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FCA
Last Post 26 Jun 2016 06:24 AM by TradingLounge. 6 Replies.
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03 Feb 2016 11:03 AM
    A letter From the FCA to UK CFD Brokers

    2 February 2016
    Our Ref:
    Dear CEO,
    Client take-on review in firms offering contract for difference (CFD) products
    We have recently reviewed the procedures for taking on new clients in a sample of ten firms
    that offer CFD products. We reviewed:
    • the firms’ approaches to assessing the appropriateness of CFD trading for prospective
    clients
    • initial disclosures to clients
    • anti-money laundering (AML) controls
    • client categorisation
    We have identified several areas of concern which we wish to highlight to firms across the
    industry. In this letter we explain the issues we have identified and ask you to consider
    whether your firm complies with FCA requirements for sales of CFD products.
    NB - Contracts for difference, Spread bets and ‘Rolling Spot’ FX are all designated as a type of
    ‘CFD’ under our Handbook's Glossary of definitions, which in turn are a type of derivative.
    Focus of our review
    The review sampled ten firms that offer CFD products to clients on a non-advised basis. We
    included a range of firms from the sector to cover smaller and larger firms.
    The key focus of the review was to assess the client take-on procedures against the
    requirements of the COBS and SYSC rules (set out in the annex to this letter). We expect all
    firms to ensure that their client take-on process meets these requirements.
    Next steps
    You should consider the points we raise in this letter regarding the process that your firm
    follows when taking on new clients. If, when reviewing your processes, you identify any areas
    of concern, we expect you to have regard to Principle 6 (Customers’ interests) as well as
    Principle 11 (Relations with regulators) and act accordingly.
    Results from our review
    • we saw a range of approaches to completing the appropriateness assessment, most of
    which were not in line with COBS 10
    • most risk warnings issued to clients who failed the appropriateness assessments were
    not adequate
    • anti-money laundering controls in place to manage the increased risks posed by higher
    risk clients were insufficient
    These findings also suggest that firms may not be acting in the best interests of their clients
    and treating them fairly, bringing into question firms’ compliance with COBS 2.1.1R and the
    Principles.
    All firms operating in this sector should ensure that they comply with the FCA’s requirements
    when making non-advised sales of CFDs.
    Areas of concern
    Appropriateness assessments
    CFDs are complex, leveraged products that can put clients at risk of losing more than their
    original investment. Our review identified several key areas of concern, in particular, the
    inability of some firms to assess appropriateness and to warn clients for whom CFDs are not
    appropriate.
    We saw that many firms in our sample:
    • gathered insufficient detail regarding the types of service, transaction and designated
    investments with which the client is familiar (COBS 10.2.2R(1))
    • did not take into account the nature, volume and/or frequency of the client’s previous
    transactional experience or the time period over which such transactions had been
    carried out (COBS 10.2.2R(2))
    • used a scoring system that gave too much weight to a number of other less relevant
    factors (e.g. age, length of time at address), so that the client’s relevant knowledge
    and experience no longer determined the outcome of the appropriateness assessment
    (COBS 10.2.1R(2))
    • did not assess whether CFDs were appropriate for the client and instead asked the
    client to self-certify that they understood the risks of the investment e.g. by ticking a
    box to confirm this (COBS 10.2.1R(1))
    • did not assess the client’s level of experience and knowledge, for example they did not
    assess the client’s education or identify their profession, or relevant former profession
    (COBS 10.2.2R(3))
    We also saw evidence of poorly worded risk warnings that did not set out the nature and risks
    of CFD products in a manner that was clear, fair and not misleading (COBS 4.2.1R and
    10.3.1R).
    We saw that many firms had not established a process to assess whether clients who fail the
    appropriateness assessment (and who have received a risk warning letter), but who
    nonetheless wish to trade in CFDs, should be allowed to proceed with CFD transactions (COBS
    10.3.3G).
    Anti-money laundering
    We are also concerned that some firms in our sample did not have AML systems and controls
    in place which were proportionate to the nature, scale and complexity of their activities. In
    particular, we found that:
    • although firms were conducting adequate customer due diligence (CDD) on standard
    risk clients, predominantly through the use of electronic identification systems, many
    were not conducting enhanced due diligence on clients identified as high risk
    • client AML risk assessments did not often consider a range of factors and instead
    focused on jurisdictional risk, limiting their effectiveness
    Client categorisation
    The review assessed firms’ approaches to categorising clients. We had been concerned that
    firms offering CFD products might be incorrectly categorising clients as ‘professional’.
    However, we were encouraged to see that eight of the ten firms that we assessed had
    classified all of their clients as ‘retail’, giving them the highest level of protection.
