Your weekly summary of key regulatory updates in an objective bite-size format, drawing on official news and press releases from 400+ financial services regulators, central banks as well as global and regional standard setters,
At a glance - Highlights by topic
Visit Regxelerator’s new end-to-end automated and AI-powered regulatory news platform for ongoing updates. European Commission adopts proposal to strengthen the EU’s bank crisis management and deposit insurance framework ECB publishes results of external SREP review, outlining several proposals for enhancement UK Authorities explore options for reducing disruption to depositors in the event of a bank insolvency FDIC Board of Directors updates restoration plan for Deposit Insurance Fund New BIS paper offers recommendations for the fiscal policy-financial stability nexus HKMA and HK Police Force enhance strategy and collaboration to combat fraud and financial crime IAIS GIMAR report finds growing cyber insurance premiums despite tighter terms and conditions OSFI releases framework to enhance cyber resilience for federally regulated financial institutions ASIC report reveals over AUD 550 million in scam losses for major bank customers in last financial year European Parliament adopts MiCA and crypto-asset transfer rules UAE SCA and Dubai’s VARA establish unified licensing process for virtual asset services providers OSFI launches consultation period on international recommendations for fiat-referenced crypto-asset arrangements and activities NY State DFS adopts final regulation to assess operating costs for virtual currency businesses U.S. SEC charges Bittrex, Inc. and Co-Founder William Shihara with operating an unregistered national securities exchange and broker-dealer OSFI urges adoption of EDGE Principles for the responsible use of AI in new report South Korea FSC introduces verification system and security guideline for AI usage in financial sector to promote credibility UK’s Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee publishes recommendations for the next phase of open banking Swedish FSA launches survey on open financial services BIS Innovation Hub London Centre concludes Project Meridian on synchronized settlement Malaysia SC announces launch of e-Path to further enhance payment processing Buna launches instant payment service to improve cross-border payments Initial findings from 2022 U.S. Federal Reserve Payments study show substantial increase in noncash payment values Bank of Israel Steering Committee outlines conditions for potential issuance of Digital Shekel BIS Innovation Hub launches Project Gaia to facilitate climate and environmental risk assessments FSB report reviews incorporation of climate-related metrics into financial institutions' compensation frameworks MAS launches FiNZ Action Plan to catalyse Asia's net zero transition and decarbonisation activities ECB assessment highlights low-quality environmental risk disclosures IMF's latest world economic outlook forecasts slow global growth EBA adopts agencies network charter on diversity and inclusion
Prudential & financial stability
European Commission adopts proposal to strengthen the EU’s bank crisis management and deposit insurance framework
The European Commission has formally adopted proposed legislative changes to strengthen the EU’s bank crisis management and deposit insurance framework. The changes are intended to provide a more robust framework for banks experiencing financial difficulties and pursues three specific objectives: (1) Preserving financial stability and protecting taxpayers’ money through the use of industry-funded safety nets such as deposit guarantee schemes and resolution funds, (2) limiting the impact of a bank failure on the real economy by allowing authorities to take advantage of a comprehensive resolution toolkit, and (3) enhancing protection for depositors beyond the existing EUR 100,000 deposit insurance coverage by further harmonizing depositor protection standards across the EU, extending the scope of depositor protection (e.g. to public entities such as hospitals, schools and municipalities) as well as affording protection of temporary high balances on bank accounts in excess of EUR 100,000 linked to specific life events. The Commission’s adoption of the changes was welcomed by the European Central Bank and the Single Resolution Board through public statements. As a next step, the legislative package will be tabled with the European Parliament and Council.
ECB publishes results of external SREP review, outlining several proposals for enhancement
The European Central Bank (ECB) has published the results of the external assessment of its Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process (SREP). The assessment, which was commissioned during the second half of 2022 and undertaken specifically appointed expert group, concludes that while “ECB Banking Supervision has successfully established itself as an effective and respected supervisor and integrated a wide variety of national supervisory approaches thanks to its detailed methodologies, there are number of opportunities for improvement. These include inter alia further enhancing risk-based supervision and empowering supervisory judgement, promoting a better integration of the outcome of other supervisory assessments into the SREP, streamlining SREP processes and shortening their timeline, rebalancing capital and qualitative measures as well as reforming the process for determining Pillar 2 capital requirements. The ECB plans to implement several of the recommendations during the 2023 cycle.
