Category: Global Compliance

Corporate GovernanceGlobal ComplianceLegalRegulation

The main steps to follow for opening a business abroad

Before starting a business in a foreign jurisdiction, it is important to follow a number of steps that will ensure a good understanding of the local company formation principles and laws as well as the cultural or business particularities. Opening a company in Dubai will be different from starting a business in Germany and investors should be informed of the general incorporation conditions in the jurisdiction where they decide to base their business.

Know the local company formation rules

Company incorporation is jurisdiction-specific, meaning that each country will have its particular set of rules for the incorporation and the registration of the business, as well as for obtaining permits and licenses for running the company.

Investors who open a business or a foundation in the Netherlands will need to comply with the Company Law in the Netherlands and register the company with the Chamber of Commerce or KVK.

Some countries offer more attractive business conditions, compared to others, especially for startups, in terms of company taxation and the overall ease of doing business. Researching the particularities of a jurisdiction is the key for finding a suitable business location.

Request professional aid

In some situations, reaching out to a local law firm or professional company formation specialist can be a good solution. Investors in the United Kingdom can also request professional defense solicitor services if they have been the victims of criminal business acts while performing an economic activity in that country.

Research the market

Understanding the local needs and preferences, as well as performing a targeted market research, can be a key ingredient for businesses that are successful in foreign markets. Due diligence is important when starting a business abroad. For example, when opening a luxury car rental business in Dubai, investors can start by analyzing the competition, the market particularities and the preferences of the clients in order to determine how their services can meet the needs of the clients.

Researching the conditions for doing business and the general steps for company formation, understanding the business and cultural differences as well as getting to know the market and the clients are all good steps when deciding to open a business abroad.

Global Compliance

Samuel Knight expands its US presence with new hire and plans for Chicago

Leading energy and rail recruitment firm, Samuel Knight International, has announced plans to extend its US operations with a new head office in Chicago as the need for rail infrastructure talent in the city looks set to grow.

With a strong track record in supporting some of the world’s most exciting engineering projects in over 30 countries, the £16 million pound turnover business plans to extend this expansion across Boston, California and Atlanta to support employment as demand for niche energy and rail professionals increases in the States.

The firm has also welcomed a new Chairman to help drive this growth. James Barbour-Smith joins the agency, bringing with him a wealth of experience in working with numerous fast growing businesses to develop and implement their growth strategies. Drawing on almost twenty years in private equity investment and portfolio management involving over 50 companies in a broad range of sectors, James also has an extensive background across the US and European markets.

Commenting on this latest news, Steve Rawlingson, CEO of Samuel Knight and President of Samuel Knight Corp, said:

“We know from experience that the States offers a wealth of opportunity for rail, energy and infrastructure recruitment and as we’ve seen demand for our services increase in the US, expanding our physical presence across the States made complete sense. Now really is the time for excelled growth for us which is why we’re investing in these four new offices – with the potential for more to be opened further down the line.”

James Barbour-Smith added:

“There’s huge investment in offshore and onshore energy in the US at the moment. Given the firm’s global experience in attracting niche talent in these fields, Samuel Knight is undoubtedly well placed to support business across the States and deliver the results that reflect this investment. I look forward to working with the team as Chairman in this exciting period of growth.”

Global ComplianceWealth Management

Sparta Global announces appointment of Andy King as Managing Director

Sparta Global, a leading provider of technology and business services, today announces the appointment of Andy King as its new Managing Director. Andy joins Sparta Global following the opening of its new Head Office at 125 London Wall and £4m equity investment from Private equity house Key Capital Partners (KCP) to support its continued growth and expansion.

With his new position as Managing Director at Sparta Global taking full effect from 10th April 2019, Andy will assist with the attraction, training and deployment of highly skilled graduates in blue chip organisations – reporting to David Rai, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sparta Global.

As former UK & Ireland Managing Director of FDM Group PLC, Andy and his team were responsible for a total revenue of £106.7m (circa 52% of total group revenue) and more than 1800 consultants deployed with clients across the UK. Additionally, he was responsible for overseeing and implementing new academies across the UK. Before his 10-year tenure at FDM Group PLC, Andy was the Global Head of Testing at Barclays Wealth for 5 years.

David Rai, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Sparta Global, says; “Attracting someone of Andy’s calibre, track record and growth potential to Sparta Global is incredibly exciting. Andy is a highly motivated individual with extensive experience managing and leading global teams across sectors such as investment banking and the public sector. His proven track record in sales, graduate recruitment, training, mentoring and programme delivery – combined with a positive attitude and passion to drive a successful team – makes him an ideal fit for Sparta Global.”

Of his appointment, Andy King says; “I am hugely excited to be joining Sparta Global at such a key stage in its growth and development. Sparta Global has built a strong platform in the UK with Academies in London, the Midlands and North of England, fulfilling the growing UK-wide demand for diverse, highly skilled and dynamic technology professionals. I look forward to working with the exceptional team at Sparta Global and giving our clients the tools to power technology projects across a diverse range of industries”.

FundsGlobal ComplianceTransactional and Investment Banking

The rise of renewable energy

You can’t deny that businesses around the world have taken a greater focus on sustainability — and although this has been damaging for some companies, it has been a great shift for others. One prime example of this is the renewable energy sector; while traditional energy markets are faltering and facing a challenging road ahead, the renewables sector is breaking records.

Although a lot of markets rely on natural resources to operate, the renewables industry use resources that naturally replenish. Collected under the umbrella term of renewables is solar, wind and wave power, alongside biomass and biofuels.

As the market continues to grow, HTL Group, specialists in controlled bolting for the wind energy sector, analyses where the renewables sector is at now:

The market’s performance

The recent years have been successful for the renewables sector. In 2016, 138 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity was created, showing an 8% increase on 2015, when 128 GW was added.

Occupying 55% market share and using 138 GW of power, the renewable energy sector is in the lead. Following in second place, coal created 54 GW of power-generating capacity, while gas created 37 GW and nuclear created 10 GW.

Renewables’ huge contribution to the global power-generating capacity accounted for 55% of 2016’s electricity generation capacity and 17% of the total global power capacity, increasing from 15% in 2015.

Research released by the UNEP highlighted that the renewable sector prevented 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2016 alone. Based on the 39.9 billion tonnes of CO2 that was released in 2016, the figure would have been 4% higher without the availability of renewable energy sources.

Renewable market investment

Regardless of the continued growth of the sector, investments actually decreased in 2016. In 2016, $242 billion was invested in the sector, showing a 23% decrease on 2015’s figures. This reduction can largely be attributed to the falling cost of technology in each sector.

However, this could be down to the alterations made to markets on a country-specific basis. In 2016, Europe was the only region to see an increase in investment in the renewables sector, rising 3% on 2015’s figures to reach $60 billion. This performance is largely driven by the region’s offshore wind projects, which accounted for $26 billion of the total, increasing by over 50% on 2015’s figures.

