Featured in this month’s newsletter:
- The Financial Services Skills Commission’s inclusion measurement guide
- The FCA’s expectations of firms’ Strong Customer Authentication solutions and the latest on the FCA’s approach to the three elements of authentication
- The resumption of the FCA’s credit information market study
- The FCA’s portfolio strategy letters to investment-based crowdfunding firmsÂ and P2P crowdfunding platforms
- ESG: publication of EU legislation to integrate sustainability into MiFID II, AIFMD, Solvency II and the Insurance Distribution Directive, and updates on SFDR.
Please join us for ourÂ interactive roundtableÂ on the SMCR conduct rules.
General financial services regulation
FCA: instructions to firms on how to maintain accurate FS Register details
On 30 July 2021, the FCA updated itsÂ webpageÂ to include more detailed instructions on how firms should use Connect to ensure that their firm details (such as registered name, place of business, website address) and details about their directory persons are recorded correctly on the FS Register.Â The new updates follow feedback from firms that the processes can be confusing.Â Updating and confirming the accuracy of details on the FS Register in the prescribed manner and time frame is essential to ensure compliance.
Responses to the Law Commission call for evidence on digital assets
On 30 July 2021, the Financial Markets Law Committee (FMLC) publishedÂ its responseÂ to theÂ Law Commission’s call for evidenceÂ on digital assets, which was followed on 18 August 2021 byÂ the responseÂ of the City of London Law Society (CLLS) to that same call for evidence.Â
The FMLC response is limited to cryptoassets as a sub-set of the possible broad variety of items which might be classed as “digital assets”.Â Furthermore, the FMLC suggests that the Law Commission becomes even more specific when it recommends legal reform, to account for the different definitions and categorisations of cryptoasset used in the UK and to reduce ambiguity.Â The overall conclusion of the FMLC is that that law should recognise these assets as being possessable, but should do so in such a way that is sensitive to the unique features of them; creating a third category of personal property (as opposed to things in possession and things in action) is the FMLC’s preferred position.
Conversely, the CLLS believes that it is unlikely to prove unhelpful and may undermine the certainty of English law if all types of digital asset could be possessable.Â Instead, after citing experiences from the current market practice of the Image Clearing System for electronic clearance of cheques and money market instruments, there may be scope for specific closed statutory and contractual systems relating to the classification of digital assets in particular markets, such as trade finance.
FCA: changes to decision-making within the regulator
On 29 July 2021, the FCA released consultation paperÂ CP21/25, which proposes to move some decisions from the Regulatory Decisions Committee back to the Executive personnel.Â Such decisions would include:
- using the FCA’s own-initiative powers to impose requirements or vary a firm’s permissions
- making a final decision in relation to a contested application for a firm to be authorised or an individual to be approved
- FCA action in straightforward cancellation cases, where a firm does not meet regulatory requirements
- the decision to commence civil and/or criminal proceedings.
The consultation is open to feedback until 17 September 2021.
Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC): inclusion measurement guide
On 14 July 2021, the FSSC released itsÂ Inclusion measurement guide, which is designed to help organisations:
- measure inclusion in three priority areas for financial services organisations in promoting an inclusive culture: inclusive leadership, a safe and speak up culture, and inclusive systems and processes
- measure inclusion in the actions of employees and the structures within the organisation which impact inclusion as well as based on employee experiences and perceptions
- support organisation who are measuring inclusion for the first time, as well as helping those who are already measuring inclusion to push their practice further.
The guide is split into four “levels” of measurement, which organisations can choose to apply based on the maturity of the inclusion measurement processes already in place.
On 5 August 2021, Mark Hoban, the chair of the FSSC, published a relatedÂ blog postÂ on the UK Finance website that noted that businesses have come a long way in the last decade in improving diversity, but that more action is needed.Â He also noted that the FSSC is working with its members to provide practical tools to enable firms to accelerate reskilling, widen talent pools and increase opportunities for digitisation.
Payment services and systems
FCA: approach to “inherence” in customer authentication
On 20 August 2021, the FCA updated itsÂ webpageÂ on Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)Â concerning its own approach to the European Banking Authority’s (EBA) view on the concept of “inherence” for the purposes of SCA.
