UK: 'More Needs Done' On Financial Services Diversity: UK Government (Pinsent Masons Insurance Briefing: 19 September 2018)

Last Updated: 19 September 2018
Article by Colin Read, Nicholas Bradley and Alexis Roberts

Insurance briefing is a round-up of legal and business developments published on Out-Law.com.

The main topics we're focusing on this week are:

'More needs done' on financial services diversity: UK government

The UK government has said it is encouraged by measures designed to increase the representation of women at a senior level in the financial services industry, but acknowledged more still needed to be done. In its response to a report published in June by the House of Commons Treasury Committee, the government said the "moral and economic case for gender balance" was clear. Employment law expert Jon Fisher of Pinsent Masons said: "The response illustrates yet again how high-profile diversity issues are in the financial services sector, following the negative publicity attracted by the gender pay data and the increased regulatory scrutiny of the implications of diversity on culture." The government stopped short of committing to an expansion of the requirements for gender pay gap reporting, as recommended by the committee.

'Corruption tied to conflict' should trigger international sanctions

Bribery and corruption tied to conflict should trigger international sanctions, a global anti-corruption expert has said. John Prendergast, director of US human rights organisation Enough Project, has recommended that the United Nations Security Council add 'corruption tied to conflict' as a distinct sanctions criterion under its existing sanctions programmes. The council should also appoint 'panels of experts' to report to it on corruption related to conflict, and make recommendations for coordinated international action, he said. Prendergast was addressing the UN Security Council's first dedicated session on the links between corruption and conflict. The session was set up to consider ways in which international policy could be used to prevent the sort of corruption which ultimately weakens state governments, leaving the country susceptible to conflict.

E-signatures can prove conclusion of data processing agreements

The use of electronic signatures (e-signatures) can prove that data processing contracts have been concluded and their terms agreed to, the EU's justice commissioner has said. Věra Jourová said that it is possible for data processing contracts to be entered into digitally, but that it is not necessary for those agreements to be signed electronically for them to have effect. Jourová's comments were made in response to a question posed by MEPs. The outsourcing of data processing must be governed by contracts under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Those contracts bind the data processors to adhere to the conditions on data processing stipulated in the contract by data controllers. The contracts can be in electronic form.

'Opt in' rules aimed at curbing rogue claims calls

Businesses promoting claims management services over the phone will need to ensure that recipients of their calls have opted in to receive them to avoid potential fines of up to £500,000 being imposed on them under new UK rules that have taken effect. The changes to existing UK privacy laws were made on 8 September via the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 (Commencement No. 1 and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2018. They will impact businesses offering to help consumers with personal injury claims or obtain compensation for mis-sold sell payment protection insurance (PPI), for example. Under the new rules, businesses are barred from using or instigating the use of a public electronic communications service to make unsolicited calls for the purposes of direct marketing in relation to claims management services except where "the called line is that of a subscriber who has previously notified the caller that for the time being the subscriber consents to such calls being made by, or at the instigation of, the caller on that line".

ICO warns on over-reporting of data breaches

Many businesses are disclosing minor personal data breaches to the UK's data protection watchdog, wrongly believing that they have to report those incidents under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the watchdog has said. The UK's deputy information commissioner, James Dipple-Johnstone, highlighted the problem of "over-reporting" in a speech at a cybersecurity conference hosted by the CBI earlier this week. "Some controllers are 'over-reporting': reporting a breach just to be transparent, because they want to manage their perceived risk or because they think that everything needs to be reported," Dipple-Johnstone said. "We understand this will be an issue in the early months of a new system but we will be working with organisations to try and discourage this in future once we are all more familiar with the new threshold."

The public's trust over the way organisations use their personal data has grown in the past year, but is "still low", the UK's data protection watchdog has said. Research commissioned by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found that 34% of people in the UK have "high trust and confidence in companies and organisations storing and using their personal information", up from 21% in 2017. The survey of 2,131 adults carried out in July, also found that the proportion of the UK public who said they have no trust or confidence in the storage or use of their data by organisations in 2018 fell to 9% from 14% the previous year.

Financial firms can hedge data breach exposure risks

ANALYSIS: Financial services firms can hedge the risks of significant data breach claims being raised against them under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by investing in staff training and avoiding pitfalls highlighted by a major regulator. Businesses face huge fines from regulators and potential 'class action'-style compensation claims from people impacted by a data breach. With the financial services market booming, firms in the sector are particularly prone to being targeted by cyber crime. It is imperative financial firms take action to hedge the risks they face.


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