Across Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium, investment seems to be strong. UK investment slipped by 1% on the previous year, while Germany’s investment dropped by 14%.

Believe it or not, investments made from China decreased from 2015’s $78 billion to $37 billion. Investment from developing nations also dropped in 2016 to a total of $117 billion, down from $167 billion in 2015. In 2016, investment had almost levelled out between developed and developing countries ($125 billion vs $117 billion).

What does the future look like?

With greater developments, the future looks bright for the renewable sector. From the falling cost of technology to societal shifts like the 2040 ban to prevent the sale of new petrol- and diesel-fuelled cars, the future certainly looks positive for the sector — even if investment has declined in the past year.

In the future, it is inevitable that the sector will overtake more traditional markets on a global scale, revolutionising how we generate and consume energy.

This article was provided by HTL Group, hydraulic torque wrench suppliers.

SteelEye MiFID II
Global Compliance

Reflecting on six months of MiFID II

Reflecting on six months of MiFID II

By Matt Smith, SteelEye

The financial services industry is in the throes of a new era. In January, the biggest overhaul of its operations in the past decade was implemented – the second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or MiFID II for short. MiFID II had those in the industry working overtime last Christmas as they scrambled to become compliant for deadline day, but major Exchanges failing to implement the regulation on time, postponement of dark pool caps and reigning confusion meant that, for many, January 3 failed to have the impact that was expected.

In the six or so months that followed, the industry has continued to adapt to this shifting landscape and new elements of the regulation have trickled in. Below, Matt Smith, CEO of compliance tech and data analytics firm SteelEye, explains what’s been happening on the ground since ‘the day of the MiFID’ and what we can expect to see in the future.

 

Best execution

Firms’ best execution requirements under MiFID II are far from over. Regulators have consistently cited execution quality as fundamental to the integrity of the market and, accordingly, MiFID II’s best execution requirements are extensive.

The first of these, RTS28, was implemented on April 30 and required firms to publicly disclose their order routing practices for clients across all asset classes in human and machine-readable reports. This was followed soon after by RTS27, which hit firms on June 30 and requires quarterly best execution reports detailing the ‘sufficient steps’ that have been taken to achieve the best possible results for clients when executing orders. This required the capturing of a remarkable amount of data, a process aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in the industry.

But experts believe it will still be a while longer before the data generated under these reports is sufficiently detailed and consistent enough to have a significant impact on trading behaviour. There have also been problems among firms unsure of what exactly to include in the reports, with many calling for regulators to issue more detailed guidance. Perhaps the next quarterly disclosures under RTS27, due in September, will make bigger waves.

 

Research unbundling

MiFID II’s unbundling rules have, so far, been the most controversial. Under these new rules, firms need to make explicit payments for investment research in order to prove that they are not being induced to trade – meaning free research is no more.

This created a number of hurdles for buy and sell-side firms, which set about creating frameworks to evaluate the materials they produce, distribute and consume in order to understand whether or not it now needs to be paid for under MiFID II. Currently the impact on the market is unclear, but there has been early evidence of an increase in M&A activity as providers tie up their services to expand sector coverage, and the more frequent use of tech to maximise existing research platforms.

The FCA has already announced a review into the application of these new unbundling rules. This is somewhat unsurprising, given that firms were issued with no guidance on how they should negotiate and price their research under MiFID II.

 

Dark pool transparency

One of the major focuses of MiFID II was to force equity trading back onto public stock markets by reducing the use of dark pools in favour of lit book trading venues. Early evidence suggests that the share of trading on lit exchanges hasn’t risen since January, still comprising around 50% of all trades.

But, price swings have fallen, as have trading volumes in dark pools. Additionally, the LSE’s total lit order book ADV rose to £6.2bn in the first quarter of 2018 – the exchange’s highest quarterly performance in a decade. This indicates that MiFID II’s impact on transparency has been mixed. While the overall proportion of trades executed in the dark versus lit venues hasn’t changed significantly, the proportion of LIS trades is higher.

It’s also necessary to factor in the delayed implementation of these new dark pool caps, which were postponed from January to March – meaning their full impact may not yet have been shown, and Q1 summaries will not necessarily illustrate what is currently happening on the ground. We may have to wait longer still to see whether the industry has seen the light, or will continue to operate in the dark.

 

Systematic internalisers

Despite the January rush, systematic internalisers (SIs) haven’t yet been fully implemented under MiFID II. This was due to come in September, by which point any firm labelled as an SI would have to comply with their new obligations, but ESMA announced in July a further delay to the new rules.

Now, derivatives have until March to comply with the requirements and ESMA will not publish its calculations for derivatives until February due to ongoing issues with incomplete and inadequate data. This isn’t a let-off for the entire industry, though; instead of publishing all the rules, ESMA is focusing on completeness for a select number of asset classes and delaying others. Equity, equity-like and bond instruments will still have to be compliant by September 1.

 

Going forward

If MiFID II has proven anything, it’s that compliance is, more than ever, an evolving process not a one-off event. In the coming weeks, months and years MiFID II will remain an ongoing challenge for firms and strategic and operational flexibility will be needed if they are to flourish.

MiFID II absolutely has the potential to have a significant and positive impact on the industry. But collaborative partnerships, innovation and further guidance from regulators are critical to this impact being realised. In July a formal complaint was lodged against the FCA for its silence on MiFID II, and undoubtedly for those firms making the right efforts to comply with the new rules this lack of clarity is frustrating.

 

There is hope in the industry that, once clarification is provided and regulation requirements are gradually met, focus will shift from merely complying, to embracing the opportunities provided by MiFID II’s new framework. As the dust settles and uncertainty fades, a more transparent, competitive and trustworthy industry should, hopefully, emerge. 

gdpr
Global ComplianceRegulation

Debunking Five Crucial GDPR Misconceptions

There’s now less than a month to go until the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, and yet research shows that many businesses are still struggling to understand what they need to do. Worse still, many remain unaware of the full extent of the legal implications of non-compliance – whether deliberate or accidental. A YouGov poll in March found that 72% of British adults hadn’t even heard of the regulation, whilst a study by Crowd Research Partners carried out in April found that just 7% of companies worldwide were ‘fully prepared’ for GDPR’s arrival.

These figures should be cause for concern, since GDPR represents a huge change in the way in which every business uses, manages and protects personal data. It enshrines the sanctity of personal data ownership with the individual, with businesses merely the custodians. And as Jan Phillip Albrecht LL.M, Member of the European Parliament and Vice Chair of its Civil Liberties, Home Affairs and Justice Committee wrote in 2016: “It is paramount to understand how GDPR will change not only the European data protection laws but nothing less than the whole world as we know it.”

With this in mind, here are the five most common myths about GDPR, and some steps you can take to ensure you’re on the way to being geared up for the change.

