Author:Chelsea Wickstrom

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Europe: The Central Bank of Ireland Continues to Focus on Financial Stability
2
SEC Adopts Enhanced Privacy Safeguards
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Europe: New Funds May Apply for UK Overseas Fund Regime Recognition from September 2024
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FTC Ban on Non-Competes Could Be Challenging to Asset Managers
5
Europe: Research Cost Re-Bundling – Is the UK Going Back to the Future?
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NAPFM, AIMA, and MFA File Complaint Against SEC’s New Dealer Rule
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Europe: Why Are Firms Currently Focusing on Derivatives Post Trade Reporting?
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Europe: Agreement on EU ESG Ratings Regulation
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EUROPE: UK’s Overseas Funds Regime Moves a Step Closer with Confirmation that Most EEA UCITS Will Be Deemed Equivalent
10
2024: The Year of the Spot Bitcoin ETP

Europe: The Central Bank of Ireland Continues to Focus on Financial Stability

By: Shane Geraghty, Michelle Lloyd, and Ruth Hennessy

The Central Bank of Ireland has announced this week that they will publish a feedback statement on their approach to macroprudential policy for investment funds, we expect in the coming months.

They issued a discussion paper on this topic late last year. The European Commission also released a targeted consultation on macroprudential policies for non-bank financial intermediaries on 22 May 2024.

The Central Bank’s announcement follows hot on the heels of its publication of a macroprudential policy framework for Irish-authorised GBP-denominated liability driven investment funds, as discussed here.

At the Central Bank’s recent Macroprudential Policy for Investment Funds Conference, the Governor of the Central Bank, Gabriel Makhlouf, indicated that a macroprudential framework for investment funds should not be a replication of the banking framework and should have:

  • A well-articulated set of objectives and principles; and
  • A framework tailored to the nature of the systemic risk from different fund cohorts – i.e. not a
    ‘one-size-fits-all approach’.

Governor Makhlouf noted that the objective is to ensure that this growing segment of the financial sector becomes more resilient and less likely to amplify adverse shocks.

SEC Adopts Enhanced Privacy Safeguards

By: Rich Kerr, Sasha Burstein, and Brian Doyle-Wenger

On 16 May 2024, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments to Regulation S-P’s safeguards and disposal rules. The amendments are designed to address the expanded use of technology and corresponding risks that have emerged since the original adoption of Regulation S-P in 2000. The amendments expand the scope of information and broaden the number of customers protected under both rules. The safeguards and disposal rule will apply to “customer information”, which includes records that contain “nonpublic personal information” as defined in the existing rule. Additionally, the amended rule expands the applicability of the safeguards rule to include transfer agents, and the disposal rules to include all transfer agents including those registered with appropriate regulatory authorities other than the SEC.

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Europe: New Funds May Apply for UK Overseas Fund Regime Recognition from September 2024

By: Áine Ní Riain, Aoife Maguire, Gayle Bowen, and Philip Morgan

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released updated information and, together with HM Treasury, a “roadmap,” on the UK’s Overseas Funds Regime (OFR). It intends to accept applications from new funds (i.e. those not in the Temporary Marketing Permissions Regime (TMPR)) from September 2024. This is a welcome development for managers of new EEA UCITS that are not currently able to access the UK retail market.

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FTC Ban on Non-Competes Could Be Challenging to Asset Managers

By: Ed Dartley and Robert H. McCarthy, Jr.

On 23 April 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 3-2 to approve a rule that will prohibit for-profit employers from either entering into non-compete clauses with workers or enforcing existing non-compete clauses against most workers (the Non-Compete Rule). Initially proposed in January 2023 (and discussed here), the Non-Compete Rule’s impact on asset managers will be significant if and when it becomes effective, which is currently scheduled to be in August 2024.

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Europe: Research Cost Re-Bundling – Is the UK Going Back to the Future?

By: Andrew Massey, Philip Morgan, and Omega Modi

The UK’s FCA has published consultation paper 24/7: Payment optionality for investment research. It proposes a new, more flexible, way to charge third-party investment research to clients.

The new payment option would sit alongside the two existing options under which research costs are either paid by firms from their own resources or charged to clients through a research payment account. The latter approach has not been popular because of its operational complexities, so research has been an out-of-pocket expense for many UK asset managers.

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NAPFM, AIMA, and MFA File Complaint Against SEC’s New Dealer Rule

By: Richard F. Kerr, Eden L. Rohrer, Jessica D. Cohn, and Raymond F. Jensen

On 18 March 2024, the National Association of Private Fund Managers, Alternative Investment Management Association, Limited and Managed Funds Association (together, Plaintiffs) jointly filed a complaint (Complaint) against the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleging that the SEC’s newly adopted final rule (Dealer Rule) vastly overstepped and expanded the SEC’s authority. The Complaint, which was filed in federal court in Texas, details how the Dealer Rule, expanding those industry participants who would be “dealers” under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, is overbroad and was adopted in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

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Europe: Why Are Firms Currently Focusing on Derivatives Post Trade Reporting?

By: Ron Feldman and Philipp Riedl

Deficiencies in compliance with derivatives post trade reporting rules have recently triggered regulator fines. Fin-FSA in Finland fined a pension fund €90K and the Central Bank of Ireland imposed the first fine on an investment fund, €192K. Although the fines are reasonably modest, they have sharpened industry focus on this issue.

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Europe: Agreement on EU ESG Ratings Regulation

By: Hilger von Livonius and Philipp Riedl

On 5 February 2024, the EU Council and the EU Parliament agreed on a provisional text for the ESG Ratings Regulation (the Regulation).

Under the Regulation, in-scope EU providers of ESG ratings will require a licence from, and be supervised by, European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

In-scope ESG ratings will provide an opinion on a company’s or a financial instrument’s sustainability profile, by assessing its exposure to sustainability risk and its impact on society and the environment.

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EUROPE: UK’s Overseas Funds Regime Moves a Step Closer with Confirmation that Most EEA UCITS Will Be Deemed Equivalent

By: Shane Geraghty, Aoife Maguire, Andrew Massey, Philip Morgan, and Courtney Hunter

The UK’s overseas funds regime has been in development for several years and is finally close to becoming a reality. It will create a more streamlined method by which non-UK funds given “equivalence” status may be marketed to UK retail investors.

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2024: The Year of the Spot Bitcoin ETP

By: Peter J. Shea, Richard F. Kerr, Keri E. Riemer, and Aiden D. O’Leary

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is making 2024 a significant year for exchange-traded products (ETPs) by declaring effective the registration statements of ten Bitcoin ETPs, and approving their listing on one of the major stock exchanges. This is a monumental step to bringing access to Bitcoin to a broader retail market in the US For over a decade, the staff of the SEC (Staff) had denied or otherwise blocked applications to list spot Bitcoin ETPs, claiming, in part, that there were insufficient protections against market manipulation in the underlying Bitcoin market. The approvals issued this week unlock – although do not widely open – a previously dead bolted door to registered products offering direct exposure to Bitcoin, providing an opportunity for retail investors to have easier access to exposure to Bitcoin in a regulated product.

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