Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2015 comes into force
The Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2015 came into force on 8 July 2015. The Act aims to protect borrowers whose loans are sold to unregulated entities. The Act ensures that consumers retain the protections they had prior to the sale of their loan.
The Central Bank has published the application form for authorisation as a Credit Servicing Firm and an accompanying Guidance Note on Completing a Stage 1 Application for authorisation as a Credit Servicing Firm, and has also issued a Consultation Paper on Authorisation Requirements and Standards for Credit Servicing Firms.
The views of all interested parties are being sought on the proposed Authorisation Requirements and Standards that applicants seeking authorisation as a Credit Servicing Firm must satisfy to be granted an authorisation and which must be complied with thereafter on an on-going basis. The proposals under consideration as part of this Consultation Paper broadly reflect the requirements and standards that currently apply to other sectors falling within the regulatory remit of the Central Bank. Once the Authorisation Requirements and Standards for Credit Servicing Firms have been finalised, it is the Central Bank’s intention to apply corresponding standards to Retail Credit Firms following a separate public consultation exercise, which will have regard to the feedback to this consultation as applicable. The closing date for submissions is 30 September 2015.
Oireachtas pass Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 2014
The Bill introduces key changes to the Personal Insolvency Act 2012. These include a new provision allowing for an independent review by the Circuit Court, if creditors such as the mortgage lender refuse a borrower’s proposal for a Personal Insolvency Arrangement to deal with unsustainable debts which include a mortgage on the borrower’s home.
Central Bank presentation on its approach to AML/CTF supervision
Domhnall Cullinan, head of the AML Division (AMLD) at the Central Bank of Ireland, presented at a Mason Hayes and Curran breakfast briefing on Central Bank AML Inspections of Funds: Emerging Themes. Cullinan presented on the Central Bank's approach to AML/CTF supervision outlining what the Central Bank expects from firms and will look for in inspections, what to expect post inspection and what to be aware of approaching the Financial Action Task Force Mutual Evaluation in 2016.
Central Bank updates Fitness and Probity FAQs and the PCF IQ guidance and template
The Central Bank has issued an updated Fitness and Probity - Frequently Asked Questions document. Updates include additional information on the definition of a pre-approval controlled function (PCF), on the on-going nature of the obligation under section 21 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 and the recognition of equivalent EEA/EU approvals. A new PCF IQ guidance document and application template have also been made available.
Central Bank and Department of Finance publish a joint consultation paper on the industry funding levy
The Central Bank and the Department of Finance have published a joint consultation paper (CP95) entitled ‘Funding the Cost of Financial Regulation’. The consultation paper makes the case for full industry funding of the cost of financial regulation. Currently industry funds 50% of such cost. The CP proposes more closely aligning the funding levies paid by regulated entities with the costs of their supervision. Comments are required by 25 September 2015.
Central Bank publishes guidance notes for seeking authorisation as an e-money institution and payment institution
The Central Bank has published a guidance note on completing an application for authorisation as an electronic money institution under regulation 9 of the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011 and a similar guidance note in respect of payment institution authorisation applications under regulation 18 of the European Communities (Payment Services) Regulations 2009. All applications for such authorisation must be made to the Central Bank as the competent authority in Ireland for the authorisation and supervision of Electronic Money and Payment Institutions.
Central Bank publishes Information on the charge approval process for Bureaux de Change
The Central Bank has published Information on the charge approval process for Bureaux de Change and Others under section 149A of the Consumer Credit Act 1995. The document is to assist regulated entities when making a notification under section 149A by providing information on the process employed by the Central Bank when assessing these notifications.
EU & INTERNATIONAL
Bank of International
Settlements Working Group to strengthen code of conduct standards and principles in foreign exchange markets commences work
The Foreign Exchange Working Group (FXWG), announced by BIS Governors in May to strengthen code of conduct standards and principles in foreign exchange markets, has been established. The main objectives of the FXWG's work are to facilitate the establishment of a single global code of conduct standards and principles and to promote greater adherence to these standards and principles. The target date for finalisation of the Code, as well as of the proposals to ensure greater adherence, is May 2017.
ESMA publishes 17th extract from EECS’ enforcement decisions
ESMA published extracts from the European Enforcers Coordination Sessions (EECS) confidential database of enforcement decisions on financial statements, with the aim of providing issuers and users of financial statements with relevant information on the appropriate application of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
EBA publishes an update on the application date of its final draft Implementing Technical Standards (ITS) on additional liquidity monitoring metrics under CRD IV
The EBA submitted its final draft ITS on additional liquidity monitoring metrics to the European Commission in December 2013, with a proposed application date of 1 July 2015. According to the EBA, considering that the European Commission has not yet adopted the final draft ITS, it is highly likely that the application date, which will be specified once the ITS are published in the EU Official Journal, will be postponed by at least three months. The final application date will depend on the timeline of adoption of the ITS by the European Commission.
ESRB publish its annual report
The European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) published its annual report looking back at the systemic risks in the EU financial system, the regulatory treatment of sovereign exposures, policy measures addressing systemic risks and ESRB's efforts to ensure implementation and accountability.
