Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and its sister organisation, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA); which regulates banks, insurers, and investment firms, has doggedly pursued investigations against organisations suspected of damaging the integrity of the financial markets. The disruption such an investigation can cause, not only in terms of time and money, but reputational damage, can negatively impact profit and investor/shareholder confidence.
Financial Conduct Authority Investigations Lawyer
As a barrister, with over 15 years’ expertise in both civil and criminal FCA investigations, I can partner with your in-house legal/compliance teams, providing strategic advice and robust representation in all matters relating to a corporate FCA investigation.
Preventing an FCA regulatory request turning into an investigation
Many FCA investigations start off with a request for information. It is at this point that I can provide value to your organisation by working with the legal and IT departments to manage the eDisclosure process to ensure the right data is retrieved and examined. Due to my experience, I can then review data relating to the request and separate legally privileged information and make sure the principles of the General Data Protection Regulations are complied with. In most cases, companies are given a short period of time to comply with a regulatory request for information, increasing the risk of information being included which triggers a full-blown investigation. I can work with relevant teams to ensure this risk is mitigated.
The FCA’s power to investigate
The FCA has the power to investigate individuals and companies for breaching the regulatory body’s Principles for Businesses and Conduct Rules. I have extensive experience acting for individuals and corporate clients in relation to FCA regulatory investigations, from the request for information stage through to the Regulatory Decision Committee and Appeal stages. I have the skills required to build an effective strategy to deal with an investigation as it happens and with an unlimited capacity for hard work, will ensure that your personal and/or organisation’s interests are protected at all times.
The FCA also has the power to investigate and prosecute criminal offences relating to regulated activities. The criminal offences cover a range of misconduct including:
- Insider dealing
- Misleading statements and practices
- Conducting a regulated activity without authorisation from the FCA
- Unlawful financial promotions
- AML breaches
The regulator will sometimes take both civil and criminal action. I have the necessary experience to deal with both civil and criminal proceedings in parallel and have represented several individuals in high-profile regulatory and/or criminal investigations. I can also manage any internal investigations required within the organisation.
In addition, I have advised individuals and financial institutions in relation to obtaining their approved person status and have acted for several individuals who have faced authorisation issues after they have been involved in an FCA regulatory investigation.
Representation at FCA interviews
Individuals suspected of committing a criminal offence may be interviewed under caution. To be a suspect, the FCA must have reasonable grounds for the suspicion based on facts or information known to it. Experienced representation at an FCA interview is imperative. For example, although the FCA are under no legal obligation to disclose the nature of the allegation or provide advance copies of any documents it plans to use in the interview, by pointing out the consequences of not doing so, I can put pressure on the investigators to hand over any relevant material and information.
In addition, I am robustly proactive in interview situations, demanding that the interviewer justifies the reasons for asking specific questions and, where possible, reducing the scope of the inquiry. I will also protect your best interests at all times, providing sharp advice as to whether or not to answer a particular question.
By instructing me directly, your company will benefit from the cost-effectiveness of receiving the advice of expert counsel without having to instruct a Solicitor. However, if your matter requires the skills of a Solicitor, I will immediately inform you of the fact and work alongside your chosen representative.