its work going forward.
It is no secret that technology and its impact on companies’ business models is shaking up the general market. Technology disruption isn’t limited to media, retail, or transport (to name a few industries), but this disruption is widespread, also impacting financial services. The general theme is that technology enabled companies can execute quicker, cheaper and with greater precision.
This blog provides an overview of the FCA’s 2018/19 Business Plan. It discusses the key cross-sector priorities the FCA identifies and compares them to those in the previous year’s business plan, noting dropped, changing and new priorities. It also outlines the FCA’s sector priorities for 2018/19.
Alongside the business plan, the FCA also published its 2018 Sector Views – the FCA’s annual analysis of how each sector is performing – covering retail banking, retail lending, general insurance and protection, pensions and retirement income, retail investments, investment management and wholesale financial markets.
Notably, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is called out as a top priority, over and above any cross-sector or sector priorities. The FCA notes that they will have to dedicate extra resources to this programme of work, and that this will mean reduced activity in other areas as a result.