FCA Deploys Temporary Intervention Powers to Ban Mass Marketing of Mini-Bonds

On 26 November 2019, the FCA announced that it would use its temporary intervention powers to restrict the mass marketing of speculative mini-bonds to retail customers. Although the intervention will allow the promotion of unlisted speculative mini-bonds to sophisticated and/or high net worth individuals, marketing materials which are produced by or approved by an authorised firm will also have to include a specific risk warning and disclose costs or payments made to third parties that are deducted from investors’ money. The FCA has published additional guidance on approving financial promotions for communication by unauthorised persons alongside the announcement.

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Temporary Equivalence Decision for UK CCPs to be renewed

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.

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Regulation in Focus Podcast Episode 1 – November 2019

In October, we launched a brand new podcast channel, Financial Services Disputes & Regulation, providing regular bite-sized broadcasts covering both litigation and regulatory developments for banks and other financial institutions. You can subscribe to the new channel here, or on all the usual platforms including Apple and Spotify.

We are pleased to announce the release of the first episode of Regulation in Focus, our podcast series of short, sharp insights into regulatory issues that matter to you. Our first episode, a bumper cross-border edition featuring partners Hannah Cassidy (Hong Kong), Natalie Curtis (Singapore) and Chris Ninan (London), focuses on information flows in cross-border regulatory investigations.

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Financial Crime, Market Abuse and Enforcement Timeline – October 2019

Every quarter our financial services regulatory team publishes the Financial Services Regulatory Timeline, a look ahead at key regulatory milestones in the coming months and years in a range of areas, created for our clients in financial institutions. Three areas covered in the Timeline are Financial Crime, Enforcement, and Market Abuse. For the readers of our FSR and Corporate Crime blog, we have produced these sections as a Calendar of key developments in Financial Crime, Market Abuse and Enforcement which can be accessed here.

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Corporate Crime update – Autumn 2019

Welcome to the Autumn 2019 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters. This bumper edition covers a number of jurisdictions, and includes content from the summer break.

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High Court finds terms of English law Facility Agreement allowed borrower to withhold interest payments given risk of US “secondary” sanctions

In a recent decision, the High Court has found that the terms of a Facility Agreement governed by English law allowed the borrower to withhold payment of interest instalments where there was a risk of secondary sanctions being imposed on the borrower under US law, notwithstanding that the Facility Agreement had no connection with the US: Lamesa Investments Limited v Cynergy Bank Limited [2019] EWHC 1877 (Comm).

At first sight the decision is surprising because English law does not generally excuse contractual performance by reference to a foreign law unless it is the law of the contract or the place of performance (and these exceptions did not apply here). However, the court noted that parties can contract out of this general rule, which is precisely what happened in this case. The relevant clause of the Facility Agreement permitted the borrower to withhold payment of interest instalments “in order to comply with any mandatory provision of law, regulation or order of any court of competent jurisdiction”.

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