Industry Developments

CFTC and MAS Mutually Recognize Certain Derivatives Trading Venues in the U.S. and Singapore

 

On March 13, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued an order exempting certain derivatives trading facilities regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) from the requirement to register with the CFTC as swap execution facilities (SEFs), and MAS announced the issuance of regulations exempting certain derivatives trading venues regulated by the CFTC from the requirement to be a MAS-authorized approved exchange (AE) or recognized market operator (RMO) before establishing or operating an organized market. Press Release. CFTC Order of Exemption. MAS Order of Exemption.

The European Commission’s Technical Expert Group Requests Feedback on Proposed EU Green Bond Standard

 

The interim report, published by the European Commission’s Technical Expert Group (TEG), outlines the work carried out so far on developing an EU green bond standard. Annex 1 of the report sets out the proposed content of a draft standard. The Technical Expert Group is proposing a voluntary standard building on existing market practices and designed to be compatible with them. This would rely on a strong verification structure, being closely linked to the new EU-wide classification system for environmentally sustainable economic activities.

The TEG demonstrates how the standard should be developed and implemented in the EU. This includes preliminary guidance to the Commission on the proposed road map, as well as possible legislative initiatives and amendments. The clear objective is to allow for substantial financial investments into green activities by developing an EU label that would alleviate barriers to development of the green bond market.
Interested parties are invited to provide feedback by April 3. Comments that address how to tackle the important hurdles to development of the green bond market, reporting and verification, eligible use of proceeds raised, and on possible incentives to help the market grow will be particularly useful.

The TEG will seek to use the feedback in developing its final recommendations to the Commission. These are due to be presented in June. The TEG’s final recommendations are expected to be fed into the Commission’s parallel work on a potential EU Ecolabel for green financial products.

Joint Committee of the ESAs Propose Draft RTS to Clarify Application of the KID to Investment Funds

On March 8, the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) published a letter that had been sent to the European Commission proposing draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) amending Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/653 to clarify the application of the key information document (KID) to multi-option products (MOPs).

MOPs are Undertakings for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities (UCITS) and certain non-UCITS funds offered as underlying investment options to a packaged retail and insurance-based investment product (PRIIP). In February 2019, the ESAs identified the draft RTS are required following a decision during the trialogue on the cross-border distribution of investment funds that will extend the time period for which MOPs are excused from preparing a PRIIPs KID from December 31, 2019 until December 31, 2021.

The draft RTS seek to align the date of the exemption in Article 18 of the PRIIPS Delegated Regulation with the revised date in the PRIIPS Regulation ((EU) 1286/2014). The objective is to provide legal certainty to market partakers before the expiry of the current provision in the PRIIPs Delegated Regulation at the end of 2019.

The letter from the Joint Committee of the ESAs to the European Commission can be found here.

Draft Electronic Commerce and Solvency 2 (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 Laid Before Parliament

 

A draft version of the Electronic Commerce and Solvency 2 (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 has been laid before Parliament, alongside a draft explanatory memorandum.

The draft Regulations revoke the exclusion that applies to EEA firms providing information society services (ISS) of a financial services nature in the UK, which reflects the UK’s implementation of the E-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) (ECD). The Regulations also make minor amendments to the UK-retained Solvency II Delegated Regulation ((EU) 2015/35). The Regulations also implement a run-off regime (the ECD run-off) for EEA ISS providers to service financial services contracts taken out before exit day under the ECD.

Rating Agency Developments

 

On February 22, Fitch released the following report: What Investors Want to Know: ESG Relevance Scores (Marking the Intersection of Credit Risk and ESG Risks). Report.

On February 22, DBRS released the following methodology: Master European Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Rating Methodology and Jurisdictional Addenda. Methodology.

On February 22, Moody’s released the following methodology: US RMBS Surveillance Methodology. Methodology.

On February 22, Moody’s released the following methodology: Moody’s Approach to Rating Securitizations Backed by Non-Performing and RE-Performing Loans. Methodology.

On February 21, Moody’s released the following methodology: Moody’s Approach to Rating Transaction Backed by Portfolios of Hedge Fund Investments. Methodology.

