Understanding NFTs as commodities calls for a more nuanced analysis than what their “non-fungible” label might suggest at first glance.

By Yvette D. Valdez

The appropriate regulatory characterization of cryptocurrencies and digital assets for US legal purposes has spawned many pages of analysis and occupied many hours of industry, law firm, and regulatory consideration. Significant amounts of commentary, and later government and judicial attention, have been devoted to determining whether fungible cryptocurrencies and digital assets constitute securities for purposes of

A recent bipartisan bill, if enacted, would particularly benefit small lenders and bank-fintech partnerships by promoting transparency, appellate rights, and examiner accountability.

By Arthur S. Long, Parag Patel, Barrie VanBrackle, Pia Naib, and Deric Behar

On December 14, 2023, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Fair Audits and Inspections for Regulators’ Exams Act (FAIR Exams Act), which seeks to increase transparency in the bank examination process. The proposed legislation would require examining agencies to act quickly and transparently, while creating an independent review and appeals process under the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC),[1] which would allow banks to seek independent review of material examiner findings.

This annual publication explores some of the core focus areas for UK-regulated financial services firms in the year ahead. 2023 saw significant progress on the regulatory reform agenda, and many measures consulted on or reviewed as part of the Edinburgh Reforms will be finalised and/or implemented in the course of 2024.

We also saw the passing of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023, many provisions of which have already come into effect and have made important changes to the

The consultation paper confirms a radical approach to bolster the international competitiveness of the UK markets and return to a disclosure-based listing framework.

By Mark Austin, Chris Horton, James Inness, Anna Ngo, and Johannes Poon

The FCA today published consultation paper CP23/31 setting out detailed draft rules for the new UK listing regime. The publication represents the final stage of the journey to reshape the UK Listing Rules which started with the launch of Lord Hill’s UK Listings Review in 2020. Most of the key changes reflect proposals in the FCA’s preceding consultation paper CP23/10 published in May 2023 (see this Latham Client Alert for further details).

Benchmark administrators should review the quality of their ESG benchmark disclosures ahead of a review by EU regulators during 2024.

By Nicola HiggsBecky Critchley, Anne Mainwaring, Ella McGinn, and Charlotte Collins

On 13 December 2023, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s financial markets regulator and supervisor, announced its plans to launch a Common Supervisory Action (CSA). Along with National Competent Authorities (NCAs), ESMA plans to review the mandatory disclosures of benchmark administrators providing benchmarks that pursue ESG objectives under the EU Benchmarks Regulation (EU BMR).

The CSA is the first that ESMA will conduct since it assumed its direct supervisory role under the EU BMR. As part of the CSA, ESMA and the NCAs will share knowledge and experience to harmonise how they supervise ESG disclosure requirements for benchmark administrators.

The Discussion Paper on the Advice Guidance Boundary Review examines how authorised firms can provide more support to customers.

By Rob Moulton, Nicola Higgs, Becky Critchley, and Charlotte Collins

The FCA has published a Discussion Paper (DP23/5) with the government on the Advice Guidance Boundary Review, which seeks views on the following three proposals:  

  • Further clarifying when firms can provide support to consumers without giving regulated financial advice
  • A new approach that would allow firms to provide support tailored to groups of people in similar circumstances
  • A new form of simplified advice that would make it easier for firms to provide affordable advice to clients with more straightforward needs and smaller sums to invest

Critical Third Parties serving the UK financial sector must ready themselves for compliance with the newly proposed operational resilience requirements.

By Rob Moulton, Fiona Maclean, and Charlotte Collins

On 7 December 2023, the PRA, FCA, and BoE jointly published a Consultation Paper (PRA CP26/23 and FCA CP23/30) which proposes a set of regulatory requirements and expectations for critical third parties (CTPs) that provide services to authorised persons, relevant service providers, and financial market infrastructure entities (FMIs). The key aim of the proposals is to manage potential risks to the stability of, or confidence in, the UK financial system that may arise due to a failure in, or disruption to, the services that a CTP provides to such entities.

The FCA’s long-awaited regime seeks to raise standards, increase consumer understanding, and reduce instances of greenwashing.

By Paul A. Davies, Laura N. Ferrell, Sarah E. Fortt, Nicola Higgs, Betty M. Huber, James McCrory, Nell Perks, Michael D. Green, Clare Scott, James Bee, Anne Mainwaring, Jaime Martin, Ella McGinn, and Charlotte Collins

On 28 November 2023, the FCA published its Policy Statement (PS23/16) containing final rules on its Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDR) and investment labelling regime. The FCA originally consulted on this regime in October 2022 (see this Latham blog post). Publication of the final rules was somewhat delayed in light of the volume of feedback received to the consultation.

Hong Kong’s highest court confirms that its financial markets regulator may serve proceedings on foreign defendants for restoration orders as of right.

By Dominic Geiser, Simon Hawkins, Truman Mak, and Adrian Fong

The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (CFA) held in a recent judgment that the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) does not need to seek leave of the Hong Kong court to serve false trading proceedings against defendants out of the jurisdictions for restoration orders.