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Key Factors Shaping Market Abuse Regulations

During 2020, many factors have shaped the regulations and enforcement actions to maintain market integrity and place the interests of clients ahead of firms and individuals. In addition to the challenges faced by compliance and risk departments, the number of people trading worldwide has risen, pressuring regulators and compliance departments to quickly act to monitor conflicts of interest and prevent individuals from taking market advantage.

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MNPI Remains a High Risk Area for Compliance

Failing to adequately manage Material Non-Public Information (MNPI) remains a high risk area for compliance, as evidenced by recent actions in the U.S. and the U.K. A private equity firm paid $1 million to settle SEC charges for failing to implement effective Insider Trading compliance policies. The FCA published a Decision Notice fining a former CEO £658,900 for market abuse and banning him from future roles linked to regulated activity.

To avoid hefty fines and actions, firms must have comprehensive and actionable policies and procedures around the management of MNPI and insider lists to minimize risk.

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Thoughts on the 2020 FINRA Small Firms Conference

I really enjoyed the opportunity to be an exhibitor at this year’s FINRA Small Firm Virtual ConferenceAlthough the format might have been different this year, the sessions were still filled with the same focus on effective compliance practices for smaller firms.

One of the key themes I heard at the event throughout the sessions was the need for consistency in policies and procedures, and for complete and consistent documentation.

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FCA publishes speech on MAR

In a virtual conference, Julia Hoggart, Director of Market Oversight at the FCA discusses the challenges posed by the pandemic and highlights that at this stage firms should have overcome these challenges, improved surveillance and risk assessments. The speech is an indication as to where the FCA may focus their attention during the rest of this year and into 2021.

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ESMA Publishes MAR Review Report

On September 23rd, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a set of outcomes and recommendations on the Market Abuse Regulation. The report has the objective to review the functionalities of MAR since its implementation in 2016 and draft suggestions to improve the regulation. The report is based on a 2019 consultation and covers buy-back programmes, the delayed disclosure of inside information, the usefulness of insider lists, managers’ transactions, the retention period of personal data among other topics.

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