ESMA and the EBA advise on KPIs for transparency on institutions’ environmentally sustainable activities, and the EBA consults on prudential disclosures of ESG risks under the CRR.

By Nicola Higgs, Suzana Sava-Montanari, and Axel Schiemann

On 26 February 2021, both the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) issued guidance on Article 8 of the EU Taxonomy Regulation. Firms in scope of the EU Taxonomy Regulation now have all the relevant guidance to start planning their disclosures on how and to what extent their activities are associated with economic activities that qualify as environmentally sustainable under the EU Taxonomy Regulation.

The guidance elaborates on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that institutions should disclose, the scope and methodology for the calculation of those KPIs, and the qualitative information that institutions should provide.

The main KPI proposed is the Green Asset Ratio (GAR), which identifies institutions’ asset financing activities that are environmentally sustainable according to the EU Taxonomy Regulation, including activities consistent with the goals of the European Green Deal and the Paris Agreement. Information on the GAR is supplemented by other KPIs that provide information on the taxonomy-alignment of institutions’ services other than lending and investing. The EBA has integrated proportionality measures that should facilitate institutions’ disclosures, including transitional periods where disclosures in terms of estimates and proxies are allowed.

Insights from Latham’s flagship event: Managing the risk and promise of digitisation in financial services

Authors: Andrew Moyle, Nicola Higgs, Christian McDermott, and Kirsty Watkins.

The financial services industry is leading the way in outsourcing, with contract values in excess of US$10.7 billion in 2018, causing regulators to focus more than ever on the associated risks. Guidelines on outsourcing arrangements from the European Banking Authority (EBA), which came into effect on 30 September 2019, expand the requirements on institutions in this area, while both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) are also increasing their outsourcing supervision and enforcement activity.

The guidelines create new obligations for financial, payment, and electronic money institutions that will impact cloud outsourcing and deployment of FinTech.

By Fiona M. Maclean and Laura Holden

On 25 February 2019, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published a final report on its draft guidelines on outsourcing arrangements (Guidelines). The report followed the EBA’s publication of draft guidelines in June 2018 (Draft Guidelines) and the ensuing public consultation in September 2018 (Public Consultation).

The Guidelines replace the 2006 Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) Guidelines on Outsourcing (CEBS Guidelines) and replace and incorporate the EBA’s final recommendations on outsourcing to cloud service providers (Cloud Recommendations). Financial institutions will now only need to consult one set of guidelines for cloud and non-cloud outsourcing.

By Nicola Higgs, Fiona MacLean, Brett Carr, and Catherine Campbell

Technology outsourcing by financial institutions (FIs) has increased in recent years as FIs look to the latest innovations to improve their day-to-day business processes and to reduce costs. FIs outsource key functions to a host of regulated and unregulated third-party service providers, and the sector is poised for continued growth. According to research conducted by business outsourcing provider Arvato and analyst firm NelsonHall, outsourcing agreements worth £6.74 billion were agreed in the UK last year across all industries (a 9% increase on the prior year), and financial services firms signed £3.26 billion of them. With this continued growth, the outsourcing sector is increasingly likely to be a hotbed of PE deal activity; and, as regulators place a greater focus on outsource providers, deal teams should monitor regulatory engagement and policy developments.

The EBA’s draft guidelines on outsourcing will impact cloud outsourcing and institutions’ deployment of FinTech.

By Fiona MacleanCharlotte Collins, and Terese Saplys

On 4 September 2018, a wide audience of interested individuals gathered at Canary Wharf for a public hearing (Public Consultation) to listen to what the European Banking Authority (EBA) had to say in relation to its long-awaited Draft Guidelines on Outsourcing (Draft Guidelines). The Draft Guidelines, which review the existing CEBS Guidelines on Outsourcing published in 2006 (CEBS Guidelines), are the EBA’s opportunity to refresh its recommendations on outsourcing to align more closely with the technical, political, and operational landscape banks face today. The attendees at the Public Consultation raised a number of questions which have, no doubt, given the EBA considerable food for thought. This blog post identifies and explores the key themes of the day. Beyond the key themes identified below, the Public Consultation included discussions of the issues of internal audit, reporting and registration, and supervisory oversight.

By Fiona Maclean, Stuart Davis and Charlotte Collins

Cloud services come with the promise of many benefits for the financial services sector. Cloud computing offers large-scale and cost-effective solutions for data storage and efficient processing and is also the underlying technology for many FinTech platforms. As with a lot of new technology, however, financial institutions are struggling to see how they can embrace cloud services fully in the context of the current regulatory landscape. This is particularly so given that use of cloud services is often considered a material outsourcing, meaning that banks and investment firms must follow strict rules in order to ensure that the risks posed by migrating data to the cloud are mitigated appropriately.