Under the Payment Services Regulations, there are three authentication elements: inherence (something the user is), knowledge (something the user knows) and possession (something the user possesses).Â The EBAÂ published its viewsÂ on inherence in June 2019, however the FCA has chosen not to incorporate this into its Approach Document, following responses to itsÂ consultation paper CP21/3, which had proposed to reflect these views in the UK.Â The FCA will publish its rationale for this decision in a policy statement later this year.
FCA: firms to develop strong customer authentication (SCA) and mobile-based authentication
On 19 August 2021, the FCA’sÂ regulatory round-upÂ bulletin stated that the regulator expects all firm to develop SCA solutions that work for all customers, in line withÂ its June 2019 guidance.Â Noting that firms should consider their obligations under the Equality Act 2010, the regulator expects that firms should provide authentication measures which are appropriate to the needs of vulnerable customers, including customers who are unable to access a mobile phone.Â Digital-only firms are expected to develop contingency arrangements for customers whose circumstances change.Â Firms are advised to offer appropriate means of authentication as soon as possible to avoid the risk of regulatory action.
Lending Standards Board (LSB): ongoing work on contingent reimbursement model (CRM) code and authorised push payment (APP) scams
On 5 August 2021, the LSB publishedÂ an updateÂ on the next steps of development for the CRM code.Â We mentioned the amendments to the CRM code inÂ our April 2021 update.Â The LSB anticipates the following developments:
- a further review of the wording of the CRM code, to ensure that a wider range of firms can sign up to the code, whilst still maintaining a consistent level of consumer protection
- establishment of the timeline for making the confirmation of payee provisions
- refreshment the customer-facing document which accompanies the code
- work towards defining success measures of the code.
The LSB intends to publish a full report from its earlier Call for Input in the autumn of this year.
Consumer credit and mortgages
FCA: letter regarding mortgage third party administrators
On 10 August 2021, the FCA published aÂ portfolio strategy letter,Â which it had distributed on 7 June 2021 to mortgage third party administrators.Â This letter explains the risks that the FCA believes such firms pose to customers and markets and outlines the regulator’s expectations of such firms and their risk mitigation practices.
The FCA has prioritised the following in its supervisory work:
- fair treatment of consumers, including recognising and looking after vulnerable customers and mortgage prisoners
- treatment of vulnerable customers
- operational resilience systems, controls, policies and procedures
- financial resilience of authorised firms
- forbearance and due consideration being shown towards customers who are in arrears, including signposting to free debt advice and agreeing to sustainable repayment arrangements.
This letter was enclosed with aÂ related letterÂ to firms that outsource mortgage administration activities to mortgage third party administrators, emphasising that their regulatory responsibilities remain with the firm and cannot be outsourced.
FCA: resumption of credit information market study
On 30 July 2021, the FCAÂ announcedÂ that work would be resumed on its credit information market study, taking into account the recommendations of theÂ Woolard Review.Â Study has recommenced under the extant terms of reference and will reflect developments relevant to credit information in the last 18 months, such as:
- lenders’ response to the pandemic
- the impact of growth in different forms of credit on credit information
- technological and behavioural changes that may alter the way people interact with their credit information, such as the increased uptake of Open Banking.
The regulator intends to publish an interim report in the first quarter of 2022 with its vision for the credit information sector, emerging findings and early thoughts on potential remedies.Â The interim report is expected to consider the FCA-commissionedÂ reportÂ on potential future developments in the credit information market.
Banking and insurance
Financial Markets Law Committee (FMLC) minutes
On 19 August 2021, the FMLC publishedÂ its minutesÂ from the 29 July 2021 meeting.
Of note is that the committee circulated amongst its members a draft of its working group paper on the uncertainties caused by the definition of “contract of insurance” in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities Order) 2001 (RAO).Â The minutes show that the relevant working group of the committee is concerned that the extension in the RAO definition to include “or similar contracts of guarantee” is broad and difficult to interpret.Â Members of the committee responded to this concern, suggesting that amendments might add further ambiguity to the sector, which had achieved a consensus about the interpretation of this phrase, and that such additional ambiguity could be quite costly.Â
The Secretariat of the committee hopes to discuss the draft paper with Lloyds of London in the coming weeks.Â Similarly, the draft paper will be sent to the Law Commission for consideration in strict confidence, under caveat that there are still issues being discussed around the paper.
Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS): establishment of independent liaison panels
On 18 August 2021, the BBRSÂ announcedÂ that it has established two new independent liaison panels as transparent advisory councils to the BBRS.Â These will not have decision-making powers but will be able to make recommendations to the BBRS.Â The two panels are:
- the SME Liaison Panel, which will contribute to the handling of banking complaints from small and medium enterprises
- the Bank Liaison Panel, which provides feedback to banks and will help to promote trust in business banking relationships.
The BBRS launched in February 2021 to help small and medium sized enterprises resolve disputes with their banks.
European Banking Authority (EBA): report on high earners
On 18 August 2021, the EBA published itsÂ report on high earners, using data up to the end of 2019.Â The report sets out this aggregated data of all staff earning more than â¬1,000,000 in the 2019 financial year, then compares this to the 2018 financial year.Â
The report explains that the UK had the largest number of high earners (3,519), although this number had decreased 2.63% from 2018.Â Overall, however, the number of reported high earners increased 0.51% across the data.
The EBA is required to publish this data under Article 75(3) of the CRD IV Directive (2013/36/EU).Â The next publication is due in the first quarter of 2022 and will exclude UK data.
Securities, investments, and markets
FCA: letter to loan-based Peer-to-Peer crowdfunding platforms
On 26 August 2021, the FCAÂ published a letterÂ to directors of loan-based Peer-to-Peer (P2P) crowdfunding platforms, dated 25 May 2021, setting out the regulator’s view of the key risks to customers and markets, its expectations of firms, and its supervisory strategy towards them.
The FCA identifies four areas of risk to consumers and markets from these firms:
- Secondary markets for loans, and associated risk management obligationsÂ -Â Many P2P platforms allow lenders to exit positions via a secondary market in loans, through a variety of mechanisms. The FCA is concerned that there is a real risk that P2P firms might either be unable to accurately price loans, or are incentivised to transfer loans from one client to another at prices that do not reflect the risk profile of the loan, especially given the impact of COVID-19 on borrowers’ creditworthiness.
The regulator reminds firms that if they cannot comply with their duties to review valuations of loans and ensure that exit prices are fair and appropriate, they must suspend secondary trading. The FCA will hold the Senior Manager who performs the Risk Management Function accountable for breaches of these duties, which arise under COBS 18.12.16R and 17R.
- Wind-down plans, their triggers, and liquidity monitoringÂ -Â The FCA expects firms to monitor their liquid and capital resources and identify a minimum level of each which, if breached, will act as a trigger for a wind-down of business. The regulator is dissatisfied with the plans for winding down that it has seen so far and emphasises that it requires P2P firms to have a wind-down plan and to retain resources in cash or a readily realisable form, which should be available for use only once the decision to wind down business has been taken by the Board.
Given its findings, the FCA requires P2P firms to confirm within three weeks of the date of the letter the amount that they have set aside for winding down and the reasons for establishing their reserve at this sum.
- Disclosure of loan performance during loan forbearance and the use of contingency fundsÂ -Â The FCA is concerned that P2P firms have been reporting loan status and performance in different ways to lenders, markets and the FCA. It considers that, particularly in difficult times, transparent disclosures that are clear, fair and not misleading remain a high priority.
The regulator expects firms to provide ongoing disclosures for investors, provide an outcomes statement annually where the platform sets the price of the loans, and where a contingency fund is offered by P2P firms to investor there must be a policy which explains the source of the fund and how it is governed. Any contingency fund must make its performance available in a quarterly publication, including the size of the fund against outstanding P2P agreements and the proportion of outstanding P2P agreements which have been paid using the fund.
- Unclear platform fees, charges and priority over recoveries- The FCA is concerned that platform fees and charges, and their impact on recovery of defaulted loans, are unclear. Where P2P firms offer arrangements in which fees, charges or the order of recovery for payments changes when the firm enters a liquidity event or moves towards wind-down, the firm should be sure that investors understand the meaning and application of these arrangements.
For more on the regulation of P2P crowdfunding platforms, please see the second part of ourÂ Introduction to Crowdfunding series, which was published earlier this year.Â
FCA: letter to investment-based crowdfunding firms
On 17 August 2021, the FCA publishedÂ a portfolio strategy letterÂ to investment-based crowdfunding firms, dated 2 July 2021.Â The regulator breaks down the risks for this sub-sector into four categories:
For more background on the regulation of crowdfunding, please see the first part of ourÂ Introduction to Crowdfunding series, which was published earlier in the year.