This isn’t just about the EU

One of the biggest misconceptions about GDPR seems to be that it’s only an issue for companies physically based in the EU. This is not the case. GDPR essentially applies to any business anywhere in the world wanting to sell products and services to EU customers, or monitor their behaviour using personal data. In other words, if you’re based in Dubai wanting to do business with a customer in Germany, then GDPR – or equivalent standards – still apply.

It’s not as simple as following the rules

One of the reasons why GDPR is causing a certain amount of angst – amongst those who have, in fact, heard of it – is that it is principle-based regulation, which means that judgement will be based on whether data has been processed in accordance with designated principles, rather than hard and fast rules. If a company is investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), then the ICO will look at whether ‘effective’ consent has been obtained by the data’s owner and whether that data is deemed ‘current’. This leaves the door open for interpretation, which would be entirely at the ICO’s discretion and involve a legal-based assessment. This means there’s a big job for the legal profession in helping businesses understand and act on their responsibilities.

It’s about more than just compliance

The other source of confusion in all of this is that many companies have assumed that this is a compliance, or even a technical issue, which can simply be left to the relevant team to deal with. The problem is that GDPR is so all-encompassing that any individual handling data in an organisation will undoubtedly require training to understand the regulatory demands and what to do in order to comply. It also means assessing processes for handling a serious data breach and examining every contract – with employees and subcontractors – to ensure that they are GDPR compliant. For some companies, it may also mean hiring a dedicated data protection officer or at the least gaining specialist legal advice on their current practice and system.

Technology is no panacea

Likewise, GDPR is not something that can be ‘fixed’ with technology. A lot of people have mistakenly assumed that GDPR is only concerned with extreme data hacking cases, but the regulation imposes draconian sanctions for a range of other breaches, too. For example, if consent of use has not been properly obtained, or the data is not processed as set out in the regulations, then serious penalties, including hefty fines, could be on the cards. There are also some data breach risks that simply cannot be fixed by technology, for example a staff indiscretion or mistake such as leaving confidential information in a public place. What’s more, GDPR forbids reliance on automated decision making, as typically seen when loan companies refuse customers based purely on an automated credit score. The point is that this regulation demands that companies take a holistic and intelligent approach to the treatment of personal data – it’s not a question of picking and choosing the bits you want to adopt or relying on your systems to do the job for you.

This isn’t just another overhead

It’s hard to overstate the risk of getting this wrong – the potential fines are on a level we’ve never seen before in data protection. Certain infringements are subject to fines of up to €20 million or 4% of worldwide annual turnover – whichever is higher. Severe breaches also run the risk of class actions. But the fines only tell part of the story. The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal wiped around £25 billion off the social media platform’s value in the first 24 hours after the story broke and the reputational fallout continues. Businesses simply cannot afford the reputational damage that could be wrought by such a significant change.

Not sure if you’re in breach of GDPR regulations? Take the GDPR quiz to test your resilience.

Four things you should do straight away:

1. Review your processes for data breach notification, security and risk assessment.
2. Ask yourself whether the data you handle could be anonymised.
3. Review your contracts for GDPR compliance.
4. Consider hiring a data protection officer or seeking specialist legal advice.

http://www.bestcriminaldefencebarrister.co.uk

AI Global Media
Global ComplianceRegulation

AI Global Media, Publishers of Wealth & Finance Magazine have Become CPD members.

In short, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities.

CPD combines different methodologies of learning, such as training workshops, conferences and events, e-learning, best practice techniques and ideas sharing, all focused on helping individuals to improve through access to effective professional development.

Engaging in CPD activities ensures that both academic and practical qualifications do not become out-dated or obsolete; allowing individuals to continually ‘up-skill’ or ‘re-skill’ themselves, regardless of occupation, age or educational level.

Commenting on the fantastic news, Kathryn Hall, Director at AI Global Media said:

“We are very pleased to make this announcement. Over the coming months we will be publishing articles on our website and in our publications from which we feel our subscribers will gain great insight and as such will be able to gain CPD hours from reading. AI Global Media is committed to providing insightful, useful and intuitive news and announcements for our readers, allowing them to further develop within their specialist fields.”

 

Title Here

European Commission Adopts Position on Portugal's 2016 Draft Budgetary Plan
Global ComplianceRegulation

European Commission Adopts Position on Portugal’s 2016 Draft Budgetary Plan

In the context of elections on 4 October 2015, Portugal did not submit a DBP on time by 15 October, but only on 22 January 2016. A preliminary analysis identified a serious risk of non-compliance with budgetary policy obligations and, in line with the rules, the Commission asked the Portuguese government to clarify outstanding issues.

Taking into account a) the Draft Budgetary Plan, b) further structural consolidation measures announced by Portugal on 5 February as well as c) additional information regarding the 2015 baseline, the structural effort planned by the Portuguese authorities for 2016 is now estimated to be between 0.1% and 0.2% of GDP.

Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, commented:

“Following intense technical and political contacts, the Commission did not have to request a revised draft budgetary plan from the Portuguese authorities. Nevertheless, the government’s plans are at risk of non-compliance with the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact. The Portuguese Government is invited to take the necessary steps to ensure that the 2016 budget is compliant. In spring, the Commission will reassess Portugal’s compliance with its obligations under the Stability and Growth Pact, including under the Excessive Deficit Procedure.”

Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said:

“This is a good outcome for all concerned: Portugal, the Commission and the euro area. Without having had to request a revised draft budgetary plan, a constructive dialogue has led to additional measures worth up to €845 million, which will help safeguard the soundness of Portugal’s public finances. The reassuring message to investors today is: the EU’s fiscal framework is robust and the Commission welcomes Portugal’s reaffirmed commitment to it. At the same time, the risk of non-compliance remains and we will continue to monitor developments in the coming months as part of the ongoing Excessive Deficit Procedure.”

Portugal has been in the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact since December 2009 and was asked to correct its excessive deficit by 2015, i.e. to bring the deficit to below 3% of GDP by 2015. For 2016, the Council recommended that Portugal make a fiscal adjustment of 0.6% of GDP towards the medium-term objective. According to Portugal’s DBP and the Commission’s winter forecast, the general government deficit is expected to have been 4.2% in 2015.
Source: European Union.

Mediator of the Month - Globis
Global ComplianceRegulation

Mediator of the Month – Globis

Workplace and employment mediation is coming of age. More organisations are using it to resolve workplace conflict than ever before, an increase that is due to organisations’ desires to seek more effective, less time-consuming and less costly methods of conflict resolution within the workplace. The reason for this change in approach to conflict resolution, and the increase in conflict resolution methods per se, is the rise in workplace conflict. The causes of this, as we shall see in this book, are both multifaceted and complex, but what is very clear to the outside observer is that the current system of workplace conflict resolution in
this country is broken.

