Financial services: contentious in London
K&L Gates LLP
K&L Gates LLP has strong connections with the funds industry, with its European and US presence therefore positioning the firm well for cross-border funds-related work. The 'commercial and practical' Michelle Moran leads the practice and specialises in advising global clients on regulatory aspects of the establishment, authorisation, and management of retail and institutional investment funds. The team assisted Federated Investors on its acquisition of a majority interest in Hermes Investment Management, particularly in relation to the regulatory implications. The firm also has an integrated boardroom risk offering covering all aspects of legal, regulatory and compliance risk that can affect any organisation. On the contentious side, former team head Christine Braamskamp left for Jenner & Block last year.
Experienced in advising on a range of financial services matters, Allen & Overy LLP has particular expertise in handling regulatory investigations, as well as boasting a financial services criminal defence capability covering anti-corruption and bribery, anti-money laundering, anti-trust and sanctions. The arrival of criminal defence lawyer Eve Giles from Kingsley Napley LLP further strengthens the team in this area. The contentious practice, led by Calum Burnett, works closely with A&O's regulatory lawyers and recently established regulatory consulting business, A&O Consulting. Notable in the team is Mahmood Lone, who specialises in acting on high profile investigations into alleged market abuse and manipulation. Damian Carolan heads the non-contentious regulatory group that acts for investment and retail banks, asset management firms and trade bodies across a range of advisory and transaction-related regulatory issues. His team includes Kate Sumpter, who has expertise dealing with complex regulatory-driven structural change projects for UK and international banks.
Other key lawyers:
Mahmood Lane; Eve Giles
‘Practical experience allied with technical expertise’
‘They know the real issues that matter and focus on those’
- Advising a number of banks and FCA-only authorised firms in relation to their implementation of The Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) and post-implementation issues.
Traditionally a banking firm, Clifford Chance has become increasingly active in the asset management space and has extensive contentious and non-contentious experience. The non-contentious team, led by Christopher Bates, also has notable experience in M&A transactions involving regulated industries and entities. Simon Gleeson provides particular expertise in financial regulatory and resolution law, while Caroline Meinertz and Simon Crown specialise in strategic Brexit advice to key global financial institutions and the asset management industry. Contentious practice head Carlos Conceicao leads a team experienced in acting for corporates, asset managers, tech startups and global banks, as well as in the specialist area of Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) investigations. Dorian Drew conducted a significant sanctions-related internal investigation for a UK-based international bank and, in an example of the firm’s multijurisdictional expertise, Roger Best advised a sovereign wealth fund on criminal and regulatory investigations relating to alleged corruption and money laundering. Also notable are Kelwin Nicholls, whose practice includes investigations into interest rate setting and advising commodities firms on market conduct issues; Michael Lyons, who advises on money laundering and bribery issues, responding to multiple authorities; and associate Oliver Pegdon, who specialises in regulatory enforcement work and related litigation.
- Represented a global bank in connection with an FCA Enforcement investigation.
- Acting for a global financial services firm both in dealings with the FCA and related proceedings before the Tribunal. The case raises complex technical questions of European and domestic law relating to the scope of the definition of consumer credit.
- Advising a global asset manager subject to an FCA enforcement investigation in connection with its management of conflicts of interest.
- Conducted an internal investigation in relation to suspected breaches of EU sanctions relating to Russia.
- Representing a global investment bank in connection with an FCA Enforcement investigation. The firm’s employment team is providing parallel advice to the bank in relation to its obligations in relation to individual accountability issues.
Linklaters LLP has a well-established reputation for advising multinational banks and asset managers on complex multijuristictional issues, handling the full range of both contentious and non-contentious matters. On the non-contentious side, areas of specialism include Brexit advice, ring-fencing and the growing fintech industry. Martyn Hopper leads the contentious and non-contentious financial regulatory teams respectively, which work closely together - an example being the 'insightful and influential' Nikunj Kiri, who acts in both areas. Also notable is 'bright, excellent communicator' Alison Wilson, who has extensive bank sector and contentious regulatory expertise. Focusing on non-contentious matters, Michael Kent is well regarded for handling projects involving consortia of banks or asset managers; while Peter Bevan has particular expertise in new product development, trading issues such as market abuse and regulatory structuring advice. Also notable are fintech specialist Harry Eddis; newly promoted Sebastian Barling; and Julia Dixon, who co-led the firm's team advising PwC on the administration of stockbroker Beaufort Securities, which was placed into insolvency following an application by the FCA. On the contentious side the department has particular expertise in relation to enforcement investigations, as well as solo-PRA and joint PRA/FCA investigations in the wholesale banking and insurance sectors. Also recommended are counsels Alastair Holt and Elizabeth Dowd and managing associate Raza Naeem.
