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Sarah Williams

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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.

On 30 January 2024, the UK government announced its first equivalence decision in relation to the new overseas funds regime (OFR). The government has granted equivalence in respect of the pan-EEA UCITS regime, meaning that UCITS funds established in the EEA can be marketed to UK retail investors once the OFR becomes operational later this year. The FCA set out its proposals to operationalize the regime in December 2023.

On 4 December 2023, the FCA published a consultation on rules and guidance to integrate the Overseas Funds Regime (OFR) into the Handbook and to enable recognition of overseas funds from jurisdictions approved by HM Treasury. The new rules and guidance will operationalize the OFR, implementing the regime’s framework to allow recognized overseas funds to be marketed to UK retail investors. The proposals include the information to be submitted with an application for recognition, notifications of changes, and enhanced disclosures regarding lack of access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and Financial Ombudsman Service.

Following its February 2023 consultation and call for evidence on a future financial services regulatory regime for cryptoassets, HM Treasury issued its policy statement on the wider cryptoasset regulatory regime on 30 October 2023. The policy update was published alongside a flurry of publications on the regulation of cryptoasset services, including interlinked policy documents covering regulation of fiat-backed stablecoins and the failure of systemic digital settlement asset (DSA) firms. This briefing covers the so-called “Phase 2” regulation of wider cryptoasset activities.

Following its February 2023 consultation and call for evidence on a future financial services regulatory regime for cryptoassets, HM Treasury issued its policy statement on the wider cryptoasset regulatory regime on 30 October 2023. The policy update was published alongside a flurry of publications on the regulation of cryptoasset services, including interlinked policy documents covering regulation of fiat-backed stablecoins and the failure of systemic digital settlement asset (DSA) firms. This briefing covers the so-called “Phase 2” regulation of wider cryptoasset activities.

In a long-awaited update on its plans for the UK’s crypto regulatory framework, on 30 October 2023, HM Treasury issued three interlinked policy documents on the future regulation of crypto, covering fiat-backed stablecoins, the wider cryptoasset regulatory regime, and the failure of systemic digital settlement asset (DSA) firms. This briefing covers stablecoin regulation and the failure of systemic DSA firms.

Our London Financial Services Regulatory Group recently hosted a webinar where they discussed recent developments about the Mansion House Reforms presented by the Chancellor in July 2023 and what they mean for the industry. We are pleased to share with you a recording of this webinar, for the benefit of those who weren’t able to catch it.

The FCA’s final rules for cryptoasset financial promotions, published in June 2023, will take effect from Sunday, 8 October 2023. Those marketing in-scope cryptoassets to UK consumers, including those based overseas, will need to ensure without delay that preparations are in place for the start of the rules.

On 28 June 2023, the EU Commission published its long-awaited package of reforms to the EU payments regulatory regime. Deeming the package an “evolution not a revolution” of the EU payments framework, the Commission has published proposals for:
• A third Payment Services Directive repealing and replacing the Payment Services Directive and Electronic Money Directive
• A new Payment Services Regulation, which will harmonize and directly apply most of the conduct obligations imposed on payments firms
• A new Regulation on a framework for financial data access, relating to open finance
• A new Regulation on the establishment of a digital euro

On 14 February 2023, the Treasury finally published its delayed consultation on draft legislation to bring BNPL within the regulatory perimeter. The legislation follows the general approach set out by the Treasury last summer to bringing BNPL within the regulatory perimeter. There are, however, some key updates in the Treasury’s final policy position from its thinking from last summer on the scope of regulation.