The employment tribunal, the mainstay of workplace conflict resolution, has been with us over half a century, and despite reforms along the way it is now recognised by many, myself included, as an analogue process in a digital world. It is too black and white in a world where complex grey areas exist, especially where human beings are at the centre. Workplace conflict is not always about wrong and right, about the innocent and the guilty, and certainly not about who can afford the best lawyer. Too often the ‘resolution’ aspect of conflict resolution is ignored, but this is something that forms the core of mediation. Mediation aims to resolve conflict quickly, fairly and cheaply, something that is of benefit to both the individual and any organisation that values its time, money and reputation.

Most organisations now recognise that conflict is a part of working life, but surprisingly few are equipped to deal with it quickly and effectively or even acknowledge its effect. In my book, Difficult Conversations – 10 Steps to Becoming a Tackler Not a Dodger, I liken difficult conversations to small fires that can burn out of control if not dealt with quickly, and the presence of an effective conflict management policy is similar to this—if conflict is not dealt with swiftly and effectively it can spread across teams and departments, causing damage that can only truly be realised when the fire is finally extinguished. Even then, embers of resentment can burn long afterwards. This is where mediation comes into its own, taking days or even on some occasions only hours to halt a conflict in its tracks and get all the parties concerned back to focusing on their jobs, not the conflict that has arisen because of them. Conflict can in fact be strategically managed fairly easily, and organisations that recognise this will benefit over organisations that have not, or will not, embrace the concept. We have seen similar developments in other fields, for example coaching, which reached maturity in the UK some years ago and has successfully ironed out issues associated with issues such as accreditation and supervision. It is my belief that mediation is likely to follow a similar path.

As mediation in the workplace matures, there will be a need to learn from our experiences with it and review how the profession develops in practice. Using mediation to resolve conflicts in the workplace is still a relatively new concept (despite mediation first being used by the ancient Greeks), and there is always an opportunity to improve the experience those involved in conflict situations undergo as they find their path to peace and reconciliation. I am very confident however that the future of conflict resolution in the workplace is through flexible practices such as mediation rather than one-dimensional tribunals.

Thousands of people have benefitted from being users of mediation services, but unlike employment tribunals they are confidential in nature, meaning that we are unlikely to hear of many successes. A book like this helps draw attention to the positivity of mediation and its advantages for both individual organisations and communities. Like other fields such as art and science, developments in mediation occur as a result of new discoveries, developments which are even more likely as its use grows and diversifies.

About the book

The book incorporates a number of themes and is split broadly into two parts, exploring a number of themes. First, I felt it important to set the book in some context in terms of the British workplace. To this end I look at the history of the British workplace and discuss how it has changed from the days of the industrial revolution to today’s multicultural, dynamic workplace, paying particular attention to how and why these changes have wrought a rise in workplace conflict.

Next I examine the business case for mediation in dealing with conflict in the workplace compared to the existing forms of conflict resolution. I realise that busy HR professionals and CEOs want evidence of how mediation can benefit their bottom line, and here I offer evidence from various sources to detail how conflict costs businesses more than they realise and why mediation is a sound economic platform on which to build an effective conflict resolution programme.

Following this I discuss the power of storytelling in mediation. Some of you reading this will already be well aware that storytelling is the premise upon which many a mediation session is based, as everyone involved within them has a story to tell (something that employment tribunals do not generally engage in). The mediation process flushes out many stories of hurt, disbelief, justification and clarification, stories that can be vital to understanding the core reasons behind a conflict and that may have otherwise gone unheard.

The second part of the book focuses on the practical application of mediation as a method of conflict resolution within a workplace, the different ways to go about implementing it and best practice in regards to running it, drawing on my extensive experience as a mediator. This includes, at the end, a toolkit containing advice, templates and other documents that I use daily within my mediation work, providing you with everything you need to get started with your own in-house mediation strategy.

Each chapter is followed by a case study drawn from real life experiences. This is something I believe is very important in getting across both the various turns a mediation session can take and the power inherent within it to not only resolve a conflict but also cleanse and heal emotional wounds, allowing previously combative individuals to work effectively with each other once more. These case studies are, of course, all anonymous, and in them I try to draw a balance between the dynamics of the parties, triggers that caused the conflict and eventually prompt a requirement mediation, the impact the cases had on me as mediator and the learning that can be drawn from those in the mediation industry. There are also a number of brief case studies interspersed throughout the remaining parts of the book to illustrate certain points. In providing these case studies I recognise that I make myself vulnerable as I write openly about my experiences, including my failures and points for learning. I do not suggest for a moment that I have all the knowledge or answers, partly because the thrill of mediation is that when you think you’ve seen everything something comes along that knocks you for six! We are, after all, dealing with human beings. Like others I seek to continue to learn throughout my life, something that applies very strongly to my work in this field. All I can do, as all any mediator can do, is simply reflect on my ten years of mediation experience and use this experience to assist those with a shared interest in this field.

If you have read this far I am going to assume that you have at least a passing interest in mediation and its suitability in dealing with workplace conflict. Perhaps you are an independent mediator, organisation, commentator or government official. I have written this book with the intention of making a small contribution to demystify the concept of mediation and highlight its advantage as a commercial, pragmatic tool. If I increase your awareness of mediation within the workplace and leave you viewing it in a more positive light than you had before reading, then I will have achieved my purpose. I hope you enjoy the book.

About
Clive Lewis is a Business Psychologist, specialising in employee and industrial relations. He is the UK’s most published writer on the topic of mediation in the workplace. He is the founding director of Globis Mediation Group.

Company: Globis Ltd
Name: Clive Lewis OBE DL
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.globis.co.uk
Address: 1 Wheatstone Court, Waterwells Business Park, Quedgeley,
Gloucester GL2 2AQ.
Telephone: 0330 100 0809

EU Finalises Proposal for Investment Protection and Court System for TTIP
Global ComplianceRegulation

EU Finalises Proposal for Investment Protection and Court System for TTIP

The European Commission has finalised its new and reformed approach on investment protection and investment dispute resolution for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This follows another round of extensive consultations with the Council and the European Parliament. The proposal for the Investment Court System has been formally transmitted to the United States and has been made public.

The final text includes all the key elements of the Commission’s proposal of 16 September, which aims at safeguarding the right to regulate and create a court-like system with an appeal mechanism based on clearly defined rules, with qualified judges and transparent proceedings. The proposal also includes additional improvements on access to the new system by small and medium sized companies.

The new system would replace the existing investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in TTIP and in all ongoing and future EU trade and investment negotiations.

“Today marks the end of a long internal process in the EU to develop a modern approach on investment protection and dispute resolution for TTIP and beyond,” said Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. “This is the result of far-reaching consultations and debates with Member States, the European Parliament, stakeholders and citizens. This approach will allow the EU to take a global role on the path of reform, to create an international court based on public trust.”

Since the publication of the Commission’s initial proposal, the text was circulated extensively for consultation to ensure broad endorsement of its main innovative elements, notably amongst co-legislators: EU Member States and the European Parliament.

These elements refer in particular to the strengthening of the right to regulate through a new article, the establishment of a new system for resolving disputes – ‘the Investment Court System’ –, and the creation of an appeal mechanism to correct errors and ensure consistency.

