Content Options

View Options

Status: You are viewing the version of the handbook as on 2018-04-02.

COBS 18.8A OPS firms

Application

COBS 18.8A.1R

1This section applies to an OPS firm when it carries on OPS activity:

  1. (1)

    from an establishment maintained by it in the United Kingdom; and

  2. (2)

    which is not MiFID, equivalent third country or optional exemption business.

Interpretation and general modifications

COBS 18.8A.2R

Where a COBS rule specified in this section applies to an OPS firm, the following modifications apply:

  1. (1)

    a reference to:

    1. (a)

      client” is to be construed as a reference to the occupational pension scheme or welfare trust, as the case may be, in respect of which the OPS firm is acting or intends to act, and with or for the benefit of whom the relevant business is to be carried on; and

    2. (b)

      investment firm” is to be construed as a reference to an OPS firm;

  2. (2)

    if an OPS firm is required by a COBS rule specified in this section to provide information to, or obtain consent from, a client, that firm must ensure that the information is provided to, or consent obtained from, each of the trustees of the occupational pension scheme or welfare trust for whom that firm is acting; and

  3. (3)

    subject to the modifications in COBS 18.8A.6 R, COBS 18.8A.15R(4) and COBS 18.8A.16R(4), COBS 1.2.3R (References in COBS to the MiFID Org Regulation) applies where a COBS provision marked “EU” applies to an OPS firm.

General rule

COBS 18.8A.3R

Except as specified in this section, the provisions of COBS do not apply to an OPS firm in relation to its OPS activity.

Client categorisation

COBS 18.8A.4R

COBS 3 (Client categorisation) applies to an OPS firm but only for the purpose of determining the client categorisation of an occupational pension scheme or welfare trust.

Inducements in relation to OPS activity that is advising on investments in relation to a financial instrument or providing portfolio management services

COBS 18.8A.5R

The COBS provisions in Table 1 apply:

  1. (1)

    to an OPS firm when it carries on OPS activity which is:

    1. (a)

      advising on investments in relation to a financial instrument; or

    2. (b)

      providing portfolio management services; and

  2. (2)

    as modified by COBS 18.8A.6R.

  3. Table 1

    COBS

    Description

    2.1.1R

    The client’s best interests rule.

    2.3A.16R except (1)

    Inducements relating to the provision of independent advice and portfolio management services to retail clients outside the United Kingdom or to professional clients.

    2.3A.18G

    Guidance relating to fees, commission, and non-monetary benefits paid or provided by a person on behalf of a client.

    2.3A.19R

    Acceptable minor non-monetary benefits.

    2.3A.20G

    Guidance about determining whether a fee, commission or non-monetary benefit is capable of enhancing the quality of the service provided to the client.

    2.3A.21G

    Guidance about when a non-monetary benefit might impair compliance with the duty to act in the client’s best interest.

    2.3A.22G

    Guidance relating to acceptable minor non-monetary benefits.

    2.3A.30G

    Guidance on inducements.

    2.3A.31G

    Guidance on inducements.

Modification of inducement rules specified in Table 1

COBS 18.8A.6R

Where a provision of COBS specified in Table 1 applies, a reference to “investment service” is to be construed as a reference to the relevant OPS activity falling within the scope of COBS 18.8A.5R.

Inducements in relation to OPS activity not within the scope of COBS 18.8A.5R

COBS 18.8A.7R

The COBS provisions in Table 2 apply:

  1. (1)

    to an OPS firm when it carries on any OPS activity other than that to which COBS 18.8A.5R applies; and

  2. (2)

    as modified by COBS 18.8A.8R.

  3. Table 2

    COBS

    Description

    2.1.1R

    The client’s best interests rule

    2.3.1R, other than (2)(b)(i) to (iii)

    Rule on inducements

    2.3.2R

    Disclosure obligation

Modification of inducement rules specified in Table 2

COBS 18.8A.8R

In COBS 2.3.1R, a reference to “designated investment business” is to be construed as a reference to any OPS activity that does not fall within the scope of COBS 18.8A.5R.

Inducements and research

COBS 18.8A.9R

The provisions in COBS 2.3B (Inducements and research) apply to an OPS firm with the following modifications:

  1. (1)

    COBS 2.3B.1R does not apply;

  2. (2)

    for the guidance in COBS 2.3B.2G substitute the following guidance:

    “(1) An OPS firm is prohibited from receiving inducements (other than acceptable minor non-monetary benefits) in relation to OPS activity falling within the scope of COBS 18.8A.5R. Compliance with COBS 2.3B (Inducements and research) allows such a firm to receive third party research (relating to OPS activity falling within the scope of COBS 18.8A.5R) without breaching the prohibition in COBS 2.3A.16R.