UK Authorities explore options for reducing disruption to depositors in the event of a bank insolvency
The Bank of England has announced that it is working jointly with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), other UK authorities as well as industry to explore options for reducing the disruption to depositors in the event of a bank or building society insolvency. In the context of these efforts, three specific initiatives have been identified that would enhance the timely payout of eligible depositors and continuity of payments and other relevant banking services in such a scenario. These include: (1) an online portal, designed to enable depositors to provide alternative account details to that the FSCS can electronically transfer the covered balance of their deposit at the failed firm to another bank or building society; (2) improved continuity of banking services potentially utilising the infrastructure used to support the sharing of payment information and redirection of payments made to/from the insolvent institution when a customer moves banks; and (3) better operational support and capacity at receiving banks for depositors needing to open a new bank account to achieve continuity. The Bank stated that parties involved in these efforts intend to make meaningful progress towards a solution during 2023.
FDIC Board of Directors updates restoration plan for Deposit Insurance Fund
The FDIC Board of Directors has released its semiannual update on the Restoration Plan for the agency's Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF). Despite the recent failure of two large banks, the losses from these failures are not expected to have a material effect on the projected timeline for reaching the statutory minimum reserve ratio of 1.35%. The FDIC Board of Directors has proposed to increase deposit insurance assessment rates by two basis points for all insured depository institutions, and adopted a final rule to increase initial base deposit insurance assessment rate schedules by two basis points beginning in the first quarterly assessment period of 2023.
A new working paper by the Bank for International Settlements holistically reviews the fiscal policy-financial stability nexus. The authors make three policy recommendations: incorporating financial stability considerations into fiscal policy, removing or reducing fiscal incentives to private debt accumulation, and ensuring that capital and liquidity requirements better reflect banks' sovereign exposures. They conclude that prudent regulation cannot substitute for fiscal prudence.
AML & CFT
HKMA and HK Police Force enhance strategy and collaboration to combat fraud and financial crime
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) have held a high-level sharing session to discuss innovative approaches to combat fraud and financial crime. The session was attended by senior representatives from both public and private sectors and highlighted the common purpose of addressing the elevated threats of digital fraud. The HKMA and HKPF have been working together to establish the Fraud and Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (FMLIT) with 23 retail banks, including virtual banks, participating. This collaboration has led to an increase of 319% in intelligence-led suspicious transaction reports in 2022 and 113% in criminal proceeds restrained or confiscated. The session also discussed further joint efforts with all stakeholders to prevent the abuse of the financial system for scams, as well as the use of Scameter alerts, data analytics, a sharing platform of corporate mule account information, and a 24/7 stop-payment mechanism. The HKMA is also piloting an AML Suptech project on mule account network analytics.
Cyber & operational resilience
IAIS GIMAR report finds growing cyber insurance premiums despite tighter terms and conditions
The International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) has released its 2023 Global Insurance Market Report (GIMAR) special topic edition, which provides an analysis of the risks and trends associated with cyber insurance coverage, cyber resilience in the insurance sector, and the potential impact these risks may have on financial stability. The report highlights that global cyber insurance premiums have continued to grow despite tighter terms and conditions and stricter risk selection, reflecting the increasingly complex cyber threat landscape and growing cyber-attack surface. The report further notes that while “cyber underwriting activities of insurers in the sample are not assessed to pose a threat to financial stability due to the currently limited volumes of affirmative cyber insurance underwriting, […] significant data gaps remain in gauging the systemic risk posed by non-affirmative coverage.” To accommodate for the systemic dimension of cyber, supervisors are actively building out their macroprudential supervision frameworks for cyber risks. The IAIS will host a cyber underwriting and operational risk roundtable to further discuss this report at the IAIS Global Seminar in June 2021.
OSFI releases framework to enhance cyber resilience for federally regulated financial institutions
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) has released a framework to help identify and address areas of vulnerability to sophisticated cyber-attacks in the financial sector. The Intelligence Led Cyber Resilience Testing (I-CRT) framework outlines a methodology and serves as an implementation guide for federally regulated financial institutions (FRFIs) conducting I-CRT assessments. I-CRT assessments are used globally by regulators to enhance financial institutions’ technology and cyber resilience against sophisticated attacks. The I-CRT framework currently applies to Canada’s systemically important banks (SIBs) and internationally active insurance groups (IAIGs), and OSFI recommends that these institutions conduct an I-CRT assessment at least once during each three-year supervisory cycle. This framework was developed after 18 months of collaboration and consultation with industry, including a pilot project with FRFIs in the banking and insurance sectors.
