Authors
Charlotte Hill

Charlotte Hill

Partner

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Daniel Hirschfield

Daniel Hirschfield

Senior Knowledge Lawyer

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Authors
Charlotte Hill

Charlotte Hill

Partner

Read More
Daniel Hirschfield

Daniel Hirschfield

Senior Knowledge Lawyer

Read More

9 June 2022

Financial services update – 6 of 35 Insights

Financial services regulatory update - June 2022

In this month's update:

  • Regulators publish latest edition of the Regulatory Initiatives Grid.
  • FCA gets new cancellation and variation power. 
  • European Commission adopts Q&As on Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation and the Taxonomy Regulation.
  • European Commission consults on the revised Payment Services Directive.
  • FCA publishes Dear CEO letter to consumer credit firms.
  • Latest instalments from ESMA and EBA on the EU Crowdfunding Regulation. 
 
General FS regulation

Regulatory Initiatives Grid

On 25 May 2022, the Financial Services Regulatory Initiatives Forum published the fifth edition of the Regulatory Initiatives Grid, which provides a clear outline of the upcoming regulatory work. The key initiatives for Q3 2022 include, among others, the FCA Consumer Duty policy statement with final rules and guidance, a consultation on proposals to support improving diversity in financial services, and a policy statement on improvements to the appointed representatives regime.

European Commission: operation of ESAs

On 23 May 2022, the European Commission published its report on the operation of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), as required under Article 81 of the ESA Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010. The report covers: 

  • Supervisory convergence. 
  • Governance, joint bodies, stakeholders' involvement and supervisory independence. 
  • Direct supervision. 
  • The single rulebook and the operation of the ESAs.

The Commission does not intend to propose legislative changes as more time is required to assess the full impact of the review. However, the Commission does recognise the need for changes in supervision. 

FCA: regulating finance in the UK

On 20 May 2022, Charles Randell, the then Chair of the FCA, gave a speech at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies. The key takeaways are: 

  • The FCA needs to hold itself and financial businesses to account in delivering better outcomes. 
  • The FCA needs to partner with a range of other actors, including: the government, parliament, and other regulators to help promote the understanding of financial decisions.  
  • If the FCA is to be judged on regulating speculative crypto, there needs to be open discussion of certain questions prior to the FCA assuming responsibility, for example, what would success look like if the FCA took on regulation, or whether people without significant savings or financial experience should be encouraged or permitted to buy speculative crypto at all.

Mr Randell suggests that to level up the UK, regulation should listen to the diverse needs across the nation.  

FCA: new cancellation and variation power

On 19 May 2022, the FCA published its policy statement (PS22/5) on amendments to the Handbook and Enforcement Guide relating to its new cancellation and variation power under the Financial Services Act 2021. The power gives the FCA the ability to cancel or vary FCA authorised firms' permissions more quickly.

The amendments apply only to firms authorised or deemed, under the temporary permissions or supervised run-off regimes, to be authorised by the FCA under Part 4A of FSMA. The amendments do not apply to payment service providers, e-money issuers, or firms that are authorised by the PRA.  

The FCA encourages firms that are not carrying on FCA regulated activities, or a particular regulated activity, to request any unused permissions to be cancelled.  

The new rules and guidance came into force on 19 May 2022.

Queen's Speech 2022: Financial Services and Markets Bill 

Among the legislative initiatives announced during last month's Queen's Speech was the Financial Services and Markets Bill. Please see our recent insight article for further information. 

Fintech and cryptoassets

G7: crypto finance standards 

On 20 May 2022, the G7 financial ministers called for "consistent and comprehensive" regulation to hold the cryptocurrency sector to the same standards as traditional finance. The G7 group has requested that:

  • A cryptocurrency 'travel rule' should be introduced, requiring the provision of identifying information about individuals involved in cryptocurrency transactions.  
  • The Financial Stability Board work to develop regulation for cryptoassets issuers and service providers, to hold cryptoassets (including stablecoins) to the standard of traditional finance.  
  • Central bank digital currency projects should emphasise transparency, data protection, careful cybersecurity, and the rule of law.