    (2) An OPS firm may receive third party research in relation to OPS activity falling within the scope of COBS 18.8A.7R without subjecting that research to an assessment under the inducement rule in COBS 2.3.1R if the research is acquired in accordance with COBS 2.3B as such research will not constitute an inducement.”;

  3. (3)

    the reference in COBS 2.3B.3R to “COBS 2.3A.5R” should be construed as a reference to COBS 2.3.1R (Rule on inducements);

  4. (4)

    in relation to an OPS firm carrying out OPS activity falling within the scope of COBS 18.8A.5R, for the guidance in COBS 2.3B.22G substitute:

    “An OPS firm should also consider whether the goods or services it is looking to receive are acceptable minor non-monetary benefits under COBS 2.3A.19R or COBS 2.3A.22G, which can be received without breaching the inducement rule in COBS 2.3A.16R(2).”;

  5. (5)

    COBS 2.3B.22G does not apply to an OPS firm that is carrying on OPS activity falling within the scope of COBS 18.8A.7R; and

  6. (6)

    a reference to “ancillary services” or “investment services” in COBS 2.3B.3R, COBS 2.3B.4R and COBS 2.3B.5R is to be construed as a reference to, as applicable, either:

    1. (a)

      OPS activity that falls within the scope of COBS 18.8A.5R; or

    2. (b)

      OPS activity that falls within the scope of COBS 18.8A.7R.

Suitability

COBS 18.8A.10R

The COBS provisions in Table 3 apply:

  1. (1)

    to an OPS firm when it carries on OPS activity which is:

    1. (a)

      making a personal recommendation in relation to a designated investment; or

    2. (b)

      managing investments; and

  2. (2)

    as modified by COBS 18.8A.11R.

  3. Table 3

    COBS

    Description

    2.1.1R

    Client’s best interests rule

    9.2.1R

    Assessing suitability: the obligations

    9.2.2R

    Assessing suitability: the obligations

    9.2.3R

    Assessing suitability: the obligations

    9.2.4R

    Assessing suitability: the obligations

    9.2.5R

    Reliance on information

    9.2.6R

    Insufficient information

    9.2.7G

    Insufficient information

    9.3.1G

    Guidance on assessing suitability

    9.3.2G

    Churning and switching

    9.5.1G

    Record keeping and retention periods for suitability records

Modification of suitability rules

COBS 18.8A.11R

In COBS 9.2.7G for that part which states,

“…The firm should also bear in mind the client’s best interests rule and any other obligation it may have under the rules relating to appropriateness when providing the different service (see COBS 10, Appropriateness (for non-advised services)) and COBS 10A, Appropriateness (for non-advised services) (MiFID provisions)).”,

substitute,

“The firm should bear in mind any other obligation it may have under the rules relating to the different service being requested by the client.”.

Professional clients

COBS 8.8A.12R
  1. (1)

    If an OPS firm makes a personal recommendation to a per se professional client the firm is entitled to assume that the client is able financially to bear any related investment risks consistent with the client’s investment objectives for the purposes of COBS 9.2.2R(1)(b).

  2. (2)

    If an OPS firm makes a personal recommendation or manages investments for a professional client it is entitled to assume that, in relation to the products, transactions and services for which the professional client is so classified, the client has the necessary level of experience and knowledge for the purposes of COBS 9.2.2R(1)(c).

Best execution

COBS 18.8A.13R

The provisions in COBS 11.2A (Best execution – MiFID provisions) apply:

  1. (1)

    to an OPS firm when it carries on OPS activity which is executing an order for a client in relation to a financial instrument; and

  2. (2)

    as modified by COBS 18.8A.15R.

COBS 18.8A.14R

The provisions in COBS 11.2A (Best execution – MiFID provisions) marked “EU” and COBS 11 Annex 1EU (Regulatory Technical Standard 28) apply to an OPS firm to which (1) applies as if they were rules.

Modification of best execution rules

COBS 18.8A.15R
  1. (1)

    The reference to the inducement requirements in COBS 11.2A.19R is to be construed as a reference to, as applicable, the inducement requirements applying to an OPS firm pursuant to either:

    1. (a)

      COBS 18.8A.5R; or

    2. (b)

      COBS 18.8A.7R.

  2. (2)

    The requirement in COBS 11.2A.34EU (see article 65(6) of the MiFID Org Regulation) to make public for each class of financial instruments:

    1. (a)

      the top five investment firms used by an OPS firm to execute client orders; and

    2. (b)

      information on the quality of execution obtained,

    applies in accordance with (3).

  3. (3)

    The information to be made public under (2) must:

    1. (a)

      be published for the first time no later than 30 April 2019 and then annually no later than 30 April of each subsequent year; and

    2. (b)

      relate to the calendar year immediately preceding the year in which the information is being made public.

