December 3, 2020

OFSI updates stakeholders on post-transition UK sanctions regime

The UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation has published a blog post explaining what the end of the transition out of the European Union means for the UK sanctions regime.  On the one hand, the new regulations are informed by the same policy considerations as EU sanctions; on the other hand, they are not identical, and some sanctions programs have been merged, separated and/or renamed.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, which determines UK sanctions policy pursuant to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, has established a list of the UK regime, legislation and guidance applicable to more than thirty sanctions regimes.  The Consolidated Lists of financial sanctions targets will be updated at 11 p.m. on December 31, 2020, and will be updated as needed, as will the UK Sanctions List.

In terms of licensing, most licenses issued by OFSI will remain valid according to their terms, whilst new specific licenses will be issued beginning at 11 p.m. on December 31, 2020 in accordance with the derogations contained in the Sanctions Act.  The grounds for sanctions licensing will be somewhat different under the UK regime, including the addition of a new derogation, extraordinary situations; the application of a reasonableness test to the derogation for the routine holding and maintenance of funds or economic resources, and a differentiation between the basic needs derogation as applied to individuals and as applied to entities. New to UK financial sanctions is the power, under several of the autonomous UK sanctions regimes, to issue general licenses, which allow multiple parties to undertake defined activities that would otherwise be prohibited under the Sanctions Regulations.

Other changes include the replacement of the Terrorist Asset Freezing etc. Act 2010 with a domestic counter terrorism regime managed by HM Treasury pursuant to the Counter-Terrorism (Sanctions)(EU Exit) Regulations 2019, and an international counter terrorism regime pursuant to the Counter-Terrorism (International Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.

OFSI has and will continue to publish general and sectoral guidance to keep stakeholders abreast of current guidance.

OFSI blog