FCA: CryptoSprint webpage

On 12 May 2022, the FCA published its CryptoSprint webpage, following the event which took place on 10 and 11 May 2022.  

The purpose of the CryptoSprint was to obtain views from industry and other stakeholders to assist in determining how the cryptoassets sector could be regulated. 

The CryptoSprint is the first event hosted by the FCA to help determine future policy in an innovative manner, and the FCA states that this will be the first of many engagement initiatives to help inform the future regulatory regime for Cryptoassets.  

The outputs of the CryptoSprint will be shared in summer 2022. 

Council of the EU, European Parliament: agreement on proposed digital operational resilience regulation

On 10 May 2022, an agreement was reached by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU as to the proposed regulation on digital operational resilience for the financial sector (2020/0266(COD)) (DORA). Please see our recent insight article for further information.

EIOPA will consider feedback in ongoing and future work on digitalisation.  

FCA: Learning from the last 30 years, capitalising on innovation

On 5 May 2022, Nikhil Rathi, FCA Chief Executive, gave a speech at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment 30th anniversary dinner. The main points to note are: 

  • The FCA is growing its digital expertise. All future FCA training modules will include digital upscaling.  
  • Building digital regulatory skills across major UK regulators will be a key aspect of regulatory cooperation.  
  • The FCA is seeing an increase in younger participants in financial products such as cryptoassets, with children exposed to promotions on social media. This highlights the need for training and education.  
  • The accountancy Big Four are running their own ESG training for staff and clients. The FCA hopes to develop this capability.  
  • Firms must harness diversity and inclusion to meet the needs of a diverse customer base and manage conduct risk effectively.  
  • The FCA launched its ScamSmart campaign to help tackle screen sharing scams.  
ESG

European Commission: Adoption of Q&As on Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation and the Taxonomy Regulation

On 25 May 2022, ESMA published the following documents in response to the ESAs queries to the European Commission about the interpretation of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation ((EU) 2019/2088) (SFDR) and the Taxonomy Regulation ((EU) 2020/852) (TR): 

  • Commission decision on the answers in response to the ESAs queries. 
  • Annex to the commission decision: Answers to the ESAs queries.

The ten questions and answers focus on the following topics and are intended to supplement areas that are subject to ambiguity: 

  • Principal adverse impact (PAI) disclosures. 
  • Financial advisers. 
  • Transparency of the integration of sustainability risks and rules for products no longer made available. 
  • Good governance practices. 
  • Scope of Article 5-6 TR.

BEIS: green finance strategy

On 12 May 2022, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published its call for evidence on updating the Green Finance Strategy. The questions are categorised under the following objectives: 

  • Capturing the opportunity of global green finance. 
  • Mobilising finance for the UK's energy security, climate and environmental objectives. 
  • Greening the financial system. 
  • Leading internationally.

The consultation closes on 22 June 2022, and the update to the Green Finance Strategy is planned for late 2022.

UK Transition Plan Taskforce: sector-neutral framework

On 10 May 2022, the UK Transition Plan Taskforce published a call for evidence on its plans for a sector-neutral framework for private sector transition plans. The call for evidence includes queries on: 

  • The proposed definition of a transition plan and any alternative suggestions respondents may have.  
  • What the key use cases for transition plans are. 
  • How the Taskforce should select sectors for tailored transition plan templates. 
  • Where companies should disclose transition plan information. 
  • Whether the Taskforce should standardise data and metrics used to communicate ambition and measure transition plan progress. 
  • Whether there are any principles that a respondent would suggest including, and whether any of the principles are considered "must-haves" or "desirables".

The call for evidence closes on 13 July 2022. The Taskforce aims to publish a consultation later in 2022, with a view to finalise the sector-neutral framework in early 2023.  

