Welcome to the Winter 2019 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.
Authors: Sarah Thomas, Cat Dankos and Hywel Jenkins
At the end of January, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a further consultation paper (CP19/4, the CP) on the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR). Responses to the CP are requested by 23 April 2019. Alongside other minor proposed changes which seek to “optimise” the SMCR, the key proposals are:
- For all firms (banks, insurers, and all solo regulated firms), the legal function will not need to have a SMF Manager responsible for it.
- Responsibility still has to be allocated to someone, but that individual does not need to be a SMF Manager.
- The FCA expects the Head of Legal to be a certified function and that the conduct rules will apply to all legal staff.
- Banks and insurers need to think about whether to change their SMF Manager allocations in light of this confirmation (as well as statements of responsibility and responsibilities map), and how to depict the position of the legal function on their responsibilities map.
- For all firms (banks, insurers and solo regulated firms) the certification regime definition of the ‘client dealing’ function has been clarified (with a narrowing effect). It will exclude individuals who have no scope to exercise discretion.
- Insurers and banks may wish to cross-check their existing pool of client dealing staff against the proposed new definition in readiness for the final rules.
- For solo regulated firms, the FCA has expanded the scope of the forthcoming Enhanced regime to cover more intermediaries.
- For limited scope solo regulated firms, Manager Conduct Rule 4 (SC4) will be amended to cover non-approved executive directors.
On 1 February 2019, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) announced significant changes to its licensing forms and processes (Licensing Reforms). Included in these changes was the long-awaited arrival in Hong Kong of measures intended to stop the “rolling” of “bad apples” within the financial industry by requiring licensed corporations and registered institutions to provide the SFC with more information about the circumstances under which their employees depart.
In addition to these reforms targeting “bad apples”, the Licensing Reforms also include:
- sweeping changes to the SFC’s licensing forms. These changes include streamlining and consolidating the forms, as well as reforms which will mean that applicants must now provide the SFC with significantly more granular information regarding matters relevant to fitness and properness; and
- a thorough refresh of the SFC’s Licensing Handbook, which now includes key aspects of the licensing-related guidance issued by the SFC since the publication of the previous Licensing Handbook in April 2017.
The new licensing forms can be used from 11 February 2019. However, the SFC will accept current standard forms during a two-month transition period, before the new forms become compulsory from 11 April 2019.
We have been following these developments for some time and were part of the informal consultation held by the SFC in late 2018. We will be holding a seminar in Hong Kong to share our insights on how these developments will impact licensed corporations in Hong Kong and form part of broader conduct and culture-focused reforms across the Asia-Pacific region. Read our full client briefing and register for the seminar here.
The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (Hayne Report) was released to the public on 4 February 2019. The Federal Government has agreed to take action on all 76 recommendations contained in the Hayne Report, and in a number of areas has indicated it intends to go further, including conducting an immediate review of financial counselling services. Herbert Smith Freehills have prepared a briefing paper which identifies the following key themes and reforms contained within the Hayne Report:
- Governance overhaul – Boards will need to exercise greater scrutiny over their governance systems, policies and procedures;
- Conflicts – a number of the changes proposed are designed to alter the objective from one of ‘managing’ to one of ‘eliminating’ conflicts of interest;
- Individual accountability – the proposed changes to remuneration and accountability regimes are significant, with individuals to be held to account more than ever before for the adequacy of complex systems, policies and procedures;
- Principles not prescription – the Hayne Report observes that prescriptive laws which are vast and complex may be less effective than statements of broad matters of principle, suggesting that now may be an apt time to revisit the current approach to regulation of the provision of financial services within Australia;
- Enforcement revolution – above all, the Hayne Report recommends greater personal accountability coupled with stronger regulators with an incentive to investigate and hold wrongdoers to account, making for an ‘enforcement revolution’. Organisations which do not proactively seek to identify and address inadequacies in their systems will likely find themselves redirecting resources toward activities which will do little to enhance their reputations or shareholder wealth.
The briefing paper considers in detail the key changes recommended in the Hayne Report and what these changes will mean for businesses and the Australian financial services landscape.
It is anticipated that in around mid-2019, the Insurance Authority (IA) will take over the regulation of insurance intermediaries from the three self-regulatory organisations (SROs). In preparation for the commencement of the new regime, the IA has launched several public consultations on guidelines and rules. For our full briefing on these developments, please click here.
The extraordinary returns generated by cryptocurrencies have led to a frenzy of investment activity and interest from investors. Several new crypto hedge funds have emerged, and cryptocurrency is fast establishing itself as a mainstream asset class.
However, numerous operational and regulatory concerns remain. While regulators are increasing oversight, established players and startups are moving to address the current gaps in infrastructure, control and compliance.
Read our latest article for Regulation Asia to learn more about overcoming the challenges to make the most of the opportunities of this new asset class.
Welcome to the September 2016 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.
The European Banking Authority has published the final version of its updated guidelines on the CRDIV remuneration requirements.
Geoff Maddock, partner
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By Geoff Maddock, corporate insurance partner
Commission view on authorisation
In July 2015 a Commission official expressed a controversial view on when third country insurance firms need authorisation. This was at a fully minuted meeting of the “Expert Group on Banking, Payments and Insurance”. The Commission said that a third-country insurance firm may only insure risks located in an EEA member State through a branch authorised by the competent supervisory authority of that member state.
I believe this opinion is wrong. If indeed it were right it would have a damaging effect on the London and probably other insurance markets. I give my reasons below. Continue reading