  4. (4)

    In COBS 11.2A, a reference to:

    1. (a)

      investment service” is to be construed as a reference to any OPS activity falling within the scope of COBS 18.8A.13R;

    2. (b)

      portfolio management” in COBS 11.2A.34EU (see article 65(1) of the MiFID Org Regulation) is to be construed as a reference to OPS activity falling within the scope of COBS 18.8A.13R and which involves the OPS firm placing orders with other entities for execution that result from decisions by the OPS firm to deal in financial instruments on behalf of its client; and

    3. (c)

      “reception and transmission of orders” is to be construed as a reference to OPS activity falling within the scope of COBS 18.8A.13R and which involves the transmission of client orders to other entities for execution.

Client order handling

COBS 18.8A.16R
  1. (1)

    The COBS provisions in COBS 11.3 (Client order handling) apply to an OPS firm, as modified by this rule.

  2. (2)

    The provisions in COBS 11.3 (Client order handling) marked “EU” apply to an OPS firm as if they were rules.

  3. (3)

    A rule in COBS 11.3 which applies only to a UCITS management company or a management company does not apply to an OPS firm.

  4. (4)

    A reference to “financial instrument” is to be construed as a reference to a designated investment (other than a P2P agreement).

Personal account dealing

COBS 18.8A.17R

The provisions in COBS 11.7 (Personal account dealing), other than COBS 11.7.2R(1), apply to an OPS firm.

Client reporting

COBS 18.8A.18R
  1. (1)

    The provisions in COBS 16.2 (Occasional reporting) and COBS 16.3 (Periodic reporting) apply to an OPS firm, as modified by this rule.

  2. (2)

    In COBS 16.2.6R (Special cases) add the following paragraph after COBS 16.2.6R(3):

    “(4) the firm is an OPS firm and carries on OPS activity for an occupational pension scheme trustee who is a professional client and who is habitually resident in the United Kingdom. In this case, the OPS firm may rely upon the exceptions in COBS 16.2.1R(2) or COBS 16.2.6R(1) only if it provides a periodic statement to the professional client containing the information required by COBS 18.8A.18R(3).”.

  3. (3)

    Where an OPS firm carries on OPS activity and is obliged to provide a periodic statement, the periodic statement must contain the information in the table below.

  4. Information to be included in a periodic statement provided by an OPS firm conducting OPS activity

    (a)

    Investment objectives

    A statement of any investment objectives governing the mandate of the portfolio of the occupational pension scheme as at the closing and starting date of the periodic statement.

    (b)

    Details of any asset loaned or charged

    (i) a summary of any investments that were, at the closing date, lent to a third party and any investments that were at that date charged to secure borrowings made on behalf of the portfolio; and

    (ii) the aggregate of any interest payments made and income received during the account period in respect of loans or borrowings made during that period and a comparison with the previous period.

    (c)

    Transactions and changes in composition

    (i) a summary of the transactions entered into for the portfolio during the period and a comparison with the previous period;

    (ii) the aggregate of money and a summary of all investments transferred into and out of the portfolio during the period; and

    (iii) the aggregate of any interest payments, dividends and other benefits received by the firm for the portfolio during that period and a comparison with the previous period.

    (d)

    Charges and remuneration

    If not previously advised in writing, a statement for the period of account:

    (i) of the aggregate charges of the firm and its associates; and

    (ii) of any remuneration received by the firm or its associates or both from a third party in respect of the transactions entered into, or any other services provided, for the portfolio.

    (e)

    Movement in value of portfolio

    A statement of the difference between the value of the portfolio at the closing date of the period of account and its value at the starting date, having regard, during the period of account, to:

    (i) the aggregate of assets received from the occupational pension scheme and added to the portfolio;

    (ii) the aggregate of the value of assets transferred, or of amounts paid, to the client;

    (iii) the aggregate income received on behalf of the client in respect of the portfolio; and

    (iv) the aggregate of realised and unrealised profits or gains and losses attributable to the assets comprised in the portfolio.

Record keeping: general

COBS 18.8A.19G

An OPS firm should ensure that it keeps a record of its compliance with the requirements in this section in accordance with SYSC 9.1.1R (General requirements) which contains general record-keeping requirements that apply to an OPS firm.

Record keeping: suitability

COBS 18.8A.20R
  1. (1)

    An OPS firm must retain its records relating to suitability for a minimum period of three years.

  2. (2)

    The requirement in (1) does not apply if the client does not proceed with the recommendation.

Record keeping: client orders and transactions

COBS 18.8A.21R

The rules in COBS 18 Annex 2 (Record keeping: client orders and transactions) apply to an OPS firm.