On the regulatory front, we remain in regular contact with the FCA, HMT, other associations and stakeholders on COVID-19, as well as other issues, and we have very regular virtual meetings with the FCA to deal with questions from our members on COVID-related issues. We are running a 30-minute live webinar each week, providing a briefing to our members on the issues we have raised with the FCA and the feedback they have given and on other relevant topics at this time. This is followed by a written briefing note for our firms.
In addition, two weeks ago we wrote to the FCA’s Christopher Woolard outlining the key issues and concerns regarding the impact of the virus on our firms and are pleased to see that many of the issues we raised are addressed in their recent ‘Dear CEO’ letter.
Temporary changes within the regulatory framework outlined in the letter include greater flexibility over client identification verification, supervisory flexibility over best execution until the end of June, a pause on the implementation of investment pathways and supervisory flexibility over the 10% depreciation notifications required under MiFID II until the end of September.
Further, The FCA has announced in its Business and Fees Plans for 2020/21 that it is freezing the fees to be paid by the smallest 71% of firms for the next year and that small and medium-sized firms will have an extended period, until the end of 2020, to pay their fees, although larger firms will have to pay as usual.
This illustrates how productive good communication is – regulatory forbearance has been achieved by constant and meaningful dialogue between firms, their representatives, regulators and government. By utilising the power of technology we can use different methods to achieve much of what we need to. Raising awareness of issues and exchanging views and experiences can be achieved using all the channels available to us.
The profession’s role as a force for good is ever more relevant as we face uncertainty. Moving forward, the opportunities we have to make a difference will count both now and in the future.
Keep safe and #stayconnected.