‘Linklaters is consistently uncomplicated, helpful, practical, effective, strategic and professional’
‘Associates and senior associates are often a real strength – enthusiastic, professional and highly capable’
‘Service is seamless and effective, both in very small and large teams’
‘Strength in depth with impressive array of bright individuals from partner down to paralegal and support’
‘ The team shows consistent quality, impressive strength in depth and very good understanding of the sector’
‘Alison Wilson is extremely available, pragmatic and helpful, across the spectrum. Her ability to simplify and command knowledge from deep history of a matter is a great asset’
Nordea Bank Abp
- Acted for two of the six firms originally placed under investigation following the FCA’s thematic review into the fair treatment of long-standing customers in the life insurance sector.
- Advising Nordea Bank on an appeal brought at the Board of Appeal of the European Supervisory Authorities against the decision of the Board of Supervisors of the European Securities and Markets Authority, which fined the bank €495,000 for a regulatory breach.
Brown Rudnick LLP advises on financial regulatory enforcement, individual liability and the potential impact of the The Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) on enforcement. The firm boasts former in-house expertise from the former Financial Services Authority (FSA) and its successor the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as well as experience advising firms and individuals on the requirements of FSMA and regulators’ rules. Former head of enforcement at the FSA, Peter Bibby , leads the practice and acts for a wide range of institutions and senior individuals including banks, asset managers, insurance intermediaries and brokers. He can call on the expertise of Chloe Pawson-Pounds, who focuses on FCA matters and represents clients through all stages of investigation and enforcement. Also notable is Jamie Symington, who joined from the FCA in 2018 and specialises in advising clients on compliance issues.
- Advising a senior fund manager in respect of a very high profile set of investigations into potential misconduct and conflicts of interest
- Instructed by a former senior executive of a major UK bank in relation to a joint FCA / Prudential Regulation Authority investigation into the conduct of the client and certain other members of the bank’s senior management during the financial crisis.
- Instructed by the CEO of a major financial institution in relation to an FCA investigation into the financial institution’s corporate governance, risk framework and treatment of customers.
- Instructed by a former senior executive of a major UK bank in relation to an FCA investigation into the bank’s treatment of customers and the associated conduct of the client and certain other members of the bank’s senior management.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Known for a strong international offering, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP houses its contentious and non-contentious financial regulatory expertise together, alongside its corporate crime and white collar expertise, in the firm’s Global Investigations, Financial Regulation and White Collar (IFRWC) Group. Acting primarily for investment banks and insurer clients, the team specialises in advice on managing corporate risk issues across financial regulation, data, corporate crime, employment and anti-trust. Nathan Willmott leads the practice and has particular experience advising insurers, banks and investment firms, as well as acting on UK and cross-border regulatory and criminal investigations for members of senior management. Senior figure Sidney Myers left the firm and became a member of the FCA’s regulatory decisions committee.
‘Great experience with financial regulatory matters including analysing the legal issues and dealing with regulators’
‘Hands on practical advice that led to a satisfactory conclusion’
‘Excellent, commercially orientated legal advice and not afraid to give a view as to preferred course of action’
‘Very knowledgeable and adaptable to different areas’
‘Experienced professionals, ahead of the curve on sector trends and regulator thinking’
‘Nathan Willmott is very experienced and provides excellent advice both from a legal and commercial perspective’
‘Adam Jamieson has great knowledge and insight on regulatory issues and provides excellent advice’
BGC Brokers L.P./ Cantor Fitzgerald
The London Stock Exchange
- Acted for a major international investment bank in relation to a potential FCA enforcement action concerning various significant transaction reporting systems and controls issues.
- Advising a global financial services firm in relation to the receipt of an information request relating to the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and related issues concerning its reporting obligations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
- Advising an international investment bank in relation to a European Commission investigation into alleged anti-competitive behaviour relating to the trading of FX options.
- Acting for individuals at an international investment bank in relation to a Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigation into commodity trading activities and allegations of market manipulation.
- Acting for an international investment bank in relation to a global regulatory investigation into alleged market abuse.
CMS has notable experience acting for startups in innovative technology matters, as well as advising banking clients on the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II and Brexit issues, while on the contentious side the firm is known for matters connected to the Senior Managers and Certification Regime and market conduct work. Ash Saluja leads the overall practice and focuses on non-contentious matters. His team includes Paul Edmondson, who acts primarily for financial institutions on Brexit related matters; the 'intelligent and knowledgeable' Simon Morris, who specialises in advising financial services institutions on commercial and regulatory matters; fintech specialist Sam Robinson; and Alison McHaffie, who has expertise in contentious regulatory matters. Also notable is associate Tom Callaby. The team has been strengthened by the arrivals from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP of Elisabeth Bremner, who has particular expertise in investigating fraud, sanctions breaches, mis-selling and complaints mishandling; and asset management specialist Laura Houët.