FCA: third consultation on new prudential regime for UK investment firms
On 6 August 2021, the FCA published theÂ third and final consultationÂ on the UK Investment Firm Prudential Regime (IFPR).Â It is seeking views on:
- own funds â excess drawing by partners and members
- technical standards
- changes to the FCA Handbook to reflect changes to the UK resolution regime
- other consequential changes to the FCA Handbook
- approach to Enforcement.
The consultation closes for feedback on 17 September 2021.
FCA: text of memorandum of understanding (MoU) with US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published
On 6 August 2021, the FCA published the text ofÂ an MoUÂ between the FCA, Bank of England (as PRA) and the SEC on the supervision and oversight of cross-border over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives entities in connection with the use of substituted compliance by such entities.
The MoU means that under Rule 3a71-6 of the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the SEC can issue an order relating to the UK financial regulatory system, determining that an SEC-registered security-based swap dealer or major security-based swap participant may comply with specified UK requirements to satisfy US requirements.
This MoU works alongside the amended and restated MoU of March 2019 that is already in place between the FCA and the SEC.
European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA): report on use of FinTech by Central Securities Depositories (CSDs)
On 6 August 2021, ESMA publishedÂ a reportÂ to the European Commission on the use of FinTech by CSDs.Â The context of the report is the review of the CSD Regulations by the Commission, which ESMA seeks to inform via this report.Â The report draws four headline conclusions:
- Contextualisation of a series of CSD Regulations definitions into a distributed ledger technology environment seems necessary to provide comfort to CSDs that deploy this type of technology.
- ESMA recommends that the Commission amends Article 35 of the CSD Regulations to enable CSDs to deploy distributed ledger technology solutions using other communication standards or protocols if international open communication procedures and standards are not available for this type of technology.
- Clarification of the definition of “settlement” in Article 2(1)(7) of the CSD Regulations could be achieved through a Q&A document in relation to the settlement of securities and cash in a distributed ledger technology environment.
- Concerns exist relating to settlement finality in a distributed ledger technology environment, and ESMA considers that it is important to assess those concerns through the Settlement Finality directive review.
Funds and asset management
European Commission: consultation on amending the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) Directive
On 5 August 2021, the Commission launchedÂ a consultationÂ for a potential Directive to amend the UCITS Directive.Â Â This proposal would work by inserting a new Article 82a, worded to the effect that where a Key Information Document (KID) is drawn up, provided, revised and translated for a UCITS pursuant to the PRIIPs Regulation, it should be considered as satisfying the requirements for key investor information for the purposes of the UCITS Directive.
The consultation closes for feedback at midnight (Brussels time) on 9 September 2021.
European Commission: call for advice on Packaged Retail Investment and Insurance-based Products (PRIIPs) Regulation
On 2 August 2021, the European Commission publishedÂ a call for adviceÂ dated 27 July 2021 to the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities on the PRIIPs Regulation.Â This call requests that the Joint Committee provides information on the following areas under the regulation:
- a general survey on the use of the PRIIPs KID across the union
- a general survey on the operation of the comprehension alert, including the number and types of products which have a comprehension alert in their KID and evidence as to whether retail investors and financial advisors consider these alerts
- a survey of the practical application of the rules in the regulation
- an assessment of the effectiveness of sanctions, measures, and other enforcement actions
- an assessment of the extent to which the regulation is adapted to digital media
- an examination of whether the exemption of the products in Article 2(2)(d), (e) and (g) should be maintained
- an examination of whether the scope of the regulation should be extended to additional financial products.
Investigations and enforcement
FCA: decision notice issued for pension transfer advice failings
On 9 August 2021, the FCA publishedÂ a decision noticeÂ issued to Geoffrey Edward Armin ofÂ Retirement and Pension Planning Services Limited (in liquidation), dated 20 May 2021.Â Mr Armin has referred this decision notice to the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) and this will be suspended pending a decision at the Tribunal.Â However, the FCA has decided to sanction Mr Armin for serious breaches of Principle 2 (conducting business with due skill, care and diligence) and Principle 7 (taking reasonable steps to ensure that the firm complied with relevant regulatory requirements and standards).Â
The list of alleged failings in this notice is long and includes failure to consider the best interests of clients, failure to consider cash flow modelling and other evidence, and failure to substantiate recommendations.Â All of the failings occurred in the conduct of giving pension transfer advice to member of a defined benefit pension scheme, the majority of whom were advised to transfer to a defined contribution scheme without consideration of their circumstances, the alternative options available, or the benefits to be derived from a defined benefit pension scheme.Â The FCA has decided to impose a penalty of Â£1,284,523 on Mr Armin, and to prohibit him from any senior management function or any function in relation to pension transfers and pension opt outs, based on the alleged fitness and propriety failings.
