Webinar: Panel discussion – New Hong Kong licensing regime for VASPs

The new licensing regime for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) will significantly impact the virtual asset industry in Hong Kong. Once in force, any person who seeks to carry on a business of providing a virtual asset service (currently limited to operating a virtual asset exchange) will be required to apply to the SFC for a licence.  On Tuesday, 23 August 2022 from 1pm to 2pm (Hong Kong/Singapore time), our Asia Financial Services Regulatory Partners, Hannah Cassidy and Natalie Curtis, will be joined by Prosynergy Consulting Limited’s Managing Director, Louie Lee, ARTA TechFin Corporation Limited’s CEO (Blockchain Finance), Simon Au Yeung, and MaiCapital Limited's Managing Partner, Marco Lim, to discuss the new VASP licensing regime. Read more

FCA publishes policy statement on improvements to the Appointed Representative regime

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has this month published its policy statement (PS22/11) confirming its final rules reshaping the Appointed Representative (AR) regime to make authorised financial firms acting as principal more responsible for their ARs. The FCA had previously set out its proposals and invited feedback in a consultation paper (CP21/34) in December 2021. In seeking to address harms and protect consumers, these proposals focused on: (i) collecting additional information on ARs and strengthening reporting requirements for principals; and (ii) clarifying and strengthening the responsibilities and expectations of principals. Read more

AML Round-up: Forthcoming amendments to the MLRs and HMT’s review of the UK’s AML/CFT regulatory and supervisory regimes

In case you missed it while grappling with new sanctions in recent weeks, at the end of June 2022, HM Treasury (HMT) published the outcome of last year's consultation on forthcoming amendments to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLRs) (the Consultation). These include a new requirement to assess and mitigate the risk of proliferation financing, in addition to amendments to the discrepancy reporting regime, and scope of the regulated sector. Some of the changes consulted upon will come into force shortly, on 1 September 2022. Read more

FCA reforms rules for financial promotions

Following on from its January consultation paper, the FCA has published a policy statement and final rules (Rules) on reform to the UK's financial promotion rules. Financial promotions – in the form of invitations or inducements to engage in certain controlled investment activities – can only be communicated within or into the UK by, or with the approval of, a UK-regulated firm unless an exemption applies. This rule is known as the "financial promotion restriction" and is set out in section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). Read more

Russian sanctions evasion – key indicators for regulated firms

Our previous blogpost mentioned the recent red alert on sanctions evasion typologies issued by various law enforcement and financial sector partners. In this post we look at this update in more detail to identify potential indicators of sanctions evasion, and the steps that the alert indicates that financial sector and other anti-money laundering ("AML") regulated firms should be taking in this regard. Read more

The Law Commission digital assets consultation – a proposal for property rights reform

The Law Commission of England and Wales has published a consultation paper (the Paper) on the recognition and protection of digital assets. The consultation, which closes on 4 November 2022, focuses on the legal treatment of digital assets and recommends law reform to create a third category of personal property – referred to as "data objects" – beyond things (or "choses") in possession (such as physical objects) and things in action (such as contractual rights). Read more

FCA confirms final rules for new Consumer Duty and gives firms more time to comply

The FCA has published the final rules and guidance and accompanying non-Handbook guidance relating to the new Consumer Duty (the Duty). While the nature and scope of the Duty remains largely unchanged in most areas, the final rules and guidance contain some significant changes and clarifications relating to how the Duty will apply in relation to distribution chains, closed books, wholesale markets and funds and asset managers and where firms provide products or services to occupational pension schemes. Read more

Sanctions tracker: further UK and EU sanctions measures introduced

New Russian sanctions measures have continued to be introduced in the last few days. In this update, we summarise the UK’s new sanctions legislation in relation to Russian gold, coal and oil and the provision of services (among other things), as well as the EU’s new “maintenance and alignment” sanctions package. UK  New UK legislation … Read more

The Financial Services and Markets Bill – a new vision for future UK financial services

In a speech delivered at Mansion House on 19 July 2022, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP, sets out the government's vision for the future of UK financial service and discusses proposals which aim to keep the UK "the most open, inclusive, welcoming, competitive, safe, and transparent place to do financial services business, in the world". The government's vision for a "more open, competitive, green, and technologically enabled" financial sector is being delivered in the form of the Financial Services and Markets Bill (Bill) which was introduced in Parliament today. Read more