Search for:
Author

Sarah Williams

Browsing
Sarah Williams is an associate in the financial services practice in London. Sarah advises a broad range of clients on financial services legal and regulatory issues. Sarah's practice includes advising on the regulation of payment services and electronic money, investment firms and consumer credit providers and anti-money laundering compliance issues.

In October 2022, the Council of the EU published the long-awaited compromise text of the proposed Regulation on Markets in Cryptoassets (MiCA), a “landmark regulation” that, according to the Council, will “put an end to the crypto wild west”. Once in force, MiCA will establish the first comprehensive, pan-EU regulatory regime for the regulation of cryptoassets, including the regulation of (i) cryptoassets issuance activities and (ii) cryptoasset service providers (who will be held to similar regulatory standards to those imposed on investment firms).

The speed and volume of change in the crypto asset markets has accelerated across the globe, with established financial institutions increasingly entering the sector whilst regulators look to keep pace. Recent high-profile developments and market volatility have led to growing calls for scrutiny and regulatory controls. Navigating this fast paced environment, within a sometimes disjointed regulatory framework, can be challenging. The Crypto Boot Camp 2022 Series covers the crypto ecosystem and integrating crypto into established financial systems (recordings available), crypto risk (3 November 2022), NFTs (15 November 2022), DeFi (1 December 2022), and Growth in Crypto (6 December 2022).

The speed and volume of change in the crypto asset markets has accelerated across the globe, with established financial institutions increasingly entering the sector whilst regulators look to keep pace. Recent high-profile developments and market volatility have led to growing calls for scrutiny and regulatory controls. Navigating this fast paced environment, within a sometimes disjointed regulatory framework, can be challenging.
This virtual seminar series will provide insights on how the regulatory landscape is changing and discuss the future of crypto within the financial services sector. Set out below are details of our 2022 series.

On 27 July 2022, the FCA published its highly anticipated final rules and guidance on the new Consumer Duty, ushering in a fundamental cultural shift in the way that regulated firms will approach and serve customers, and starting the countdown clock for implementation plans across the industry.

In the latest episode in the series, Episode 27: Fintech in South Africa and the Sub-Saharan African Region, Ashlin Perumall, a partner from our Corporate and M&A practice in Johannesburg and Sarah Williams, an associate from our financial services practice in London, discuss the fintech landscape in South Africa and other key markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. They take a closer look at investment drivers and opportunities, current and emerging market segments, and key commercial and regulatory developments affecting the fintech ecosystem in the region.

On 15 June 2022 HM Treasury published the outcome to its consultation on amendments to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLRs). The changes to the MLRs will be implemented through the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2022 Statutory Instrument. A draft of the Statutory Instrument and explanatory memorandum have also been published. The amendments bring the MLRs in line with updated FATF standards and fill gaps in the current operation of the UK’s AML regime, most significantly in relation to cryptoassets.

At UK FinTech Week 2022 in April, the Treasury announced a host of new and forthcoming initiatives to build on the UK’s “FinTech success stories” and support its push to become the loading global hub for crypto businesses. The initiatives range from incubators (like the Financial Market Infrastructure Sandbox and the FCA’s CryptoSprint events), to industry engagement partnerships through a Cryptoasset Engagement Group, to reviews of the tax treatment of crypto and the legal status of Decentralised Autonomous Organisations. Most significant among the announcements is the Treasury’s confirmation that it will bring activities that issue or facilitate the use of stablecoins used as a means of payment into the UK regulatory perimeter.

On 18 January 2022, HM Treasury confirmed that it will bring certain cryptoassets into the scope of the financial promotion regime. The Treasury’s view is that the evidence of risks to consumers provides a strong case for intervention, and as such it intends to expand the scope of the Financial Promotions Order to include cryptoassets. The Treasury’s announcement was followed the next day by the launch of an FCA consultation on strengthening the financial promotion rules for high-risk investments, including cryptoassets.

Regulators and policymakers have left emergency measures behind and returned to their reform agendas. In this piece, Baker McKenzie regulatory experts set out the top ten UK developments for financial institutions and fintechs to watch in 2022 covering: good culture, Consumer Duty, BNPL regulation, crypto regulation, AML regulation, appointed representatives regime, financial promotions gateway, operational resilience, ESG regulation, divergence, Future Regulatory Framework Review.

On 7 January 2021 HM Treasury (HMT) published a consultation and call for evidence on the regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins. The consultation represents the first stage in HMT’s consultative process on the broader regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins. The consultation closes on 21 March 2021. 

In this briefing we explore the policy background underlying the consultation, set out the key points of HMT’s proposals, and provide a comparison to corresponding provisions in the European Commission’s recent proposal on a regulatory framework for cryptoassets.