Yearly Archives: 2020

FCA fines broking firm for misleading conduct

The FCA has imposed a fine on broking firm TFS-ICAP for misleading customers in the FX derivatives market. The regulator found that between 2008 and 2015, brokers at TFS-ICAP openly carried out a deceptive practice known as “printing” trades. The …

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Now is the time to review your data protection policies

The end of the Brexit transition period and a recent decision of the European Court of Justice means that your business may need to make urgent changes to your data protection policies and procedures regarding the sharing of personal data. …

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Secret Buyer of the Royal Opera House’s £13 Million David Hockney Is Its Own Board Chair—and He’s Lending It Back

Delighted to see that the Royal Opera House will be able to continue to display David Hockney’s famous portrait of the its former general administrator, David Webster. The painting, which was commissioned in 1971, was originally funded by donations from opera house’s staff to mark Webster’s retirement and has been housed there ever since. However, the ROH made the difficult decision to sell the painting back in July 2020 as part of an effort to stem the financial deficit brought about by Covid-19.When the work was sold in October at Christie’s for £12.8 million to a then unnamed buyer, concerns that it might be taken abroad and lost to the public domain forever more seemed sadly justified. However, the work’s purchaser has now been revealed to be David Ross, the ROH’s board of trustees’ newly appointed chair, who has confirmed that he will be returning the painting to the Opera House on long-term loan.Sadly, the ROH is not alone in having to consider alternative ways to raise revenue in the Covid-era. The pandemic has forced many public institutions both in the UK and abroad into belt-tightening measures. Another high-profile example is the reports back in September this year that the Royal Academy was considering selling the famous Taddei Tondo by Michelangelo in order to avoid having to make job-cuts. Although the RA has since issued a statement confirming that it has ‘no intention of selling any works in its collection… It is our duty to look after our permanent collection, for current and future generations to enjoy.’This idea of collections being for the enjoyment of ‘current and future generations’ is one reason why the path to deaccession of artworks by public institutions is so fraught with both legal and PR difficulties. This is all the more when the reason for the intended sale is financially motivated. Who could forget Northampton Borough Council’s ill-fated decision in 2014 to sell a 4000 year-old Egyptian statue from its collection, in order to fund an ambitious local refurbishment project. The Council pressed on with the sale despite furious public outcry, earning themselves heavy criticism by the Museums Authority and various other public bodies, which ultimately resulted in their museums’ accreditation being removed by the Arts Council England for a minimum period of five years.This is not to say that museums should never be permitted to dispose of works. There can be very good grounds for deaccession. However, the preservation, development and funding of public collections will always been a highly contentious and political subject so it has to be done carefully. Museums considering divesting themselves of items in their collection should therefore ensure that they comply with the Museums Association’s Code of Ethics and Disposal Toolkit, or otherwise risk facing legal and/or regulatory sanctions and reputational damage.The Royal Opera House is, of course, not an art museum, and would therefore not have been subject to the legal restrictions mentioned above. Nevertheless, whenever any high-profile public institution seeks to divest itself of a much-loved asset due to financial problems, emotions will always run high. This time, happily, a philanthropic private individual was able to step in and Hockney’s painting will be going back where it belongs (albeit on extended loan). Next time we might not be so lucky…

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Cov-lite covenants leading to disputes between borrowers and lenders

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that many businesses are needing to take on additional debt. Some have been attempting to take advantage of looser Cov-lite loan provisions to transfer assets into subsidiaries out of reach of lenders and then use …

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G7 finance officials back need to regulate digital currencies

On 7 December, finance officials from the G7 (Group of Seven) advanced economies met for their 12th meeting, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Amongst discussing domestic and international economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing to come out of the meeting was that the finance ministers and central bankers confirmed that they strongly support the need to regulate digital currencies. The Treasury reported that the G7 finance officials discussed ongoing responses to “the evolving landscape of crypto assets and other digital assets and national authorities’ work to prevent their use for malign purposes and illicit activities.” They confirmed that there is strong support across the G7 on the need to regulate digital currencies. In October the G7 officials issued a joint statement on digital payments which said that digital payments could improve access to financial services and cut inefficiencies and costs. The finance officials reiterated their support for this joint statement in their meeting on 7 December. After the meeting, the German Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, issued a statement outlining his concerns about the launch of Facebook’s Diem cryptocurrency (previously named Libra) in Europe and whether it should be authorised. He said “It is clear to me that Germany and Europe cannot and will not accept its entry into the market while the regulatory risks are not adequately addressed.” Diem is set to launch as early as January 2021, which is reportedly to be a single coin backed one-for-one by the dollar. 

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Fraud – Freezing orders, Norwich Pharmacal orders, and Bankers Trust orders

Freezing orders A freezing order acts to restrain a respondent from dealing with or disposing of its assets and is typically sought to preserve the respondent’s assets until a judgment can be obtained by the claimant and satisfied. Parties can …

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We have previously written about both the permanent changes introduced by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (“CIGA”), and some of the temporary COVID-19 measures that were introduced when the Act first came into force. With England exiting its …

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Regulating Remotely – thoughts from our recent webinar

Working from the home office is now the norm for most in the financial services industry. In our recent Financial Services webinar, the speakers looked at the legal and practical implications that organisations and employees need to be aware of …

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New Quarantine Exemption for Business Travellers

The Transport Secretary has recently announced on Twitter that a new high value business traveller exemption will apply from 4am tomorrow (5th December 2020). Although official government guidance has not yet been released, the government’s brief travel update highlighted that …

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Taking evidence in international arbitration – IBA rules versus the Italian and English legal systems

The choice of arbitration as a means of alternative dispute resolution allows the parties to tailor many aspects of the process to the needs of a specific dispute. This brief guide has been prepared for Italian lawyers and provides an …

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