Conduct & consumer protection
ASIC report reveals over AUD 550 million in scam losses for major bank customers in last financial year
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has released a report which reveals that major bank customers reported over $550 million in scam losses last financial year, impacting more than 31,700 customers. The report found that the overall approach to scams strategy and governance of Australia’s major banks was variable and overall less mature than expected, and that customers were not always well supported by their bank. ASIC is calling for all financial institutions to improve their approaches to handling scams and for banks to take steps to evolve their scam management practices. The report also found that bank customers are overwhelmingly the bearer of scam losses, accounting for 96% of total scam losses across the banks, and that reimbursement and/or compensation rate was low across the individual banks.
Fintech & ecosystem innovation
European Parliament adopts MiCA and crypto-asset transfer rules
The European Parliament has finally adopted the Markets in crypto-assets regulation (MiCA) with with 517 votes in favour of the regulatory framework. MiCA will establish common framework for the supervision, consumer protection and environmental safeguards of cryptoassets across the EU. In addition, Member of the Parliament (MEPs) also voted in favor of the adoption of the new crypto-asset transfer rules (travel rule), which aims to ensure that cryptoasset transfers and the associated beneficiaries can be properly traced. “This puts the EU at the forefront of the token economy with 10 000 different crypto assets. Consumers will be protected against deception and fraud, and the sector that was damaged by the FTX collapse can regain trust. Consumers will have all the information they need and all underlying risks around crypto-assets will have to be monitored. We secured that the environmental impact disclosure will be taken into account by investors in crypto assets. This regulation brings a competitive advantage for the EU. The European crypto-asset industry has regulatory clarity that does not exist in countries like the US.”, Stefan Berger, lead MEP for the MiCA regulation, commented on the voting outcome.
UAE SCA and Dubai’s VARA establish unified licensing process for virtual asset services providers
The UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) announced that it has begun accepting applications for licensing companies to provide virtual asset services, following approval from its Board of Directors. The Cabinet issued Resolution No. 111 of 2022 at the end of last year to regulate virtual asset services and providers, which stipulates that the SCA is responsible for issuing the relevant regulations and licensing providers, as well as their operational framework. All companies providing virtual asset services, except those licensed in the free zones, must comply with their conditions and apply for a license from the SCA. Companies operating in Dubai must also obtain a license from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). The SCA and VARA have also established a unified process to ensure ease and speed of licensing.
OSFI launches consultation period on international recommendations for fiat-referenced crypto-asset arrangements and activities
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) has launched a consultation period on international recommendations related to fiat-referenced crypto-asset arrangements and activities. The new consultation, which follows OSFI's interim crypto exposure advisory and is directed at Federally Regulated Financial Institutions, seeks to consult on the management of the risks associated with single fiat-referenced crypto-asset (stablecoin) arrangements and activities. In support of the consultation, which runs until mid-June, an information session will be held on May 15.
NY State DFS adopts final regulation to assess operating costs for virtual currency businesses
The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has adopted its final regulation governing the process for assessing the costs associated with the supervision and examination of virtual currency businesses under its Bitlicense, thus giving the Department authority to collect costs from these businesses. The new regulation has been modeled after full-scope banking supervision.
U.S. SEC charges Bittrex, Inc. and Co-Founder William Shihara with operating an unregistered national securities exchange and broker-dealer
The SEC has charged crypto asset trading platform Bittrex, Inc. and its co-founder and former CEO William Shihara for operating an unregistered national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency. Bittrex Global GmbH has also been charged for failing to register as a national securities exchange. The SEC alleges that Bittrex earned at least $1.3 billion in revenues from, among other things, transaction fees from investors, including U.S. investors, while servicing them as a broker, exchange, and clearing agency without registering any of these activities with the Commission. The SEC also alleges that Bittrex and Shihara instructed issuer-applicants to delete statements related to “price prediction[s],” “expectation of profit,” and other “investment related terms” to avoid regulatory scrutiny. The SEC is holding Bittrex accountable for its non-compliance and alleged misconduct that put investors at risk.
UK’s Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee publishes recommendations for the next phase of open banking
The Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee (JROC), co-chaired by the FCA and the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), has published its recommendations for the next phase of open banking in the UK. The latest recommendations comprise of a 2-year roadmap with focus on five themes, namely: (1) levelling up availability and performance, (2) mitigating the risks of financial crime, (3) ensuring effective consumer protection if something goes wrong, (4) improving information flows to third party providers and end users, and (5) promoting additional services, using non-sweeping variable recurring payments (VRP) as a pilot. The JROC also set out its vision for the future entity and the transition from the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE). The JROC will continue to work with industry participants, consumer and business representatives, and other stakeholders to deliver the plans, with a progress report planned to be published in Q4 2023.