- Acted for a mortgage lender in connection with an FCA investigation concerning alleged breaches of FCA principles regarding its risk management framework and governance arrangements.
- Acting for an asset manager in respect of its response to the CMA market investigation.
The Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP department provides a broad range of regulatory advisory services, particularly specialising in cryptoassets. Co-head Michaela Walker advises fund management clients and depositary banks in regulated activities and product development, as well as related corporate work; co-head David Saunders has expertise in project managing regulatory investigations, regulatory change projects and past business reviews for financial services firms. The contentious wing of the practice is notable for anti-money laundering regulations, financial crime and is appointed to the FCA/PRA Skilled Person’s panel. The firm also has an in-house team of regulatory consultants and compliance professionals. Gregory Brandman leads the contentious team and specialises in representing financial institutions, senior managers and approved persons in FCA and PRA enforcement proceedings. He can call on the expertise of Jake McQuitty, formerly the Head of Investigations & Enforcement at Barclays Bank plc, who focuses on corporate investigations and regulatory enforcement. The group was strengthened by the arrivals of corporate crime and investigations specialist Steve Smith, who joined from Nomura International Plc, and hedge fund expert Ben Watford, who joined from MJ Hudson. Partner Neill Blundell left for Macfarlanes LLP in 2018.
Gregory Brandman; Matthew Allen
‘Greg Brandman’s contentious regulatory team has been going from strength to strength’
‘They take a sensible approach and are a pleasure to co-counsel with’
‘Greg Brandman is consistently in demand for his strategic approach, good memory for detail and pleasant manner with clients. He is a force to be reckoned with’
Mohammad Ataur Rahman Prodhan
Archers Daniels Midland
Lloyds Banking Group
Standard Chartered Bank
Sonali Bank (UK) Ltd
Serious Fraud Office
- Act for Equifax Limited on the FCA and Information Commissioner’s Office investigations arising from the 2017 cyberattack on the company’s US parent, Equifax Inc.
- Act for Mr Prodhan, the former Chief Executive Officer of Sonali Bank (UK) Limited (SBUK) and SBUK in relation to FCA enforcement action. .
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
The broad practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP covers a range of advice ranging from Brexit and regulatory mandates to financial services M&A and enforcement matters. The group acts for clients including investment banks, market infrastructure entities and asset management firms. Notable in the team are global financial services head Michael Raffan, who advises on a host of prudential issues including group structure, capital and liquidity, governance and conduct issues; and Mark Kalderon, who acts for commercial and investment banks on regulatory issues. The firm’s contentious practice specialises in multijurisdictional regulatory investigations, with David Scott and Ali Sallaway well-regarded in this area.
Known for its banking and asset management expertise, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP also has experience in fintech, payment services and Brexit-related projects. Banking regulation and compliance expert Clive Cunningham leads the non-contentious practice, which specialises in complex, multijurisdictional advisory and transactional work, an example being advice to interdealer brokers TP ICAP on all aspects of its Brexit project and related restructurings. Also notable is Andrew Procter, who focuses on the financial services and investment banking industry. Given its strength in disputes work the firm offers clients significant experience on the contentious side, offering regulatory expertise, particularly in relation to the Senior Managers and Certification Regime and cyber security related matters. Leading this team is Jenny Stainsby, who has experience in a range of regulatory and compliance matters, including investigations and enforcement proceedings as well as governance, conduct of business issues and skilled persons' reviews.
Ardonagh Group Limited
Cabot Square Capital
Goldman Sachs International
Lloyds Banking Group plc
Pension Insurance Corporation
Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc
Standard Chartered Bank
TP ICAP plc
TSB Bank plc
Vanquis Bank Limited
Willis Towers Watson
- Advising on the extension of the UK Senior Manager and Certification Regime (SMCR) to insurers and other financial services firms
- Assistance in FCA Enforcement investigation of Vanquis Bank’s sale of a payment waiver product associated with its credit cards.
- Acting on issues arising from the migration of TSB’s customer data from an IT platform hosted by Lloyds Banking Group to a new platform developed by the Sabadell Group.
