UK Banks, Insurers Brace For Busy Regulatory Year In 2019

Shaul Brazil, partner at BCL Solicitors quoted in the Law 360 article ‘UK Banks, Insurers Brace For Busy Regulatory Year In 2019’ discussing some of the biggest legal changes in banking and insurance to watch for in the year ahead.

Law360, London (January 1, 2019, 5:03 PM GMT) — The U.K.’s financial services face a regulatory reckoning on Brexit in 2019, as well as a shift away from the long-standing Libor benchmark and a deadline for payment protection insurance complaints that have cost banks billions of pounds in compensation.

Lawyers anticipate that European watchdogs will continue to consolidate power as they cement a banking and capital markets union. British asset managers and pension fund executives will face tough new accountability rules. And the U.K. government is likely to tighten the screws on the freewheeling world of virtual currencies such as bitcoin.

Insurers meanwhile will grapple with new rules against misselling, which took some companies by surprise when they entered into force in October.

Regulatory lawyers had hoped for a break from the rules that flowed from the last financial crisis. But fine-tuning of previous regulations will keep compliance officers on their toes.

“The level of rule-making will not — and cannot — keep pace with that of the last few years,” Mark Simpson, partner at Baker McKenzie LLP, said. “The post-crisis reforms have been done, and need time to bed down. But already we are seeing some of these being revisited.”

Here are the biggest legal changes in banking and insurance to watch for in the year ahead.

Tougher regulation for virtual currencies

After bitcoin’s value plummeted in 2018, rattling its rival providers in virtual currency, regulators are likely to seek to make cryptoassets safer. Watchdogs want to shield retail investors from heavy losses and protect the market’s integrity.

“As the cryptocurrency market continues to grow — and with it, the use of cryptoassets for criminal activity such as money laundering — 2019 will inevitably see greater regulation in this area,” said Shaul Brazil, partner at BCL Solicitors. “In the U.K., the government has promised to develop one of the most comprehensive responses globally to the use of cryptoassets for illicit activity, albeit while continuing to support innovation.”

Read the full article on the Law 360 UK website here.

Shaul Brazil is a partner at BCL specialising in business crime and regulatory enforcement. Recommended in Chambers UK, Chambers HNW and The Legal 500, he is also ranked as an expert in Who’s Who Legal and is listed by Global Investigations Review as one of the world’s leading young investigations specialists. Shaul has acted in numerous high-profile matters, including international corruption and breach of sanctions investigations and prosecutions by the SFO and/or overseas regulators; city fraud, insider dealing and market manipulation investigations and prosecutions by the SFO and/or the FCA; tax avoidance/evasion investigations by HMRC; international cartel investigations and prosecutions by the SFO, CMA and US Department of Justice; and extradition proceedings under parts 1 and 2 of the Act.