Issue 73 - October 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of Gem Compliance’s monthly regulation newsletter. The aim of the newsletter is to present a summary of relevant industry news which has occurred during the month in an easily digestible format. As such, not all sources of industry information or FCA publications (and no PRA publications unless specified) may be included.  

Clients and associates of Gem Compliance should periodically check the FCA’s, and where relevant, the PRA’s websites for regulatory developments. We hope you find this newsletter useful and should you have any feedback, compliance queries or require advice on any of these topics, please do not hesitate to contact us.


  1. Other Newsletters and Updates
  2. Main Features:
    1. FCA publishes post-Brexit Handbook rules
    2. Speech: Market abuse in a time of Coronavirus
    3. The FCA is preparing for firms to migrate from Gabriel to RegData
  3. Other Publications
  4. FCA Press Releases
  5. Enforcement Actions and Prosecutions
  6. Industry News:
  7. Coronavirus - industry updates
  8. Brexit
  9. Scams, Fraud & Warnings
  10. Pensions and SIPPs
  11. Data Security
Other Newsletters & Updates

The industry news is again flooded with articles relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, with England entering another lockdown, further restrictions elsewhere are looking likely. Firms are recommended to check the dedicated coronavirus section (for firms and consumers) on the FCA’s website on a regular basis for any updated information. 
The FCA is issuing a follow up Covid-19 survey to regulated firms who initially received a survey in August 2020. There will be two additional questions that will cover the potential impact of Brexit, as the end of the transition period is near. This survey is mandatory and all firms that receive it will be expected to complete it and return to the FCA.
The FCA issued its
 October Regulation round-up in which it highlights for regulated firms the impending migration from Gabriel to its new data collection platform RegData. This month’s round-up also covers Brexit, with the transition period ending at 11pm on 31st December 2020, the FCA urges firms to ensure they have sufficiently assessed the impact on them and their customers and have plans in place to ensure they are prepared for EU law no longer applying in the UK and for passporting to cease. The FCA continues to update its dedicated Brexit webpage and firms are reminded to check this regularly for any updates. The FCA has also published several areas for firms to consider in relation to Brexit. 
The FCA has published minutes from its August board meeting and the FCA Handbook Notice 80 can be found here.
September’s PRA Regulatory Digest can be found here.
The ICO’s (Information Commissioner’s Office) most recent newsletter (October) is available here. 
The Financial Ombudsman has published
 newsletter 154.
Internal changes at Gem recently include Beth McConnell joining as a Compliance Associate, in September. 

Main Features

1. FCA publishes post-Brexit Handbook rules

On the 1st of October, the FCA published an updated version of the Handbook to confirm the rules that will apply at the end of the Brexit transition period. The FCA also set out details on how it intends to use the Temporary Transitional Power (TTP).
The TTP gives the FCA flexibility as to how and when changes to its rules apply following the end of the transition period, allowing firms to amend their practices in preparation to move to the new regime. Where it applies, the TTP allows firms to continue to comply with their existing requirements for a limited period. The FCA intends to apply the TTP from the end of the transition period until 31 March 2022, meaning firms generally don’t need to prepare immediately to meet the changes to their UK regulatory obligations brought about by onshoring.
In some key areas, the FCA expects firms to be preparing to comply with the amended obligations ready for 31 December 2020. These include:
  • MIFID II transaction reporting
  • EMIR and SFTR reporting obligations
  • Certain requirements under MAR
  • Issuer rules
  • Contractual recognition of bail-in
  • Client Assets Sourcebook requirements
  • Market-making exemption under the Short Selling Regulation
  • Use of credit ratings for regulatory purposes
  • Securitisation
  • Electronic commerce EEA firms
  • Mortgage lending after the transition period against land in the EEA
  • Payment Services – strong customer authentication and secure communication
Otherwise, the FCA expects firms to use the period of the TTP to ensure they are ready to fully comply with the changes to UK regulatory obligations by 31 March 2022.
2. Speech: Market abuse in a time of Coronavirus

