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  • EC: Gan Eurocourtage/Allianz

    24/07/2012
    The EC has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition by the French subsidiary of the German Allianz insurance... group of a non-life insurance portfolio belonging to the French insurance company Gan Eurocourtage SA. The portfolio comprises insurance contracts and related brokerage businesses, assets and liabilities. The EC’s investigation confirmed that the notified operation would not raise competition concerns because it would not significantly alter the market structure.
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  • EIOPA: Report on the role of insurance guarantee schemes in the winding-up procedures of insolvent insurance undertakings in the EU/EEA

    24/07/2012
    This report, dated May 2012, has now been published on EIOPA’s website. A questionnaire was sent to 30 EU/EEA states... and 24 Member States responded. The report found a lack of harmonisation in a number of areas, including: which authority takes the decision to intervene when an insurance undertaking becomes insolvent; the ability to provide for portfolio transfer; a lack of pre-warning system when an insurance undertaking is in difficulty; and the role of the supervisory authority when an insurance undertaking becomes insolvent.
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  • ESMA: EMIR hearing (12 July 2012)

    24/07/2012
    On 12 July 2012, ESMA organised a public hearing on draft technical standards on EMIR.  An audio recording of the... morning session is now available via the following
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  • ESMA: Update on measures adopted by competent authorities on short selling

    24/07/2012
    ESMA’s updated document includes new measures taken by Spain and Italy (as mentioned in today’s FT).
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  • Final Notice: Stephen Goodwin

    24/07/2012
    FSA has imposed a fine of £471,846 and issued a prohibition order against the individual, a former commercial insurance broker who... used clients’ insurance premiums to fund his business. Between 2008 and 2010, Stephen Goodwin, a former partner of Goodwin Best in Bury, Lancashire and his (now deceased) business partner, accepted insurance premiums from clients, but sometimes paid this money into their business account rather than to the relevant insurer or intermediary to arrange the policy. In total, they misappropriated £303,846. The fine consists of the disgorgement of benefit of £303,846 and an additional £168,000 punitive element. The total fine, £471,846, is one of the largest ever levied on an individual for insurance fraud. FSA notes that at least three clients suffered financial loss: one tried to make a claim only to find they were uninsured and; two other clients paid the same premium twice to ensure their policies remained in force - these clients are now in contact with FSCS. Stephen Goodwin was declared bankrupt in April 2011 in relation to debts incurred by his firm and his bankruptcy was discharged in April 2012. The firm is no longer operating.
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  • FRC: Appointment

    24/07/2012
    FRC has appointed Mridul Hegde, former director of financial stability with HMC, as executive director of strategy.
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  • FSA: Insider dealing

    24/07/2012
    In this press release, FSA reports on what it describes as the longest and most complex prosecution it has brought to... date. Six people have been convicted of offences relating to insider dealing between 2006 and 2008, when they were arrested. The defendants obtained confidential and price-sensitive information from investment banks concerning proposed or forthcoming takeover bids. They then used a large number of accounts to place spread bets ahead of those announcements knowing that when the information became public knowledge the price would rise. The defendants were convicted of making a combined profit of £732,044.59 on trading in the two-year period. The defendants will be sentenced on 27 July 2012.
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  • FSA: Speech by Adair Turner: Banking at the cross-roads: Where do we go from here? (24 July 2012)

    24/07/2012
    Text of the above, given at Bloomberg, follows. He discusses reasons for declining trust in the banking system (including LIBOR)... and the implications for prudential policy, industry structure (such as ringfencing and competition), conduct supervision and the management and boards of banks. He notes the publication of an FCA approach document in the autumn which will consider options for “a somewhat more interventionist approach to wholesale conduct issues”; argues that “we need a tone of public debate which moves beyond simplistic category assumptions – that all interest rate swaps or all of any other products are bad” and suggests that a major barrier to competitive entry into the UK retail market is the free-if-in-credit current account. He suggests: ”UK personal sector banking has for years achieved reasonable overall profitability on the basis of large cross-subsidies between different customer segments: many who stay in credit get a good deal, subsidised by others who pay though, for instance, unauthorised overdraft charges and PPI insurance premiums. It is not a sound basis for a long-term trust-based relationship between a competitive banking system and its customers. But if the industry is ever to move away from this model onto a sounder base, it will only be able to do so if confident that at least some regulators, politicians and consumer groups will admit the case for doing so, rather than accuse them of profiteering”.
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  • HMRC: Lifting the lid on tax avoidance schemes

    24/07/2012
    This consultation document describes a range of options intended to improve the provision of information about tax avoidance and to ensure... that where tax avoidance schemes are identified, the public knows about the risks of using them. It also considers some detailed options to improve the information available to HMRC about tax avoidance through the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (“DOTAS”) regime. In particular, it proposes changes to the descriptions of schemes required to be disclosed to HMRC These include: extending the information disclosed to HMRC about discloseable avoidance schemes; extending the information reported to HMRC about users and other parties involved in a discloseable avoidance scheme; raising the threshold of “reasonable excuse” for a promoter who fails to notify a discloseable scheme; imposing additional reporting obligations on a promoter who incurs a penalty for failure to disclose a scheme; and Imposing a personal responsibility on an individual, to sit alongside the firm’s obligations, to comply with a promoter’s DOTAS obligations. The Government is proposing revisions and extensions to the existing “hallmarks”’, the descriptions of schemes required to be disclosed under the “main regime” of income tax, capital gains tax and corporation tax The Government proposes to create a financial products hallmark to include: a loan; a derivative contract; an agreement for the sale and repurchase of securities; a stock lending arrangement; a share; any arrangement which produces for any person a return that is economically equivalent to interest; a contract, not being one of the above, which alone or in combination amounts to a loan or the advance or deposit of money; CIS and alternative investment funds; and insurance products included in s473 of the Income Tax (Trading and other Income) Act 2005, noting “the hallmark would apply only where the financial product is an active ingredient of an avoidance scheme and not merely incidental to it.” Responses are required by 15 October 2012
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  • HoL EU Sub Committee A - Economic and Financial Affairs: Reform of the EU banking sector

    24/07/2012
    This new inquiry will look at the EU banking sector in the context of the agenda of reforms at an EU... level. This will include assessing proposals for an EU Directive on bank recovery and resolution, looking into the proposed banking union, and investigating the intention of euro area leaders to create a single banking supervisory mechanism. A call for evidence has been published (second link below) which sets out specific questions and responses are required by 1 October 2012.
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