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Adam Samuel was elected to be a Board member of the Financial Planning Standards Board starting 1 April 2020. The FPSB is the worldwide body setting standards for financial planners.

The High Court ignored the FCA’s submissions in concluding that the best interests of the client rule in COBS 2 and MiFID does not extend to requiring a SIPP not offering advice to check whether the investment proposition was suitable despite the fact that the business introducer was unregulated. In Adams v Options SIPP [2020] EWHC 1229 (Ch), the judge issued his ruling over two years after the hearing in a decision which looks highly appealable. The Financial Ombudsman Service’s decision in Berkeley Burke remains unaffected since it was based on an application of FCA Principle 2 (on which litigation cannot be based) to slightly different facts. In Adams, the investment did actually exist; it just was very high risk. The judge ignored the firm’s discovery of a problem with the investment before it completed the pension transfer such that it stopped receiving new business from the source.

Remote training is settling down to be as natural and fun as face-to-face. Where participants turn their cameras on, the learning experience can actually be more pleasant. Coffee and refreshments are not the issue they can be. Shoes and socks are really not compulsory either. Adam Samuel has been out and about remotely in the North-East of England, Britain generally and sunny Cyprus during lockdown.

Switzerland’s amendments to its LDIP Chapter 12 provisions on arbitration are due to come into force in early 2021. The changes are not particularly dramatic. The best known is the right to file setting aside applications in English. Adam Samuel’s old boss, the late Professor Alfred von Overbeck used to tell him in the late 1980s, “English is not yet one of Switzerland’s official languages".


The UK has expanded and made permanent the ESMA measures on contracts for differences. COBS 22.4 prohibits sales of binary options to retail customers. COBS 22.5 imposes leverage restrictions on sales to retail customers and retains the risk warnings imposed by ESMA. The new rules make it clear that the warnings must follow the presentation in the ESMA measures and be prominent, boxed and with bold and unbold test as indicated. Guidance suggests that the material should be presented against a neutral background. This comes as evidence suggests that firms are providing inaccurate risk warnings understating the number of accounts that are losing money and are not presenting them using the ESMA prescribed format. At the same time, the warnings having limited effect because of the nature of CfD customers who believe that they can out-perform the market.


Readers might find this decision interesting. It's an ordinary tale of Soho life.

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