Your Industry  

Brexit and bans: the week in news

Brexit and bans: the week in news

We've all had rough weeks at work, but this week it looked like the entire government might eventually decide to call it quits over Brexit.

Despite everything, we're still gradually eking our way towards leaving the European Union, so let's find out what else happened this week. It's time for the week in news.

1) Brexit through the gift shop

This week, after much drama, the UK and the European Union reached a deal over Brexit but not everything can be that simple, and it's been a rollercoaster week for the pound.

When the deal was announced on Tuesday, the pound rose while the FTSE 100 ended the day in modestly negative territory.

Figures in the financial services sector welcomed the Brexit deal and the prospect of continued "cooperation" between Britain and the European Union on regulatory matters.

The UK and the EU also agreed an outline political declaration on their future relationship, which included provisions for "close and structured cooperation" on financial services regulation.

But for some people in Theresa May's government the deal was unacceptable including, apparently, the man who helped negotiate it.

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and secretary of state for Work & Pensions Esther McVey both stood down on Thursday, along with a number of junior ministers, prompting the value of the pound to plummet.

2) Fee-sy does it

Just as everyone begins making their Christmas plans, the Financial Conduct Authority begins planning its own festive cheer.

The regulator has revealed plans to change the way it calculates how much the industry pays in regulatory levies for 2019 to 2020.

In a 72-page consultation paper published this week, the FCA proposes axing fee-block F, which contains mutual societies that are registered on the mutuals register but not authorised by the FCA under the Financial Services Act 2000.

The FCA would charge the cost of maintaining the register as an FCA overhead, representing an addition of approximately 0.3 per cent to the fees of variable fee-payers.

The watchdog also proposed removing charges for inspecting the register, except where a member of the public requests a personal visit to FCA offices.

In the April 2019 fee rates consultation paper the FCA will consult on the rate for the levy.

It was in July that advisers were told they would have to pay 4 per cent more in regulatory fees in 2018 to 2019.

3) Don't stop me now (from transferring your pension)

About a sixth of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes have put a temporary hold on pension transfers while they decide how to equalise contracting out benefits.

According to law firm Herbert Smith Freehills - which polled an undisclosed number of trustees, sponsors and advisers – 17 per cent of respondents said their schemes (or those they advise) have decided to temporarily suspend transfers while they consider their approach.

Some administrators have been telling their DB clients to suspend transfers due to the implications of the recent Lloyds court case, which will see final salary scheme members who contracted out receive millions of pounds in back payments.