One of the changes made to the 16 September proposal is an additional improvement for small and medium-sized enterprises that would benefit from faster proceedings and would enjoy privileged treatment in comparison with large multinational companies.

EU Commission Considers Completion of the Banking Union
Global ComplianceRegulation

EU Commission Considers Completion of the Banking Union

This debate is an indispensable part of achieving a full and deep Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), and in particular about bringing forward a proposal for a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS).

The recent Five Presidents’ Report set out a number of steps to further strengthen EMU. One of them is to move towards guaranteeing deposits at the European level with a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS). EDIS would mark an important step forward in terms of reinforcing financial stability by reducing the link between banks and sovereigns, and it would enhance confidence by protecting citizens’ deposits at the European level, independent of their bank’s location in the union. It would be based on a system of reinsurance, as a first step.

The Commission’s proposal, which will be made on 24 November, will be accompanied by a Communication which will set out other concrete measures to further reduce risks in the financial system.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, said: “Financial stability is a precondition for economic growth and convergence. We need to complete Banking Union as one of the pillars of a resilient and dynamic Economic and Monetary Union. Today’s discussion in the Commission demonstrates our commitment to propose first steps towards an EU Deposit Insurance Scheme already this year. In parallel, we will work on further reducing risks in the banking sector.”

Commissioner Jonathan Hill, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “Everyone agrees that there is unfinished business on the Banking Union. Alongside supervision and resolution, we need an effective system for deposit guarantees. By gradually developing that at the European level, we can reinforce the confidence that depositors have in their banks, and further weaken the link between banks and their sovereigns.”

Financial stability and the confidence of citizens are indispensable preconditions for economic growth. A proposal for EDIS, as suggested by the Five Presidents’ Report, would consist of a reinsurance of national Deposit Guarantee Schemes (DGS) as a first step, moving towards a full European system of deposit guarantees in the longer term. While national DGS are already in place and provide for the protection of EUR 100.000 per person/per account per bank, they are not backed by a common European scheme.

EDIS would help to reinforce depositor confidence in banks across the Banking Union. Pressure on banks would be reduced and the loop between banks and Member States would be further weakened by helping to ensure that all national DGS would have sufficient funds available to weather periods of high stress.

The Commission emphasises the need for all Member States to implement fully the agreed rules of the Banking Union. On 24 November, together with the EDIS proposal, the Commission will also present concrete ideas about how risks can be further reduced in the financial system in general and in the Banking Union, in particular.

Banks to Invest Heavily to Comply with Reforms
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Banks to Invest Heavily to Comply with Reforms

56% of the finical institutions which participated in the Accenture 2015 Global Structural Reform Study, including banks, insurers and capital markets firms, are expecting to invest at least $200 million on projects which will overhaul how they do business, in order to comply with the global structural reform legislation. Nearly a third expect to spend over double that amount, $500 million, over the course of the year.

The new regulations were introduced to re-shape financial services institutions and make them more resilient following the issues they faced during the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

Steve Culp, Senior Global Managing Director for Accenture Finance and Risk Services, emphasised the vast scale of these reformsand the impact they will have on the industry.

‘Over the past five years, many firms have struggled to keep pace with the multitude of regulatory, conduct and compliance related issues. Their responses have been fragmented and they have made significant investments in people, process and tools to remediate.

Looking ahead, the financial services landscape will continue to be re-written, given the cumulative impact of global structural reform, especially for internationally active banks and insurers. Those with a clear and connected global implementation plan in place will be best positioned to get the most from their investments.’

The financial industry as a whole is confident that they are prepared for the reforms, with 60% of the survey’s participants stating that they are ‘well prepared’ and a further 35% claiming to be ‘extremely well prepared’ to become compliant with the changing structural regulations.

Samantha Regan, a Managing Director in Accenture Finance and Risk Services and the lead of the Regulation and Compliance practice, was keen to highlight the importance of taking the reforms seriously but also using attitude to bring about a positive outcome to the situation.

‘Financial institutions cannot afford to adopt a wait-and-see approach in their response to the challenges presented by GSR. They need to tackle structural reform with the same bold, strategic thinking that they are using for other industry challenges. First movers can potentially turn this challenge into a competitive advantage with clients and customers drawn to firms with clear business strategies.’

Cyber Security Insurance: New Steps to Make UK World Centre
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Cyber Security Insurance: New Steps to Make UK World Centre

The report, ‘UK cyber security: the role of insurance in managing and mitigating the risk’, has been produced in collaboration with the UK’s insurance market and a number of top UK companies. It aims to make the UK a world centre for cyber security insurance. In particular, it highlights the exposure of firms to cyber attacks among their suppliers with a key agreement that participating insurers will include the government’s Cyber Essentials certification as part of their risk assessment for small and medium businesses.

Read the report: UK cyber security: the role of insurance in managing and mitigating the risk.

Cyber threats are estimated to cost the UK economy billions of pounds each year with the cost of cyber attacks nearly doubling between 2013 and 2014. The report found that, while larger firms have taken some action to make themselves more cyber-secure, they face an escalating threat as they become more reliant on online distribution channels and as attackers grow more sophisticated. It issues a call to arms for insurers and insurance brokers to simplify and raise awareness of their cyber insurance offering and ensure that firms understand the extent of their coverage against cyber attack.

Companies are recommended to stop viewing cyber largely as an IT issue and focus on it as a key commercial risk affecting all parts of its operations. The product of collaboration between government and the sector following a summit held last November, the report recommends that firms examine the different forms of cyber attacks they face, to stress-test themselves against them and to put in place business-wide recovery plans.

The report also notes a significant gap in awareness around the use of insurance, with around half of firms interviewed being unaware that insurance was available for cyber risk. Other surveys suggest that despite the growing concern among UK companies about the threat of cyber attacks, less than 10% of UK companies have cyber insurance protection even though 52% of CEOs believe that their companies have some form of coverage in place.

On 23 March, Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office with responsibility for the UK Cyber Security Strategy, is hosting an event at the Cabinet Office for chairmen and senior executives of insurers and top UK companies on the role of insurance in managing growing cyber threats.

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General said:

“It is part of this government’s long-term economic plan to make the UK one of the safest places in the world to do business online. The UK’s insurance market is world renowned and we want it to be the same in relation to cyber risks. The market has extensive knowledge and experience of more established risks to help businesses manage and mitigate relatively new cyber risks.”

“Insurance is not a substitute for good cyber security but is an important addition to a company’s overall risk management. Insurers can help guide and incentivise significant improvements in cyber security practice across industry by asking the right questions of their customers on how they handle cyber threats.”