Julia Hoggett, Director of Market Oversight at the FCA delivered a speech at the City Financial Global event on 12thOctober 2020. Ms Hoggett started by acknowledging that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the way we live and work, which is demonstrated by the fact the conference she was speaking at was held virtually like many events this year. Ms Hoggett then went on to explain that although there have been significant changes, it is vital that regulators maintain a clear focus on ensuring markets work well for consumers, ensuring that they remain orderly despite the circumstances and that any behaviours that risk disrupting the order of the market will not be tolerated.
Ms Hoggett explained that speeches such as this were important to the FCA and the purpose of this speech is to support all market participants to play their part in ensuring UK financial markets are clean. She added that the FCA has access to a great deal of data and is able to pursue a massive amount of lines of enquiry every year, which helps to develop and support its own risk assessments. The FCA has put market abuse risk assessment at the ‘heart’ of how it encourages firms and venues to consider the activities they need to undertake to monitor for market abuse. Ms Hoggett explained that she understood the temptation for firms to only look for the behaviours described in the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) and that this may provide assurance that a process has been followed. However it may not provide assurance that firms have effective controls in place to mitigate the risks actually faced. Ms Hoggett then explained the importance, now more than ever, that firms identify the risks associated with the new environment everyone is working in due to Covid-19.
The three key themes of the FCA’s risk assessment, deriving from the scale of primary market activity that has taken place over the last several months, were then mentioned:
  1. Challenges of surveillance during volatile markets;
  2. Challenges of surveillance driven by new ways of working; and
  3. Importance of effective culture to manage those risks. 
Ms Hoggett added that the FCA expects firms to have updated their policies, refreshed training and put in place rigorous oversight reflecting the new environment – particularly regarding the use of privately-owned devices. The FCA also expects that these polices should be demonstrable to the FCA and firms audit teams. While having updated policies, training and rigorous oversight is vital, it is also important that firms have a culture that minimises the risk of poor conduct taking place in the first place remains critical.

Ms Hoggett ended on a positive note and noted that the FCA is very grateful to all those in the industry who work hard to ensure that the FCA receives accurate transaction and order reporting as it allows the FCA to monitor the market, follow up on anything suspicious and therefore minimise the risk of future market abuse. 

3. The FCA is preparing for firms to migrate from Gabriel to Reg Data

The FCA is preparing for the migration of firms from Gabriel to RegData, the first firms were due to migrate to RegData on the weekend of October 17th and 18th 2020. The migration will take place over the next few months and firms will be moved across in stages depending on their reporting requirements. 
Firms should expect to receive three direct emails from Gabriel confirming the date of their firm specific migration to RegData. The FCA has confirmed that firms will receive these emails three weeks, five days and one day before the migration to RegData. Additionally, compliance consultants will receive reminders for every firm their user account is currently associated with in Gabriel. Firms will only be able to access RegData once they and their users’ data have been moved across from Gabriel and until then, they should continue to report 
via Gabriel, using their existing Gabriel login details. 
The FCA website has a page where firms can access information regarding the move to RegData including a checklist for firms before they move, and the process they’ll follow to join RegData. In addition to this, firms can now access a series of videos and step-by-step user guides to take them through each aspect of the RegData platform.
In 2019, the FCA asked firms and other users to provide feedback on their experiences of using Gabriel. Firms who completed the survey were invited to meet the FCA in person to discuss their feedback and discuss the FCA’s strategy for the migration of 120,000 users and the data of 52,000 firms from Gabriel to RegData. In response to the feedback received from the 2019 survey, the FCA confirmed that RegData is faster than Gabriel, easier to use, and is built with more flexible technology so any issues can be fixed quickly to improve the user experience. 
For an introduction to RegData, the FCA has created a video on
 viewing your schedule.

