The globalised marketplace brings with it an increasingly demanding regulatory framework for directors to navigate. Good corporate governance, transparency and accountability are key, together with having the right people at their helm. Directors need to understand their duties and potential exposure.
Those owning and running private businesses (whether companies or LLPs) face many of the same issues as directors of listed companies. Weak corporate governance, whatever the size of the entity, can lead to public, legal or regulatory challenges. These are bad for business and damage reputations. Directors may be personally liable if they fail to meet their responsibilities. Family businesses, despite all good intentions, are especially vulnerable. We have seen too many examples where success is undermined by personal acrimony. Running a business on a hitherto informal/ad-hoc basis then threatens everything: growth, external investment and succession planning.
Our team of specialist contentious and non-contentious lawyers offers advice tailored to the specific needs of the stakeholders in any business. As a result, directors, shareholders, partners and owner-managers can work together and without fear of what the future may hold. We can assist with day-to-day operational activities, such as drafting agreements, and advising on ever-changing and expanding powers, duties and liabilities of directors. We can help to audit and transform existing corporate governance practices, to make sure that the directors are fulfilling their obligations, and to identify and fix issues before a challenge is made. If there is a dispute between the stakeholders (for example, around partnership or shareholding) or from outside (such as regulatory or governmental action), we can help resolve these issues speedily and practically. In the same way, we can anticipate and head off potential disputes.
Our Insurance coverage disputes team regularly advises FTSE 100 directors and senior executives on issues concerning directors' and officers' (D&O) insurance coverage. In particular, we advise on the scope of insurance coverage available to cover directors' and officers' legal costs when they are the subject of anticipated or current regulatory, governmental, internal or other official investigations. This is key for individuals who find themselves at the centre of allegations of wrongdoing in their professional capacity. It means we can help them to secure necessary legal advice to ensure they are properly supported and prepared to provide their evidence, and to ensure that they can obtain access to relevant information and documents (especially as they may no longer be employed by the relevant organisation). The team also advises on compliance with all terms and conditions, and works with insurers to unlock legal defence costs, PR costs and other funds at some of the most critical and stressful times.