The multidisciplinary transactional, regulatory and advisory practice at Hogan Lovells International LLP is led by global head of financial services regulation and partner in the financial institutions group Rachel Kent, who has particular expertise in Brexit related advice. Her team works on a range of local and multijurisdictional regulation, product development, documentation and banking issues. As well as specialising in Brexit and Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II advice, the department is experienced in the area of fintech, notably blockchain. In a recent highlight, the firm was appointed to advise Lloyds Banking Group on its review of the investment management market to manage its portfolio of insurance and wealth assets. The contentious wing is led by Philip Parish, who is known for handling regulatory investigations and enforcement matters. His team specialises in consumer finance, sanctions and anti-money laundering, as well as cross border matters. Also notable is Elaine Penrose, who has experience in a wide range of internal and regulator-led investigations.
Other key lawyers:
Elaine Penrose; Michael Roberts
‘Hogan Lovells has a remarkable strength in depth and a delivery that is second to none in this sector’
‘Two standout individuals of the firm are Michael Roberts and Elaine Penrose, who each have a remarkable ability to sustain detailed work under huge pressure and deliver a fantastic result’
‘Very pragmatic and easy to work with’
‘Friendly, knowledgeable and highly skilled’
Macfarlanes LLP advises a range of clients including investment banks, institutional asset managers and fund managers, as well as assisting on strategic regulatory work at senior management and board level. In addition to being appointed to the PRA / FCA panel of skilled persons, particular areas of specialism for the firm are its hedge fund and private equity regulatory advisory practices. Michelle Kirschner and Paul Ellison lead the non-contentious practice, and in a recent highlight, the former advised Salary Finance in relation to its joint venture with independent banking group CYBG . The contentious team is led by Dan Lavender, Matt McCahearty and Barry Donnelly. Their department acts on large, complex regulatory disputes, enforcement actions and investigations. The practice provides clients a full service, from letter of claim through to trial, with in-house advocacy led by Guy Morpuss QC. Also notable are senior counsel Aalia Datoo, who has experience in contentious matters for both international and domestic clients, with particular expertise in complex financial litigation and regulatory investigation matters for banks and financial institutions; and specialist in white collar defence and criminal investigations Neill Blundell, who joined in 2018 from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.
Dan Lavender; Matt McCahearty; Barry Donnelly
‘Astute, trusted advisers who provide wise counsel’
‘Good team, seemingly increasing in strength and public profile’
‘Very capable and engaged team members, outstanding individuals’
‘The Macfarlanes team is responsive and thoughtful’
‘Extremely judicious and pragmatic advice’
‘Thoughtful strategists, focused on detail and the big picture’
‘Matt McCahearty gives consistently sensible, commercial practical advice and take’s the client’s best interests to heart.’
‘Dan Lavender is pragmatic and incisive, as well as personable’
Specialising in high profile enforcement cases and with a strong cross-sector disputes practice behind it, Mishcon de Reya LLP also has experience handling issues arising at the intersection between regulation and employment law. Adam Epstein leads the practice and focuses exclusively on contentious regulatory matters, representing those caught up in FCA and PRA investigations. His team also works closely with the firm’s white collar department in regulatory misconduct cases with a criminal element. The group is acting for the administrators of London Capital & Finance Limited in the high profile FCA and SFO investigations into London Capital & Finance Plc. Also notable in the team are the 'very knowledgeable and thorough' Guy Wilkes; and Matt Hancock, who has particular experience acting for individuals facing serious market abuse allegations. On the non-contentious side managing associate Charlotte Wilson leads the practice, following the retirement of Tim Flood in 2018, and focuses on perimeter guidance and complex restructuring advice.
‘Adam is very calm and collected and gives clients confidence’
‘A sensible and practical team that progresses cases well and is committed to its clients.’
‘Matt Hancock is dedicated and creative in fighting enforcement actions and a pleasure to work with’
‘Guy Wilkes is an outstanding partner with FCA and magic circle experience. He understands not only the legal and regulatory environment extremely well but given his engineering background understands the business extremely well’
Smith and Williamson (Administrators of London Capital & Finance Plc)
Norton Rose Fulbright's work covers wholesale and retail financial services, with notable strengths in areas including banking, asset and wealth management and market infrastructure. In addition, the 'clear, pragmatic and extremely responsive' firm has an experienced fintech regulatory practice and assists several regulatory working groups and market associations focusing on developing regulatory standards around Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), smart contracts, virtual currencies and the blockchain. Imogen Garner and Hannah Meakin lead the practice in this area and are also co-heads of the overall non-contentious team, with the 'hard working, personable and, most importantly, extremely knowledgeable' Jonathan Herbst. On the contentious side, the practice specialises in market conduct, cyber-security and internal investigations. Led by transnational regulatory investigations expert Lista Cannon, the team includes Katie Stephen, who acts on a wide range of contentious regulatory matters, as well as advising clients in relation to Skilled Persons reviews and internal investigations; and David Harris, who has particular experience representing financial institutions, corporates and senior executives in connection with various cross-border matters. Also notable in this area is counsel Sonya Zywko.
