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  • Upper Tribunal Decision: Andrew Jeffery

    07/12/2012
    The reference in this case is from a Decision Notice issued by FSA in July 2010 in which the individual was... informed that it had decided to impose a financial penalty of £150,000 for breaches of Principles 1 and 4 of the Authority’s Statements of Principle and Code of Conduct for Approved Persons and a prohibition order. The individual raised the fact of the appointment in February of Judge Timothy Herrington as a judge of the Upper Tribunal and gave the Tribunal notice that he would object to Judge Herrington being a member of the tribunal in this case, on the ground that Judge Herrington had been chairman of the RDC that had made the decision in his case. It was noted that Judge Herrington had not been listed to sit on the tribunal hearing this case. As a matter of policy decided by the President, Mr Justice Warren, Judge Herrington has not been involved in any financial services case before this Tribunal where the reference concerns a case with which Judge Herrington had any involvement at all during his tenure as chairman of the RDC, or where the decision was made (whether or not by him) at any time during that tenure. Accordingly, in the circumstances of this case, Judge Herrington could not have been listed to hear this reference. In his letter, however, the individual made the point that he was also concerned at the influence Judge Herrington might have on other Upper Tribunal judges. He followed this with a letter dated 21 November 2012, in which he made an application that the Upper Tribunal “recuses itself from hearing my case and seeks directions from it’s (sic) Senior Court to permit a completely impartial Judge to hear my case.” The Tribunal draws attention to the individual’s submission that FSA had installed an “insider into the Upper Tribunal offices who can speak to any of the Upper Tribunal judges in the Tax and Chancery Chamber whenever he wishes. The Decision says that “there is absolutely no basis or foundation for this allegation. A fair-minded and informed observer would reject any such notion”. The application also suggested that other judges would also be “careless of the judicial oath and the overriding requirement to be independent and to reach a decision, with other specialist members of the tribunal, objectively and based on reasoned argument untainted by professional contact with any others, including his fellow judges”. The Decision goes on to discuss several cases and concludes that “the fair-minded observer would conclude, as we have done, putting ourselves in the shoes of such an observer, that there was no real possibility that this Tribunal is biased”. The application is dismissed.
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  • EC: Tax evasion and avoidance

    06/12/2012
    The EC has published recommendations in respect of tax havens and aggressive tax planning which encourage Member States to identify tax... havens and place them on national blacklists and ways to address legal technicalities and loopholes which some companies exploit to avoid paying their fair share. Other initiatives foreseen in today's action plan include a Taxpayers' Code, an EU Tax Identification Number, a review of the anti-abuse provisions in key EU Directives, and common guidelines to trace money flows. The EC intends to set up active new monitoring tools and scoreboards, to maintain momentum in the fight against tax evasion and avoidance. The action plan and recommendations will now be presented to the EU's Council of Finance Ministers and the European Parliament
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  • European Presidency: Market Abuse Regulation

    06/12/2012
    This pres release notes that COREPER has confirmed the agreement on the Council’s general approach on MAR and given the Cyprus... Presidency the mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament on the basis of the agreed general approach with a view of reaching a first reading agreement.
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  • FSA: Notice of Undertaking: Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited (Scottish Life)

    06/12/2012
    FSA has published a Notice of Undertaking by which the firm has agreed to change a number of terms in the... firm’s Capital Investment Bond Policy Conditions which FSA views as unfair under UTCCR. These included a clause which allowed the firm to vary its annual management charge by a percentage to be determined by the firm’s actuary; a clause which reserved the firm’s right to apply an administration charge for switching a consumer’s investments, at the consumer’s request and a clause which reserved Royal London’s right to vary the minimum balance that a consumer must retain in the policy at the firm’s discretion. The firm has told FSA that it has not relied on the potentially unfair aspect(s) of any of the original terms and will change its standard contracts to reflect these changes for new consumers from 1 January 2013, in respect of its core Scottish Life contracts. The remaining Scottish Life contracts will be updated for new consumers by the end of 2013. For existing consumers, the firm has agreed to not rely upon the original terms in an unfair way and, for those to who the undertaking applies, to treat them as though they were subject to the new terms. The firm has agreed to contact those existing consumers who entered into contracts with the firm from 1 July 1995 until the new contract wordings are in place to notify them about the changes to the contract wording. FSA acknowledges that the firm was fully cooperative in providing this undertaking to us and was proactive in identifying issues and solutions in relation to the terms of Scottish Life’s unit linked contracts.
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  • HoL: Financial Services Bill

    06/12/2012
    The third reading of the Bill took place on 5 December 2012 – transcript below (first link – a press release... giving a synopsis appears in the second link below, which also includes a marshalled list of amendments). HoL has now returned the Bill to HoC with amendments which will be considered on the floor of the House on 10 December 2012. The last links are documents which set out the amendments to the Bill and explanatory notes.
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  • ICO: Bank employee fined for reading partner’s ex-wife’s statements

    06/12/2012
    ICO reports that a former bank employee at Barclays has been fined after a court heard she unlawfully accessed bank statements... of her partner’s ex-wife. At the time she accessed information from the statements, her partner was involved in a legal dispute over the terms of a divorce settlement, but when eBay transactions were raised in a meeting between the estranged couple, the ex-wife became suspicious that her account had been viewed. Barclays was contacted, and when they investigated the matter she left her job. The individual pleaded guilty to 11 offences under s55 DPA, and was fined £500 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £1,410.80 prosecution costs.
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  • Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards: Panel on HBOS

    06/12/2012
    PCBS has published the corrected evidence from the hearings given on 30 October 2012 attended by former HBOS execs.
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  • SFO: Enforcement of the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act – facilitation payments

    06/12/2012
    This letter (addressed “to whom it may concern”) from the Director of SFO underlines that facilitation payments are “illegal under the... Bribery Act 2010 regardless of their size or frequency”.
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  • EIOPA: Procedures for issuing warnings, temporary prohibitions and restrictions

    06/12/2012
    EIOPA has published this document, formally setting out its procedures in these areas.
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  • The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Disclosure of Confidential Information) (Amendment) Regulations 2012/1319

    05/12/2012
    These Regulations amend Schedule 2 to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Disclosure of Confidential Information) Regulations 2001/2188) (“the principal... Regulations”) to reinstate the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (“GEMA”) as a body to which confidential information as defined in s348(2) FSMA that is not subject to single market restrictions (within the meaning of the principal Regulations) may be disclosed by either (1) a primary recipient of the information or (2) a person obtaining such information directly or indirectly from a primary recipient. “Primary recipients” of confidential information are: FSA; the Secretary of State; their current and former employees; auditors and experts instructed by them; skilled persons appointed to gather information under section 139E of the Act and persons appointed to make a report under s166 FSMA. GEMA was removed from Schedule 2 by regulation 3(15) of the Financial Services (Omnibus 1 Directive) Regulations 2012 (S.I. 2012/916). The removal of GEMA from Schedule 2 to the principal Regulations was an error and the purpose of these Regulations is to correct that error. (Date in force: 26/12/12)
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