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  • NAO: Administering the Equitable Life payment scheme

    24/04/2013
    The report looks at HMT and NS&I’s implementation of the scheme to date, and whether the government will meet its targets,... with the aim of recommending improving the scheme’s performance during its final year. The report concludes that 17-20% of Equitable Life policyholders will never receive any payment since they cannot be traced and, although many remaining policyholders have now been paid, there have been payment processing problems and HMT/NS&I may find it hard to make these payments by April 2014 when the scheme is supposed to end. NAO recommends that HMT/NS&I should use the lessons they have learnt during the running of the scheme to construct a new plan to ensure that all policyholders, who can be traced, receive payments within a reasonable timescale. This plan should use information on the length of time and cost to process payments, and should: set out a more realistic timetable and budget, based on robust estimations, to provide the remaining payments; outline how NS&I will deal with the large number of remaining payments; consider further how to trace the maximum number of policyholders to provide the greatest number of payments that is possible and urges NS&I to continue to monitor customer service quality and find ways to improve for the final year of the Scheme and report plans and improvements to HMT.
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  • Final Notice: EFG Private Bank Ltd

    24/04/2013
    FCA has fined the firm £4.2m for failing to take reasonable care to establish and maintain effective AML controls for high... risk customers over a period of more than three years.  As part of a thematic review of how UK banks were managing money laundering risk in higher risk situations, FSA had visited the firm in January 2011. The investigation found that the firm had not fully put its AML policies into practice. Of particular concern was that 17 of 36 reviewed customer files, opened between December 2007 and January 2011, contained customer due diligence that highlighted significant money laundering risks, but insufficient records of how the bank’s senior management had mitigated those risks. Of these 17 files, the FSA found that the risks highlighted in 13 files related to allegations of criminal activity or that the customer had been charged with criminal offences including corruption and money laundering.. Of the 99 PEP and other high risk customer files reviewed by FSA, 83 raised serious concerns about the firm’s monitoring of the relationship. The firm settled at an early stage of the investigation and qualified for a 30% discount on the fine. (NB: this Final Notice is dated 28 March, but was only released today).
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  • BoE: Article by Paul Tucker: Central counterparties in evolving capital markets: safety, recovery and resolution/OTC derivatives

    23/04/2013
    BoE has published the text of an article for the Banque de France Financial Stability Review. Paul Tucker focuses on... resolution and concludes: “The reforms of global capital markets put clearing houses at centre stage. The system will not be resilient unless the CCPs themselves are safe and sound and capable of orderly resolution. Globally and in the European Union, steps are underway to deliver just that. They are vitally important. The reform programme cannot be, and is definitely not, just about banks”. A link to the entire paper on various other aspects of OTC derivatives appears below. This contains contributions from, among others, Mark Carney and Michel Barnier).
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  • EC: Platform for Tax Good Governance

    23/04/2013
    The EC has announced the launch of the Platform for Tax Good Governance which will monitor Member States' progress in tackling... aggressive tax planning and clamping down on tax havens. It will be comprised of a wide cross-section of interested parties, including national tax authorities, the European Parliament and other stakeholders. Its first meeting is scheduled provisionally to take place in June 2013.
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  • G20: Communiqué of Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors of the G20

    23/04/2013
    This provides a synopsis of matters discussed and approved at the G20 summit held in Washington on 18-19 April 2013.
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  • HMRC: Pension liberation - the cost of accessing or unlocking your pension early

    23/04/2013
    HMRC has published a webpage which warns that unscrupulous firms are using misleading information to promote personal loans or cash incentives... and enticing savers to access their pension pots early, emphasising that, contrary to what some firms say, there is no legal loophole with regard to tax payment. It goes on to set out more information on the implications of “pension liberation”.
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  • HMT: Review of the Investment Bank Special Administration Regulations 2011

    23/04/2013
    This is Peter Bloxham’s review of the special administration regime for investment banks which has now been presented to Parliament. ... The provisional conclusions of the review raise concern over the Banking Act 2009’s objectives for the SAR regime and only some progress has been made. However, it is recommended that the SAR regime should be retained with some suggested enhancements. It is also though that there are a number of non legislative actions, of a behavioural or operational nature, on the part of firms, their clients and regulators in “going concern” mode, which might reduce the risk of delays in the return of client assets in future SAR cases. The report suggests recommendations for the streamlining of FSCS’s processes to accelerate payments. It is thought that it is desirable to continue to monitor the progress of the existing SAR cases, developments in the Lehman administration and new developments such as the introduction of EMIR and the porting obligations which that regime introduces. It is noted that as FSA/FC has yet to announce the final outcome of its review of the client assets regime; any changes to the SAR regime need to move in step with reforms of the client assets regime and that none of the three Special Administrations to date has yet been completed; so it is not possible to make a concluded judgment on the SAR’s operation, and there may yet be further lessons to learn from them. A further and fuller report is expected to follow in the summer.
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  • IOSCO: Addendum to report on investigating and prosecuting market manipulation  

    23/04/2013
    IOSCO has published this addendum to a 2000 report which is intended to provide useful references both to IOSCO’s work and... experiences of members of IOSCO, to reflect present day financial market conditions. Specific topics covered include: types of manipulative conduct; tools for preventing market manipulation; investigating market manipulation; challenges in taking enforcement action against manipulation and cooperation between regulators.
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  • City of London Police: Britons convicted in US court of £80 million share fraud

    22/04/2013
    This reports on a joint City of London Police operation with US authorities which has resulted in the conviction of two... UK citizens in a US court for their part in an international share fraud that conned more than £80m from thousands of UK investors. A network of Spanish-based boiler rooms used personal details taken from dormant public companies to cold call primarily elderly and vulnerable people with offers of worthless shares.
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  • FCA: CF Arch cru investors

    22/04/2013
    FCA has published “latest news” on the above highlighting that investors in the CF Arch cru funds can get their adviser... to review the way the investment was sold and that, separately, investors should have already received an offer under the CF Arch cru payment scheme. The item includes an FAQ for investors.
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