EBA proposes corrections to the adopted technical standards on non-delta risk options and identified staff
The EBA issued amendments to the adopted RTS on the treatment of non-delta risk options in the standardised market risk approach and to the RTS on the criteria to identify categories of staff whose professional activities have a material impact on an institution’s risk profile. These two RTS were published by the European Commission as Delegated Acts on 20 May 2014 and 6 June 2014, respectively.
EPC publishes Quarterly Newsletter
The European Payments Council (EPC) published its Newsletter which includes a recap of the Euro Retail Payments Board meeting of June 29, a look at the final compromise text of the new Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and various commentaries around the issue of instant payments.
IFRS publishes Quarterly Newsletter
The International Financial Standards (IFRS) Foundation newsletter highlights the International Accounting Standards Board's discussions in July 2015 on its financial instruments projects.
IOSCO publishes its strategic direction for 2015 to 2020
The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) published a document setting out its strategic direction for 2015 to 2020 laying out its goal, mission and priorities (supported by several action plans) for the period.
FSB publishes an interim report on Progress in Reforming Major Interest Rate Benchmarks
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) published an interim progress report on reforms to existing major interest rate benchmarks (such as LIBOR, EURIBOR and TIBOR, collectively the “IBORs”) and in the development and introduction of alternative near risk-free interest rate benchmarks (termed “RFRs”). The report examines progress toward the FSB’s recommendations for reforms in this area, developed by the Official Sector Steering Group (OSSG). Since July 2014, the administrators of the most widely used IBORs – EURIBOR, LIBOR and TIBOR – have all taken major steps in this regard. While the FSB recommendations were directed at the three major IBORs, OSSG member authorities, benchmark administrators and market participants from other jurisdictions, including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore and South Africa, have also taken steps towards reforming the existing rates in their own jurisdiction, given the importance of these rates to their domestic markets and their role as international financial centres. An updated progress report will be published in July 2016.
FCA finalises rules on complaints and call charges
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published new rules on complaints and call charges. Included in the reforms is the prohibition on financial services firms charging their customers premium rates when they make telephone calls to ask for assistance or to complain.
CPMI and IOSCO begin first "Level 3" PFMI Principles assessment
This review will examine consistency in the outcomes of Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures (PFMI) implementation and is part of the Committee on Payments Infrastructure, CPMI-IOSCO's monitoring of full, timely and consistent implementation of the PFMI. A report presenting the results of this first Level 3 assessment is expected to be published in 2016.
Capital Markets Union should ease cross-border investment and finance for SMEs
On 9 July 2015 the EU Parliament voted on a non-binding resolution which stated that the EU Capital Markets Union (CMU) should provide a new, more efficient way to channel savings into small business ventures and protect cross-border investors in the EU. MEPs want CMU building blocks, such as a wider range of investment choices, risk mitigation tools and clear information on investment opportunities across the EU to be in place by 2018, so as to complement bank financing.
MEPs advocate country-by-country tax reporting to help developing countries
Parliament voted on a non-binding resolution that the EU and its member states should make multinationals report their financial performance, tax details, assets and employee numbers country by country, so as to help fight tax evasion and illicit money flows in developing countries. MEPs also called on EU financial institutions to ensure that companies receiving EU support do not “participate” in tax evasion.
EBA publishes advice on securitization
Following a public hearing held on 26 June 2015 the EBA published the full text of its advice to the European Commission on a framework for qualifying securitisation. The requirements detailed in the report propose a more risk-sensitive approach to capital regulation for long-term securitisation instruments, as well as for asset-backed-commercial paper.
EBA supports the proposed amendments to the RTS specifying the derogations for currencies with constraints on the availability of liquid assets
The EBA issued an Opinion to the European Commission supporting its proposed amendments to the EBA final draft RTS specifying the derogations concerning currencies featuring constraints on the availability of liquid assets. The EBA agreed to remove from its RTS the minimum 15% haircut to the value of the collateral posted by an institution with a central bank in order to obtain a credit line. It also supports the Commission’s other proposed amendments, which provide added detail and further legal certainty on the necessary conditions for the application of the derogations.
EBA, EIOPA and ESMA consult on the prudential assessment of acquisitions and increases of qualifying holdings
The three European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) launched a public consultation on updated Guidelines for the prudential assessment of acquisitions of qualifying holdings. The Guidelines define common procedures based on the assessment criteria laid down in the EU legislative framework that establishes how acquisitions and increases of qualifying holdings by natural or legal persons in financial institutions should be assessed. The Guidelines aim to harmonise supervisory practices in the financial sector across the EU and to provide more clarity to proposed acquirers on how they should notify the competent supervisory authorities. The deadline for the submission of comments is 2 October 2015. The ESAs will hold a public hearing on the draft Guidelines at the EBA premises in London on 20 August 2015.