    Wider implications
    Given the poor results that we observed across our sample, we are concerned that there is a
    high risk that CFD providers industry-wide are not meeting the requirements of the rules when
    taking on new clients and/or are failing to do enough to prevent financial crime.
    In particular, it appears that firms may not have processes that allow them to assess the
    appropriateness of CFD trading for prospective clients, which could result in firms failing to
    identify clients for whom CFDs are not appropriate. We were also concerned to find that firms’
    communications did not meet our expectations. As an example, risk warnings given to clients
    did not convey in a clear and fair way that the product was not appropriate for the customer.
    Please see the annex for further details of the relevant rules and money laundering
    regulations.
    We ask you to consider whether your firm complies with FCA requirements for sales of CFD
    products and the points we raise in this letter regarding the process that your firm follows
    when taking on new clients.
    Yours faithfully,
    Megan Butler
    Executive Director of Supervision
    Investment, Wholesale & Specialists Division
    Annex
    Our rules
    Principle 1 of our Principles for Businesses requires firms to conduct their business with
    integrity. Principle 2 requires firms to conduct their business with due skill, care and diligence.
    Principle 3 requires firms to take reasonable care to organise and control their affairs
    responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems. Principle 6 requires firms
    to pay due regard to the interests of their customers and treat them fairly. Principle 7 requires
    firms to pay due regard to the information needs of its clients, and communicate information
    to them in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading.
    COBS 10 sets out firms’ obligations in relation to assessing appropriateness. In particular:
    COBS 10.2.1R:
    (1) When providing a service to which this chapter applies, a firm must ask the client to
    provide information regarding his knowledge and experience in the investment field relevant to
    the specific type of product or service offered or demanded so as to enable the firm to assess
    whether the service or product envisaged is appropriate for the client.
    (2) When assessing appropriateness, a firm:
    (a) must determine whether the client has the necessary experience and knowledge in
    order to understand the risks involved in relation to the product or service offered
    or demanded;
    (b) may assume that a professional client has the necessary experience and knowledge
    in order to understand the risks involved in relation to those particular investment
    services or transactions, or types of transaction or product, for which the client is
    classified as a professional client.
    [Note: article 19(5) of MiFID and article 36 of the MiFID implementing Directive]
    COBS 10.2.2R:
    The information regarding a client's knowledge and experience in the investment field includes,
    to the extent appropriate to the nature of the client, the nature and extent of the service to be
    provided and the type of product or transaction envisaged, including their complexity and the
    risks involved, information on:
    (1) the types of service, transaction and designated investment with which the client is
    familiar;
    (2) the nature, volume, frequency of the client's transactions in designated investments and
    the period over which they have been carried out;
    (3) the level of education, profession or relevant former profession of the client.
    [Note: article 37(1) of the MiFID implementing Directive]
    COBS 10.3.1R:
    (1) If a firm considers, on the basis of the information received to enable it to assess
    appropriateness, that the product or service is not appropriate to the client, the firm must
    warn the client.
    (2) This warning may be provided in a standardised format.
    [Note: article 19(5) of MiFID]
    COBS 10.3.3G:
    If a client asks a firm to go ahead with a transaction, despite being given a warning by the
    firm, it is for the firm to consider whether to do so having regard to the circumstances.
    COBS 2.1.1R sets out the client’s best interests rule:
    COBS 2.1.1R:
    (1) A firm must act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of
    its client (the client's best interests rule).
    (2) This rule applies in relation to designated investment business carried on:
    (a) for a retail client; and
    (b) in relation to MiFID or equivalent third country business, for any other client.
    (3) For a management company, this rule applies in relation to any UCITS scheme or EEA
    UCITS scheme the firm manages.
    [Note: article 19(1) of MiFID] and article 14(1)(a) and (b) of the UCITS Directive]
    COBS 4.2.1R sets out the fair, clear and not misleading rule:
    COBS 4.2.1R:
    (1) A firm must ensure that a communication or a financial promotion is fair, clear and not
    misleading.
    (2) This rule applies in relation to:
    (a) a communication by the firm to a client in relation to designated investment
    business other than a third party prospectus;
    (b) a financial promotion communicated by the firm that is not:
    (i) an excluded communication;
    (ii) a non-retail communication;
    (iii) a third party prospectus; and
    (c) a financial promotion approved by the firm.
    [Note: article 19(2) of MiFID, recital 52 to the MiFID implementing Directive and article 77 of
    the UCITS Directive]
