COVID-19 and the Courts

Whilst we all try to settle in to our new working from home routines, and maintain social distancing measures, the civil justice system is also having to find ways to adapt. Early messages from Court system that it would be ‘business as usual’ quickly proved impossible; but over the past week there have been procedures put in place across the civil courts, focussing on keeping the wheels of civil justice moving forward during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A number of the divisions of the High Court have issued guidance or information on holding fully or partially remote hearings, and courts are operating under a new protocol regarding remote hearings issued by the Judiciary. A new practice direction has also been introduced supporting increased provision for audio or video hearings.

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Not a risk worth taking – FCA fines and bans pensions’ advisor

Earlier this month, the FCA fined a former advisory firm director £23,400 for overseeing the transfer of £112m of pension retirement funds in to risky investments. The FCA is concerned about unsuitable advice around pensions’ transfers and this latest action sends another strong regulatory message to the market about the FCA’s “get tough” approach towards ther non- compliant in this area.

FCA

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COVID-19 hits UK Ombudsman services

The Pensions Ombudsman (“PO”), the independent body that investigates complaints about pensions’ administration, has announced that it will not be able to process any new complaints for the foreseeable future. The COVID – 19 lockdown has meant that the PO can no longer collect or deal with post, although phone lines remain open between 10.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m on weekdays.

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Lloyd’s of London moves online in response to COVID-19

As one floor closes another (virtual) one opens; 330-year-old specialist insurance market Lloyd’s of London (“Lloyd’s“) has closed its underwriting floors in response to Government guidance regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the world’s largest insurance hub replaced its four-story “underwriting room” with its electronic trading system, Placing Platform Ltd (“PPL“), which was successfully stress tested a week earlier.

Investment Fund Graph

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Fund Marketing and Overseas Fund Regime HM Treasury Consultation Paper

Investment Fund GraphMany investment funds domiciled in the EU are currently marketed in the UK through the EU’s passporting regime. Shortly after the end of the Brexit transition period of 31 December 2020, and the end of the UK’s temporary regime to permit marketing, this will change and funds will have to gain permanent market access in the UK.

In response to this challenge, HM Treasury has published a consultation on two new regimes, one for retail investment funds and one for money market funds (“MMFs”), based on the principle of equivalence. With the consultation set to run to 11 May, investment managers, asset management firms, investment platforms, financial advisers, individual investors and consumer groups are advised to consider the impacts of these new regimes and respond as necessary.

In this post we focus on some of the key aspects those interested in the proposed regimes may want to consider.

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