Technology-facilitated innovation in financial services, a diverse collection of topics which coalesces under the portmanteau term of “FinTech”, is increasingly in the sights of policy-makers, whether at global, regional and national or state levels. Keen observers will have noted a proliferation of consultation documents, statements, warnings, speeches and more emanating from national regulators. Some of these recent publications address specific FinTech applications. Indeed, there has been a veritable deluge of material on Initial Coin Offerings over just the past few months.
Meanwhile bodies such as the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the influential Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), and others, both within and without the traditional regulatory cohort, are making some efforts towards setting out (or attempt to setting out) some universal principles or truths which may address an increasingly gaping hole in the global regulatory policy canon.
We are at an early stage in the development of policy responses to FinTech, and it is perhaps unsurprising that globally agreed standards have yet to emerge.
On 12 December 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (the SFC) published its Guidance Note on Cooperation with the SFC (the Guidance).
The Guidance contains an updated section on disciplinary proceedings and a new section on proceedings in the civil courts and the Market Misconduct Tribunal (MMT). It does not apply to criminal proceedings, which is subject to the unfettered discretion of the Department of Justice. The Guidance replaces the previous version issued in March 2006. Continue reading
On 30 November 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) announced that it had reached an agreement with the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on proposals to introduce an investor identification (investor ID) regime for Northbound trading under the Mainland-Hong Kong Stock Connect schemes. The regime is intended to improve Mainland-Hong Kong cross-border market surveillance and is scheduled to be implemented by the third quarter of 2018. Continue reading
On 5 December 2017, the EU published its list of 17 non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The list forms part of the EU’s work to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance, presenting a united front to dealing with non-EU jurisdictions that, in the EU’s view, encourage abusive tax practices. The 17 jurisdictions identified are: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, Korea (Republic of), Macao SAR, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates. Continue reading
On November 29, 2017, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the Pilot Program it launched in 2016 to encourage companies to self-report potential violations of the federal anti-bribery Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) would be made permanent, subject to some amendments. The Pilot Program offers incentives to companies, including leniency, that self-report FCPA violations and cooperate with DOJ investigations. Continue reading
Welcome to the November 2017 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters. Our update now covers a number of jurisdictions. For the full update on each jurisdiction, please click on the name of the jurisdiction below. Below we provide a brief overview of what is covered in each update. Continue reading
China’s amended Anti-Unfair Competition Law (amended AUCL) comes into force on 1 January 2018. Much has been written about the various iterative drafts released over the 18-month consultation period. But the final amended AUCL omits some of the more radical amendments proposed and in some ways represents a reduced risk to companies provided they transact on commercial and well-documented terms. We set out our analysis below of the anti-bribery provisions. Continue reading
On 16 November 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong published its consultation conclusions on proposals to enhance asset management regulation and point-of-sale transparency (the Proposals) (please click here for our e-bulletin on the SFC’s consultation).
The SFC received 38 written submissions from key players in the asset management industry and, as the majority of respondents supported the Proposals, the SFC has largely adopted them and the proposed changes to the Fund Manager Code of Conduct (FMCC) and the Code of Conduct for Persons Licensed by or Registered with the Securities and Futures Commission (Code of Conduct), with certain modifications or clarifications of the regulatory intent. The revised FMCC and Code of Conduct will come into effect on 17 November 2018 and 17 August 2018 respectively. The SFC has indicated that it will provide further guidance to the industry by way of a set of frequently asked questions, which will be updated from time to time.
The SFC has also launched a further consultation on disclosure requirements applicable to discretionary accounts under the Code of Conduct. The deadline for submitting written comments is 15 January 2018. Our recent e-bulletin outlines the above in more detail. We will be holding a seminar on 8 December 2017 in Hong Kong to discuss the implications of the above for asset managers. Further details will be provided. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to William Hallatt, Hannah Cassidy, Jeremy Birch or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.
On 13 November 2017, the EU Council unanimously voted to impose a wide range of targeted sanctions on Venezuela in response to the growing political crisis in the country. Notably, the new EU sanctions go further than current US measures against Venezuela by including an arms embargo, as well as a travel ban and an asset freeze.
Further to a similar regime being imposed on Mali in order to target those seeking to derail the 2015 peace agreement, the UK has laid the legal groundwork for financial sanctions to be imposed once relevant individuals have been identified. Please click here for our full briefing.