‘Norton Rose Fulbright is a major player in the London litigation and arbitration marketplace, with strength and depth in all the main areas of commercial dispute resolution’
In the financial services sector, the firm is particularly striking for its command of regulatory material and its knowledge of forthcoming regulatory developments’
‘At all levels, the lawyers are extremely well-informed in law and procedure’
‘For major pieces of litigation and arbitration, the firm can be relied upon to assemble well-structured teams and dedicate impressive resources to the dispute’
‘A superb group of lawyers who are experts in this field’
‘Sonya Zywko focuses on banks, fund managers and other financial institutions. Her attention to detail and legal acumen are superb’
- Representing a UK bank in an FCA enforcement investigation and related supervisory actions concerning its financial crime controls.
- Advising a European-headquartered global financial institution in relation to multiple information requests from the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation concerning alleged breaches of financial sanctions.
- Conducting a ‘lessons learned’ review on behalf of a UK bank concerning systems and controls issues which gave rise to substantial losses and advising on related potential claims against former advisers.
- Successfully negotiated conditions on behalf of a UK-based insurance firm in connection with an investigation concerning alleged misconduct by a director.
- Advising a global financial institution in relation to its compliance with EU, UK and US sanctions related to a reorganisation of the company’s business in light of Brexit.
Simmons & Simmons’ broad expertise includes advice on Brexit, the Senior Manager and Certification Regime (SMRC) and Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, for a range of clients including asset management companies, investment banks, brokerage houses, general insurance and life assurance companies. The non-contentious regulatory team is led by Charlotte Stalin, who focuses on UK and European financial services regulation; and SMRC specialist Penny Miller. Their team includes regulatory expert Jonathan Melrose, who is experienced in the structure and operation of financial services businesses and market conduct issues. The contentious practice is best known for its experience in contentious regulatory investigations, including potential misconduct, systems and controls breaches and individual accountability, as well as advising on internal investigations and rule-based breaches. Richard Sims leads on this side and specialises in large scale matters, conduct risk and internal investigations. He can call on the expertise of Emma Sutcliffe, who is notable in financial regulatory investigations, enforcement actions and whistleblowing.
Other key lawyers:
‘A cohesive and accessible team who provide timely, pragmatic and accessible advice to a range of audiences’
‘The team provides a first class, round the clock, thoroughly engaged service’
- Advising a leading oil and gas company on an FCA criminal insider dealing investigation into an employee.
- Acted for a global bank in respect of a whistleblowing investigation into alleged fraud and bribery claims.
- Advised in a high-profile investigation into allegations of attempts by a CEO to trace an anonymous whistleblower.
- Acting on an Enforcement Investigation by the Payment Services Regulator (PSR).
Acting primarily for banks, asset managers and insurers, Slaughter and May has a broad practice, specialising in high-stakes conduct matters, strategic advice on prudential regulation, ring-fencing and fintech. Jan Putnis leads the non-contentious practice and focuses on regulatory advice in relation to multijurisdictional corporate and commercial transactions. His team includes Ben Kingsley, who is advising Goldman Sachs’ Global Investment Research division on the restructuring of its contractual relationships with clients in light of the MiFID II inducements regime. On the contentious side, the firm has notable experience in financial institutions advisory work, as well as fraud and white-collar crime matters. Sarah Lee leads the practice and can call on the expertise of Deborah Finkler, who advises across a spectrum of contentious matters, including both High Court litigation and foreign disputes; and recently promoted partners Camilla Sanger and Holly Ware, who acted for Deutsche Bank in relation to regulatory investigations in multiple jurisdictions into the setting of interbank benchmark rates, including LIBOR. Former director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Sir David Green CB QC joined the team in 2018 as a senior consultant.
‘The team relies on quality not quantity and as a close knit group of partners there is always a second partner with knowledge of a matter .’
‘Robust and no-nonsense advice to clients that is clearly and simply articulated, incredibly user friendly and personable’
‘The team you want to be alongside in a crisis – very hands on’
JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.
Deutsche Bank, A.G.
A FTSE 100 Company
An international banking group
Bupa Insurance Services Limited
A former senior official at the Bank of England
- Acting for JPMorgan in relation to various regulatory and governmental investigations – and related civil claims – into foreign exchange trading at a number of banks.