FCA: the dismissal of Avacade appeal
On 4 August 2021, the FCA releasedÂ a press statementÂ after the Court Appeal upheld the FCA’s findings of breaches against Alexandra Associates (UK) Limited trading as Avacade Future Solutions, Craig and Lee Lummis.
The defendants had been involved in arranging and promoting investments without authorisation, and had made false and misleading statements to induce investors to transfer their pensions into self-invested personal pensions and through these invest in alternative investments.
The outcome of the case is that the FCA can now enforce an order made in the High Court, for the sum of Â£10,715,000, to be paid in restitution to customers by the defendants.
FCA: Complaints Commissioner recommendation on informal data requests and use of section 165 FSMA powers
On 3 August 2021, the Office of the Complaints Commissioner publishedÂ the final reportÂ of the Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner, dated 12 July 2021, that relates to a complaint regarding the FCA.Â
The FCA had sent three e-mails to an old e-mail address of the complainant, which had been replaced with an updated address with the FCA in 2016.Â The first two were undelivered but the third, a formal request for information under the FCA’s section 165 powers, was received and actioned.Â The sending of e-mails to the old address was caused by use of out-of-date systems within the FCA.Â
As a result of the complaint, the Complaints Commissioner has recommended that the FCA considers: whether training is needed about the importance of giving careful and accurate responses to enquiries from the Complaints Team; whether it should warn firms that a non-response to an ad hoc data request may be followed by a section 165 notice; and an offer by the FCA to pay the complainant or a charity of their choice the sum of Â£75 for distress and inconvenience caused.Â The FCA has issuedÂ a responseÂ to the effect that it accepts the recommendations, will implement internal changes and consider the training recommendation, and will be issuing an ex gratia payment as recommended.
European Commission: extended deadline for consultation on Anti-Money Laundering/ Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CTF)
The deadline for responses to four consultations on proposed amendments to AML/CTF rules has been extended by the Commission until 6 October 2021.Â These proposals are:
- a RegulationÂ on preventing the use of the financial system for money laundering or financing of terrorism;
- the establishmentÂ of a new AML/CTF authority by Regulation, called the AML Authority;
- a DirectiveÂ on mechanisms by EU member states repealing Directive (EU) 2015/849 for the prevention of the use of the financial system for money laundering or financing of terrorism; and
- a revisionÂ to Regulation 2015/847/EU to allow tracing of transfers of cryptoassets.
The original deadline for feedback was 17 September 2021, following the launch of the consultations on 22 July 2021.
FCA: response to Treasury Select Committee questions on frozen bank accounts
On 9 August 2021, the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee publishedÂ a letterÂ from the FCA in response to the committee’s own letter that concerned reports of banks freezing accounts of vulnerable customers.
The FCA recognises that it is necessary for firms to be able to freeze customer accounts for a range of reasons, however the regulator is not aware of a substantive cross-sector issue of banks freezing accounts for no reason.Â The FCA does not know why some banks may have frozen accounts but points out that the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 require banks to have appropriate systems and controls that counter the risk of customer accounts being misused for money laundering and terrorist financing. These might require funds to be frozen while a report is made to the National Crime Agency or a defence is sought against money laundering.
The FCA expects firms to conduct investigations in a reasonable time and not to deny customers access to their money unnecessarily.Â Customers can refer their matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service where they believe that their account has been frozen unreasonably.Â The FCA continues to supervise banks’ compliance with Regulation 105 of the Payment Services Regulations 2017, which requires banks to provide payment services providers access to payment accounts on a proportionate, objective and non-discriminatory basis.
The committee also requested information on the FCA’s regulation of AI in the sector.Â The FCA has undertaken a several activities to foster innovation in this area, including the Digital Sandbox pilot, the report from the Alan Turing Institute (as mentioned inÂ our July update), and the AI Public Private Forum with the Bank of England, which is anticipated to release a report in the fourth quarter of 2021.
