Regulations Roundup February 2020

Phew, January is finally over. It’s the only month with 3,961 days. But jokes aside it was a long one and we welcome February with open arms. Aside from Valentine’s Day, there’s also plenty to watch out for in the markets this month. Here’s our regulations roundup February 2020.

ESMA Publishes Work Plan for 2020

The European Securities and Markets Authority has published its work plan for 2020 providing an outline of its areas of governance to strengthen investor protection and maintain the integrity of the financial markets. Major areas of focus for the coming year include driving convergence activities in regulating financial innovations like crypto trading, ICOs, fintech products, regulatory sandboxes and cyber security. Risk assessment and risk analysis will also take centre stage as well as the consistency of common law applications. Dealing with the Brexit crisis will also top the list with ESMA helping to handle the immediate confusion and risks.

  • New regulatory framework of EMIR 2.2

A new supervisory and regulatory framework of EMIR 2.2 applicable to both the EU and third-country Central Counterparties (CCPS), will be launched. ESMA will develop various technical standards and advise under this plan to ensure a single rule book for all EU financial markets. The new ESMA framework changes how CCPs are registered and regulated in the EU with the introduction of a CCP Supervisory Committee drawn into the plans.

Top tip for marketers: Read the new work plan and familiarise yourself with the finer details of EMIR 2.2. When working in the finance sector, knowing all regulation updates is essential.

FCA Publishes Dear CEO Letter on Areas of Concern

The Financial Conduct Agency (FCA) has published a Dear CEO letter to financial advisers addressing key areas of concern that are expected to be discussed at board level going forward. Advice offered to those looking to seek retirement was scrutinised with the FCA making it clear that advice should be suitable with costs and charges to be disclosed early. DB pension transfer advice was also deemed not up to standard with the FCA planning to publish a handbook on this in Q1 2020. The FCA has also identified key areas of risk with regards to pensions and investments stating that firms need to be aware of the current risks and ensure advice processes and systems are robust enough to avoid them.

Singapore Announces New AML Rules for Crypto Businesses

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is updating its regulatory framework for digital payments. Singapore’s Payment Services Act 2019 (PSA) is bringing Digital Payment Token (DPT) services under current anti-money laundering and counter terrorist-financing rules.

As of January 28, 2020, firms have a month to register with MAS, stating they are based in Singapore and are operating a Digital Payment Token business. Once firms have registered, there’s a six-month period during which they have to apply for a payment institution license.

“The Payment Services Act provides a forward-looking and flexible regulatory framework for the payments industry,” MAS Assistant Managing Director Loo Siew Yee said in a statement. “The activity-based and risk-focused regulatory structure allows rules to be applied proportionately and to be robust to changing business models. The PS Act will facilitate growth and innovation while mitigating risk and fostering confidence in our payments landscape.”

Top tip for marketers: Know the rules of business around the world, especially if you operate in countries with new or revised regulations.

Top Finance Events for February 2020

  • Fintech Week – 9-12 February – Tel Aviv
  • Finnovate Europe – 11-13 February – Berlin

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