Other Publications


The FCA has
 issued an update on its enquiry into the Bank of England audio issue after concerns were raised regarding the use of an audio feed from the Bank of England’s press conferences. The statement confirms that the FCA has completed its investigation and it does not believe the audio feed contained any inside information, nor was there any concern regarding any activity or misconduct. The FCA has now closed its enquiry.
The FCA’s Chief Executive, Nikhil Rathi,
 wrote a letter to Rt Hon. Mel MP, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, about UK bank closures of the current accounts of customers living in the EU after the EU withdrawal transition period. 
The FCA welcomes the Financial Services Bill introduced in Parliament, which will help to maintain high standards and provide greater clarity to firms. The FCA explained that it particularly welcomes the Bill’s provisions to amend the Benchmarks Regulation, which is intended to help manage and direct an orderly wind-down of critical benchmarks such as LIBOR. The FCA encourages market participants to maintain their focus on the transition away from LIBOR by the end of 2021 and those impacted to read its Statement and related publications of 23 June for more information. The Bill has several other areas of interest to the FCA including, the prudential regulation of investment firms, a new route for overseas funds to market to retail investors through the introduction of a new Overseas Funds Regime and a new framework for its regulatory relationship with Gibraltar. The FCA will continue to work with HM Treasury on these issues during the Bill’s passage through Parliament. 
The FCA and Bank of England are 
encouraging liquidity providers in the sterling swaps market to adopt new quoting conventions for inter-dealer trading based on SONIA instead of LIBOR from 27 October this year. The objective is to allow the further shift in market liquidity towards SONIA swaps, bringing benefits for a wide range of end users and other market participants as they move away from the use of LIBOR. 
The FCA has been holding virtual workshops with the industry during October 2020 as part of testing for the Financial Instruments Transparency System (FITRS), the post-exit MiFID regime. The FCA encourages third party data providers, venues and trading firms to engage with the parallel run of FITRS and give feedback to ensure a smooth transition to the new regime in January 2021. If anyone wants to provide feedback after 5 October 2020, email the FCA:
The FCA issued a statement for firms providing portfolio management services or holding retail client accounts that include positions in leveraged financial instruments or contingent liability transactions. The statement outlines a further 6-month extension and amendments to temporary Covid-19 measures issued in March. The original measure on 10% depreciation notifications took effect from 31st March and was due to end 30th September, however, the FCA is extending the previous measure with some amendments. From 1st October, the FCA won’t take action for a breach of COBS 16A.4.3 EU for services offered to retail investors provided that the firm has:
  • issued at least one notification in the current reporting period, indicating to retail clients that their portfolio or position has decreased in value by at least 10%;
  • informed these clients that they may not receive similar notifications should their portfolio or position values further decrease by 10% in the current reporting period;
  • referred these clients to non-personalised communications, perhaps made available on public channels, that outline general updates on market conditions (these could contextualise potential drops in portfolio or position value to help consumers meet their objectives, rather than making impulse decisions about their investments); and
  • reminded clients how to check their portfolio value, and how to get in touch with the firm.
The FCA intends to adopt this approach until 30th March 2021. 
ESMA published a 
statement on MiFID trade reporting and position limit obligations. The statement explains that ESMA intends to assess UK trading venues in relation to its opinions on MiFIR trade reporting and commodity derivatives position limits. If the outcome of the assessment is positive, the venue will be added to the list of venues with a positive or partially positive assessment for the purposes of those opinions with effect from the end of the EU withdrawal transition period. This would mean that EU investment firms trading on these UK venues would not be required to publish details of those transactions through an Approved Publication Arrangement (APA) in the EU. In respect of UK requirements from the end of the EU withdrawal transition period, ESMA confirmed its position in a public statement issued in 2019 – UK investment firms, that transact on trading venues outside the UK, in the EU or elsewhere, will not be required to publish details of those transactions through a UK APA. 

Consultation Papers

CP20/21: Breathing Space Regulations: changes to the Handbook. The FCA is consulting on some minor changes to the Handbook resulting from regulations on problem debt that are expected to come into force in England and Wales in May 2021. Consultation closes on 6 January 2021. 
FCA Press Releases