On February 21, KBRA published a report entitled: Structured Finance: Subprime Auto Loan ABS: Does Seasoning Matter? Report.

On February 21, DBRS released the following methodology: Rating Pooled Aircraft Lease Securitizations. Methodology.

FCA Publishes Findings of Its Multi-Firm Review into MiFID II Costs and Charges Disclosures

 

The FCA has published a new webpage setting out the key findings of its multi-firm supervisory review of MiFID II costs and charges disclosure.

The review examined disclosures on firms’ websites and their communications to retail clients. The review involved a sample of 50 firms, identified from a number of MiFID investment firms operating in the retail investments sector, whose costs and charges disclosures did not appear to fully comply with the disclosure requirements introduced under the MiFID II Directive (2014/65/EU).

The review’s findings suggest that whilst improving over 2018, overall, the industry has been slow to comply with the updated costs and disclosure requirements.

The webpage includes sections on:

  • Information on the interaction between the costs and charges disclosure requirements in the MiFID II Directive, the PRIIPs Regulation ((EU) 1286/2014) and the UCITS Directive (2009/65/EC).
  • Areas of improvement, detailing examples of practices the FCA expects firms to address.
  • Examples of good practice, detailing examples of compliance that go beyond the requirements for transparency of costs and charges.
  • Suggested next steps for firms to take.

UK and US Authorities Release Statement on Post-Brexit Continuity of Derivatives Trading and Clearing

 

On February 25, the Bank of England (BoE), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) published a joint statement detailing the measures that will be taken to ensure the continuity of UK-US derivatives trading and clearing activities after Brexit.

The measures address:

UK equivalence for the US: UK authorities have confirmed that US trading venues, firms and central counterparties (CCPs) will be able to continue providing services in the UK. The basis on which these trading venues, firms and CCPs currently provide services in the EU and to EU firms is as a result of various decisions taken by the European Commission in declaring the CFTC regulatory framework equivalent.

Continued supervisory co-operation: The FCA and CFTC will update their memorandums of understanding (MoUs) covering certain firms in the derivatives and the alternative investment fund industry. The BoE and CFTC will update their MoU covering clearing activity, in connection with the UK’s forthcoming recognition of CFTC-registered CCPs.

Extension of existing CFTC relief and comparability for the UK: The CFTC intends that existing regulatory relief granted by the CFTC to EU firms, including UK firms, will be extended to UK firms when the UK leaves the EU.

BCBS Publishes Report on Outcome of February 2019 Meeting

 

From the February 27 to 28 meeting, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) has published this press release with the outcome.

At the meeting the Committee:

  • Agreed to publish high-level supervisory expectations related to crypto-assets considering the high degree of risks associated with such exposures. These expectations will be published in March.
  • Reiterated its support for reforms of interest rate benchmarks and approved a work plan to look at the interactions with supervisory requirements.
  • Agreed to publish, in March, a summary of the different practices used by jurisdictions to proportionately apply the global minimum prudential standards.
  • Announced it would publish, in March, a joint statement with the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) clarifying certain implementation aspects of the margin requirements framework.

ESMA Announces Recognition of UK CSD in Event of No-Deal Brexit

 

On March 1, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a press release announcing that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it will recognize Euroclear UK and Ireland Ltd, the UK central securities depository (UK CSD), as a third country CSD under the Central Securities Depositories Regulation (909/2014) (CSDR).

ESMA has adopted this recognition decision in order to allow the UK CSD to serve Irish securities and to avoid any negative impact on the Irish securities market. ESMA has previously communicated that its board of supervisors supports continued access to the UK CSD.

The UK CSD will be recognized to provide its services to the EU, having been assessed as meeting the recognition conditions under Article 25 of the CSDR.

The recognition decision would take effect on the date following Brexit date, under a no-deal Brexit scenario.

FDIC-Insured Institutions Report Net Income of $59.1 Billion in Fourth Quarter 2018

 

Commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reported aggregate net income of $59.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, up $33.8 billion (133.4 percent) from a year ago. The improvement in net income was led by higher net operating revenue and lower income tax expenses. Financial results for the fourth quarter of 2018 are included in the FDIC’s latest Quarterly Banking Profile released February 21. Release.