Welcome to the 2020 edition of In Principle. With the United Kingdom (UK) leaving the European Union (EU) on31 January 2020, and moving into a transition period which will last until 31 December 2020, Brexit of courselooms large over this publication. During the transition period, most people – including authorised firms – areunlikely to feel the practical effect of Brexit; what comes after, however, depends on the outcome of bilateraltrade talks which will be taking place throughout the year. Before the end of the transition period, however, thereare many other pressing issues that firms will have to prepare for. For example, both the UK and EU financialservices regulators have shown particular interest in enhancing firms’ attitudes towards environmental, socialand governance issues, and as the global interest in climate change continues to accelerate, the trend towardsrequiring additional disclosures in relevant areas is set to continue throughout 2020. In the UK, the FinancialConduct Authority concluded a number of significant enforcement cases, and we expect this to continue in2020. After its rollout to all UK-authorised firms in December 2019, this year will see the Senior Managers andCertification Regime come into full force and effect, with individuals taking on greater personal liability, and firmsassuming a greater responsibility for assessing their employees’ fitness and propriety. With proposals to amendthe EU market abuse regime, new securities financing transaction reporting requirements, and changes to theBenchmarks Regulation, to preview just a few, here are ten things authorised firms need to know in 2020.
1. Sustainability and Asset Management -
Environmental, social and governance matters haveemerged as a key policy focus in the financial servicessector. The EU has adopted ambitious plans in relationto climate change and sustainability, and differentnational requirements applicable to certain types ofinstitutional investors have been enacted in a numberof EU member states. The UK itself has enactedits own rules partly in response to its internationalcommitments, and partly as a matter of domesticpriority. Investment managers will need to pay closeattention to this new landscape that includes newobligations, including disclosure requirements, andgreater scrutiny both from regulators and investors.
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