EBA: the role of environmental risks in the prudential framework

On 2 May 2022, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published its discussion paper on the role of environmental risks in the prudential framework. The EBA recognises that climate change and broader environmental issues are changing the risk picture for the financial sector and will become more prominent in the future. This raises questions as to whether the prudential framework can account for the new risk drivers.  

The EBA provides an initial assessment of the framework's interaction with environmental risks and poses questions on whether amendments are required to address risks. In this discussion paper, the EBA: 

  • Analyses the extent to which Pillar 1 (own fund) requirements already reflect environmental risks.  
  • Takes a risk-based approach to ensure prudential requirements reflect underlying risks and support resilience of financial institutions.  
  • Highlights the need for a holistic regulatory approach.  

The consultation closes on 2 August 2022.   

Payment services and systems

HM Treasury: access to cash

On 19 May 2022, HM Treasury published the summary of responses received from the July 2021 consultation (please see our August 2021 update for further information on this), and provides its planned approach for access to cash legislation. The planned approach includes: 

  • Designating the largest banks and building societies for the purpose of ensuring access to cash across the UK. 
  • Designating the FCA as the lead regulator with appropriate powers to ensure designated firms provide deposit and withdrawal facilities.

PSR: digital payments initiative

On 10 May 2022, the Payment Service Regulator (PSR) published the independent PSR Panel's summary report on the digital payments initiative (which is dated April 2022). The initiative was launched following a recommendation by the Access to Cash Working Group.  

The Panel found that a key driver for reliance on cash is low income, other vulnerabilities, and importance of budgeting and avoiding overspending.  

The Panel identified four high-level areas that require work to address drivers of cash reliance and facilitate greater take-up of digital payments: 

  • Improving consumers', small business' and other small organisations' awareness, understanding of, and trust in digital payment options. 
  • Tackling barriers to new digital payment services and service features, including addressing fraud risks to promote new functionalities and improve trust.  
  • Reducing digital exclusion. 
  • Establishing better data to monitor the transition to digital payments.

For each of these high-level areas, the Panel has set out its recommendations for the PSR which it expects to be considered in the PSR's work programme.  

On the PSR Panel's digital payments initiative report webpage, the PSR confirms it will engage with relevant authorities and industry on the identified barriers and solutions, with a workshop planned for June 2022.  

The PSR will respond to the Panel's recommendations in summer 2022.

European Commission: PSD2 review and open finance 

On 10 May 2022, the European Commission published its public consultation paper on the revised Payment Services Directive ((EU) 2015/2366) (PSD2) and open finance. In addition, the consultation was published alongside: 

PSD2
  • The PSD2 review aims to assess whether the objectives of PSD2 have been met and whether amendments are required.  
  • The targeted consultation aims to focus on technical issues and obtain professional stakeholder views such as those from payment services and technical service providers.
Open Finance
  • The open finance initiative aims to report on the impact of PSD2 and where appropriate, provide a legislative proposal to amend the directive, accompanied by an impact assessment.  
  • The targeted consultation aims to refine the definition of the problem and support the assessment of the policy options as part of the impact assessment.

The public consultations close on 2 August 2022 and the targeted consultations close on 5 July 2022. 

Consumer credit and home finance

FSCP: how vulnerable consumers choose and buy equity release products

On 11 May 2022, the Financial Services Consumer Panel (the Panel) published: 

  • A position paper regarding research on how vulnerable consumers choose and buy equity release products to meet later life needs.  
  • A final report that contains the results from the qualitative research project which informed the position paper.

The Panel has identified four sets of risks from the investigation which covers the consumer journey from pre to post contract: marketing, advice readiness, product understanding, and product value.  

The aim of the paper is to stimulate regulators and industry to undertake further work on some of the highlighted issues. The Panel recommends further investigations into: 

  • How equity release products are marketed and sold to later life consumers.  
  • Whether regulatory and industry standards can do more to protect consumers from financial and psychological harms.  
  • The impact of different regulatory regimes for equity release and alternative products on consumers.  
  • The risks to the FCA and industry posed by increasing demand from vulnerable consumers.