FCA: expectations of lenders in reporting Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) fraudulent activity
On 28 July 2021, the FCA publishedÂ a letter to CEOsÂ of firms which lend to SMEs, setting out its expectations of firms in reporting fraudulent activity under the BBLS.Â
The FCA is aware of a variety of fraudulent activities, such as: making applications on behalf of fake businesses; making applications through dormant companies for ineligible borrowers; and knowing misstatement on application forms, particularly when stating business turnover.
If there are allegations of fraud regarding a firm which is authorised or registered for anti-money laundering purposes, the FCA expects the lender to inform it after completing initial investigations to understand the validity of the allegation.Â This is in line with Principle 11.Â This expectation is in addition to a lender’s own response and its requirement to inform the British Business Bank as part of the terms for the BBLS, to report targeted fraud to Action Fraud, or to inform other regulators and professional bodies.
FCA: sustainable finance innovation programme
On 19 August 2021, the FCA announced in itsÂ Regulation round-upÂ that a programme of works is to be launched to support firms and regulators in overcoming challenges to sustainable finance and climate change.Â The FCA’s digital sandbox will be open for application on 6 September 2021.Â AÂ Green FinTech Challenge 2021Â will open on the same date.Â The regulator also plans to host a TechSprint on 18-21 October 2021, with a focus on use of technology in ESG data and disclosures.
EU: delegated legislation integrating sustainability into MiFID II, AIFMD, Solvency II and the Insurance Distribution Directive published in the Official Journal (OJ)
On 2 August 2021, several delegated items of legislation were published in the Official Journal of the EU:
- Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2021/1269, which contains product governance obligations on sustainability for insertion into MiFID II by way of amendment of Directive 2017/593.As a result, investment firms that make and distribute financial instruments will need to consider sustainability factors as part of the approval of products.
- Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2021/1270, which supplements the UCITS Directive through amending Directive 2010/43/EU, by requiring that sustainability risks and sustainability factors are considered for UCITS.
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1253, which supplements MiFID II through the amendment of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565 by adding sustainability factors, risks and preferences into organisational requirements and operating conditions for investment firms.
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1254, which supplements MiFID II by correcting Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565 on organisational requirements and operating conditions for investment firms, and defined terms for the purposes of MiFID II.
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1255, which supplements the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive through the amendment of Delegated Regulation (EU) 231/2013 by including the need for sustainability risks and sustainability factors to be considered by alternative investment fund managers.
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1256, which supplements Solvency II through the amendment of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/35, by including sustainability risks in the governance of insurance and reinsurance undertakings.
- Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1257, which supplements the Insurance Distribution Directive through the amendment of Delegated Regulations (EU) 2017/2358 and (EU) 2017/2359, by inserting sustainability factors, risks and preferences into both the product oversight and governance requirements for insurance undertakings and distributors, and the rules on conduct of business and investment advice for insurance-based investment products.
These come into force on 22 August 2021.
European Commission: answers to the European Supervisory Authorities on the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 (SFDR)
On 26 July 2021, the European Securities and Markets Authority â one of the European Supervisory Authorities â published internalÂ Commission Decision C(2021) 4858 finalÂ andÂ its annex, which contains a set of answers to the questions raised by the supervisory authorities about the SFDR. These questions ask how the following parts of the SFDR operate:
< >the application to non-EU alternative investment fund managers and registered alternative investment fund managershow the 500-employee threshold for principal adverse impact reporting on parent undertakings of a large group applieswhat “promotion” means in the context of products which promote environmental or social characteristicshow Article 9 (transparency of sustainable investments in pre-contractual disclosures) applieshow the product rules apply to portfolios and dedicated funds.cover letterÂ from the Commission, which asks the authorities to publish the answers on their respective websites and their Joint Committee website.
European Commission: delay to application of SFDR regulatory technical standards (RTS)
On 23 July 2021, the Commission publishedÂ a letterÂ to the European Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) and the Council of the EU, which confirms a delay for the application of the SFDR RTS.Â This delay is explained as being due to the length and technical detail of the RTS, the late submissions to the Commission and envisaged amendments. The plan by the Commission is to compile all 13 RTS into one delegated act and defer the date of application from 1 January 2022 to 1 July 2022.