- Representing a FTSE 100 company under investigation by the FCA in respect of potential breaches of the Market Abuse Regulation and other regulatory provisions.
- Advising a bank in AML investigation.
- Advising senior official in an enquiry and related SFO investigation.
Stephenson Harwood has specialist regulatory enforcement expertise, combining experience in regulatory investigations and criminal investigations. The firm acts for individuals and corporates against regulators and prosecuting authorities and also advises them in the context of internal investigations. Tony Woodcock leads the practice and specialises in providing advice to individuals and institutions in the financial and professional services sector. Also notable is the 'very knowledgeable and experienced' Sean Jeffrey, who has particular expertise in legal professional privilege in a regulatory context. The team was strengthened by the 2019 arrival from Winston & Strawn LLP of Justin McClelland, who focuses on contentious financial regulation, economic crime, and corporate investigations. In a recent highlight, the team was appointed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission to undertake a statutory investigation into the collapse of Enterprise Insurance Company Ltd and the conduct of its directors and auditors. Richard Small left in 2018 to join Addleshaw Goddard.
Other key lawyers:
‘Responsive and highly effective in their handling of a range of complex issues.’
‘The team has a deep technical understanding of the FCA and the regulatory environment’
‘Tony Woodcock is a leader in his field’
‘Sean Jeffrey has a deep understanding of legal and regulatory issues balanced with a commercial and pragmatic approach. He is creative and thinks outside the box, as well as being dedicated to going the extra mile for his clients’
‘Sean Jeffrey takes more trouble than any other partner I know to understand and satisfy client objectives. He is unflappable, hard-working, expert at unruffling feathers, and capable of exceptional bravery and creativity where these are warranted’
‘Justin McClelland as an exceptional lawyer and a true gentleman. He is a pleasure to work with, even in particularly stressful situations’
‘Justin McClelland is the stand-out practitioner. He has considerable cross-over experience, excellent judgement and secures great results’
Affinion International Limited
Gibraltar Financial Services Commission
Insolvency Practitioners’ Association
Royal Bank of Scotland
Threadneedle Asset Management Limited
Towergate Underwriting Group Limited
- Instructed in relation to the very high profile Reuters FX Spot Fix manipulation investigations being conducted by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations in conjunction with the UK Financial Conduct Authority and SFO.
- Advising The Trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust and the Tchenguiz Family Trust, and related companies during an SFO investigation, dawn raid, and in connection with the ongoing resulting litigation and regulatory issues.
- Advising an individual in relation to an FCA investigation into alleged LIBOR manipulation.
- Advising Affinion in the context of a substantial redress exercise involving 2 million customers – one of the largest exercises of its kind to date.
The 'consistently outstanding' Travers Smith LLP covers both contentious and non-contentious financial services matters. Its non-contentious practice has particular expertise in Senior Manager and Certification Regime (SMCR) and asset management issues, as well as experience in financial market infrastructure and payments. In addition, the group is 'extremely commercially focused and in touch with the latest regulatory developments'. In a recent highlight, practice head Tim Lewis advised a trustee of the British Steel Pension Scheme on the separation of the scheme from Tata Steel and obtained a determination notice and clearance statement for the regulated apportionment arrangement from the pensions regulator. Also notable in the team are: financial products and payments expert Mark Evans; complex structuring issues and novel regulatory specialist Phil Bartram; and Stephanie Biggs, who has particular expertise advising European, US and global private fund sponsors in relation to all aspects of UK and European financial services regulation and compliance. The contentious arm of the practice is known for handling complex and multijurisdictional litigation related to anti-trust and competition. Rob Fell leads the department, which also includes Stephanie Lee, who represents financial institutions and individuals in regulatory investigations. Also noteworthy are senior associate Natalie Lewis and senior counsels Michael Raymond and Sam Cottman.
‘This excellent team handles all aspects of client needs and coordinates across multiple jurisdictions’
‘Great law firm with experience across sectors and involved in many of the biggest ticket pieces of litigation’
‘Rob Fell is a great operator with a stellar team’
‘Rob Fell and Stephanie Lee are exceptional lawyers’
Akin Gump LLP specialises in cross-border matters for a range of clients including hedge fund managers, retail banks, brokerages and insurance intermediaries. Helen Marshall leads the overall practice and has particular expertise in regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings. Her contentious team is experienced in dealing with the The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority in relation to investigations, information requests, product intervention queries and broader supervisory enquiries. It also works closely with the firm’s non-contentious practice, which advises the financial services industry on regulatory developments and the impact of EU legislation. This side of the practice is led by Ezra Zahabi, who was promoted to partner in 2019. Her group is notable for advice on Brexit, MiFiD II and market abuse issues. Partner Rosemarie Paul , who previously worked at FCA precursor the FSA, left in 2018 for Ropes & Gray LLP.
