By the time you read this, the Market Abuse Regulation (“MAR”) will be almost upon us.

For firms who do not advise listed corporates, issue research or deal in instruments newly in scope, the implementation of the Regulation should be a case of amending existing policies and manuals, re-training staff and adjusting existing monitoring processes.

That’s not to underestimate the considerable effort that these tasks represent, especially when considering how best to monitor orders which never materialise into transactions.

Our expectation is that FCA will review implementation some time in the latter half of 2016, followed by guidance to the industry on “good” and “poor” practice.

Fulcrum Compliance continue to work with clients to ensure that appropriate and proportionate systems are in place.

Any Complaints?

Amidst all the hurly-burly of MAR, one might be forgiven for overlooking some changes to the complaints handling rules which come into force on 30 June.

The main change is that the window in which the firm has to resolve a complaint before the full panoply of the compliant handling rules kick in has now been extended from one day to three days.

It has always been the case that complaints resolved by the close of the following business day were not subject to the full reporting and time limit rules. The extension of this window to three days allows firms valuable extra time in which to resolve matters to complainant’s satisfaction without the need to resort to fuller reporting to both the complainant and FCA.

There is a price to pay, however.

All complaints resolved in this way have to receive a standard form letter that advises them of their rights. And complaints resolved in this way must be reported to FCA in the routine complaints summary data.

Fulcrum Compliance has been working with clients to ensure that Compliance Manuals and processes have been updated to reflect this new requirement, and that the summary resolution communication is in place. If you’d like to discuss any aspect of these rules, do contact us.

Summer Season

Aaah, the English Summer. The sound of leather on willow, of oar blade cutting through the Thames and of the well-directed drop shot dipping over the net. And also the sound of FCA, as heard in their announcement of April, sulking in the corner.

Such events, opine FCA, do not “always appear to be designed to enhance the quality of service to the client.” FCA’s view is that attending such events with your client is “not conducive to business discussions”. Ever the ascetic, FCA believes that such “discussions could better take place without these activities.”

Clearly FCA have not heard that client relationships are first and foremost human relationships, where the quality of that relationship is deepened and enhanced by shared experience. Discussions at such non-work venues can indeed be conducive to business discussions, to which the sporting or social event may be no more than an incidental back-drop.

And as the Ministry of Justice said in its Guidance to the 2010 Bribery Act, “Bona fide hospitality … which seeks to improve the image of a commercial organisation, … or establish cordial relations, is recognised as an established and important part of doing business…”

Of course hospitality logs must be fully completed and the potential for such events – and their repetition – to present a conflict of interest must be considered. But firms are fully entitled to view their client entertainment in a wide context and view the relationship with the client itself as worth enhancing in this way.

So go on – enhance the quality of your service to your client and show them that you are able to appreciate the wider world and that you do get out of the office from time to time.


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