The FCA has launched a consultation (CP 20/20) on its approach to the authorisation and supervision of international firms operating in the UK. This is relevant to both EEA firms that intend to seek authorisation in the UK in the future, including those entering the Temporary Permissions Regime and firms from non-EEA countries that have applied or intend to apply for authorisation in the UK, or are already authorised in the UK. The FCA is anticipating an increase in the number of international firms seeking authorisation at the end of the Brexit transition period, with over 1,500 firms currently registered in the Temporary Permissions Regime. International firms serving UK customers through branches can sometimes create different risks of harm compared to UK firms because of the way their businesses are structured and operate. As part of this consultation, the FCA wants to hear views on how these risks can be mitigated, and when it would be appropriate for an international firm to seek authorisation as a UK-incorporated firm for all or part of its business. The FCA is aiming to produce a final document that will help firms structure their business to provide financial services in the UK and to understand the FCA’s authorisations approach. The deadline for consultation responses is 27 November 2020.
The FCA has
 confirmed measures in PS 20/11 that will support closed book mortgage borrowers, some of whom may be mortgage prisoners. It has also issued guidance to help borrowers with interest-only and partial capital repayment (part-and-part) mortgages whose mortgages have matured since 20 March 2020 or will do so in the next 12 months, given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new measures include the introduction of a rule that will make it easier for lenders to offer switching options to consumers who are in a close book within the same financial group. This mirrors the flexibility that active lenders have, under existing rules, when their existing customers wish to switch. The measures also include issuing guidance stating that firms should give borrows the option to delay repayment of the capital at maturity on interest-only and part-and-part mortgages up to 31 October 2021, providing that borrowers are up-to-date with payments and they continue to make interest payments. The rule will come into place from 23 October 2020 and guidance from 31 October 2020.
The FCA has issued an
 update on its Business Interruption insurance test case appeals process. The FCA has confirmed that it has filed a ‘leapfrog’ application to appeal the Supreme Court after the High Court’s Judgement. The FCA is continuing to work closely with the eight insurers and two intervenors that participated in the test case to reach an agreement in principle whereby an appeal process would not be required, and payments would be made on eligible claims as soon as possible. The ‘leapfrog’ application made by the FCA has been filed on a precautionary basis in the event that an agreement is not reached by the required deadline. It is understood that seven insurer parties have made similar precautionary applications. The FCA highlighted that an update will be provided as soon as possible.
The FCA has
 published its second annual perimeter report. The report outlines which activities require authorisation and what level of protection consumers should expect for financial services products they purchase. The perimeter is decided by the Government and Parliament through legislation. The FCA published its first annual perimeter report in June 2019, this report aimed to provide greater clarity to stakeholders on the FCA’s role and set out specific issues that had been raised – most notably those facing consumers in the retail investment sector. This year’s report provides an update on the issues highlighted in last year’s report, what firms can do to protect consumers in the areas on the edge of the perimeter, sets out areas where progress has been made or where there has been consumer harm (particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic). The report will form the basis of a formal discussion with the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (EST) at the end of 2020 and the outputs of which will be published.  
The FCA has
 opened applications for two ‘sandbox’ services to support innovative firms tackling challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The application window for Cohort 7 of the Regulatory Sandbox and the pilot of a new Digital Sandbox initiative opened on 5th October, with an emphasis on supporting products and solutions that will assist consumers and firms affected by the pandemic. The FCA identified three key areas of importance:
1. Preventing fraud and scams
2. Supporting the financial resilience of vulnerable consumers
3. Improving access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises. 
Cohort 7 of the Regulatory Sandbox is open to authorised and unauthorised firms as well as technology businesses that are aiming to deliver innovation in the UK financial services market. As with p
revious cohorts, businesses will be able to test innovative propositions in the market with real consumers. The Digital Sandbox pilot, launched with the City of London Corporation, aims to support earlier stage innovation where products and solutions are still in development and not at a stage where they can be tested with consumers or in a live production environment. Director of Innovation at the FCA, Nick Cook said ‘The FCA is a strong believer in the positive power of innovation. Today we are strengthening the range and scale of support we are providing to innovative firms to deal with the challenges raised by the pandemic…As a regulator we recognise the need to continually experiment and learn in order to stimulate innovation. We are excited to launch this new service and by the lessons it will provide for future iterations of the initiative’.
The FCA has
 banned the sale of crypto-derivatives to retail consumers from 6 January 2021 in its policy statement PS20/10. The ban comes as the FCA considers these products to be ‘ill-suited’ for retail consumers due to the potential harm they could cause. There are several reasons that these products cannot be reliably valued by retail consumers including, the nature of the underlying assets, prevalence of market abuse and financial crim (e.g. cyber theft), extreme volatility in cryptoasset price movements, inadequate understanding of cryptoassets by retail consumers and lack of legitimate investment need for retail consumers to invest in such products. The nature of the products put consumers at significant risk of harm and unexpected losses if they invest. In order to address the harm faced by consumers, the FCA has introduced rules banning the sale, marketing and distribution to all retail consumers of any derivatives (i.e. contract for difference – CFDs, options and futures) and ETNs that reference unregulated transferable cryptoassets by firms acting in, or from, the UK. The FCA has estimated that retail consumers will save roughly £53m from the ban on these products. 

