H.R. 3364 (the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”) overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate and has now been signed into law by the US President, albeit with two partly critical signing statements (here and here). The law represents significant development in sanctions against Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
In line with its recognition of the rapid expansion of, and new products within, the FinTech sphere, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a consultation paper on 7 June 2017 on the provision of digital advisory services (i.e. advice on investment products using automated, algorithm-based tools, also known as “robo-advisory services”). The consultation closed on 7 July 2017. Continue reading
The FCA has published proposals to replace the Approved Persons Regime with the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) currently in force for banks. Almost all financial services firms will be required to comply with the SMCR. There is a separate consultation paper to extend the current Senior Insurance Managers Regime applicable to insurers to the full SMCR. Our recently published briefing contains a high level summary of the key elements of the new regime. The consultation ends on 3 November 2017. Continue reading
HKMA and PWMA in Hong Kong collaborate to develop a Treat Customers Fairly Charter for the PWM industry
On 8 June 2017, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced that it has been working together with the Private Wealth Management Association to develop a Treat Customers Fairly Charter (the Charter) to further promote a customer-centric culture in the private wealth management (PWM) industry. The Charter is designed to complement, not change, current laws and regulations and the existing terms and conditions between banks and their customers. It is stated to be a commitment by PWM institutions in Hong Kong to support and implement the principle of treating customers fairly.
Failure to Prevent the Facilitation of Tax Evasion offences to be implemented from 30 September 2017 – Criminal Finances Act 2017
The Criminal Finances Act 2017 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2017 were introduced on 13 July 2017 and will bring into effect the two new corporate criminal offences of "failure to prevent" the facilitation of UK and foreign tax evasion, included in Part 3 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 ("the Act"), from 30 September 2017.
On 28 June 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) launched a two-month consultation (Consultation) on the detailed legal and regulatory requirements applicable to the new open-ended fund company (OFC) structure.
Currently, investment funds in Hong Kong are established only in unit trust form. The OFC structure will allow investment funds to be established in corporate form. The Securities and Futures (Amendment) Ordinance 2016, which is yet to take effect, provides the basic legal framework of the OFC structure and also empowers the SFC to make subsidiary legislation and issue codes and guidelines for the regulation of OFCs.
Iran Nuclear Deal Recertified with New Sanctions Imposed
On July 17, the US President certified Iranian compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Under the JCPOA, Iran is reducing its nuclear capacity in exchange for nuclear-related sanction relief from the US, EU, and UN Security Council. This recertification comes despite the US President's statements that he did not want to certify compliance. The recent recertification signals the United States' continued willingness to maintain the sanctions relaxation implemented through the JCPOA, at least in the short term.
Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named a corporate suspect, publicly listed PT Duta Graha Indah (DGI), concerning alleged corruption in the construction of a state university hospital in Bali in 2010. This is a first for the KPK, acting on broad powers conferred last year through a Supreme Court Regulation on Procedures for the Handling of Corporate Crime Cases (Regulation 13/2016).
In a jurisdiction where inbound investment and corruption risk are both high, this is a significant development which both domestic corporates and MNCs operating in Indonesia should take on board. Companies should ensure that they have the appropriate internal policies and procedures in place to prevent the carrying out of criminal acts such as bribery on their behalf.
Last week, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) of France on mutual recognition of funds (MRF) between Hong Kong and France.
The MOU allows eligible Hong Kong funds and French UCITS funds to be distributed to retail investors in France and the public in Hong Kong respectively, through a streamlined authorisation process. The types of funds currently covered are equity funds, bond funds and mixed funds.
Hong Kong SFC closes consultation on proposed guidelines to reduce and mitigate hacking risks related to internet trading
On 7 July 2017, the consultation by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) on proposals to reduce and mitigate hacking risks associated with internet trading closed. The consultation follows on from the SFC’s thematic review of the resilience to hacking risks of brokers engaged in internet trading (internet brokers) in late 2016. The SFC aims to publish its consultation conclusions by September or October 2017. Internet brokers will then be allowed 6 months to implement the new requirements.