New Rules Credit Brokers Rules Will Protect Consumers
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New Rules Credit Brokers Rules Will Protect Consumers, Says FCA

New Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules will ban credit brokers from charging fees to customers, and from requesting customers’ payment details for that purpose, unless they comply with new requirements ensuring that customers are given clear information about who they are dealing with, what fee will be payable, and when and how the fee will be payable. The rules come into force on 2 January 2015.
Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA, said: “The fact that we have had to take these measures does not paint this market in a particularly good light. I hope that other firms will take note that where we see evidence of customers being treated in a blatantly unfair way, we will move quickly to protect consumers from further harm.”
The new rules have been made without prior consultation because the FCA considers that the delay arising from the time it would take to consult would be prejudicial to the interests of consumers. The FCA also believes that enforcement action alone is not sufficient to protect consumers from the poor practices identified in the market.

The FCA’s concerns relate to:

• a lack of transparency, resulting in consumers often not realising they are dealing with a broker rather than a lender;
• fees being taken without informed consent, for example where terms and conditions are hidden or misleading;
• consumers being misled as to the purpose of giving their payment details;
• firms passing on consumers’ details, including their payment details, without informed consent, to other firms who also take a fee; and
• consumers facing difficulty in identifying the firm that has taken a fee, and in obtaining a refund from the firm or a response to their complaint.

Today’s announcement is part of a package of measures which will also require credit brokers to:

• include their legal name, not just their trading name, in all advertising and other communications with customers;
• state prominently in all advertising that they are a credit broker and not a lender; and
• report quarterly to the FCA listing their website domain names, if they charge fees to customers.
• Consumers will also have a 14-day right of cancellation where credit broking contracts are entered into as distance contracts, for example online.

Over 40 per cent of consumer credit complaints received by the FCA relate to credit brokers, 80 per cent of which relate to firms who charge upfront fees. The FCA has also received relevant intelligence from consumer groups and others who are seeing increasing complaints from people who have had money taken from their accounts unexpectedly and often by more than one broker.

The FCA is investigating a number of credit broking firms; seven firms have been stopped from taking on new business and, to date, three further cases have been referred for enforcement action.

The key changes for credit brokers are as follows:

Information notices and customer confirmation: a ban on credit brokers charging fees, or requesting payment details for that purpose, unless:

• the broker has provided an explicit notice to the customer (an ‘information notice’), setting out:

     o the firm’s legal name;
     o a statement that the firm is, or is acting as, a credit broker (not a lender);
     o a statement that a fee will or may be payable;
     o the amount or likely amount of the fee;
     o when and how the fee will be payable; and

• the customer has acknowledged receipt of the notice, and awareness of its contents (the ‘customer confirmation’).
Each broker will have to send its own information notice, and receive its own customer confirmation, before being able to charge a fee. The information notice and customer confirmation must be on paper, by email, or in another durable medium, and the broker will have to keep records of them.

Transparency: credit brokers will need:

• to include their legal name (as it appears in the Financial Services Register) in all financial promotions and communications with customers;.
• to state prominently in all financial promotions that the firm is, or is acting as, a credit broker and not a lender; and
• in the case of fee-charging brokers, to notify the FCA quarterly of their domain names.

Right to cancel:

1. Clarification that consumers have a 14-day right of cancellation and right to a refund where credit broking contracts are entered into as distance contracts (e.g. online).
2. Policy statement 14/18: Credit broking and fees.
3. On 1 April 2014, the FCA became responsible for approximately 50,000 consumer credit firms, including credit card providers.
4. On the 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
5. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.

Rockefeller to Divest From Fossil Fuels
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Rockefeller to Divest From Fossil Fuels

The fossil fuel divestment is a change in direction for Rockefeller – Photo sourced from Shutterstock.

According to reports the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) will play an integral role in the forming of a coalition to divest over $50bn (£31bn) of assets in fossil fuels. With the Rockefeller fortune largely made from oil, it is a significant statement – made ahead of the UN summit on climate change opening today, Tuesday 23 September.

The fund was formed in 1940 by the sons of John D Rockefeller. A philanthropic organisation, it had investment assets amounting to around $860m at the end of July this year.

Made up of a number renowned philanthropists, the coalition the fund will be a key part of is understood to be formed of over 830 individual institutional investors.

The director of RBF, Stephen Heintz, said in a statement:

“We are quite convinced that if he [John D Rockefeller] were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,”

The climate change summit at the UN headquarters in New York opened earlier this morning with US President Barack Obama, British PM David Cameron and more than 120 heads of state and senior government officials in attendance.

The summit is being hosted by Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon who is hoping the world’s leaders can make significant inroads to agree a universal climate agreement.

Ban Ki-moon hopes the agreement will be signed by all nations by the end of next year.

OECD Demands New Tax Rules for Biggest Firms
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OECD Demands New Tax Rules for Biggest Firms

Courtesy of Shutterstock

The plans have been announced to target corporate tax avoidance on the world stage, which sees many of the world’s multinational companies reducing their tax bills by moving profits from one country to another.

Recent accusations have seen the likes of Amazon, Google and Starbucks accused of employing such practices, though all firms are resolute in saying they operate within the law.

Announcing the proposals in Paris yesterday the head of tax at OECD, Pascal Saint-Amans, said that they would:

“change the rules of the game”

M. Saint-Amans went on to explain that it the plans would ensure companies pay taxes in the country in which they have been generated. He went on to say that all of the 44 nations which contribute 90% to the world’s economy are in favour of the plans.

Under present rules, firms are able to exploit rules in place to prevent double taxation and benefit from double deductions against their tax instead.

Many also use internal billing processes to see that profits are registered in countries offering lower corporate tax rates.

The plans would see such practices prevented, obligating firms to declare staffing levels, revenues and profits in each jurisdiction they operate in.

The proposals will be set before the G20 finance ministers when they meet in Australia this weekend.

Poland Backs Growth Spending by EU
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Poland Backs Growth Spending by EU

Further denigrating opinion of the plans instigated by Germany, to cut back on spending, the Polish finance minister has called for a fresh €700bn spending found to 2020. According to Mateusz Szczurek, the current state of play risks a long-term economic decline in Europe.

Speaking to the Financial Times earlier in the week, Mr Szczurek said:

“Europe is strangling itself,”

He went on to say that the current policy in action was ‘exhausted’.

Mr Szczurek’s plea backs up the opinion of Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank’s president. He has called for the stronger economies in Europe to ramp up their spending. He says that by these countries taking such action, the threat of deflation will be thwarted. Mr Draghi also believe it is the best way to stimulate growth.

German Opposition

However, such manoeuvring is not likely to go down well in Germany. It has long believed that a prudent approach is the best approach.

This is not the view across all of Europe. In France and in Italy, it is widely believed by financial commentators that attitudes to austerity measures are changing. France has already missed hitting the EU’s deficit target, while Italy’s economy is stalling.

Under plans being presented by Mr Szczurek today, the EU’s member states would contribute capital amounting to €700bn to an infrastructure fund. Financing projects throughout the EU, with a focus on retarded and slow output countries such as Greece and Portugal.