The paper sets out actions the Panel would like the FCA to take in respect of the four areas of risk, and provides a work programme for regulators, industry, and the Money and Pensions Service.  

European Commission: financial services contracts concluded at a distance 

On 11 May 2022, the European Commission published its legislative proposal for a Directive amending the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU) (CRD) and repealing the Distance Marketing Directive (2002/65/EC) (DMD) (COM(2022) 204).  

The proposed Directive repeals the DMD and transfers the contents to the CRD. The proposed Directive will also extend the application of certain rules in the CRD to financial services distance contracts, and makes targeted amendments to the protections which are currently set out in the DMD. The amendments include the following issues: 

  • Pre-contractual information. 
  • Right of withdrawal. 
  • Adequate explanations. 
  • Additional protection regarding online interfaces.

The annex to the proposed Directive includes a table showing how the provisions in the DMD relate to the CRD (as amended).  

The Council of the EU and the European Parliament will now consider the legislative proposal. The DMD will be repealed 24 months after adoption by which time Member States will be expected to have transposed the Directive into national law and regulation.  

FCA: consumer credit firms and financial promotions

On 6 May 2022, the FCA published its Dear CEO letter to consumer credit firms regarding the need for ensuring financial promotions are clear, fair and not misleading.  

The letter was addressed to credit brokers, and firms providing high-cost lending products, but may be relevant to other firms that are involved in these activities. 

The FCA is concerned that the cost of living crisis will lead to a greater demand for credit, and will particularly impact vulnerable consumers. The FCA reminds firms that they have a responsibility not to exploit the cost of living crisis, and should focus on customers' needs by providing the right information at the right time according to the rules. The FCA has noted in particular: 

  • Firms have provided misleading phrases such as "no credit checks", "pre-approved" etc. Please see our May 2022 update for further information on this.
  • Promotions for brokerage/direct lending services for high-cost short-term credit that require but do not include the risk warning are in breach of CONC 3.4.1R. 
  • The FCA believes it is possible to comply with the rules, regardless of certain media challenges such as character limits, eg with the use of logos.  The FCA is engaging with platforms to understand their requirements for advertising and the constraints on firms. 
  • Some adverts are failing to include the Representative APR.

The letter lists several actions for firms to ensure compliance with the financial promotion requirements. It also makes it clear that the FCA will proactively monitor the market and assess compliance. Where the FCA identifies non-compliant financial promotions, it will consider what further action may be appropriate to take. 

FCA: supporting consumers in challenging times

On 5 May 2022, Sheldon Mills, Executive Director, Consumers and Competition at the FCA, gave a speech on supporting customers in challenging times. The key aspects to note include: 

  • Building societies and credit unions are encouraged to improve digital capability to deliver operational efficiency and remain relevant. The FCA recommends they consider the benefits of Open Banking.  
  • A number of the 13 commitments set out in the FCA's three year strategy (please see our May 2022 update for further information), are particularly relevant for building societies and credit unions, such as putting the needs of customers first, reducing the risk of failure and consequential harm to consumers, and reducing the level of financial crime experienced by consumers.  
  • Firms must be operationally resilient. They should be prepared for sudden increases of consumer contact/demand and monitor cyber risks. Testing scenarios should be considered to ensure operational resilience.  
  • Building societies and credit unions should consider the FCA's ESG strategy in the context of designing and distributing products such as green mortgages.
Banking and insurance

PRA: supervisory expectations on operational resilience

On 25 May 2022, Duncan Mackinnon, PRA Executive Director for Supervisory Risk Specialists, gave a speech on the PRA's expectations on supervisory expectations for firms in implementing the operational resilience framework ahead of the March 2025 deadline. Mr Mackinnon highlighted the following: 

  • Scenario testing. Scenarios should assume disruption has occurred, and scenarios should consider factors outside the control of the firm. 
  • Building resilience. The PRA's focus is on firms' abilities to achieve the ultimate outcome to remain within impact tolerances, rather than the specific methods that firms use to build resilience. 
  • Embedding operational resilience. The PRA expects resilience to become a major consideration of firms' investment programmes, and become embedded in the way they do business.