‘Insightful, pragmatic, commercial and responsive. I have worked with the team for many years now and have never had anything but good feedback from my own internal team about them.’
‘Helen Marshall is quite simply excellent. A detailed knowledge of the law and regulation; no mean feat in the continuously changing environment, not only of rules but also of the regulators’ application of them, as well as always striking the right chord in her dealings with us.’
Known for its international strength and broad practice, Ashurst is able to cover a full remit of contentious and non-contentious advice for financial services clients. Jake Green , who advised Goldman Sachs on the launch of its first online retail bank, Marcus by Goldman Sachs, co-leads the non-contentious regulatory team alongside James Perry . The practice also includes Tim Cant, who has expertise in providing financial services regulatory advice to a range of investment managers, trading venues, njmiujand banks; and counsel Lorraine Johnston, who specialises in aspects of financial regulation related to the fintech and regtech spaces. Tom Connor leads the contentious arm of the group and focuses on internal and regulatory investigations for financial services clients. His department has particular experience in market abuse and competition law matters and includes David Capps, who handles financial regulatory enforcement matters and internal investigations, as well as banking and finance-related disputes. The highly regarded Edward Sparrow , who is chairman of the City of London Law Society, retired as partner in 2018 but retains a senior consultant role at the firm.
Other key lawyers:
Hargreave Hale Limited
Linear Investments Limited
Boutique firm Bivonas Law LLP specialises in financial services regulatory, civil, criminal and commercial litigation, notably in competition and enforcement related cases. White collar expert Cindy Dorrington is managing partner and acts for individuals and companies in high profile financial services cases. The financial services team includes Antony Brown who is known for industry expertise and managing complex matters that involve coordinating with overseas jurisdictions; Roland Ellis, who specialises in allegations of complex fraud; and John Bechelet, who has expertise in civil fraud and regulatory litigation. George Kampanella joined in 2018 and strengthens the firm’s white collar and fraud capabilities.
‘They provide exceptional guidance in all matters’
‘Niche firm ideally suited to defending individuals without facing the conflicts and hassles that bedevil their larger rivals’
‘Their quick understanding and evaluation of the issues gives considerable reassurance’
‘Roland Ellis is excellent, has superb judgement and is beautifully calm in a storm’
‘John Bechelet is a pleasure to work with’
- Representing a fund manager in relation to allegations of improper market conduct linked to Initial Public Offerings and secondary share placings.
- Acting for senior individuals in relation to investigations by the DOJ and FCA connected to loans to Mozambique.
- Representing an individual in relation to an investigation into HBOS and Lloyds Bank.
- Representing an individual in an insider dealing case.
Corker Binning has 'carved out a niche for supporting individuals who find themselves on the wrong side of regulatory investigations or related litigation.' The firm has particular expertise in compelled interviews, as well as in the overlapping fields of financial crime, extradition and Proceeds of Crime Act cases. Former FCA senior lawyer Claire Cross has 'in depth knowledge of the full range of potential issues which will arise.' She leads the practice and is experienced in complex financial services regulatory and criminal investigations, including those involving multijurisdictional issues. Also notable are Peter Binning, who specialises in fraud, regulatory litigation and criminal defence; and David Corker, who has expertise acting for clients implicated in international criminal or regulatory investigations.
Other key lawyers:
Peter Binning; David corker
‘The firm has individuals with detailed FCA knowledge coupled with superb corporate strategists and can put together a bespoke team to meet every matter at hand’
‘One of the leading firms for advising corporates or individuals involved in FCA investigations’
‘Excellent knowledge of contentious financial services’
‘Make clients feel very comfortable and provide insightful strategic advice’
‘A leader in this field’
‘Claire Cross is hugely respected for FCA work, especially market abuse. She knows it all and which buttons to press’
‘Peter Binning commands respect. He knows the detail but can see the big picture clearly’
‘Claire Cross is particularly impressive. Her experience at the FCA Enforcement division provides her with a wealth of relevant experience in advising clients requiring strategic advice’
‘Peter Binning is a known leader in this field. He combines astute legal analysis with clear strategic steer’
The 'highly professional and multi-disciplinary' team at DLA Piper specialises in international work, notably in the banking, investment and fintech areas. The firm advised First Data Corporation in coordinating the regulatory workstream for the company’s group reorganisation, through which it sought to place its non-US subsidiaries under a new global holding company. Financial Conduct Authority approved skilled person Michael McKee is 'always approachable, communicative and patient.' He leads DLA's non-contentious practice, while head of financial services and investigations Tony Katz leads on the contentious side with white collar specialist Sam Millar. The firm has significant experience in contentious financial services work including enforcement and investigations matters, with a focus on cross-border issues.