FSB launches and invites feedback on its Peer Review on implementation of the FSB policy framework for shadow banking entities
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has launched a peer review on the implementation of its policy framework for financial stability risks posed by non-bank financial entities other than money market funds (“other shadow banking entities”). The objective of the review is to evaluate the progress made by FSB jurisdictions in implementing the overarching principles set out in the framework – in particular, to assess shadow banking entities based on economic functions, to adopt policy tools if necessary to mitigate any identified financial stability risks, and to participate in the FSB information-sharing process. As part of this review the FSB invited feedback from financial institutions, industry and consumer associations as well as other stakeholders on the areas covered by the peer review. Feedback had to be submitted by 24 July 2015.
Bank of International Settlements (BIS) effective exchange rate indices is updated
The BIS effective exchange rate (EER) indices now cover 61 economies (including individual euro area countries and, separately, the euro area as an entity). The most recent weights are based on trade in 2008-10 and the indices' base year is 2010. The monthly effective exchange rate data will be released mid-month on a monthly basis.
ESMA issues Q&A on anti-money laundering and investment-based crowdfunding platforms
ESMA has issued Questions and Answers (Q&A) in order to promote the sound, effective and consistent application of rules on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing to investment-based crowdfunding platforms. It provides responses to questions posed by national competent authorities in the course of ESMA’s work on investment-based crowdfunding.
Basel Committee issues consultative document on its review of the Credit Valuation Adjustment risk framework
The Committee's objectives are to: (i) ensure that all important drivers of credit valuation adjustment (CVA) risk and CVA hedges are covered in the Basel regulatory capital standard; (ii) align the capital standard with the fair value measurement of CVA employed under various accounting regimes; and (iii) ensure consistency with the proposed revisions to the market risk framework under the Basel Committee's Fundamental review of the trading book. Comments must be submitted by 1 October 2015.
EBA publishes key metrics used to identify G-SIIs
The EBA published the key metrics used to identify global systemically important institutions (G-SIIs) in the EU, with information on size, interconnectedness, substitutability, complexity and cross-jurisdictional activity. The EBA's regulatory package on G-SIIs identification and data disclosure are in line with the internationally agreed framework developed by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS). However, the EBA goes beyond the minimum standards required by the BCBS, both in terms of granularity of the disclosed information and applicable scope of institutions. Therefore, some of the group-specific values include institutions that did not contribute directly to the BCBS's G-SIB exercise. This year's disclosure exercise covers 37 EU institutions whose leverage ratio exposure measure exceeded 200 billion euro in 2014.
IFRS update on standards and interpretations in issue at 30 June 2015
The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation published an overview of the upcoming IFRS changes in standards and interpretations (pronouncements) to help companies that use the IFRS. It also provided an update on selected active projects. The nature of the resulting changes ranges from significant amendments of fundamental principles to some minor changes from the annual improvements process (AIP).
FCA publishes new referral criteria for enforcement investigations
The FCA has updated the criteria and outlined the process it uses when deciding whether to refer a firm or individual to its enforcement division for a formal investigation. The process clarifies how the FCA decides which regulatory tool is the most likely to fulfil its objectives in each individual case.
FCA launches public consultation on ring-fencing rules
The FCA is consulting on its draft rules for non-ring fenced bodies (NRFBs). As part of the ring-fencing regime, which will be introduced by 2019, the FCA is specifying the information that an NRFB must provide to individuals with financial assets of at least £250,000 that are account holders or that have applied to open an account, including joint accounts, with an NRFB. Comments must be submitted by 13 November 2015.
FCA publish results of its thematic review of oversight and controls of financial benchmarks
The FCA found that, although firms have made a number of positive changes to improve their governance and controls around benchmark activities, significant further work is needed to ensure that all of the risks are managed appropriately. Senior management is advised to review the report for guidance on issues to watch out for and steps to take to remedy outstanding concerns.
PRA issues Supervisory Statement on interim LCR reporting under CRD IV
The supervisory statement sets out the specific liquidity coverage requirement (LCR) reporting arrangements which the PRA expects firms to follow on an interim basis in the period between 1 October 2015, the date the LCR standard applies in accordance with the European Commission’s (the Commission) delegated act with regard to the LCR for credit institutions (the Delegated Act) , and the introduction of mandatory reporting of the new LCR return following adoption of the amending implementing technical standard (ITS) on liquidity reporting by the Commission.
FCA publishes Annual Report for 2014/15
The FCA published its Annual Report looking back on the work carried out in the previous year including the regulation of consumer credit, bringing the number of firms within the FCA's remit to 73,000, launching Project Innovate to help bring new and innovative financial products and services to the market, implementing the new Senior Managers Regime and conducting market studies, including cash savings, retirement income and review of competition in the wholesale sector. The Report also looks forward to the FCA's strategy and activities in the coming year.
PRA publishes its regulated fees and levies for fees and levies
On 30 June 2015, the PRA published a policy statement (PS13/15) on its regulated fees and levies for 2015/2016. The statement sets out the final fee rates to meet the PRA’s 2015/16 Annual Funding Requirement and rates for Special Project Fees. It also sets out the revised version of the PRA’s Financial Penalty Scheme.