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Financial services investigations and enforcement

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“A high-quality law firm. Their opinion carries weight.”

“They are strategic and tactical in terms of dealing with regulatory aspects of financial services. We've had real value from them.”
Chambers UK, 2015

Our investigations and enforcement team in London handles the full range of complex and sensitive issues arising from regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, from the earliest internal investigations or involvement of regulators through to the agreement of settlements and the management of complex litigation. We act for businesses including banks, financial institutions, fund managers, wealth managers, financial advisers, insurers and brokers, listed companies, directors and senior executives, regulators and exchanges.

Our track record includes acting in some of the most significant investigations in the financial services sector in the UK and internationally. We have handled high-profile investigations and enforcement arising out of a range of issues including mis-selling (including PPI, mortgages and wealth management services), market abuse, market manipulation, economic sanctions, fraud and tax. We have been appointed by the UK regulator to undertake Skilled Person enquiries under s166 of the Financial Services and Markets Act.

We have extensive experience acting for clients in domestic UK and multijurisdictional investigations involving regulators such as the FCA, SFO, the Treasury Select Committee, the Bank of England, Lloyd’s of London, the Financial Ombudsman Service, the CMA and HMRC, together with offshore regulators and agencies in developed and emerging jurisdictions across the globe.

A number of our London-based lawyers have held senior positions in the UK’s financial regulatory agencies, including in the enforcement division of the FCA and have handled contentious regulatory issues while working in-house within global financial institutions.

Our London practice forms an integral part of our global regulation and investigations practice. Our London–based lawyers have experience of advising clients, in collaboration with colleagues globally in investigations and enforcement proceedings involving international regulators including the US Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Our US team includes lawyers with significant experience of working at the DOJ, SEC and CFTC. We also work closely with colleagues who are specialists in non-contentious financial regulation.

As a key component of our practice, our Global Practice Support team, including technology experts based in London, offers to clients a distinctive e-Disclosure offering which eases the burden of managing disclosure in investigations and regulatory enforcement and delivers efficient results.

Our key areas of work include: 

  • representation in domestic UK and cross-border regulatory and enforcement proceedings
  • conducting internal investigations
  • acting in connection parliamentary and government committee proceedings and public enquiries
  • acting as a ‘skilled person’ and advising on the preparation of or responding to ‘skilled person’ reports
  • advising on key regulatory developments including the Senior Managers Regime
  • designing and implementing investigations protocols
  • advising clients in UK and international criminal prosecutions.

Our recent work

  • Representing one of the UK’s leading retail banks in connection with FCA-led regulatory investigations and a multi-million pound settlement with the FCA relating to wealth management services, including advice our client in relation to customer redress arising out of this significant enforcement action.
  • Advising a large German bank in connection with multi-jurisdictional investigations and litigation arising out of the largest commercial paper conduit programme in CDOs (over €8 billion) and financial instruments linked to US sub-prime loans. The matter involved complex litigation and regulatory investigations, including into allegations of fraud, and analysis involving English and New York law as well as banks located throughout Europe and the US.
  • Advising a global financial institution in connection with an FCA and SEC investigation arising out of a complex transaction that took place in Latin America.
  • Representing Javier Martin-Artajo, a former senior executive at the Chief Investment Office of JP Morgan in London, in multijurisdictional regulatory investigations and enforcement involving the FCA, DOJ and SEC, including related extradition issues, arising out of multi-billion dollar losses at JP Morgan. This matter is referred to in the press as the ‘London Whale’ case.
  • Acting for a financial services company in connection with mortgage and PPI mis-selling cases, advising on the scope of the firm’s root cause analysis and the implementation of their customer redress programme.  Advising on ancillary professional indemnity insurance claims and supporting throughout on liaison with the FCA.
  • Acting as a Skilled Person appointed by the FCA to undertake an enquiry into conduct of business at a major financial institution, and advising UK financial services firms in connection with section 166 FSMA appointments by the FCA considering suitability, ‘know your client’, corporate governance and restructuring issues, complaints handling, and systems and controls.
  • Representing one of the UK’s leading retail banks in connection with an FCA investigation into the sale of ancillary insurance services, including card identity theft protection, in conjunction with CPP. This matter included advising our client as one of the five ‘lead’ banks in negotiations in relation to the formulation of and contributions to a ground-breaking, complex, billion pound customer redress scheme.
  • Conducting an independent internal investigation on behalf of a foreign investment bank into instances of mis-marking by an emerging markets FX derivatives trader; reviewing front and back office controls and assessing any failings; identifying any breaches of internal policies and procedures; making recommendations on remedial action; and reporting to the FCA.
  • Advising a significant UK stockbroking firm in investigating a multi-million pound civil fraud carried out by a former employee and handling related claims. This matter includes advising the client in connection with dealings with the police and the regulator, the FCA.
  • Acting for senior bank executives of global financial institutions in investigations and FCA, SFO, DOJ and SEC enquires in relation to the alleged manipulation of Libor and Forex, and representing senior individuals in connection with insider trading investigations and prosecutions.