    SYSC 6.3 sets out firms’ obligations in relation to AML controls. In particular:
    SYSC 6.3.1R:
    A firm must ensure the policies and procedures established under SYSC 6.1.1R include
    systems and controls that:
    (1) enable it to identify, assess, monitor and manage money laundering risk; and
    (2) are comprehensive and proportionate to the nature, scale and complexity of its activities.
    SYSC 6.3.3R:
    A firm must carry out a regular assessment of the adequacy of these systems and controls to
    ensure that they continue to comply with SYSC 6.3.1R.
    SYSC 6.3.6G:
    In identifying its money laundering risk and in establishing the nature of these systems and
    controls, a firm should consider a range of factors, including:
    (1) its customer, product and activity profiles;
    (2) its distribution channels;
    (3) the complexity and volume of its transactions;
    (4) its processes and systems; and
    (5) its operating environment.
    SYSC 6.3.7G:
    A firm should ensure that the systems and controls include:
    (1) appropriate training for its employees in relation to money laundering;
    (2) appropriate provision of information to its governing body and senior management,
    including a report at least annually by that firm's money laundering reporting officer (MLRO)
    on the operation and effectiveness of those systems and controls;
    (3) appropriate documentation of its risk management policies and risk profile in relation to
    money laundering, including documentation of its application of those policies (see SYSC 9);
    (4) appropriate measures to ensure that money laundering risk is taken into account in its
    day-to-day operation, including in relation to:
    (a) the development of new products;
    (b) the taking-on of new customers; and
    (c) changes in its business profile; and
    (5) appropriate measures to ensure that procedures for identification of new customers do not
    unreasonably deny access to its services to potential customers who cannot reasonably be
    expected to produce detailed evidence of identity.
    Money Laundering Regulations 2007
    Regulation 14: Enhance customer due diligence and ongoing monitoring (only
    sections applicable to our findings have been detailed below):
    (1) A relevant person must apply on a risk-sensitive basis enhanced customer due diligence
    measures and enhanced ongoing monitoring:
    (a) in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (4);
    (b) in any other situation which by its nature can present a higher risk of money
    laundering or terrorist financing.
    (2) Where the customer has not been physically present for identification purposes, a relevant
    person must take specific and adequate measures to compensate for the higher risk, for
    example, by applying one or more of the following measures:
    (a) ensuring that the customer’s identity is established by additional documents, data
    or information;
    (b) supplementary measures to verify or certify the documents supplied, or requiring
    confirmatory certification by a credit or financial institution which is subject to the
    money laundering directive;
    (c) ensuring that the first payment is carried out through an account opened in the
    customer’s name with a credit institution.
    (4) A relevant person who proposes to have a business relationship or carry out an occasional
    transaction with a politically exposed person must:
    (a) have approval from senior management for establishing the business relationship
    with that person;
    (b) take adequate measures to establish the source of wealth and source of funds
    which are involved in the proposed business relationship or occasional transaction; and
    (c) where the business relationship is entered into, conduct enhanced ongoing
    monitoring of the relationship.
    (5) In paragraph (4), “a politically exposed person” means a person who is?
    (a) an individual who is or has, at any time in the preceding year, been entrusted with
    a prominent public function by:
    (i) a state other than the United Kingdom;
    (ii) a Community institution; or
    (iii) an international body, including a person who falls in any of the
    categories listed in paragraph 4(1)(a) of Schedule 2;
    (b) an immediate family member of a person referred to in sub-paragraph (a), including
    a person who falls in any of the categories listed in paragraph 4(1)(c) of Schedule 2; or
    (c) a known close associate of a person referred to in sub-paragraph (a), including a
    person who falls in either of the categories listed in paragraph 4(1)(d) of Schedule 2. 5
    (6) For the purpose of deciding whether a person is a known close associate of a person
    referred to in paragraph (5)(a), a relevant person need only have regard to information which
    is in his possession or is publicly known.
    Financial Crime: A Guide for Firms
    https://www.handbook.fca.org.uk/handbook/FC/
    Other reference material:
    FSA implementation factsheet on appropriateness:
    http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/other/im...tsheet.pdf
    ESMA investor warning on CFDs:
    https://www.esma.europa.eu/sites/default/files/library/2015/11/2013-267.pdf
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    03 Feb 2016 11:07 AM
    Pro Trade FX
    Published: Yesterday Last Modified: Yesterday
    We believe this firm has been providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation. Find out why to be especially wary of dealing with this unauthorised individual and how to protect yourself from scammers.
    Almost all firms and individuals offering, promoting or selling financial services or products in the UK have to be authorised by us.