Enforcement Actions and Prosecutions

The FCA has begun criminal proceedings against three former employees of Redcentric Plc: Fraser Fisher, former Chief Executive; Timothy Coleman, former Chief Financial Officer; and Estelle Croft, a former finance director. The three individuals have each been charged with two counts of making a false or misleading statement, contrary to Section 89(1) of the Financial Services Act 2012. In addition to this, Mr Coleman has further been charged with four counts of false accounting and Ms Croft has also been charged with seven counts of making a false or misleading statement to an auditor and four counts of false accounting. The alleged offending took place between 1 May 2015 and 31 October 2016. Mr Fisher, Mr Coleman, and Ms Croft appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 23 September 2020. Making a false or misleading statement is a criminal offence punishable, on conviction, by a fine and/or up to 7 years’ imprisonment.
The FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have 
fined Goldman Sachs International (GSI) £96.6 million for risk management failures connected to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and its role in three fund raising transactions for 1MDB. The fines are part of a US$2.9 billion globally coordinated resolution reached with the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and its subsidiaries. 1MDB is a Malaysian state-owned development company that has been at the centre of billion-dollar embezzlement allegations. Goldman Sachs underwrote, purchased and arranged three bond transactions for IMDB in 2012 and 2013 that raised a total of US$6.5 billion for 1MDB. The transactions involved clients and counterparties in jurisdictions with higher financial crime risk and Goldman Sachs was aware of the risk of involvement of a third party that they had serious concerns about. However  Goldman Sachs failed to assess and manage risk to the required standard given the high risk profile of the transactions and failed to assess risk factors on a sufficient basis. Additionally, Goldman Sachs failed to address allegations of bribery in 2013 and failed to manage allegations of misconduct in connection with 1MDB in 2015. After an investigation, it was found that Goldman Sachs breached several FCA and PRA rules, specifically:
  • assess with due skill, care and diligence the risk factors that arose in each of the 1MDB bond transactions on a sufficiently holistic basis; 
  • assess and manage the risk of the involvement in the 1MDB bond transactions of a third party that GSI had serious concerns about;
  • exercise due skill, care and diligence when managing allegations of bribery and misconduct in connection with 1MDB and the third 1MDB bond transaction; and
  • record in sufficient detail the assessment and management of risk associated with the 1MDB bond transactions.
Goldman Sachs agreed to resolve the case with the FCA and PRA and therefore qualified for a 30% discount in the overall penalty imposed by both regulators. 

The FCA has
 fined Asia Research and Capital Management Ltd (ARCM) £873,118 over transparency failures after the firm failed to notify the FCA and disclose to the public its net short position in Premier Oil Plc built between February 2017 and July 2019. When ARCM failed to notify the FCA and disclosing the details to the public, they breached the Short Selling Regulation 2012 (SSR). This is the first time the FCA has taken enforcement action for a breach of the SSR. ARCM agreed to resolve this matter and qualified for a 30% discount otherwise the FCA would have imposed a fine of £1,247,312.
Konstantin Vishnyak has been found 
not guilty of destroying documents in a case brought to Southwark Crown Court by the FCA. The case was relating to one count of destroying documents in September 2018. The FCA commented that it was disappointed by the ruling however, it respects the verdict. Although this case was a loss for the FCA, it highlighted that it will take action whenever evidence it needs is tampered with or destroyed. 
The FCA has 
secured a £1.6m confiscation order against Richard Baldwin. The confiscation order was made in Mr Baldwin’s absence after he escaped from justice during his trial and conviction for money laundering in 2017. He was previously sentenced to a total of 5 years and 8 months imprisonment for the offence as well as separate contempt’s of court which he admitted in 2015. The confiscation order reflects Mr Baldwin’s benefit from laundering the proceeds of a conspiracy to insider dealing between October 2007 and November 2008, which also included co-defendants Martyn Dodgson and Andrew Hind. Mr Baldwin used off-shore companies, bank accounts and false invoices and during the earlier sentencing, HHJ Hehir remarked that Mr Baldwin had been convicted on ‘compelling evidence’ of ‘extremely sophisticated’ money laundering. If Mr Baldwin fails to pay the confiscation order of £1,633,766 within three months, he will face a further eight years in prison and an arrest warrant has been issued for Mr Baldwin, who is still at large, to be brought before the Court. 
The FCA has banned Peter Howson and John Butterfield from performing any regulated activity as a result of their roles in the submission of false and misleading information about customers’ high net worth status. Mr Howson and Mr Butterfield were both directors of, the now liquidated, Vanguard Wealth Management Limited (Vanguard). They submitted the information to self-invested personal pension (SIPP) provider, James Hay, which had no knowledge of their actions. It was found that both Mr Howson and Mr Butterfield knowingly and repeatedly made false declarations, and thereby increased the number of Vanguard customers who purchased Elysian Fuels PLC shares through their James Hay SIPPs.  This generated substantial fees and commissions from which Mr Howson and Mr Butterfield benefitted. As a result of Mr Howson’s and Mr Butterfield’s actions, customers lost money. Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, Mark Steward said ‘Both advisers knew, or should have known, that what they were doing lacked integrity and betrayed the high standards expected by the FCA. They have no place in the financial services industry’.