Swedish FSA launches survey on open financial services
The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority has launched a new survey with the aim of mapping the use open financial services in the Swedish financial market. The survey is primarily directed at financial service providers that are data holders and third-party providers that collect and reuse data as well as has been sent to over 200 companies under the FSA’s supervision. Input can be provided until May 16.
OSFI urges adoption of EDGE Principles for the responsible use of AI in new report
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and the Global Risk Institute (GRI) have released a joint report on the ethical, legal, and financial implications of artificial intelligence (AI) on financial services institutions. The report, developed in partnership between OSFI and GRI, outlines the EDGE principles (Explainability, Data, Governance and Ethics) to ensure the responsible use of AI in the financial services industry. Explainability enables customers to understand how an AI model arrives at its conclusions, while Data leverages AI to provide tailored products and services, improve fraud detection, and enhance risk analysis and management. Governance ensures a framework is in place that promotes a culture of responsibility and accountability around the use of AI, and Ethics encourages financial institutions to consider the broader societal impacts of their AI systems. The report serves as a vital resource for the Canadian financial industry in determining how to responsibly leverage AI technology.
South Korea FSC introduces verification system and security guideline for AI usage in financial sector to promote credibility
The South Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) has introduced a verification system for Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven credit scoring models and a security guideline for the use of AI in the financial sector. These measures are intended to create a more credible environment for AI usage and are follow-up measures to plans announced in August 2022 to promote AI usage and ensure credibility in the financial sector. The verification system will examine the credit bureaus' management of credit data, selection of algorithms and variables used in their credit scoring models, and the statistical significance of the models. The security guideline provides stage-by-stage security issues to consider when developing AI-based models and a security checklist for AI chatbots.
Payments & currency
BIS Innovation Hub London Centre concludes Project Meridian on synchronized settlement
Project Meridian, a joint experiment by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the Bank of England, has concluded. The project investigated how recent advances in financial technology could deliver innovations in real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems. Specifically, it explored the concept of synchronization, in which transactions settle using central bank money, reducing transaction costs and risks and increasing efficiency. This is achieved through the creation of a new entity, called a synchronization operator, which relies on distributed ledger technology to interlink the central bank's settlement system with other financial market infrastructures and ledgers. A prototype of the concept was tested in the context of housing transaction as an exploratory use case.
Malaysia SC announces launch of e-Path to further enhance payment processing
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has announced the forthcoming launch of the new electronic payment hub, e-PATH, to provide a more secure and efficient way for market participants and the public to make online payments to the SC. e-Path is part of the SC's digital transformation initiatives and will enable easier online payment processing for various regulatory and registration fees related to submissions made to the SC, such as applications for initial public offerings, transfers of listing, and take-overs and mergers. The new solution will officially launch on 1 May 2023.
Buna launches instant payment service to improve cross-border payments
Buna, the cross-border payment system operated by Arab Regional Payments Clearing and Settlement Organization (ARPCSO) and owned by the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), has launched its Instant Payment Service (IPS). The new 24/7/365 service offers fast, secure, and cost-effective cross-border payments in multiple currencies. It is tailored for low-mid value payments that are urgent or time-sensitive, and incentivizes businesses with competitive fees. IPS provides an enhanced consumer experience, efficient cash management, and cost reduction for businesses.
Initial findings from 2022 U.S. Federal Reserve Payments study show substantial increase in noncash payment values
The U.S. Federal Reserve has released initial findings from its 2022 triennial payments study, which shows that consumers and businesses have increasingly used noncash payments such as checks, cards, and the automated clearinghouse (ACH). The data show that the average values of these payments have increased substantially from 2018 to 2021, and that cards were used most frequently, accounting for 98 percent of the increase in the number of payment transactions. The increase in total value, however, was driven almost entirely by the increase in the value of ACH payments. The study is conducted every three years since 2001 with annual supplements since 2017, and is a collaborative effort of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Federal Reserve Board.
Bank of Israel Steering Committee outlines conditions for potential issuance of Digital Shekel
The Bank of Israel Steering Committee on the Potential Issuance of a Digital Shekel has outlined potential scenarios for deciding to issue a digital shekel. Specifically, the Bank has been preparing an action plan for the potential issuance and as part of that defined conditions that would support the decision to issue a CBDC at some point in the future. Key criteria considered include inter alia the extent of CBDC issuances by other countries, the level of decline in the legitimate use of cash, the level of adoption of stablecoins or other means of payments that might impair the payment system, as well as the general evolution of technology in relation to payment systems. The Steering Committee will monitor the developments in these aspects on a periodically basis.