FOS: vehicle breakdown cover

On 17 May 2022, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) published a new webpage on vehicle breakdown cover, which provides information for firms when handling and resolving complaints. The webpage provides details on: 

  • The type of complaints referred to the FOS. 
  • How complaints should be handled. 
  • How the FOS considers whether a decision is fair and reasonable. 
  • The general approach for rectifying mistakes or unfair decisions. 
  • Previous case studies of example complaint scenarios, such as a consumer not being told she already had breakdown cover when taking out a new policy on the phone.

FCA: serving consumers and businesses in times of uncertainty and change

On 11 May 2022, Sheldon Mills, Executive Director, Consumers and Competition at the FCA, gave a speech on serving consumers and businesses in times of uncertainty and change at the British Insurance Brokers' Association Conference. The speech focussed on: 

  • Innovation, growth and competition.
  • Fair value.
  • Minimising risks.
  • Proportionality and pace.
  • ESG and Culture. 
Securities, investments, and markets

ESMA and EBA: Crowdfunding Regulation

The following recent documents have been published by ESMA and the EBA on crowdfunding: 

  • On 22 May 2022, ESMA published its updated Q&As regarding the Regulation on European crowdfunding service providers for business ((EU) 2020/1503) (the Regulation). The updated Q&As relate to general and investor provisions in the Regulation.  
  • On 19 May 2022, ESMA published its final report on the possible extension of the transitional period under the Regulation. ESMA supports granting an extension of the transitional period and believes there are significant risks for the EU crowdfunding market if an extension is not granted. ESMA has urged the European Commission to consider extending the transitional period, and suggests it applies to crowdfunding providers that have applied for authorisation by 1 October 2022.
  • On 13 May 2022, the EBA published its final report on draft regulatory technical standards regarding credit scoring and loan pricing disclosure, credit risk assessment, and risk management requirements under the Regulation. The EBA will submit the draft to the European Commission. The draft delegated regulation covers: elements to be included in the description of the method to calculate credit scores, pricing, credit risk assessment, and policies and procedures to ensure adequate information to clients, enable credit risk assessments, loan valuation and pricing.

ESMA: MiFID II and MiFIR transparency topics

On 20 May 2022, ESMA published its updated Q&As on transparency topics under the MiFID II Directive and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR) in respect of Q&A's regarding non-equity transparency.  

BoE: central clearing 

On 19 May 2022, Christina Segal-Knowles, BoE Executive Director for Financial Markets Infrastructure, gave a speech on central clearing. Ms Segal-Knowles acknowledges that work to strengthen central clearing is crucial to the BoE's efforts to enhance the resilience of the UK and global financial system. Of particular note, the following areas are considered to require further work: 

  • Tackling the side effects without sacrificing the cure. CCPs can help solve liquidity risks that have occurred in recent episodes of stress. 
  • The past is not always a good guide to the future. CCP models designs are based on history, for extreme but plausible events. The BoE should consider what to do in the event of the implausible. 
  • Ignore structural factors at your peril. The maxim "population structures matter" applies equally to markets. With regards to underlying market structures, CCPs in the risk management business can help by understanding and managing the markets in which they operate.

Ms Segal-Knowles concludes by suggesting that the BoE should consider how CCPs can be part of the solution by learning and adapting.  

