UK: High Court strikes out claim for mis-selling of an interest rate hedging product on the basis of a pre-existing settlement

In Gary Ronald Marshall v Barclays Bank plc [2015] EWHC 2000 (QB), the bank applied to strike out a claim against it for alleged mis-selling of an interest rate hedging product (or to obtain summary judgment),  the basis that the claim was barred by a general release in a pre-existing settlement agreement between the bank and the claimant.  Continue reading

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EU: ESMA disagrees with the EBA on proportionality: guidelines on remuneration under UCITS V are published for consultation

On 23 July 2015, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published its draft guidelines on the implementation of the UCITS V remuneration principles for consultation.  In the consultation, ESMA’s approach to the application of proportionality differs from that of the European Banking Authority (EBA) in its consultation on revised CRD IV remuneration guidance, with ESMA suggesting that the co-legislators may have envisaged the possibility that the application of proportionality could lead to the disapplication of certain of the remuneration principles.    Continue reading

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Filed under EU, Europe, France, Germany, Italy, Remuneration, Spain

High Court rules that payment under a guarantee would breach EU Libya sanctions regime, and considers contractual exemption provisions

In a recent judgment, the English High Court has considered some of the exemption language commonly found in EU sanctions regimes which is applicable to contractual performance. The case of Glenn Maud v The Libyan Investment Authority [2015] EWHC 1625 concerned an application to set aside a statutory demand for payment under a guarantee. The court found that payment of the guarantee was prohibited by the sanctions regime, and granted the application to set aside.

The judgment principally concerns the scope of the obligations and prohibitions relating to the freezing and the making available of funds and economic resources to designated persons, particularly in the context of the specific provisions of the EU – Libya sanctions regime. However, it also considered two key questions relevant to the impact of sanctions on contracts, namely (i) the extent of the general exemption for claims under contracts, the performance of which has been affected by sanctions; and (ii) whether there is an obligation to seek a licence from the competent authority before it is possible to rely upon a sanctions prohibition as defeating a contractual obligation. In so doing, helpful guidance was provided on the scope of these provisions which have not frequently been considered by the courts.

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The BoE approach to Solvency II

maddockGeoff Maddock,  partner

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By Geoff Maddock, corporate insurance partner

A speech by Sam Woods of the Bank of England (BoE) says a lot about its approach to Solvency II and leaves a lot more unsaid.

Woods said that he wanted to dispel two myths:

  • that the BoE plans to use Solvency II to increase required capital across the insurance sector; and
  • that the BoE will keep the current ‘ICAS’ (Individual Capital Adequacy Standards) regime alive after 1 January 2016, rather than “embracing” the new Solvency II regime.

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Filed under Bank of England, EU, Europe, Insurance, PRA, UK Regulations, Uncategorized

US: Ninth Circuit Insider Trading Ruling May Conflict with Second Circuit’s Newman Decision

The Ninth Circuit, in a decision issued on July 6, 2015, has upheld the insider trading conviction of Bassam Yacoub Salman for insider trading securities fraud (United States v. Salman, 2015 WL 4068903 (9th Cir. 2015)).  Salman traded based upon material non-public information he received from a friend who had in turn received the information from his investment banker brother.  Salman’s conviction was upheld despite Salman’s contention that the Second Circuit decision in United States v. Newman, 773 F.3d 438 (2d Cir. 2014), required the insider tipper to receive a greater level of personal benefit than was present in the Salman’s case.  To read more from our team in New York, click here.

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Iran sanctions – agreement announced regarding nuclear program and sanctions relief

In the early hours of July 14, 2015, it was announced that the P5+1/EU3+3 and Iran had reached agreement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Iran’s nuclear program (the “JCPOA”). This builds on the framework announced in April 2015. One of the key elements of the JCPOA will be extensive relief from the current EU and US sanctions against Iran. However, sanctions relief will be effective only upon Iran meeting its obligations regarding its nuclear program and, as such, the existing UN, US and EU sanctions remain in force.

The text of the JCPOA itself has been released and runs to over 100 pages, including various Annexes. Our bulletin summarises the milestones for the implementation of sanctions relief and the key sanctions-related elements of the JCPOA which provide relief from the UN, US and EU regimes.

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Filed under Americas, Asia, Australia, EU, JURISDICTIONS, Sanctions and Money Laundering, US

UK Listing Rules: fine for failing to identify related party transactions

The FCA’s recent fine for breaches of the Listing Rules, principally in respect of failures in systems and controls to identify related party transactions, illustrates the regulator’s focus on:

  • systems and controls around related party transactions;
  • the need to implement, as well as draw up, policies; and
  • the need for training at board and employee level.

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SEC investigation into illegal use of swaps in trading of private technology shares

The SEC is understood to have subpoenaed a number of firms in connection with an investigation into the sale of private pre-IPO technology stocks, following an increase in the trading of these private shares.  Continue reading

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Iran nuclear agreement

The EU has announced that the ongoing talks between the P5+1 and Iran have again been extended and will now continue until 13 July. The announcement confirms that the current suspension of certain EU sanctions against Iran will continue until this date.

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Filed under Corporate Crime, Europe, Sanctions and Money Laundering

Sanctions Update: Iran

Further to our previous briefing, it has been announced that negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program have been further extended and will now continue until 10 July. As with previous announcements regarding the timeframe for negotiations, no steps have yet been taken by the UN, US or EU to introduce additional sanctions relief and so all previous sanctions against Iran remain in force.

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Filed under Sanctions and Money Laundering, Uncategorized