The plans would see around €60bn contributed by all member states, while Mr Szczurek said that Germany could use the fund as a depositary for its ‘idle savings’. He has admitted that he expects opposition from Germany over the plans.

The plans are to be announced to the EU’s finance ministers later today, (Friday 12 September).

Compliance “Is at a Tipping Point”
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Compliance “Is at a Tipping Point”

Today’s Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) are in a position similar to that of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) 15 years ago, and they face a comparable opportunity and challenge: how to become a more strategic partner in the organisation; a vital member of the C-suite, according to the fourth annual State of Compliance 2014 Survey released by PwC US. Survey findings show the role of the CCO has gained more prominence over the last decade and is evolving rapidly.

“As the CCO’s role further evolves, compliance will become more integrated with business performance and CCOs will assume a more strategic role. Overall, the future of compliance depends on defining not just the compliance function, but also specifically the organisation’s desired role for the compliance chief,” said Sally Bernstein, principal, PwC. “It’s difficult to be ‘chief’ in the current environment, but more companies recognise they need to get into the ‘business of compliance,’ and are working towards that goal.”

The results of the survey show that compliance officers have been tasked with an increasing number of responsibilities, asked to manage a complex variety of compliance risks and exceeded expectations in many areas. Despite sometimes having a shortage of resources, CCOs have often achieved successes within their companies. The business and regulatory environment, however, is becoming more complex and CCOs are expected to deliver better information to help executive management identify and manage organisational risks.

“There is an increased focus on compliance as a business-enabling function and a growing interest in the topic overall. This is clearly demonstrated by this year’s survey participation rate which grew 35 percent to over a thousand respondents from under 800 last year,” said Andrea Falcione, managing director, PwC. “PwC sees the increase in survey participants as an indication that many companies are using this study as a benchmarking exercise to help determine their ongoing compliance program needs.”

According to PwC, to assume a more strategic role in their organisations, CCOs should engage with the business in more meaningful ways. PwC recommends that emulating the behaviours of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to achieve a similar evolution can be beneficial for CCOs, suggesting that CCOs exhibit the following behaviours: cultivate strong support of the CEO; maintain close working relationships with business leaders to drive understanding; leverage innovation ideas from other companies and functions; understand the organisational strategy and the broad range of risks associated with that strategy; and, recognise that compliance skills must be an enterprise-wide capability.

Survey results show corporate compliance staffing and budgets are trending up across the board. For the majority of companies surveyed, compliance budgets and staffing are increasing or staying at the same level across all industries. The survey also finds that organisations with more mature compliance functions, which are typically more regulated, tend to have larger budgets and staff than less regulated companies.

CSI and YBS Fined for Unclear Promotions
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CSI and YBS Fined for Unclear Promotions

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK financial watchdog, has fined both Credit Suisse International (CSI) and Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) for failing to ensure financial promotions for CSI’s Cliquet Product were clear, fair and not misleading. CSI was fined £2,398,100 and YBS’s fine was £1,429,000.

The Cliquet Product was designed by CSI to provide capital protection and a guaranteed minimum return with the apparent potential for significantly more if the FTSE 100 performed consistently well. The probability of achieving only the minimum return was 40-50% and the probability of achieving the maximum return was close to 0%. Despite this CSI’s and YBS’s financial promotions marketed the potential maximum return on the product as a key promotional feature.

The target market for the Cliquet Product was described by CSI as “stepping stone customers” who were conservative and risk averse. The product was typically sold to unsophisticated investors with limited investment experience and knowledge through a number of distributors. 83,777 customers invested a total of £797,380,716 in the product; with YBS being the distributor responsible for approximately 75% of the total amount invested.
The maximum return figure was given undue prominence in both CSI’s product brochures for the Cliquet Product, which YBS approved and provided to their clients, and in YBS’s own financial promotions for the product, some of which also did not clearly explain how returns were calculated.

Tracey McDermott, FCA’s director of enforcement and financial crime, said: “It is crucial that firms consider the needs of their customers from the time that products are being designed through to their marketing and sale. The information provided to customers forms an important part of this. Financial promotions are often the primary source of information for consumers and in this case CSI and YBS let their customers down badly. These promotions were a serious breach of the requirement to be clear, fair and not misleading.

“CSI and YBS knew that the chances of receiving the maximum return were close to zero but they nevertheless highlighted this as a key promotional feature of the product. This was unacceptable.”

In September 2010, following concerns raised by third parties, including Which?, YBS changed its promotions so that undue prominence was no longer given to the potential maximum return. However, YBS continued to cite the potential maximum return and to give an unfair impression of the likelihood of achieving it. CSI also reviewed its promotions in response to the third parties’ concerns, but decided not to change its product brochure significantly.

In addition, the FCA found that CSI failed to have a procedure in place for a complete review of their long running promotions on a periodic basis. If CSI’s processes had included such a review, this may have resulted in the problems with the product brochure being remedied earlier.

FCA to Give Firms Regulatory Help
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FCA to Give Firms Regulatory Help

Innovative firms, particularly smaller start-ups, will be offered the chance to work with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) whilst they develop new technologies and approaches to ensure they are compliant with regulations from the moment they go live, says FCA chief-executive Martin Wheatley.

Speaking at the London office of Bloomberg, the financial media company, Wheatley said the initiative, Project Innovate, was designed to ensure that the regulatory environment supported innovation in the market and was not seen a as a barrier. Wheatley said he also wanted a situation where regulators were keeping pace with technological advancement and not playing catch up.

Wheatley said that given London’s position as a European leader in the development of financial technology it was vital that the FCA took an open approach which would benefit firms and consumers.

Wheatley said: “It’s an imperative for regulators to be standing on the right side of progress. And this is one of the reasons why the FCA has launched Project Innovate.

“A key objective of the programme is to make sure that positive developments, the ones that promise to improve the lives of consumers or clients, are supported by the regulatory environment. In other words, we want an FCA that creates room for the brightest and most innovative companies to enter the sector.

“So, priority areas here might include the likes of mobile banking, online investment or money transfer, where we’re seeing innovations such as apps that allow you to take a picture of a bill and make payments with a tap of the smartphone. The possibilities opening up are extraordinary – and it’s clearly important they can be developed in the UK.

“To help this happen, the FCA is opening its doors to financial service firms (large and small) who are developing innovative approaches that aren’t explicitly addressed by current regulation – or where the guidance may be ambivalent.

“This engagement has already begun with a number of start-ups, as well as organisations like Tech City and Level 39, coming to talk to the FCA.

“Following on from this, we will be pulling together a scoping document exploring how innovation can be supported more effectively. That paper will focus on FCA expectations of firms, as well as specifics around advice and support for businesses bringing new models of financial service to market.

“In the meantime, we’ve already opened a hub in our policy team, which is pulling together FCA expertise to support innovators in two distinct ways.

“First, by providing help to firms developing new models or products advice on compliance so navigating the regulatory system. Second, by looking for areas where the system itself needs to adapt to new technology or broader change – rather than the other way round.”

