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Financial Services Regulation

Volume 674: debated on Wednesday 25 March 2020

In preparation for leaving the European Union, HM Treasury made over 50 EU exit statutory instruments under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to ensure the UK’s financial services regulatory regime stood ready for all scenarios at exit day. This included introducing a range of temporary permissions and transitional regimes to minimise any disruption to firms and consumers as we leave the EU.

The UK has now left the EU and entered a transition period, which will last until 31 December 2020. The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (“EUWAA 2020”) delayed those parts of the EU exit statutory instruments that would have come into force immediately before, on, or after exit day so they instead come into force at the end of the transition period. As a result of further secondary legislation made under the EUWAA 2020, the temporary permissions and transitional regimes will also now apply at the end of the transition period.

While, in general, the same laws and rules will apply at the end of the transition period, HM Treasury recognises it will be important, irrespective of the agreement that is reached between the EU and UK, for the regulators to have the flexibility to smooth any adjustments to the UK’s regulatory regime for financial services at the end of the transition period.

The Department will therefore retain the regulators’ “temporary transitional power” (TTP), which was introduced via the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, and shift its application such that it is available for use by the UK regulators for a period of two years from the end of the transition period.

The TTP will allow the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority to phase-in changes to UK regulatory requirements so that firms can adjust to the UK’s post-transition period regime in an orderly way, in line with the objectives already set by Parliament.