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Contentious Regulatory and Enforcement (Dispute Resolution)

Financial Services Investigations and Enforcement

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. A transition period, during which EU laws continue to apply in the UK, is due to end on 31 December 2020. The UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement sets out transitional arrangements and negotiations for the future UK/EU relationship are ongoing.

The regulatory landscape has changed immeasurably in recent years. Regulators such as the PRA and FCA have increased their appetite to detect and punish serious misconduct, with a particular focus on personal accountability. Increasingly assertive action has resulted.

This is a world we understand. Whilst we know the law and the regulations inside out, we also have substantial experience of the regulators and enforcement, and the risks arising from engagements with regulators. We aim to deal with regulators in a way that minimises the risks of supervisory action and keeps our clients out of Enforcement. Where clients are in Enforcement, we protect them, their business, and their reputation in the most appropriate way, mindful of the implications of any action taken by a regulator.  

Our highly regarded team includes former FCA Enforcement lawyers and a member of the FCA senior leadership team, and can offer decades of experience. We are consistently highlighted by the legal directories, and ranked as leading individuals, for our strength and depth of experience in this field.

Dealing with the regulators requires a particular approach. It requires sensitivity to a delicate environment, where specific 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 are able to anticipate the twists and turns of the process, and frame our cases and our approach accordingly.

We also understand the stresses our clients face in what can be a traumatic business and personal experience. We stand alongside our clients as trusted advisors, providing them with support and offering strategic advice, to manage the process and ensure the best possible outcome.

Given the multi-faceted and often international nature of investigations, we are also able to draw on specialists in areas including employment law, data protection and cyber security. We are supported by cutting edge litigation and investigation support tools, through our in-house eDiscovery business, MDR Discover, and when cases involve any allegations of criminal wrongdoing, we work hand in hand with our White Collar Crime team.  

Key Services

We act both for individuals and for firms in the face of criticism or questioning from the regulators. Although many of our cases are the subject of comment and speculation in the national press, most of the work we do is confidential. This can include dealing with a variety of different situations, including:

  • Conducting internal investigations to understand whether serious misconduct has occurred and, where necessary, advising on notifications to make to the regulators 
  • Advising on the construction of relevant policies and procedures required by regulators
  • Handling sensitive or contested approval applications, authorisation applications and change of control issues
  • Responding to preliminary or exploratory enquiries from the regulators
  • Responding to more pointed probing from Supervision, with a view to keeping the matter out of Enforcement
  • Defending against urgent Supervisory action
  • Acting in investigations by FCA and PRA Enforcement and defending against their actions in front of the RDC, EDMC and the Upper Tribunal
  • Advising on employment related issues that arise in such circumstances
  • Acting for witnesses caught up in investigations but who are not the subject of them
  • Acting in litigation where there are allegations of breach of regulatory obligations

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