Contentious Regulatory and Enforcement

The regulatory landscape has changed immeasurably in recent years. The financial crisis, criticisms of the industry and regulators, and a public clamour for punishment have led to far more aggressive actions by the regulators, and a real push towards personal accountability.

In our work, we see both the FCA and SEC continuing to prioritise this agenda. They often work together with regulators in other jurisdictions, and also with criminal law enforcement agencies both domestically and internationally. We understand this world. Our aim is to deal with regulators in a way that keeps our clients out of Enforcement. Where clients are in Enforcement, we protect them and their reputations, tailoring our approach to suit their individual needs.

Why we are different

We believe that, at the very least, our team needs to know and understand the regulatory rules and processes inside out. Our lawyers have hands-on experience in dealing with contested regulatory matters and the employment related issues that frequently arise from them. This experience includes working with the SROs in the early 90s, the FSA throughout the noughties, and now the FCA and the PRA.

Dealing with the regulators requires a different approach to that applied to general litigation. It requires sensitivity to a delicate environment, where different considerations are at play. Our detailed dealings over the years with the investigators and the decision-making bodies mean we are able to understand their thinking, objectives and points of sensitivity. We frame our cases and our approach accordingly.

We understand the stresses our clients face in what can be one of the most traumatic business experiences they have to live through. We stand alongside our clients as trusted adviser, providing the support they require and offering strategic advice to manage the process and ensure the best possible outcome.

Adam Epstein, who leads the group, has been consistently picked out by the legal directories and ranked as one of the leading individuals in this area.

Services

We act both for individuals and for firms in the face of criticism or questioning from the regulators. This can include dealing with a variety of different situations. For example:

  • Responding to preliminary or exploratory enquiries from the regulators;
  • Advising on notifications to make to the regulators;
  • Responding to more pointed probing from Supervision, with a view to keeping the matter out of Enforcement;
  • Defending against urgent Supervisory action;
  • Handling contested approval applications, authorisation applications and change of control issues;
  • Acting in investigations and defending against regulatory actions in front of the RDC and the Upper Tribunal;
  • Advising on employment related issues that arise in such circumstances;
  • We also act for witnesses caught up in investigations, but who are not the subject of them. Much of our work has an international component, involving regulators in other jurisdictions.

Experience

Although many of the cases we are working on are the subject of comment and speculation in the national press, most of the work we do is confidential. Whilst it is therefore not appropriate to list all of our experience, the following cases illustrate the nature of our work in this area:

  • We acted in the first ever case in front of the Courts to challenge the FSA's role in assisting the SEC by obtaining documents in the UK. Given that there are many hundreds of such requests to the FSA/FCA each year, this was a case of real regulatory significance, that ultimately had to be decided by the Court of Appeal.
  • We acted in the high profile market abuse case in front of the FSA's RDC that involved Winterfloods. The case was ultimately decided by the Court of Appeal, which ruled on whether certain of the market abuse offences required a mental element.
  • We have acted on a number of the LIBOR cases, and continue to do so.
  • We acted in relation to one of the largest market abuse cases to be brought by the FSA, ultimately decided by the RDC.
  • Acted for Andrew Wilkins, formerly of Catalyst, in proceedings in front of the RDC. The matter has now been referred to the Upper Tribunal.
  • We acted this year in a well-known case involving a high frequency trader.
  • We continue to act in some of the most significant and newsworthy cases.

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