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Asset managers ‘could push back on reform’ due to Brexit

first_imgUK-based asset managers could cite Brexit-related uncertainty when lobbying for delays or changes to forthcoming rules, according to a consumer advocate.Mick McAteer, a former board member of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), voiced concern that the regulator would come under pressure from fund management firms to delay or soften measures emanating from its review of the sector.McAteer told IPE: “If access to the European market is hit, it would have an impact on the financial sector, and firms would turn to cutting costs. One obvious way to do that is to lobby for deregulation.”This would be a “false economy”, he argued, as there was still a significant lack of consumer trust and confidence in the financial services sector, and deregulation would undermine any progress made. The FCA last year published a damning report into the asset management sector, describing competition as “weak”, criticising transparency and proposing new rules regarding value for money.It has invited responses to the interim report and will publish a follow-up later this year.In an article for his consumer-focused think-tank, the Financial Inclusion Centre, McAteer wrote last week: “Far-reaching interventions are needed to tackle the embedded conflicts of interests and structural flaws in the [asset management] sector.“But the asset managers will fight tooth and nail to prevent structural interventions, no doubt arguing that serious reform is not advisable given the potential impact of Brexit on the sector.“Consumer and civil society groups scored great successes in cleaning up the banking and insurance sectors…. They will now need to turn their attention to the asset management sector and maintain pressure on the regulator in 2017 if the necessary reform is to happen.”Prime minister Theresa May has vowed to give more details by the end of March of her government’s plans for negotiating the UK’s exit from the European Union.However, much uncertainty remains regarding aspects such as access to the single market, seen as crucial to the financial services sector.Francois Barker, partner and head of pensions at Eversheds, said: “I can see asset managers saying Brexit gives another load of uncertainty, so now is not the time for more rules. I can see that is a plausible argument, but whether it would cut the ice with the FCA remains to be seen.”European rulesAt the same time as the UK will be negotiating Brexit, Europe-wide directives and regulations will be coming into force.The FCA is preparing to implement the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, while the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation – including requirements for pension funds to use central clearing houses for their derivatives trades – is due to be rolled out over the next two years.The fifth iteration of the UCITS rules for pooled funds is also scheduled for implementation over the next two years.Barker said the UK was unlikely to back out of any of these existing directives, as it will still be an EU member until exit negotiations are concluded.“I don’t think we can get rid of everything – politically, that’s very difficult,” he said. “If we do want to be in the club at all, we will have to have some form of [regulatory] equivalence.”However, if any new rules are to be proposed during the negotiation period, Barker said the government may “soft-pedal”, delaying input or implementation until the UK is out of the EU.last_img read more

Council to buy 2 garbage trucks in 2018 – Mayor

first_imgIn 2018, the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown will receive a $200 million subvention from the Communities Ministry and in order to minimise its garbage collection bill, the municipality is planning to utilise the funds to purchase two new garbage trucks.Currently, City Hall pays approximately $90 million per month in garbage collection fees to its two major contractors, Puran Bros Disposal Service and Cevons Waste Management Inc.“In our 2018 budget, the $200 million that was given to us by the Government willGeorgetown Mayor Patricia Chase Greenbe busted to purchase two new garbage trucks. Until those trucks are here, I don’t think we have the capacity to clear effectively the areas that the Council controls and we are still looking at that,” Mayor Patricia Chase Green noted.Puran Brothers Disposal and Cevons Waste Management withdrew their services on July 30, 2017, as City Hall’s debts had risen to the multimillion-dollar range. According to the companies, the issue of non-payment has been a long-standing one, with many debts going as far back as 2015.However, they have since resumed collection after the municipality approached Central Government through the Communities Ministry for a bailout of $475,635, 245 to settle the city’s debt to Puran Brothers, Cevons, and another company after they would have pulled their services owing to non-payment. The bailout was granted, and Central Government decided to pick up the tab until December 31, after which the M&CC would step in.When asked whether the administration has begun engaging the contractors, the Mayor explained that they were preparing for that meeting sometime soon.“We want to be quite clear with them when we meet with them how we move forward in 2018; the Government takes us up to the 31st December … even at the end of 31st of December, the holidays don’t end there because you have 12 nights coming up and the containers go down the streets and there is a triple increase in garbage and so we got to engage them, but we will do it sometime before the year is over, so we will have a smooth transition for 2018,” she further stated.Solid Waste Director Walter Narine had earlier stated that the two contractors would come back with reduced responsibilities. He said that the new arrangement would see each contractor being paid $10 million per month for their services as compared to the previous range of $43 million to $45 million per month.However, Chase Green noted that the Council did not have the capacity to embark on such an undertaking.“I don’t want to say we are going to take back an area and after the first week our truck, tractor-trailer cannot make the pick-up even though it’s once a week and the garbage will have to pile up. We were experiencing that before Cevons came back to work with us through the contract of the Government. So, we are trying to fine-tune all those areas,” she said.On September 1, the M&CC implemented fees for commercial waste collection. Small business operators are required to pay $5000 per month while medium businesses will contend with $8000 per month. However, large business operators across Georgetown are required to pay the most significant figure of $12,000 per month for their waste collection.The Solid Waste Director had told the Council that while the originally approved fees for commercial garbage collection were $5000, $10,000 and $15,000 – the last two were reduced to $8000 and $12,000 after consultations.last_img read more