Member Update 30th November 18
Written by Charlie Palmer on 30/11/2018

If a sponsoring employer deliberately tries to avoid a statutory debt, which of the following can the Pension Regulator issue?

a. Financial Support direction
b. A contribution notice
c An improvement notice
d. A Restoration order

answer is B- A contribution notice


Statement from FCA on BREXIT

This is what the FCA say:

We strongly support an implementation period and we have consistently called for one to be put in place.   The draft Withdrawal Agreement creates such a period until December 2020. During this time, while the UK would not be a member of the EU, UK firms would continue to be able to undertake cross border business using the financial services passports provided as part of the single market. 

During the implementation period, the UK would continue to be subject to EU laws - both those in existence now and future laws that come into effect before December 2020. However, the UK would no longer be part of EU decision making structures and the FCA would no longer be a voting Board Member of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and thus no longer formally involved in decision-making. While some participation may continue, the EU and UK have not yet set out how this would work in practice.

…If the EU and the UK do not ratify a Withdrawal Treaty in time for 29 March 2019, absent any alternative agreement, the UK would leave the EU with no implementation period. In a financial services context, this means defaulting to a “third country” relationship, with market access determined under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and EU or national Member State rules. EU legislation would cease to apply in the UK. Instead, the relevant legislation would be converted into UK law through the EU (Withdrawal) Act and amended by Government and regulators to ensure the UK continues to have a functioning regulatory regime…


And as regards the implementation period proposed, this is what the FCA say:

The UK authorities can seek to reduce these risks by continuing to engage closely with EU partners during this period, but the amount of influence we can have is uncertain.
it will be crucial that all the relevant statutory instruments intended to be laid by Government are in place by exit. 


click here for full version and the impact statement here


Who is the loser from a Hard Brexit?

It seems clear that the vote for the deal will be lost, and that unless Parliament finds another way the default is a no deal Brexit. 

The graph above – from figures released this week by the FCA appears to show that there is more INBOUND trade than OUTBOUND trade – by number of firms authorised.  Ipso facto they need us more than we need them!  However figures on volumes are hard to come by, and, as seems a feature of the Brexit debate – hard facts are scarce.  

Nullus in Verba.  “Take nobody’s word for it”

Just to show you how complex EU legislation actually is….
These are the different passport regimes in place across the EU.
Each passport requires a separate application or approval.

  • Alternative Investment Fund Managers directive
  • Insurance Mediation Directive
  • Mifid
  • Mortgage Credit Directive
  • Payment Services Directive
  • Ucits Directive
  • Electronic Money Directive
  • Capital Requirements Directive
  • Solvency 2 Directive.

This is a long way from the exciting prospects dangled in front of all in the form of the Single European Act of 1992 that Mrs Thatcher signed up to in Paris - her last action as Prime Minister.


Regulation of cryptocurrencies 

FCA regulation IN 2019.
(bitcoin's fluctuating value shown in graph)

Christopher Wollard, Executor Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA stated: "The FCA will consult on perimeter guidance by the end of 2018. This will help clarify which cryptoassets fall within the FCA’s existing regulatory perimeter, and those cryptoassets that fall outside. HM Treasury is to then consult on whether the regulatory perimeter requires an extension to capture cryptoassets that have comparable features to specified investments, but currently fall outside the perimeter."
 
Mr Wollard said that cryptoassets are currently used in three ways:
 
•As a means of exchange to facilitate payment services;
•For investment
•To support capital raising and/or the creation of decentralised networks.


But HM Treasury is worried that crypto assets are used for illegal activities such as money laundering.   Jurisdictions such as the US and Hong Kong seem to be leading the way, but make no mistake – Crypto is coming to London.  IFAC take many calls from firms wishing to get a licence for Payment Services / Forex, and we fear that broadly this is a cover for dealing in crypto assets – one that is not widely articulated, due to the immature nature of the industry and the fear that it could be misunderstood.
 
On Tuesday last week, the 20th  November, Bitcoin fell by more than 10%, and remains 66% down from the beginning of 2018.  The consultation will begin by the end of the year with the outcome expected to follow in early 2019.



DB transfer orphans 

Are you keen to take DB transfers from IFAC members for a fee?

There are a lot of orphan clients looking for a solution!

If yes, then please let us know by return as we get a lot of enquiries about this.

"Who can do my Pension Transfer?"

As you may know the appetite for pension transfers in the IFA community has diminished somewhat in the face of FCA interviews, Section 165 requests for information (and that’s heavy by any standards) and PII rejection. charlie.palmer@ifac.eu


Regulators under Pressure

The FCA took over responsibility for regulating consumer credit in April 2014. Bits of the old Consumer Credit Act 1974 (CCA) got chucked out and we got an FCA rule book called Consumer Credit sourcebook (CONC).

However most of the old Consumer Credit Act remains in force. We just got even more rules! Now the Treasury has said that the FCA must, by 1 April 2019, review the CCA requirements to see what can be done to simplify things. The note provides an overview of the FCA's ongoing review.  The FCA is required to provide a report to HM Treasury, which should include recommendations on the way ahead.  We look forward to this.  





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