Funds and asset management

FCA: finalised guidance on parts of the UK MMF Regulation

On 23 May 2022, the FCA published its non-handbook finalised guidance on parts of the UK Money Markets Funds Regulation (UK MMF). The FCA has a general duty under the UK MMF to take appropriate measures where a Money Market Fund (MMF) manager fails to meet portfolio composition and valuation requirements. The guidance notes the following: 

  • Article 34 – Regarding the requirement of managers of public debt constant net asset value (CNAV) MMFs and low volatility net asset value (LVNAV) MMFs to establish implement and consistently apply prudent and rigorous liquidity management procedures for ensuring compliance with weekly liquidity thresholds. The FCA states that aside from complying with requirements in Article 24(2) the MMF manager is not required to take other immediate action such as imposing liquidity fees on redemptions.  
  • Article 24 and 25 – These provisions relate to the portfolio rules for MMFs. The guidance reminds participants of their requirements, such as the MMF managers' requirement to prioritise rectifying a situation where an MMF's liquidity ceases to meet the portfolio requirements.

FCA and BoE: resilience of money market funds

On 23 May 2022, the FCA and the BoE, with the endorsement of HM Treasury, published their discussion paper on resilience of MMFs, which contributes to the assessment of vulnerabilities in MMFs and how much they contribute to risks to UK financial stability and investor protection. The paper also considers possible policy changes that would affect UK MMFs and their users. These changes may also be relevant to non-UK MMFs that are marketed to UK investors.  

The paper covers: 

  • The role of MMFs in the UK economy. 
  • Principles, public policy objectives and discussion of risks.
  • Tackling risks to the UK financial system – discussion of policy options. 
  • List of questions for discussion.

Responses should be submitted by 23 July 2022.  

ESMA: application of UCITS Directive

On 22 May 2022, ESMA published its updated Q&As on the application of the UCITS Directive (2009/65/EC). ESMA has updated the Q&A on the performance reference period for the benchmark model, and has introduced a new Q&A on the performance reference period for the hurdle rate model.  

ESMA: application of AIFMD

On 20 May 2022, ESMA published its updated Q&As on the application of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (2011/61/EU) (AIFMD).  ESMA has updated and introduced new Q&As regarding its guidelines on performance fees in UCITS and certain types of AIFs.  

ECON: draft report on proposal for Directive amending AIFMD and UCITS

On 18 May 2022, the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) published its draft report on the proposed Directive amending the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (2011/61/EU) (AIFMD) and the UCITS Directive (2009/65/EC). The draft report contains a draft legislative resolution setting out proposed amendments, and provides suggestions for improvement in the following areas: 

  • Delegation and supervisory reporting. 
  • Liquidity management tools. 
  • Loan origination funds. 
  • Depository services. 
  • Transparency, data collection and disclosure.

ESMA: notifications for cross-border marketing and cross-border management of AIFs and UCITs

On 17 May 2022, ESMA published its consultation paper on the information for firms to provide, as well as the context and format of the notification letters to use, when informing regulators of their cross-border marketing and management activities under the UCITS Directive (2009/65/EC) and the AIFMD (2011/61/EU). The consultation paper sets out the draft RTS and ITS under the UCITS Directive and AIFMD specifying the form of the notification letters to be submitted in certain scenarios, eg UCITS submitting a notification letter to their home national competent authorities to propose to market their units in a host Member State. 

The consultation closes on September 2022. The final report is anticipated to be published by the beginning of 2023. 

 
Investigations and enforcement

FCA: pensions advice failings

On 17 May 2022, the FCA published its: 

  • Final notice to Henderson Carter Associated Ltd (in liquidation) (HCA). 
  • Final notice to Bank House Investment Management Ltd (in liquidation) (BHIM).

Both firms have been found in breach of Principle 1, Integrity, for acting dishonestly and recklessly in respect of pensions advice. They were also found in breach of section 20 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by carrying out the regulated activity of pension transfers without the relevant permission. HCA was in breach between 20 October 2013 and 8 July 2015, while BHIM was in breach between 9 September 2014 and 12 December 2016.  

Considering the financial circumstances of HCA the FCA decided not to impose a financial penalty, in the interest of creditors. Otherwise, the FCA would have imposed a fine of £239,900.00. 

The FCA imposed a fine of £311,639.00 on BHIM including a disgorgement figure of £204,039.00. No discount was applied.  

