Our team of expert lawyers has an impressive track record of successfully defending both individuals and institutions facing regulatory misconduct, disciplinary breach and criminal investigations conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The 2008 financial crisis led to a new era of scrutiny for the UK financial services industry, with individual responsibility and accountability at the forefront of the government and regulators’ mission for cultural change in the sector. Institutions themselves have also been increasingly under the spotlight in relation to market conduct and compliance standards.
Without doubt the FCA is taking a tougher approach to enforcement, with potentially severe consequences for individual careers and reputations. Penalties may include fines, restriction of practice or custodial sentences.
The complexities of financial services regulation and investigation can ensnare even the most cautious company or individual. We have acted for senior management in banks, hedge fund managers, traders, brokerage houses, London branches of overseas institutions, wealth managers, independent financial advisers and mortgage brokers on a wide range of matters – from those accused of breach of Principles or systems/controls to those facing allegations of insider dealing, market abuse and mis-selling.
We are highly experienced in advising in relation to FCA pre-enquiry requests through to investigations that might lead to regulatory, civil and criminal enforcement proceedings. We provide intelligent and tactical representation to protect and advance the interests of all our clients.
If you or your authorised firm receives an unwelcome letter from the FCA, contact us as soon as possible to see how we can assist.
HOW WE CAN HELP
- We advise on suspected regulatory breaches including the FCA’s Principles for business (PRIN), statements of principle for approved persons (APER) and conduct rules (COCON), as well as notification requirements and AML rules.
- We can assist with SMCR-related issues including attestations, and disclosability of current / previous criminal or regulatory matters. We also advise both firms and individuals in relation to internal fitness and propriety investigations.
- We advise on how best to respond to requests from the FCA including pre-investigation enquiries and formal information requirements.
- We counsel those who are requested to attend an interview under caution by the FCA as a suspect and those subject to compelled interviews as a potential witness.
- We have experience of acting on serious cases of market abuse, insider dealing and other financial crime offences.
- We represent those at risk of warning or decision notices facing RDC and Upper Tribunal enforcement proceedings and we can help with settlement negotiations and remediation where appropriate.
- We also have considerable experience of multi-jurisdictional investigations, involving not only the FCA but also the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other international regulators and prosecutors.
Our wealth of experience in dealing with FCA investigations means we are trusted advisers in this area.
Very often we will have worked on similar issues before. However, we will always recommend the best strategy for each client’s unique circumstances.
A number of our team have spent time on secondment at the FCA so understand the process and drivers from the other side of the fence. Yet we are equally aware that the financial services industry is ever changing with new products and market trends to consider in applying our judgment of the law.
Sometimes it may be in our clients’ interests to cooperate with the regulator, whereas in other cases we may recommend a push-back strategy. In some cases the best strategy is to do nothing and to adopt a purely reactive approach. But in every case, we provide regulatory and criminal law expertise that is both pragmatic and strategic and have an excellent record of obtaining positive outcomes in challenging situations.
We bring in our employment law and reputation management colleagues as necessary, and work with other equally experienced professionals, including counsel, forensic accountants and international lawyers as required to ensure that our clients’ interests are protected.