FCA announces new Financial Advice Working Group. The UK Financial Conduct Authority announced the formation of the Financial Advice Working Group, which was established to respond to three recommendations of the March 2016 Financial Advice Market Review report. The Working Group will work on a guide to support employee financial health, potential new terms to describe “guidance” and “advice,” and methods to increase consumer engagement. (6/20/2016) FCA press release. 

ESMA releases Opinion on inside information disclosure under MAR. The European Securities and Markets Authority issued an Opinion on the European Commission’s proposed amendments to ESMA’s draft implementing technical standards on the disclosure of inside information under the Market Abuse Regulation. In the Opinion, ESMA disagreed with the EC’s plan to exempt emission allowance market participants that comply with the Regulation on Energy Markets Integrity and Transparency’s disclosure obligations from complying with MAR’s inside information disclosure requirements, maintaining that the amendments eliminate essential features of the MAR disclosure regime. (6/17/2016) ESMA press release. 

EC marks application of new rules on high-quality audits. The European Commission announced that new rules to establish specific requirements for statutory audits of public-interest entities in the EU, including publicly-listed companies, banks, and insurance undertakings, became effective on June 17, 2016. Among other things, the new rules require audit reports to include additional information for investors, require a new audit report to the audit committees of public-interest entities, and establish a new auditor rotation system to encourage independence. (6/17/2016) EC press release. 

BOE offers update on plan for new RTGS system. The Bank of England published a progress update on the development of a new real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS) system, which will, among other things, eventually extend direct access to RTGS to non-bank Payment Service Providers. The BOE indicated that it plans to conduct a formal consultation in the fall and publish the final blueprint for the new RTGS system in early 2017. (6/17/2016) 

FCA publishes Regulation round-up for June 2016. The FCA released the June 2016 edition of its Regulation Round-up. (6/16/2016) 

ESMA publishes 2015 annual report. In its annual report for 2015, ESMA highlighted its accomplishments during the year in achieving its key objectives, which included assessing risks to investors, markets and financial stability; creating a single rulebook; promoting supervisory convergence; and supervising credit rating agencies and trade repositories. (6/15/2016) ESMA press release. 

EC’s proposed money market rules gain support of EU Council. The European Commission released a statement in which it welcomed the agreement reached by the EU Council to support the Commission’s regulatory framework of money market funds, which is designed to help money market funds better tolerate redemption demands in stressed market conditions. (6/15/2016) EC press release. 

EBA releases annual report for 2015. The European Banking Authority published its 2015 annual report, which provides an overview of the EBA’s work during 2015 and highlights its key areas of focus for upcoming years. In the report, the EBA highlighted its work on remuneration practices, own funds, and supervisory options and discretion, as well as enhancements in the resolution field. (6/15/2016) EBA press release. 

ESMA releases updated list of recognized third-country CCPs. ESMA updated its list of recognized third-country central counterparties to include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Inc., which gained recognition on June 13, 2016. (6/14/2016) ESMA press release. 

EBA issues final draft RTS on specialized lending exposures. The EBA released final draft Regulatory Technical Standards concerning specialized lending exposures that indicate several factors that institutions should consider when assigning risk weights to these exposures. The RTS set out specific assessment criteria for four classes of specialized lending, including project finance, real estate, object finance, and commodities finance. (6/13/2016) EBA press release. 

FCA consults on rule amendments related to mortgage customers with a payment shortfall. The FCA requested comments on a consultation paper containing proposed changes to its rules governing how firms should allocate payments received from mortgage borrowers with a payment shortfall. Comments are due on or before August 10, 2016. (6/10/2016) FCA press release. 

EC applauds new rules promoting card payment transparency. New rules under the Interchange Fees Regulation, which require additional transparency regarding the costs of payments with debit or credit cards, became effective on June 9, 2016. Among other things, the new rules permit retailers and customers to select their preferred brand of payment card, require banks to co-badge a single card with all card products that they issue to a consumer, and require banks to disclose to retailers the interchange fees for each transaction. (6/9/2016) EC press release. 

EU Council will support proposed prospectus regulation. The EC announced that the EU Council has agreed to support proposed rules that will reform the EU prospectus regime. Among other things, the proposed regulation would raise the threshold for the mandatory prospectus, permit frequent issuers to use a simplified prospectus, and establish a prospectus specifically designed for small and medium-sized issuers. (6/8/2016) EC press release. 

ESMA releases draft RTS for ELTIFs. ESMA published its final report and draft RTS for the European Long-Term Investment Fund Regulation, which allows investors to make long-term investments in companies and infrastructure projects to increase non-bank finance for companies investing in the EU’s real economy. In the RTS, ESMA proposes a non-exhaustive list of market risks that ELTIF managers should consider when assessing the market for potential buyers; the criteria for the valuation of the ELTIF assets ahead of their divestment; and the method for determining the life of an ELTIF, among other things. (6/8/2016) ESMA press release.