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BOEPrism

Risk & Regulation Round-up: August 2018 to July 2019

Welcome to the latest Prism-Clarity round-up of key announcements and developments in UK financial risk and regulation.

It won’t have escaped your attention that, far from being a quarterly update, it’s been over a year since my last one. The demands of a corporate contracting role since last November have affected my ability to provide more timely updates. Still, here we are, and will aim to resume doing this update on a more regular basis in future.

As a result of the long gap, my reporting in this note is even more selective and summarised than usual. So I include the usual curated links to underlying source stories or documents for the reader who wants more detail.

And to help readers pick up any stories I don’t cover in detail, I also include selected links to publications and announcements from individual regulators’ websites.

*** Note: The articles in this blog do not constitute advice, but please contact me here for further information, including where to get the best advice. ***

In business or in employment pt 2: updated thoughts on IR35

Two years ago I went off the beaten track and wrote a blog on what is a vexed topic for many freelancers – IR35 – sometimes known as the ‘off-payroll working rules’.

These HMRC rules were introduced in 2000. They’re designed to ensure that contractors are not disguising what in reality amounts to an ’employment’ relationship with their client, to benefit from the tax advantages of operating through a limited company.

Some of my colleagues found the blog useful, thankfully. But as much as anything it was an internal thinkpiece. A way of proving to myself (or even HMRC if they ever came knocking) that I know about the criteria and can argue credibly that I am legitimately outside IR35.

This blog updates that thinking in the light of things that have happened internally in my business, and in the IR35 world itself, since I wrote the original piece.

[As before, please note: this blog does not represent advice. This is a contentious topic. If in any doubt, consult your accountant or a professional HR adviser.]

BOEPrism

Risk & Regulation Round-up May to July 2018

This is the latest edition of my quarterly round-up of key announcements and developments in UK financial risk and regulation. Although it’s longer than usual the reporting in this edition is still quite summarised, and includes curated links to underlying source stories or documents for the reader who wants more detail.

The rubber is now hitting the road with regard to Brexit and its impact on financial services. Opinion is starting to coalesce around the possible (or even likely) outcome. Accordingly, this edition of the round-up includes an attempt to broadly summarise the position; though it remains complex and fast moving, with many variables.

This edition also includes some links to and coverage of technical communications relating to Brexit – notably from the Bank of England/PRA – which are starting to appear in preparation for the expected withdrawal in March next year.

Elsewhere the dizzying pace of policy and technical announcements from the likes of Basel, the FSB and the EBA continued. As did business as usual regulation from the EU, the PRA and the FCA.

To help readers see the wider picture, or pick up anything I don’t cover in detail, I include in this blog some comprehensive indices of publications and announcements from individual regulators’ websites.

*** Note: The articles in this blog do not constitute advice, but please contact me here for further information, including where to get the best advice. ***

Knowing Your Culture – The C Word In Financial Firms

Culture in financial services firms is – if not exactly a buzzword – more of a concern to regulators today than some of the themes that have historically preoccupied them.

Hardly surprising, given numerous failures of culture stretching back to the 1980s when governments across the world started deregulating markets: financial crises, bank collapses, huge losses, taxpayer bailouts, corporate and individual misdemeanours – many helped along the way by severe problems in the culture of the failing firms.

I’m not going to use this blog to re-hash war stories that have already had ample publicity and coverage over the decades.

Instead I want to focus on what culture in financial services firms means, partly informed by my own experiences past and current. How do firms formulate and package their culture? Can the language that a firm uses in its external and internal communications provide any leading indicators of its culture?

Can stakeholders such as regulators, depositors, investors, employees and suppliers identify and recognise the underlying culture of a firm, in the absence of adverse – but lagging – indicators such as critical losses, collapse or regulatory failure? What signs or behaviours might be revealing of a shallow or expedient culture?