Regulations Roundup – March 2020

February was a tough month for the markets with the increasing spread of covid-19. The disease has continued to spread around the world. The latest figure point to more than 3,000 people dead and more than 88k infections. Plenty has been going on with our favourite regulators, so it’s essential to check in with them. Save time and get the latest updates in our Regulations Roundup – March 2020.

US Treasury and MAS Talk Data Connectivity

Representatives from the US treasury and those from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) met to discuss the important issue of market data connectivity. The two sides agreed that the use of data in financial services has many benefits such as consumer choice and enhanced risk management capabilities. They also agreed that this data poses new and complex risks for global markets. In line with this, the two sides agreed to increase their cooperation with each other. The goal of this cooperation will be to ensure that financial services suppliers can share data across borders, to oppose measures that restrict where data is stored and processed. Also to ensure that financial services suppliers have the ability to remediate the lack of access to data. You can find more about this new development here.

ESMA Amends Guidance on Enforcement of Financial Information

The European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA) updated its guidelines on how national competent authorities (NCAs) harmonise their financial information. The goal of this directive is to ensure that disclosures across European Union countries are comparable. The new directive will harmonise the time period within which all issuers should be examined. How they undertake their examinations, and the way they select issuers using a risk-based approach, random selection, and rotation. On this development, the head of ESMA said:

We need to ensure that the disclosure of financial information is comparable across the EU. Subjecting issuers to a similar level of scrutiny by national competent authorities enhances both market confidence and investor protection.

ESMA Warns on High Risks in the Market

In February, ESMA published the first Trends, Risks, and Vulnerabilities (TRV) report of the year. The report noted that risks in the financial market were high as markets remained sensitive to geopolitical events. ESMA said that risks were particularly higher for retail investors. You can read the entire TRV report here.

Steven Seagal Charged by the SEC

Actor Steven Seagal was charged by the SEC because of his role in promoting the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of Bitcoiin2Gen (B2G). Say what? Yes, you read that right. The actor was charged with failing to disclose that he was set to be paid $250k in cash and $750k in B2G coins. Steven was the lead promoter of the cryptocurrency. The promotion came six months after the SEC warned that coins sold in ICOs were securities. The actor agreed to pay $314k to the regulator.

Top Financial Events for March

Here are some of the key events to watch out in March. Some of these could be cancelled because of coronavirus, so be sure to watch for updates:

  • 10 March – Digital Asset Summit – London
  • 11 – 12 March – Blockchain Africa Conference – Johannesburg
  • 17 – 18 March – Blockchain Expo – London

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