Our regulatory practice provides clients in the financial sector with practical and commercial advice in relation to their dealings with the FCA and other regulators on contentious issues. These matters raise reputational risks, as well as potential exposure to civil and criminal sanctions, for companies and – ever increasingly – individuals. We understand the regulators, their objectives and perspectives, the benefits of constructive and proactive engagement with regulators, and the need to tailor an approach and strategy that mitigates these risks effectively and sensitively for our clients.

The firm’s financial services regulatory team is led by Stephen Elam. The Legal 500 directory (2017 edition) commented that Stephen “has expertise across many of the most pressing issues occupying the minds of the regulator”.

Our clients are diverse and include a variety of FCA authorised firms and approved persons across all sectors, with particular focus in relation to hedge funds, brokerage firms, financial advisory and wealth management firms, and trust companies.

Our team has significant experience in dealing with a wide variety of regulatory disputes. These include:

  • responding to preliminary enquiries from regulators
  • managing complex and difficult supervisory issues, and defending supervisory action, in order to avoid enforcement where possible, including “shadow” s.166 reviews, and investigation through to pro-active remediation to address regulators’ concerns and help clients manage existing and future regulatory risks
  • responding to investigations and enforcement actions, including in front of the RDC and Upper Tribunal
  • acting and advising in relation to contested regulatory applications
  • advising in relation to notification requirements and strategy to manage Principle 11 obligations
  • handling and advising on the RAO and unauthorised business (UBD) investigations, and defending related actions

We have particular expertise in – and are actively involved with – many of the areas which continue to be areas of focus and scrutiny for the FCA, including by way of thematic review and therefore likely targets for enforcement action. These issues include money laundering, data security, market abuse in wholesale markets, CFDs and spreads, and pension transfer business.

We regularly advise in relation to contentious issues involving matters such as client money and custody issues, market misconduct, bank rate and fix manipulation (see Forex (FX) claims), fit and proper person issues, and alleged FCA Handbook breaches. We also have experience of developing sectors including crowd-funding, P2P lending, and forward-looking issues such as automated advice (see FinTech disputes).