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On 6 August 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a report setting out review findings of relending by firms in the high-cost lenders portfolio. The FCA also commissioned a study by PWC as an aid to understand repeat borrowing in the high-cost credit market.
Last week we saw the UK take action to prevent the onshored Benchmarks Regulation preventing UK regulated entities being able to refer to unauthorised spot FX rates, some of which (such as KRW/USD and TWD/USD) are widely used in non-deliverable forward contracts. Its solution was to delay the current transition period under the BMR until the end of 2025. The EC’s second proposed amendment from last Friday to amend the Benchmarks Regulation concerns the same issue, and proposes amending the BMR to permit the EC to designate certain spot FX rate benchmarks.
ISDA and some other European trade bodies have updated and re-issued their October 2018 paper, “The impact of Brexit on OTC derivatives” (not yet on its website). Given the current impasse on a free trade agreement and the absence of completed equivalence declarations, the possibilities of “cliff-edge” disruption to the derivatives market are largely as they were back in 2018, save to the extent that the quantum of affected contracts may have been reduced (if this has indeed happened to a material extent).
The EBA’s latest Brexit statement on Wednesday contained familiar reminders and warnings: passporting will end on 31st December 2020 and if UK firms want to offer services into the EU27, they will need to check they are permitted by the relevant local law and whether or not it permits reverse solicitation nor has an overseas persons exemption, etc), and UK firms should not set up brass plate subsidiaries and then sub-contract everything back to the UK, and instead “ensure that associated management capacity, including appropriate technical risk management capabilities, is effectively in place ahead of time, and is commensurate to the magnitude, scope and complexity of their activities, to allow for effective and efficient management of risks they generate”.
- promote the securitisation of NPLs
- create a regime for balance sheet synthetic securitisations
- make their regulatory capital treatment more benign
- tweak the rules on the regulatory capital implications of unfunded credit protection
One problem with CBILS is that, to comply with EU state aid rules, the borrower must not have been an “undertaking in difficulty” on 31 December 2019. The CBILS scheme rules have been relaxed with effect from 30 July for borrowers which “have fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of less than GBP9 million”.
On 28 July 2020, HM Treasury published a Call for Evidence on the development of the UK payments landscape. This represents the first stage of a government review to ensure that the UK’s payments landscape is fit-for-purpose.
The government wishes to identify opportunities, gaps and risks that need to be addressed in the future in order to ensure that the UK maintains its status as a country at the cutting edge of payments technology.
On 16 July 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published draft guidance setting out its expectations for banks, building societies and credit unions when considering closing branches or ATMs, or converting a free to use ATM to pay to use.