FCA: regulatory host authorisation

On 13 May 2022, the FCA published its final notice of 12 May 2022 to Alexander Jon Compliance Consulting Ltd, refusing to authorise (AJCC) to provide regulatory hosting services, in order to protect consumers.  

The FCA considered that AJCC could not demonstrate the skills, experience or staff to oversee appointed representatives, could not explain how its appointed representatives would assess whether products or services were appropriate, or demonstrate that it would be directly responsible for its appointed representatives conduct or compliance. 

The FCA has published an accompanying press release to remind firms they are accountable for appointed representatives and must ensure they can properly oversee appointed representatives. This decision is aligned with the FCA Strategy commitment to improve oversight of appointed representatives; a policy statement on enhancements to the appointed representatives regime is expected in Q3 2022. 

PSR: non-compliance with EU Interchange Fee Regulation 

On 12 May 2022, the Payment Service Regulator (PSR) published a decision notice which has been issued to National Westminster Bank plc, Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Ulster Bank Ltd and Coutts & Company.  

The banks have been fined £1,820,000for failure to comply with Articles 4 and 10(5) of the EU Interchange Fee Regulation ((EU) 2015/751) by issuing individually settled credit cards across a range of products to business customers which they considered would be recognised as commercial cards under the Regulation, and therefore did not cap interchange fees. The banks requested uncapped interchange fees on UK domestic transactions between 24 March 2016 and 14 March 2018, and despite being aware of the ongoing breach, did not attempt to comply with Article 4 until late 2017 following engagement with the PSR.  

After the PSR's investigation, the banks reimbursed the excess interchange fees received by other parties.  

The banks agreed an early settlement and qualified for a 30% discount, otherwise the fine imposed would have been a penalty of £2,600,000.

Economic crime

FCA: reporting sanctions evasion

On 17 May 2022, the FCA published a new webpage on reporting sanction evasions and weaknesses in sanction controls. The webpage sets out: 

  • How to report sanction evasions. 
  • What firms should tell the FCA. 
  • How to report another firm or individual. 
  • The next steps once the FCA receives a report.

The webpage notes that the FCA operates confidentially and will not share any action taken in respect of a report. 

Wolfberg Group: financial institutions on negative news screening

On 11 May 2022, the Wolfberg Group published its FAQs on how negative news screening can enhance financial institutions' awareness of potential financial crime risk posed by existing and prospective customers.  

The FAQs identified relevant factors in setting negative news standards, such as applying screening as part of a risk-based approach to anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing. 

HM Treasury: APP scam reimbursement

On 10 May 2022, HM Treasury published its policy paper regarding the government's approach to authorised push payment (APP) scam reimbursement.  The government will: 

  • Clarify that the PSR may use existing regulatory powers to require reimbursement for APP scams in designated payment systems.  
  • Amend regulation 90 of the Payment Service Regulations 2017. The amendment will enable the PSR to establish a liability framework for APP scams.  
  • Implement a duty requiring the PSR to take action within a set timeframe.

The PSR intends to publish a consultation in autumn 2022.  

FSR trivia

The FCA's new power to cancel or change a firm's permissions supports its "use it or lose it" approach.  How many assessments of firms has the FCA carried out as part of this initiative since May 2021?  

  • 190
  • 2,090
  • 1,090
  • 590

The answer to last month's trivia: in its 2022-2025 strategy document, the FCA made 6 commitments for reducing and preventing conduct that can cause serious harm.  

In this series

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - February 2021

4 February 2021

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - January 2021

14 January 2021

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - December 2020

3 December 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - November 2020

5 November 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - October 2020

1 October 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - September 2020

3 September 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - August 2020

6 August 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - July 2020

2 July 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - June 2020

4 June 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - May 2020

7 May 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - April 2020

2 April 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - March 2020

5 March 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update – February 2020

6 February 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

Financial services regulatory

Financial services update - January 2020

8 January 2020

by Charlotte Hill, Daniel Hirschfield

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