On October 18, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) published its updated list of jurisdictions that have strategic anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) deficiencies for which they have developed an action plan with the FATF. The FATF updates this list three times a year, the last update being in June 2019.
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On October 18, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a letter giving guidance on the distinction between suspicious activity reports (SARs) and suspicious transaction and order reports (STORs). The letter was sent in response to a request by UK Finance, a trade association, following a meeting of the ‘SARs Collaboration Working Group.’
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On September 13, the CFTC and European Commission issued a joint statement reaffirming their mutual commitment to transatlantic cooperation among regulators (Joint Statement). The Joint Statement was released following a September 5 meeting between CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert and John Berrigan, Deputy Director General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA), European Commission.
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On August 20, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a letter written jointly with the European Banking Authority (EBA) and addressed to the European Commission (EC) relating to cryptoassets. The letter responds to a letter from the Commission dated July 19.

The letter begins by welcoming the EC’s work responding to issues identified in the January 2019 reports by ESMA and the EBA on cryptoassets and initial coin offerings (for more information, see the January 11, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest). ESMA and the EBA agree that it is vital that further work progresses urgently to inform any actions taken by the new EC.
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On July 29, the European Commission (EC) published a communication on equivalence in the area of financial services (Communication). The EC states that, in light of recent policy developments, it is timely to take stock of the EU’s approach to equivalence.

The Communication discusses the purpose and importance of equivalence. The EC states that each new decision is looked at individually and in detail to ensure that the policies of third countries are compatible with those of the EU, and that any equivalence determination is beneficial to, and sustainable for, both parties.EU financial services law includes approximately 40 provisions that allow the EC to adopt equivalence decisions and as of July 29, the EC has adopted more than 280 equivalence decisions for more than 30 countries.
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On July 24, the European Commission (EC) published a suite of documents assessing the current anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) framework in operation in the European Union (EU).

Although each document is addressed to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, the EC states that it believes that these documents will support the EU and national authorities to better address money laundering and terrorist financing risks. It notes that some improvements can be made quickly at an operational level, and the EC will continue to support EU member states in this, while also reflecting on how to address the remaining structural challenges.
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On June 12, and ahead of the European Council meeting on June 20 and 21, the European Commission (EC) adopted a fifth Brexit Preparedness Communication, taking stock of the European Union’s preparations and contingency measures if the United Kingdom exits the European Union without a deal or an implementation period (No-Deal Brexit).
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On May 3, the European Securities and Markets Association (ESMA) published final reports on technical advice to the European Commission (EC) on integrating sustainability risks and factors in the core EU asset management directives:

  1. the Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) Directive;
  2. the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD); and
  3. the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR).


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On March 28, the European Securities and Markets Association (ESMA) published a statement updating market participants on its preparations for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, in the event of an agreement on transitional arrangements (Withdrawal Agreement) not being in place (No-Deal Brexit). ESMA’s update follows the European Council’s (EC’s) agreement to the UK government’s request to extend the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) to either April 12 if the House of Commons does not approve a Withdrawal Agreement by March 29, or to May 22 if it does.
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