    However, some firms act without our authorisation and some knowingly run scams like share fraud.

    This firm is not authorised by us but has been targeting people in the UK:

    Pro Trade FX

    Address: 17 Ensign House, Admiral Way, Canary Wharf, London, E14 9QX

    Telephone: 020 3514 5388

    Website: http://protradefx.com

    Email: info@protradefx.com

    How to protect yourself

    We strongly advise you to only deal with financial firms that are authorised by us, and check the Financial Services Register to ensure they are. It has information on firms and individuals that are, or have been, regulated by us.

    If a firm does not appear on the Register but claims it does, contact our Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768.

    There are more steps you should take to protect yourself from unauthorised firms.

    You should also be aware that if you give money to an unauthorised firm, you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if things go wrong.

    Report an unauthorised firm

    If you think you have been approached by an unauthorised firm or contacted about a scam, you should contact our Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768. If you were offered, bought or sold shares, you can use our share fraud reporting form.

    You can see more ways to report an unauthorised firm and find out what to do if you have been scammed.
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    03 Feb 2016 11:12 AM
    COPY CFD TRADING From the FCA

    Copy trading

    Copy trading allows investors to trade by automatically copying another investor’s trades, and we generally classify it as portfolio or investment management.
    Typically, retail traders mimic the trades of other users through contracts for difference (CFD) platforms. These platforms integrate information sharing and social media with online CFD trading.

    We classify copy trading as portfolio or investment management where no manual input is clear from the account holder. This entails standard regulatory obligations for authorised management.

    Mirror trading and copy trading

    Mirror trading is like copy trading but with minor differences.

    Mirror trading, an evolution of automated trading, simply implements fixed strategies based on trading preferences. Mirror trading may involve copying experienced and successful traders.

    Copy trading typically involves setting a proportion of funds to execute the trades of the copied trader from the allotted funds. Platforms vary in their minimum copy trading amounts and the proportions between copied and copying accounts. Some also allow traders to control their risk through Stop Loss orders. The copying trader may disconnect their funds and manage their investments – in other words, closing the copy relationship.

    Mirror trading and copy trading have both led to ‘people-based portfolios’ – portfolios that invest funds in other investors rather than watch the market.

    Copy trading, mirror trading and portfolio management

    We support the view set out in the question nine of European Securities and Markets Authority's (ESMA) MiFID Questions and Answers: Investor Protection & Intermediaries (PDF, 15 pages) as to how copy and mirror trading fit within the MiFID Directive. It considers them an automatic execution of trade signals.

    Platforms
    A platform may allow its clients to choose one or more third parties who provide trade signals (shared on the website). Once the client chooses a signal provider and authorises the service provider to issue orders on their behalf, the service provider transforms each signal into a buy or sell order to be executed by the service provider itself or transmitted for execution to another firm, without further intervention from the client.