Other industry news: 

Coronavirus - industry updates

The Financial Conduct Authority continues to support consumers struggling to make payments due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and urges them to speak to lenders about the options available to them. The FCA conducted a survey of more than 7,000 people during the pandemic and found that 12 million people in the UK had low financial resilience, meaning they may struggle to pay bills or loan repayments. The data also shows that two million of those who are not financially resilient have become so since February 2020. The FCA explained the importance of consumers being as open and transparent as possible with their lenders to ensure they can be offered the most appropriate support. 
The FCA has
 confirmed the next stage of support for consumer credit and overdraft customers. The guidance will cover consumers of the following products:
  • Credit Cards – including store cards and catalogue credit
  • Personal Loans
  • Motor Finance
  • Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL)
  • Rent-To-Own (RTO)
  • Pawnbroking
  • High-Cost-Short-Term Credit (HCSTC) 
  • Overdrafts
The measures will ensure that firms provide tailored support for users of the above products where they face payment difficulties due to Covid-19. The measures will apply to both consumers who have benefited from support under the current guidance and continue to face financial difficulty, as well as those whose financial situation may be newly affected by Covid-19 after the current guidance ends on 31 October. Although support is there for those in financial difficulty, the FCA urged customers who can restart payments to do so as it is in their best interest. The guidance makes it clear that firms are expected to offer a tailored package of support, with consideration of the ongoing situation and local or national responses to the crisis and that ‘there should be no ‘one size fits all’ approach taken by firms to help consumers get back on track’. This guidance came into force on 2nd October and will ensure that consumers will be able to obtain the support they need after 31st October.

The FCA has written a joint letter on Brexit with the Bank to CEOs of insurance firms. The letter highlights the importance of being prepared for the end of the transition period, in order to minimise disruption and ensure market stability. The UK authorities have put temporary measures in place to ensure that UK households and businesses will still be able to access services from EU financial institutions after the end of 2020. The measures include the Temporary Permissions Regime (TPR) and the use of the Temporary Transitional Power (TTP). The FCA expects firms to ensure they are prepared for the end of the transition period however it does have a dedicated Brexit telephone line that firms can use if they have any questions surrounding the FCA’s expectations – 0800 048 4255.

Scams, fraud and warnings 

The Association of Professional Compliance Consultants (APCC) has issued a scam alert relating to an ‘FCA’ email. The APCC has been alerted to a Due Diligence email claiming to be from the FCA, it has commented that it is unlikely to be from the FCA and is awaiting confirmation from the FCA on this matter. Firms are advised not to click on any links if they receive such email until confirmation of authenticity has been received. 

Pensions & SIPPs

The German Property Group (GPG) companies have entered preliminary bankruptcy proceedings. The FCA explained that it is aware that UK consumers have invested in GPG, either directly or via a self-invested personal pension scheme (SIPP) or a small self-administered scheme (SASS) arrangement and any money invested is now at risk. The FCA urges consumers who have any money invested in this scheme to act quick to try and recover any funds. The GPG companies are incorporated in Germany and are not authorised by the FCA. However, the FCA confirmed that it is working with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) on the situation and will issue further information as thing develop. 

Data Security

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued guidance relating to right of access. The guidance initially was sent out for consultation in December 2019 and received responses from firms of all different sizes and sectors. The responses requested additional content and examples making it clear that there was a need for more support and clarification on certain aspects of the law that aren’t very clear. The ICO highlighted its response to three key points raised:
  1. Stopping the clock for clarification – one issue which it received a lot of feedback on was that seeking clarification on requests often didn’t leave enough time to respond. As a result, its position now is that, in certain circumstances, the clock can be stopped whilst organisations are waiting for the requester to clarify their request.
  2. What is a manifestly excessive request – to combat confusion over when to class a request as manifestly excessive, it has provided additional guidance to help and broadened its definition.
  3. What can be included when charging a fee for excessive, unfounded or repeat requests – it has taken the feedback on board about the fee for staff time involved in responding to manifestly unfounded or excessive requests, or responding to follow-up SARs, and have updated what organisations can take into account when charging an admin fee.
The ICO also mentioned that it is planning several resources for extra support, including a simplified SAR guide for small businesses, which will pick out the key ‘need-to-knows’ from the detailed guidance. 

This newsletter contains generic information and has been generated for professional clients and associates of Gem Compliance Consulting Limited only and should not be regarded as advice. We will not be liable for loss, however caused by parties acting on the information contained herein.

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