Several countries have announced or have already implemented extensive debt relief measures for consumers and companies. In some instances these measures also include debt moratoria. The following provides a brief overview of key headlines reflecting the current status for such debt moratoria in Germany, Italy, UK, and the US.
UK regulators announce a further package of measures to ease the burden on issuers.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UK regulators have published further measures affecting issuers, to try to preserve the flow of information to investors and support the continued functioning of the UK’s capital markets. However, the FCA has also noted that issuers will still need to observe their other disclosure obligations, in particular those concerning inside information under the Market Abuse Regulation.
ESMA, BaFin, and FCA have provided guidelines on firms’ obligation to record client telephone calls.
Remote working raises uncertainties in various regulated areas as it dramatically changes institutions’ day-to-day business. In particular, institutions are confronted with practical and technical difficulties regarding client-related requirements such as the obligation to tape telephone conversations with clients — which employees working remotely may not be able to do because they lack access to the necessary technical equipment. In order to address these practical difficulties, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have published their regulatory approach with regard to the current situation. Continue Reading
The FCA, the Bank of England, and members of the Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates have stated that firms should still plan for the transition away from LIBOR at the end of 2021.
On 25 March 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), after discussions with the Bank of England and the Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates, published a statement confirming that “[t]he central assumption that firms cannot rely on LIBOR being published after the end of 2021 has not changed and should remain the target date for all firms to meet”. The FCA does, however, recognise that the impact of COVID-19 may affect some of the interim transition deadlines, in particular within the loan market.
The full FCA statement can be found here.
The FCA has clarified which people working in regulated financial services firms will meet the definition of a “key worker”.
By Rob Moulton
On 19 March 2020, the UK government published guidance setting out which “key workers” will be permitted special status as regards to educational provision for their children. (It is possible that this definition may start to be used for other purposes.)
Then on 20 March, the FCA set out guidance, which is similar to guidance published by the PRA, about the extent to which those working in regulated financial services firms will meet the definition of a key worker. Continue Reading
The three US federal banking agencies have taken additional steps to enable the financial system to continue functioning during the pandemic.
The three US federal banking agencies — the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) — have taken additional measures to protect the public and private sectors from “severe disruptions” to the US financial system following a series of actions last week addressing COVID-19-related risks. In a statement released yesterday, the Federal Reserve expressed its commitment to use “its full range of tools to support households, businesses and the US economy overall”. These latest economic relief measures, which are intended to enhance the steps taken last week, include: Continue Reading
The regulator is taking immediate supervisory and policy measures to help support banks, insurers, and financial market infrastructures.
The Bank of England and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have announced a number of measures aimed at alleviating operational burdens on PRA-regulated firms, and Bank-regulated financial market infrastructures (FMIs), in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures are intended to provide flexibility to help firms and FMIs focus on maintaining their safety and soundness and delivering the critical functions they provide to the economy.
The three US federal banking agencies have taken steps to enable the financial system to continue functioning during the pandemic.
During the course of this week, the three US federal banking agencies — the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) — have taken a series of actions intended to enable the US financial system to continue functioning in the midst of COVID-19 and to encourage banks to meet the financial services needs of their customers who are affected by the pandemic. Continue Reading
Financial Services Regulatory Initiatives Forum and the Regulatory Initiatives Grid to be introduced this summer.
On 11 March 2020, HM Treasury published its response to the Call for Evidence on Regulatory Coordination.
In the summer of 2019, the government launched HM Treasury’s Financial Services Future Regulatory Framework Review to consider how the UK’s regulatory framework needs to adapt to be fit for the future, particularly in light of Brexit. The first phase of this review focused on the coordination between the UK regulators responsible for financial services regulation. On 19 July 2019, the government published a Call for Evidence on this issue which closed in October 2019.
The HM Treasury response document summarises the responses received to the Call for Evidence, and sets out how the financial services regulators, working with government, propose to improve regulatory coordination through the introduction of the Financial Services Regulatory Initiatives Forum and the Regulatory Initiatives Grid. The response document also explains the next phase of the Financial Services Future Regulatory Framework Review. Continue Reading
The FCA expects firms to use flexibility to support consumers, has delayed new publications, and extended deadline for responses to published consultations to 1 October 2020.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a new webpage providing information on its expectations of firms’ response to the coronavirus. It will update the webpage over the coming weeks and expects to adapt its guidance accordingly. Firms are therefore advised to check the webpage regularly for updates.
Key messages from the FCA are that it expects all firms to:
- Take reasonable steps to ensure that they are adequately prepared to meet the challenges to both their business and their customers as a result of the coronavirus, particularly through their business continuity plans
- Provide strong support and service to customers
- Actively manage their financial resilience and liquidity, reporting to the FCA immediately if they believe they will be in difficulty
The FCA’s primary goals are to ensure customers are protected and that markets continue to function well. Continue Reading