“On top of this, we’ve also launched an incubator to support innovative, small financial businesses ready themselves for regulatory authorisation.”

Financial Services Industry “Out of Step With FCA Phone Regulations”
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Financial Services Industry “Out of Step With FCA Phone Regulations”

UK Financial Services companies are still struggling to comply with Financial Conduct Authority regulations which require them to record mobile phone conversations, a new report from analyst firm Ovum has found.

Research from call compliance specialist TeleWare, who sponsored the paper, estimates that as many as 45,000 mobile devices are at risk of non-compliance. This is far higher than the 25,000 often cited by the industry.

In 2012, TeleWare found that almost half of UK organisations didn’t have a fully compliant solution in place. This new report has found that two years down the line, non-compliance is still an issue and that the majority of impacted businesses continue to operate without effective measures in place.

A large number of organisations rely on simply imposing policies to prevent use of mobile devices for conversations which would fall under the regulations, but this approach is largely ineffectual, Ovum argues.

Steve Haworth, CEO of TeleWare, said: “This approach may be technically compliant, but is short-termist at best and unworkable at scale. Technical solutions, rather than policies, provide the most effective method of ensuring compliance without hamstringing employees.”

The exact scope of the regulation – including which companies are implicated and which of their operations and activities on mobile devices need to be recorded – has caused much confusion, despite the regulation coming into force in 2011.

“Some firms still believe they are altogether exempt and as a result are making no effort to comply. What is clear, however, is that all asset classes and instruments are included in the regulation, as are all sizes of buy- and sell-side firms. As for what needs to be recorded, the original wording states that ‘any relevant conversation’ should be recorded and stored, which is an extensive and highly inclusive statement”, added Rik Turner, senior analyst at Ovum.

Reducing Red Tape in Business Would Boost Greek Productivity – OECD
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Reducing Red Tape in Business Would Boost Greek Productivity – OECD

Greece could save its businesses hundreds of millions of euros a year and improve their competitiveness by reducing administrative burdens, according to a new Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report.

Measurement and Reduction of Administrative Burdens in Greece: An Overview of 13 Sectors identifies 3.3 billion euros worth of burdensome regulations weighing on businesses each year and says a quarter of these could be eliminated. Around three-quarters of the costs relate to company law, tax administration and public procurement.

Greece has worked to strengthen its public finances and restore competitiveness as it emerges from a deep crisis, but it needs now to reduce the layers of administrative requirements on businesses to support economic growth and jobs, the report says.

“This report takes a careful look at what it is costing Greek businesses to comply with rules and regulations which in many cases are unnecessary,” said OECD Deputy Chief of Staff Luiz de Mello, presenting the report in Athens. “Cutting some of this red tape would enable companies to spend less on administration and more on doing business.”

The report makes 87 recommendations for cutting down paperwork in 13 areas, including energy, telecommunications and fisheries. Many involve eliminating obligations to submit several paper copies of a document or dossier to different public authorities.

The 87 specific recommendations include:

• Setting a turnover threshold of 10,000 euros below which companies do not have to submit receipts to register value-added tax payments.

• Reducing the legal requirements on publishing annual financial statements.

• Allowing farmers simpler and faster access to European Union development aid, rather than a cumbersome existing system that uses intermediaries.

• Increasing the use of framework agreements in public procurement across all sectors, to make it simpler to draw up specific contracts.

• Simplifying annual leave records that need to be kept by employers.

• Enabling environment permits to be submitted and tracked online rather than via reports in paper form.

Crossroads Systems Regains NASDAQ Compliance
Global ComplianceRegulation

Crossroads Systems Regains NASDAQ Compliance

Crossroads Systems, a global provider of data protection solutions, has announced that it has received notice from The NASDAQ Stock Market that it has regained compliance with Listing Rule 5550(b)(1), which requires companies listed on The NASDAQ Capital Market to maintain stockholders’ equity of at least US$2.5m.

As a result, the Company’s pending hearing before the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Panel has been cancelled. NASDAQ has determined that the Company has regained compliance with all applicable listing standards to maintain the listing of its common stock on The NASDAQ Capital Market.

About Crossroads Systems

Crossroads Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRDS) is a global provider of data archive solutions. Through the innovative use of new technologies, Crossroads delivers customer-driven solutions that enable proactive data security, advanced data archiving, optimised performance and significant cost-savings. Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Austin, TX, Crossroads has been awarded more than 100 patents and has been honored with numerous industry awards for data archiving, storage and protection.

Clinical Research Global Compliance Just Got Easier
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Clinical Research Global Compliance Just Got Easier

Provision offers global consultancy services for the development and implementation of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Human Research Protection (HRP) procedural standards and programs for the conduct of clinical
research studies.

“There has never been a collaboration of GCP and HRP industry leaders specifically focused on meeting the compliance needs of research institutions around the world,” said Schulman Associates IRB President, Chief Executive Officer and Institutional Official Michael Woods. “Provision makes it easier for institutions to achieve their compliance goals and to engage in global development programs. It also helps study sponsors follow a simpler path to consistent compliance practices across a global network of research institutions. Global compliance just
got easier.”

Today, clinical trials are global, involving potentially hundreds of sites in a dozen or more countries. Pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical device sponsors need consistent quality and ethical standards for human subject protection and compliance to minimise regulatory risk.

Consistency is key to making a clinical trial as meaningful as possible, and the data as useful as possible. Meeting global compliance standards has been challenging because of outsourcing and the increasing complexity of the research. The approach to global compliance has often been very fragmented, and Provision offers a more comprehensive solution to achieving global compliance standards.

Enhanced Compliance for Integrity and Quality

The pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and medical device industries rely heavily on third parties to assist in the advancement of clinical research programs. Global contract research organizations (CROs) provide fundamental services for protocol development, study conduct, clinical program management, pharmacovigilance and data management, all directed to regulatory submissions and product approvals. Academic research institutions in locations around the world are responsible for study conduct and subject recruitment, according to the protocol as well as International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) GCP standards and guidelines.

While there are regulations and local customs unique to countries and regions around the world, research institutions still strive to conduct research consistent with ICH GCP standards. An alignment of GCP and HRP practices provides the essential regulatory compliance and significantly improves performance of clinical studies.

Experienced Research Compliance Leaders

While Provision Research Compliance Services is new, the two organizations behind Provision are industry leaders, with proven expertise in clinical quality assurance and human research protection.

Provision provides services that combine the extensive GCP quality assurance expertise of Falcon Consulting Group with the HRP expertise of Schulman Associates IRB. This new joint venture provides comprehensive solutions to improve overall quality standards for clinical studies and data integrity, and maximizes the protection of human research subjects. Provision’s services are available in more than 30 countries.

By improving GCP quality assurance and human research protection programs, clinical study data becomes more reliable and human subject protection is strengthened. This leads to more compliant submissions and more rapid approvals for patient therapies.