Financial Services Investigations & Enforcement
"Sarah Wallace heads the team, she is the go-to choice for a tough and no nonsense litigator who will leave no stone unturned in defence of her clients."
— Legal 500 2019
Our lawyers have real expertise at the sharp end of financial services investigations and we have had many successful outcomes for our clients.
Our experience is very wide ranging from authorisation and approval difficulties, variation of permissions, fit and proper issues, misconduct and conduct rule breaches, mis-selling and customers complaints, CASS breaches, SYSC failings, perimeter and financial promotion advice, insider dealing, market abuse and other criminal investigations.
Our experience covers the FCA’s civil, criminal and regulatory powers, including representation before the Regulatory Decisions Committee, Upper Tribunal and High Court.
Being at risk or under FCA or PRA investigation is daunting and stressful for senior management and staff ‘in the know’. It’s an unsettling event for firms and individuals and costly in terms of management time, defence costs and potential fines.Investigations can be career limiting or career ending.
If possible, we like to be brought in early when there is a suggestion that things may need improving, assisting with internal investigations, advising on regulatory notifications, systemic risks, remediation programmes and engaging in an effective dialogue with regulators, to reduce the risk of investigation and matters deteriorating.
We provide pragmatic but strategic advice that leads to successful outcomes for our clients, including the diverting or discontinuance of investigations, private warnings and negotiated settlements. We have a measured approach and want to avoid, if we can, protracted legal or regulatory proceedings.
Our team has advised a broad range of corporate clients, including banks, hedge funds, private equity, peer-to-peer lenders and wealth managers. We represent directors, compliance officers, general counsel, NEDs and other senior managers.
We build multi-disciplinary defence teams of ex-regulators, compliance consultants, forensic investigators and Counsel to work with us. Historically FCA investigations were often for criminal allegations or financial misconduct. Increasingly internal and regulatory investigations are arising through whistle-blowing allegations of bullying, gaslighting, harassment, discrimination and #metoo. We draw on our insight and experience of these issues in the employment law setting to inform our strategy and advice in internal and regulatory investigations.
We are experienced in judicial review proceedings against the FCA, and have represented clients facing winding up and injunction proceedings in the High Court.
We discuss the funding options, the proposed scope of work and budget with you. Depending on the situation, you should check whether you have any legal expenses insurance (for example under professional indemnity, Directors’ & Officers’ or household insurance policies) or consider whether a third party, such as an employer, will contribute to your legal fees (eg under an indemnity).
Early advice from our expert team can help you to avoid large fines, disruption to your business and personal life. If you receive a visit, letter or call from the FCA – whether from FCA Supervision or Enforcement – contact us as soon as possible.
Advised FCA authorised firm how to respond to whistle-blowing report of corruption within a finance team, scoping the structure and plan for an internal investigation.
Represented large IFA firm and Head of Compliance in Enforcement investigation regarding failure to manage conflicts of interest, and provision of unsuitable pension transfer advice leading to firm fine and public censure outcome.
Represented IFA and mortgage broker under Enforcement investigation for lack of integrity and dishonesty allegations involving firm variation of permissions.
Advised fund manager interviewed as part of a FCA investigation into asset management firms for anti-competitive behaviour during IPOs.
Advised in-house legal team in global institution on internal investigations relating to IT and operational resilience, non-financial misconduct allegations and gift and hospitality policy breaches that were notified to financial regulators.
Acted for senior official of pharmaceutical company under insider dealing investigation and securing no further action outcome.
Represented City stockbroker under FCA investigation for market abuse and personal account dealing breaches. Case discontinued.
Acted for CEO of AIM listed technology company in internal investigation for misleading statements to market in terms of financial information in annual accounts.
Acted for bank executive in internal investigation and FCA investigation into Bank of England
Special Liquidity Scheme through alleged manipulation of Repo Rate. Secured a private warning for the client, avoiding formal disciplinary action.
Acted for several traders from different banks in relation to allegations of LIBOR manipulation under investigation by the FCA, SFO and DOJ.
Acted for a Compliance Director of a major IFA network in respect of an FCA Enforcement investigation into systems and controls and training failings.
Acted for Compliance Officer and MLRO (SMF 16 & 17) in relation to allegations of SMCR prescribed responsibility breaches.
We can discuss the funding options, the proposed scope of work and budget with you. Depending on the situation, you should check whether you have any legal expenses insurance (for example under professional indemnity, Directors' & Officers' or household insurance policies) or consider whether a third party, such as an employer, will contribute to your legal fees (eg under an indemnity).
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