    Definition of portfolio management
    This service falls within Article 4(1)(9) of MiFID. This article defines ‘portfolio management’ as ‘managing portfolios in accordance with mandates given by clients on a discretionary client-by-client basis where such portfolios include one or more financial instruments’. In copy trading and mirror trading, investment decisions are implemented with no intervention by the client other than an agreement (‘mandate’) between the service provider and the client on the discretionary service provided.

    Portfolio management authorisation
    Where the service described above is provided through MiFID financial instruments, it requires portfolio management authorisation from us. In the model described, the service provider exercises investment discretion by automatically executing the trade signals of third parties. Where MiFID applies, this triggers associated ongoing regulatory obligations including the suitability assessment, other conduct of business requirements and providing periodic reports to clients and regulators.

    Where the client sets trading parameters, such as the sum they wish to invest or are prepared to lose, this will not affect the characterisation of the service as portfolio management.

    Exceptions
    Where no automatic order execution occurs because client action is required before executing each transaction, the activity performed will not amount to portfolio management. However, depending on the interaction with the client, other investment services may still be relevant (e.g. investment advice with personal recommendations, and reception and transmission of orders).

    The client may take investment decisions rather than the service provider to buy or sell the individual investments. For example:

    The trade signals are investment advice (or a general recommendation), and the client must confirm each recommendation before any order is executed or transmitted for execution on their behalf.
    The trade signals are fully determined by the client, who must set the detailed limits for each signal/order/transaction, such as the precise market conditions that will trigger a particular signal (e.g. purchase or sell instrument A when its price on market B reaches level C).
    - See more at: https://www.the-fca.org.uk/copy-trading?field_fcasf_sector=256&field_fcasf_page_category=unset#sthash.Ja7rryXf.dpuf
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    20 Mar 2016 12:59 PM
    Temporary restriction in short selling
    Published: 18/03/2016 Last Modified: 18/03/2016
    The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) notifies that it temporarily prohibits short selling in the following instruments under Articles 23 (1) and 26 (4) of Regulation (EU) No 236/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012. This follows a decision made by another EU Competent Authority.
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    20 Mar 2016 01:08 PM


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    You are hereFirms » Wealth manager » Copy trading
    Copy trading

    Copy trading allows investors to trade by automatically copying another investor’s trades, and we generally classify it as portfolio or investment management.
    Typically, retail traders mimic the trades of other users through contracts for difference (CFD) platforms. These platforms integrate information sharing and social media with online CFD trading.

    We classify copy trading as portfolio or investment management where no manual input is clear from the account holder. This entails standard regulatory obligations for authorised management.

    Mirror trading and copy trading

    Mirror trading is like copy trading but with minor differences.

    Mirror trading, an evolution of automated trading, simply implements fixed strategies based on trading preferences. Mirror trading may involve copying experienced and successful traders.

    Copy trading typically involves setting a proportion of funds to execute the trades of the copied trader from the allotted funds. Platforms vary in their minimum copy trading amounts and the proportions between copied and copying accounts. Some also allow traders to control their risk through Stop Loss orders. The copying trader may disconnect their funds and manage their investments – in other words, closing the copy relationship.

    Mirror trading and copy trading have both led to ‘people-based portfolios’ – portfolios that invest funds in other investors rather than watch the market.

    Copy trading, mirror trading and portfolio management

    We support the view set out in the question nine of European Securities and Markets Authority's (ESMA) MiFID Questions and Answers: Investor Protection & Intermediaries (PDF, 15 pages) as to how copy and mirror trading fit within the MiFID Directive. It considers them an automatic execution of trade signals.

    Platforms
    A platform may allow its clients to choose one or more third parties who provide trade signals (shared on the website). Once the client chooses a signal provider and authorises the service provider to issue orders on their behalf, the service provider transforms each signal into a buy or sell order to be executed by the service provider itself or transmitted for execution to another firm, without further intervention from the client.

    Definition of portfolio management
    This service falls within Article 4(1)(9) of MiFID. This article defines ‘portfolio management’ as ‘managing portfolios in accordance with mandates given by clients on a discretionary client-by-client basis where such portfolios include one or more financial instruments’. In copy trading and mirror trading, investment decisions are implemented with no intervention by the client other than an agreement (‘mandate’) between the service provider and the client on the discretionary service provided.

