The UK Government has published its much anticipated Financial Services and Markets Bill (the Bill), previously touted by the former Chancellor as "Big Bang 2.0". The Bill as introduced may or may not be that, but it certainly includes a large number of substantial measures that will effect a major overhaul of the UK's regulatory framework for financial services.
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10 frequently-asked-questions about the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 and the Register of Overseas Entities
Since the Government introduced the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (the "Act") in March this year, there has been uncertainty as to how overseas entities (or those who deal with them) should prepare for the introduction of the new Overseas Entities Register (the "Register"). Some of those questions have now been answered, as we explain below.
This briefing was updated on 22 July 2022
20 July is 'L-day' – the day on which the government publishes the first draft of legislation to be included in the finance bill 2022-23.
Key employment and business immigration developments for employers.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has recently published its response to the consultation on data protection reform (which we previously wrote about here). For those disappointed by the lack of detail in the Queen's Speech on the Data Reform Bill, this response provides a clearer picture of UK data protection reforms to come – which measures the UK Government is taking forward, which it is dropping and which it needs to consider further. For the detail, we'll need to wait for the text of the draft Bill itself.
The two-pillar corporate tax reform plan forms part of the OECD's project tackling base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS). Whilst Pillar One – which aims to align taxing rights more closely with the location of customers – will only apply initially to MNEs with annual global turnover above €20bn, Pillar Two is expected to have a wider impact on businesses.
On 4 April 2022, the UK Treasury published its response to the consultation and call for evidence on the UK regulatory approach to, amongst others, stablecoins.
Last month, the UK Government set out its legislative programme for this Parliament in the Queen's Speech. In this briefing, we look at some of the proposals relevant to business which have had less media attention.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recommended legislating to impose a positive obligation on consumer-facing businesses to disclose information about the environmental impact of their products. It has also recommended changes designed to make it easier to enforce consumer law against companies making misleading environmental claims, to allow orders to be made requiring businesses to make redress payments for environmental harm and to increase supply chain transparency.
On 31 May 2022, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a supervisory briefing (the Supervisory Briefing) addressed to EU national competent authorities (regulators) to promote "common supervisory practices" on the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and other pieces of EU legislation concerning financial sustainability. This was closely followed on 2 June 2022 by a publication of the European Supervisory Authorities – one of which is ESMA - (ESAs) which sets out clarifications (the ESA Clarifications) on the draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) under SFDR.
Sanctions Update: UK's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation sets out new enforcement guidance in advance of enhanced powers coming into force
On 15 March 2022, the UK's new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act (the "ECA") received Royal Assent. The legislation contained a number of important provisions, including the introduction of a new 'Register of Overseas Entities' and reforms to unexplained wealth orders.
On 26 May, the FCA published a discussion paper setting out its response to feedback received regarding the structure of the UK listing regime. The feedback was in response to the FCA's Primary Markets Effectiveness Review.
On 25 May 2022, the European Commission (Commission) issued its response to the European Supervisory Authorities' (ESAs) questions on the interpretation of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and the Taxonomy Regulation (Taxonomy Regulation) of 13 May 2022.
The Queen's speech delivered on 10 May 2022 announced the intention of strengthening the protection and support for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery as well as increasing the accountability of organisations in driving out modern slavery from their supply chains through the implementation of a Modern Slavery Bill (the "MSA Bill").
The European Parliament has issued its draft report (Report) on the European Commission's proposals to amend the existing Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD II). The Report forms part of the legislative process and includes the European Parliament's suggested amendments to the draft directive issued by the European Commission in November 2021. The draft directive proposed a number of changes to the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, largely in respect of delegation, loan origination, liquidity risk management, data reporting and depositaries and it is those areas which are the main focus of the Report.
On 13 May 2022, the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) submitted a number of questions to the European Commission relating to the interpretation of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and the Taxonomy Regulation (Taxonomy Regulation). Separately, the ESAs have also been asked by the European Commission for their input on possible amendments to the SFDR Delegated Regulation.