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Key Factors Shaping Market Abuse Regulations

During 2020, many factors have shaped the regulations and enforcement actions to maintain market integrity and place the interests of clients ahead of firms and individuals. In addition to the challenges faced by compliance and risk departments, the number of people trading worldwide has risen, pressuring regulators and compliance departments to quickly act to monitor conflicts of interest and prevent individuals from taking market advantage.

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ESMA Reports Increase in EU Market Abuse Penalties

ESMA published its annual report on December 21, summarising administrative and criminal sanctions and other measures imposed under the Market Abuse Regulation in 2019. A sum of 279 administrative sanctions and measures and 60 criminal sanctions were imposed for infringements of MAR in 2019. The total value of the penalties exceeds €88 million.

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FCA publishes speech on MAR

In a virtual conference, Julia Hoggart, Director of Market Oversight at the FCA discusses the challenges posed by the pandemic and highlights that at this stage firms should have overcome these challenges, improved surveillance and risk assessments. The speech is an indication as to where the FCA may focus their attention during the rest of this year and into 2021.

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ESMA Publishes MAR Review Report

On September 23rd, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a set of outcomes and recommendations on the Market Abuse Regulation. The report has the objective to review the functionalities of MAR since its implementation in 2016 and draft suggestions to improve the regulation. The report is based on a 2019 consultation and covers buy-back programmes, the delayed disclosure of inside information, the usefulness of insider lists, managers’ transactions, the retention period of personal data among other topics.

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Regulatory Focus on Conduct and Culture

The global workforce has been under pressure since March, when the lockdown started in most countries. Since then, the stress and financial pressure caused by COVID-19 and the uncertainty to industries, organizations and employees has increased. Governments and regulators are under pressure to deliver normality while reducing the economic and market impact of the crisis.

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