    Portfolio management authorisation
    Where the service described above is provided through MiFID financial instruments, it requires portfolio management authorisation from us. In the model described, the service provider exercises investment discretion by automatically executing the trade signals of third parties. Where MiFID applies, this triggers associated ongoing regulatory obligations including the suitability assessment, other conduct of business requirements and providing periodic reports to clients and regulators.

    Where the client sets trading parameters, such as the sum they wish to invest or are prepared to lose, this will not affect the characterisation of the service as portfolio management.

    Exceptions
    Where no automatic order execution occurs because client action is required before executing each transaction, the activity performed will not amount to portfolio management. However, depending on the interaction with the client, other investment services may still be relevant (e.g. investment advice with personal recommendations, and reception and transmission of orders).

    The client may take investment decisions rather than the service provider to buy or sell the individual investments. For example:

    The trade signals are investment advice (or a general recommendation), and the client must confirm each recommendation before any order is executed or transmitted for execution on their behalf.
    The trade signals are fully determined by the client, who must set the detailed limits for each signal/order/transaction, such as the precise market conditions that will trigger a particular signal (e.g. purchase or sell instrument A when its price on market B reaches level C).
    - See more at: https://www.the-fca.org.uk/copy-trading?field_fcasf_sector=286&field_fcasf_page_category=unset#sthash.DN37rpI1.dpuf
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    20 May 2016 07:58 AM
    Investment managers & stockbrokers 20 May 2016


    PS: Market Abuse Regulation
    In the run up to the new MAR regime coming into force on 3 July, we have published Consultation Paper 16/13 on changes to the Decision Procedure and Penalties Manual and the Enforcement Guide for the implementation. The deadline for responses is 22 May 2016. We have also issued a policy statement (16/13) publishing final rules and feedback on consultation paper 15/35 and 15/38. There is also an update on our expectations regarding the new Suspicious Transaction & Order Reports (STORs) regime.

    CP: UCITS V Level 2 Regulation, SFTR and consequential changes to the Handbook
    We are consulting on proposed changes to the Client Assets sourcebook (CASS) and the Collective Investment Schemes sourcebook (COLL), following the adoption of the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities V Level 2 Regulation (UCITS V Level 2 Regulation). The UCITS Directive sets out a harmonised regime for UCITS, their management companies and depositaries, with the aim of achieving a common standard of investor protection across the EU. Please send us your comments by 19 July 2016.

    UK Debt Market Forum report
    This report outlines the measures we will take as a result of our recent engagement with industry. It highlights developments in primary debt markets which the UK Debt Market Forum considered and the issues it discussed. The report lays out the proposed package of initiatives we have developed with input from Forum participants, and which will now be put in place to achieve the Forum’s aims.

    MiFID II Conduct Forum
    On 18 April we held a forum for trade associations and nominated firms on conduct of business issues. The session covered product governance and the disclosure of costs and charges.

    Recovery & Resolution: observations so far
    Our latest web pages provide feedback on some of the early themes and observations from our recent assessment of Recovery Plan submissions.

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    26 Jun 2016 06:24 AM
    Statement on European Union referendum result
    Published: Yesterday Last Modified: Yesterday
    On 23 June, the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU). This has significant implications for the UK.

    The FCA is in very close contact with the firms we supervise as well as the Treasury, the Bank of England and other UK authorities, and we are monitoring developments in the financial markets.

    Much financial regulation currently applicable in the UK derives from EU legislation. This regulation will remain applicable until any changes are made, which will be a matter for Government and Parliament.

    Firms must continue to abide by their obligations under UK law, including those derived from EU law and continue with implementation plans for legislation that is still to come into effect.

    Consumers’ rights and protections, including any derived from EU legislation, are unaffected by the result of the referendum and will remain unchanged unless and until the Government changes the applicable legislation.

    The longer term impacts of the decision to leave the EU on the overall regulatory framework for the UK will depend, in part, on the relationship that the UK seeks with the EU in the future. We will work closely with the Government as it confirms the arrangements for the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
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