FCA publishes Decision Notice against financial adviser for failings when advising on pension transfers

17 August 2021

The Financial Conduct Authority has published a Decision Notice against Geoffrey Edward Armin of Retirement and Pension Planning Services Limited (In Liquidation) (RPPS). Mr Armin has referred his Decision Notice to the Upper Tribunal where he will present his case. Any findings in the Decision Notice are therefore provisional and reflect the FCA’s belief as to what occurred and how it considers his behaviour should be characterised. The Upper Tribunal will determine what, if any, is the appropriate action for the FCA to take, and will remit the matter to the FCA with such directions as the Upper Tribunal considers appropriate to give effect to its determination. The Upper Tribunal’s decision will be made public on its website. Accordingly, the proposed action outlined in the Decision Notice will have no effect pending the determination of the case by the Tribunal. Continue reading…

HSBC – A dirty bank as an accomplice of big style Cybercriminals!

13 August 2021
Knowledge Base

by Elfriede Sixt

EFRI, an association based in Vienna, Austria, set up in spring 2020, by now represents more than 1.052 European consumers who were defrauded by cybercriminals as of writing over EUR 59,2 million in the form of investment scams also referred to as boiler room scams. HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, is known for being a “dirty” bank. It is public knowledge that HSBC for decades has laundered hundreds of millions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and HSBC took a prominent role in about all scandals which evolved during the past years: Panama Papers, Swiss Leaks, … (a video on the history of HSBC and its involvement in crimes can be watched here). So probably it is not surprising that this “dirty” bank is also heavily involved in Cybercriminal activities. Continue reading…

Elena Pykhova

Elena Pykhova

Expert in risk and resilience matters and author of a best-selling book, Operational Risk Management in Financial Services

Firms continue to assess whether Working From Home (WFH) is reducing the effectiveness of the 2nd Line Risk Function

12 August 2021

Working from home has become a normality of the new reality. According to Eurofond1, as a result of the pandemic, almost half of the working population in the European Union was working remotely either fully or partially; a significant increase from the 10% of home-workers pre-COVID-19. During WFH, maintaining a sound control environment and exercising prudent risk management is essential. Risk management department plays a crucial role in achieving this objective. According to the 3 Lines Model2, updated and reissued by the Institute of Internal Auditors in 2020, Risk function assists by providing ‘expertise, support, monitoring, and challenge related to the management of risk’. But is WFH, with a somewhat strained informal interactions and communication channels, reducing the effectiveness of the second line function? Continue reading…

FCA wins case against Avacade in the Court of Appeal

11 August 2021

The Court of Appeal has upheld findings of breaches against Alexandra Associates (UK) Limited trading as Avacade Future Solutions (AA), and Craig and Lee Lummis in a case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA alleged, and the High Court found, that Avacade Limited (in liquidation), AA, Craig Lummis, Lee Lummis and Raymond Fox engaged in arranging and promoting investments without FCA authorisation and made false and misleading statements to investors which induced them to transfer their pensions into self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) and then into alternative investments such as HotPods (office space available for rent), tree plantations and Brazilian property developments.   Continue reading…

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying

11 August 2021
Knowledge Base

Scientists are observing changes in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the whole climate system, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, released on August 9. Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years. However, strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. While benefits for air quality would come quickly, it could take 20-30 years to see global temperatures stabilise, according to the IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, approved on Friday by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that was held over two weeks starting on July 26. Continue reading…

Eurojust assists Italy in blocking VAT fraud scheme with car imports from Germany

10 August 2021
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Eurojust has supported the Italian authorities to stop an elaborate fraud scheme involving the import of new and used cars from Germany. In total, 60 suspects have been identified, who defrauded the Italian tax authorities of at least EUR 6.3 million in avoided VAT levies. Furthermore, over 200 vehicles were falsely registered in Italy and sold at below market price, creating unfair competition on the car market. Eurojust set up a coordination centre and helped with the execution of European Investigation Orders to Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Germany. Continue reading…

EBA consults on new Guidelines on the role of AML / CFT Compliance Officers

09 August 2021
Knowledge Base

The European Banking Authority (EBA) recently launched a public consultation on new Guidelines on the role, tasks and responsibilities of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance officers. The Guidelines also include provisions on the wider AML/CFT governance set-up, including at the level of the group. Once adopted, these Guidelines will apply to all financial sector operators that are within the scope of the AML Directive. This consultation runs until 2 November 2021. Continue reading…

ESMA publishes disclosure and investor protection guidance on SPACs

07 August 2021

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s securities markets regulator, has recently issued a Public Statement on the prospectus disclosure and investor protection issues raised by special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). The statement, in view of both the complexity and the diversity of SPAC transactions, sets out ESMA’s expectations on how issuers should satisfy the specific disclosure requirements of the Prospectus Regulation to enhance the comprehensibility and comparability of SPAC prospectuses. Continue reading…

Securing a durable recovery: Covid-19 and beyond

04 August 2021

Swift and forceful action from central banks and governments has limited the economic damage from the Covid-19 pandemic, and as policymakers look ahead to the next phase of the recovery they must prepare for different but no less formidable challenges, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said in its Annual Economic Report 2021.  In its flagship economic publication, the BIS describes the global recovery so far as incomplete and uneven, with some countries and sectors bouncing back quickly and others lagging. The uneven recovery could generate headwinds for emerging market economies (EMEs) in particular, due to tighter financial conditions as advanced economies transition more quickly. Continue reading…

Foundation SOMI submits the largest collective data request under the GDPR to tech giants

03 August 2021
Knowledge Base

The SOMI Foundation submits the largest European collective data request recently to three tech giants: TikTok, Zoom and Palantir. According to the GDPR, companies are obliged to comply with the request for stored personal data. SOMI requests the personal data on behalf of its participants as part of the investigation into the possible violation of the GDPR by the international companies. The GDPR prescribes that companies that are active in Europe are obliged to provide access to stored personal data on request. In addition, it must be clearly stated how the personal data is stored and with whom it is shared. However, it is often not clear how such a request should be submitted to the company, if the option is offered at all. There is also no explicit way of supplying the stored personal data, which makes it difficult for consumers to understand which data is stored and used, and how it can be modified or deleted. Continue reading…