BIS Innovation Hub launches Project Gaia to facilitate climate and environmental risk assessments
The BIS Innovation Hub is launching Project Gaia, a collaborative project between the Bank of Spain, the German Bundesbank and the European Central Bank to create an open, web-based tool to facilitate climate and environmental risk assessments. Drawing on the latest advanced technologies including classical machine learning approaches and large language models, the tool seeks to enable extraction of key relevant information from non-standardised PDF reports, thereby providing analysts an efficient way to search corporate climate-related disclosures. Specific output will involve a repository of textual corporate reports coupled with a full-text and semantic search engine, a graphical user interface (GUI) with data visualisation tools, and a final report summarising the project findings and lessons learnt.
FSB report reviews incorporation of climate-related metrics into financial institutions' compensation frameworks
The Financial Stability Board has released a new report reviewing evolving practices at financial institutions for the incorporation of climate-related metrics in compensation frameworks. As practices are currently still at a nascent stage, the report highlights commonly experienced implementation challenges. These include inter alia gaps in data availability and reliability, the challenge in developing objectively measurable metrics that are aligned with financial institutions’ strategies as well as the frequent misalignments of timeframes between compensation assessment periods and the materialization of climate-related results.
MAS launches FiNZ Action Plan to catalyse Asia's net zero transition and decarbonisation activities,
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched the Finance for Net Zero (FiNZ) Action Plan to mobilise financing to catalyse Asia’s net zero transition and decarbonisation activities. The new plan is anchored in four strategic outcomes including the promotion of consistent comparable and reliable climate data and disclosures, strengthening the financial sector's resilience to climate change, the development of credible transition plans as well as the promotion of innovative green and transition financing solutions and markets to support decarbonisation efforts and climate risk mitigation. As part of its efforts, the MAS will expand the scope of its sustainable bond and loan grant schemes to include transition bonds and loans and, in support of this, has set aside SGD 15 million over the next five years.
ECB assessment highlights low-quality environmental risk disclosures
The European Central Bank (ECB) has released its third assessment of European banks’ compliance with climate and environmental risk disclosure requirements. While the ECB concluded that banks on balance improved climate and environmental risk disclosures, it stressed that their quality remains low and that the majority of banks remain unprepared for the new EBA standards on Pillar 3 taking effect this year. “We will take the appropriate supervisory actions to ensure that banks comply”, Frank Elderson, Vice-Chair of the ECB’s Supervisory Board, emphasized against the backdrop of the findings.
Other transversal themes
IMF's latest world economic outlook forecasts slow global growth
The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) latest World Economic Outlook forecasts global growth to slow from 3.4 percent last year to 2.8 percent this year, before accelerating to 3 percent next year. The outlook is heavily skewed to the downside, with a plausible alternative scenario of global growth decelerating to 2.5 percent in 2023. Looking further ahead, the IMF expects growth to remain around 3 percent for the next five years, making it the lowest medium-term growth projection since 1990. This anemic outlook is attributed to the tight policy stances needed to bring down inflation, financial sector stress, the war in Ukraine, and growing geoeconomic fragmentation. The IMF's Data Mapper® provides a chart of all gross domestic product forecasts in the latest assessment.
EBA adopts agencies network charter on diversity and inclusion
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has adopted the European Union Agencies network charter on diversity and inclusion to promote equal treatment and opportunities for its staff. Since 2021, the EBA has achieved significant results in gender equality, rebalancing the gender composition of its entire management team. Additionally, the EBA is carrying out policy and regulatory work to reinforce the principles of diversity and inclusion in European Legislation for credit institutions and investment firms. To report on how these principles are implemented in the EBA's internal organisation, a new webpage has been published.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has appointed Gaston Gelos as Deputy Head of the Monetary and Economic Department (MED) and Head of Financial Stability Policy, effective 1 September 2023.
Paul Munter, Chief Accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, has been appointed as the Chair of the IOSCO Monitoring Group.
The CFTC has appointed Jeffrey Sutton as Executive Director, responsible for directing key programs essential to the agency's administration and management.
The Bank of Spain and the Central Bank of Paraguay have signed a MoU to strengthen collaboration between the two institutions in the different areas of central banking activities, including in relation to projects and initiatives of mutual interest.
The Vietnam State Securities Commission and the Lao Securities Commission have entered into a MoU at their latest annual bilateral meeting and agreed on their cooperation plan for 2023, which includes technical advice and exchange of information, training and technical assistance programs, as well as coordination of various other activities.
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