European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis announced in a speech at the Guildhall in London last week that, ‘as the risk to financial stability has not yet been fully removed, because industry has not so far fully prepared’, he intends to renew the temporary equivalence decision for UK central counterparties (CCPs) beyond the current expiry date of 30 March 2020. No further details of the extension have as yet been published.
HM Treasury (“HMT“) has launched the first phase (a call for evidence on regulatory coordination) in its Future Regulatory Framework Review (“the Review“), originally announced by the then Chancellor in his Spring Statement and more recently repeated in his 2019 Mansion House speech.
This Review is focused on improving the coordination between the various regulators/government bodies in the financial sector. Responses to the call for evidence are requested by 18 October 2019.
The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), Bank of England (“BoE”) and Prudential Regulation Authority (“PRA”) yesterday announced measures to extend certain UK-specific Brexit transitional relief provisions for a further six months until 31 December 2020, in line with the extension of Exit Day until 31 October. This is generally in line with industry expectations and does not signal any material changes to the regulators’ policy or approach. (It should be noted that these timelines are separate from the 3-year maximum period applicable under the (separate) Temporary Permissions Regime (“TPR”), which remains unchanged in terms of overall maximum duration).
The FCA has issued a statement confirming its intention to extend the proposed duration of the directions issued under its temporary transitional power (“TTP”) to the 31 December 2020, reflecting the six-month extension of Article 50. The TTP is intended to minimise disruption for firms and other regulated entities if the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement. For those areas covered by the TTP, firms do not generally need to prepare now to meet the changes to their UK regulatory obligations that are connected to Brexit.
The FCA’s statement clarifies that other than the additional time, the FCA’s approach to the use of the TTP remains unchanged from that previously communicated. Firms are reminded, in particular, that certain obligations will not be covered by the TTP: these include some significant areas such as reporting under EMIR and the MiFID II transaction reporting regime, which will present particular challenges for EEA firms operating in the EEA under the TPR. The FCA reiterates that it expects TPR firms to use the additional time between now and the end of October to prepare to meet these obligations and confirms that it will publish further information before exit day on how firms should comply with post-exit rules.
The PRA and BoE have published a related consultation paper, which provides an update on the BoE and PRA’s approach to the TTP. The consultation also briefly explains and consults on the proposals to amend further certain regulatory requirements to take account of changes to EU law taking effect between March and October 2019. On use of the TTP, the PRA and BoE confirm, consistent with the FCA, that the proposed adjusted fixed end date for the TTP directions will be 31 December 2020, and that the overall approach to use of the TTP remains generally unchanged from the approach previously outlined by the PRA and BoE.
PRA-regulated firms within the scope of the TPR are reminded that for the most part, the TTP will not apply to obligations arising in consequence of their status change upon entering the TPR. The PRA and BoE are also consulting on proposals to fix deficiencies arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and to make consequential changes in light of the extension to the Article 50 period (in order to deal with EU binding technical standards (“BTS”) entering into force between March and October 2019). The PRA does not expect material changes to be required to address this. Changes required to take account of EU laws and regulations other than BTS remain the responsibility of HM Treasury, which is separately engaged on this exercise.
Following the agreement last week between the UK and the EU to extend Article 50 until 31 October 2019 11pm GMT (see our earlier post), the FCA has now confirmed that it will extend the notification window for incoming EEA firms and fund managers to enter the UK Temporary Permission Regime (“TPR“) to the end of 30 May 2019. Fund managers that need to update their existing TPR notification as a result of the FCA’s extension should also notify the FCA that this is the case by 16 May 2019.
The European Commission has announced that it has started implementing its Brexit “no deal” Contingency Action Plan given the continuing uncertainty regarding ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement in the UK. This follows the Commission’s communication of 13 November 2018 which provided details of the types of contingency measures that it intended to take in a variety of areas, as well as the 78 preparedness notices from Commission departments on how Brexit will change law and policy. Continue reading
On financial services, the final political declaration contains essentially the same three points as in last week’s outline political declaration (the implications of which were discussed in our blog post of 15 November, available here), although there is some limited further clarification. The three points on financial services are copied below with new substantive additions underlined: Continue reading
Yesterday’s announcements on the terms agreed for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU say relatively little about the future framework for cross-border trade in goods or services. More detail is expected on this next week.
The draft withdrawal agreement provides that a transition period will continue until 31 December 2020. Although this was provisionally agreed in March 2018, yesterday’s statements make this a more likely reality. Continue reading
Almost a year after it was introduced, a key piece of UK domestic Brexit legislation has now been passed. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EUWA), which aims to provide a functioning statute book on the day the UK leaves the EU, completed its difficult passage through the UK Parliament and passed into law on 26 June 2018. Please refer to our briefing, “The UK’s new legal order post-Brexit: A new class of UK law” for a summary of the EUWA.
Following the passing of the EUWA, HM Treasury, the Bank of England, FCA and the Payment Services Regulator (PSR) have each published statements on their approaches to their role in preparing for Brexit, a summary of which is set out here.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has published guidance detailing the UK Government’s intended approach to sanctions exceptions and licences after Brexit. Sanctions exceptions and licences are mechanisms through which restrictive measures imposed by sanctions may be relaxed in specific circumstances. The guidance comes as the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill (the “Bill“) reaches the final stages of the legislative process. The Bill has passed through both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and is currently in the “ping pong” stage. Continue reading
The UK Government has released a Paper outlining the UK’s proposals for a future partnership with the EU regarding foreign policy, defence and development. The Paper highlights the UK’s shared interests and values with the EU regarding foreign policy and defence, and the UK Government’s offer and intention to work closely with the EU in the future in a partnership “unprecedented in its breadth”, and that is deeper than any other third country relationship. The Paper offers a number of insights into the practical ways in which the UK envisages that such cooperation will be achieved after Brexit, including in relation to sanctions, cyber security, defence and security, development and broader foreign policy. Continue reading