Tony Katz; Sam Millar
‘Sam Millar is a lawyer who inspires real confidence in clients. He has obvious integrity, an eye for the right opportunity to settle the dispute, and hands-on client side experience (as a former in-house lawyer himself) of the financial regulatory issues that arise in practice’
Yu Group PLC
Dixons Carphone Plc
Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Limited
- Advising Dixons Carphone Plc in relation to an enforcement investigation brought by the FCA into allegations that The Carphone Warehouse missold mobile phone insurance between 2008 and 2015.
- Overseeing an internal investigation into the accounts of Yu Group PLC with assistance from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”). The firm has also been advising the company on its the legal position following the results of that investigation, including any engagement or liaison with regulatory or law enforcement bodies.
- Acting as defence counsel to an individual in respect of the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into events relating to capital raisings worth c£12.8 billion undertaken by Barclays in June and October 2008 amid the financial crisis.
- Advising a client in relation to various claims arising from the acquisition of a regulated FX company.
Fieldfisher has expertise in the banking and broker-dealer spaces, working primarily for large investment banks, commodities houses and hedge funds. In addition, the firm has experience in the area of fintech. Leading the non-contentious practice are financial regulatory specialist Azad Ali; Nicholas Thompsell, who is known for his abilities in the application of regulation in novel or unusual contexts; asset management expert Kirstene Baillie; and Emma Spiers, who focuses on alternative asset management. On the contentious side, the practice is notable for disputes, regulatory enforcement work, disciplinary action and internal investigations, as well as advising individuals under investigation by the FCA. Duncan Black leads in this area and acts for investors, brokers, banks and individuals, with a particular focus on money laundering and market abuse cases.
‘Very experienced and reliable’
‘Duncan Black has deep knowledge and does not shy away from giving clear advice’
Triland Metals Ltd
London Metal Exchange Ring Dealer
- Defending the CEO of a listed company in an FCA investigation.
- Advising Debt Fund on anti-money laundering compliance.
- Defending a crypto-currency exchange in Commercial Court proceedings alleging non-payment of introductory fee in initial coin offering.
The non-contentious practice of Fox Williams LLP advises banks, insurers, asset managers and fintech firms, but has particular expertise in technology related matters including blockchain and cryptoassets. Financial services regulatory specialist Chris Finney leads the team. The contentious practice acts for a range of clients, ranging from global financial and legal institutions to senior individuals. The 'first rate' Peter Wright focuses exclusively on financial services regulatory issues and leads the department with James Carlton, who specialises in the criminal financial services investigations space, including market manipulation investigations. They can call on the expertise of Sona Ganatra, who has 'incredible knowledge of the area' and advises on financial crime, in particular money laundering, fraud and bribery allegations. Also notable is senior associate Sebastian Sayer, who particularly focuses on criminal and regulatory matters.
Peter Wright; James Carlton
‘They perfectly understand the FCA mindset and approach’
‘Fantastic niche team, with great expertise in financial services work and related investigatory work’
‘Small, pragmatic team, a number of whom have previously worked with key regulatory bodies’
‘A good multi-disciplinary team with great bench strength and a combination of FCA and private practice experience’
‘The firm has unique strength advising on insolvency issues for regulated entities within the Financial Services industry’
‘Peter Wright heads the team and in my view is one of the leading financial services lawyers around. He is the obvious choice for any contentious FS work’
‘Sebastian Sayer combines sound legal and technical knowledge with first class organisational skills and client awareness’
‘Sona Ganatra has a good approach to dealing with non-lawyer business people’
Irwin Mitchell represents a range of companies and senior executives ranging from IFA networks, banks and hedge funds, to asset managers, traders and stockbrokers. The firm has expertise in serious and complex fraud, as well as regulatory work, and has increasing experience in the pensions sector. The practice is known for its knowledge of the FCA’s regulatory powers and also acts in SFO investigations. Sarah Wallace leads the team and handles matters including money laundering, pensions, fraud and internal investigations.
‘It is very much a team approach with every step considered and thought through before taking any action’
‘Approachable and easy to talk to’
Kingsley Napley LLP handles a range of financial services contentious cases, including criminal, civil and regulatory matters. The firm specialises in advising senior individuals under the Senior Managers Regime. In addition, the practice has increased its focus on early intervention work, as well as advising corporates. Louise Hodges is a specialist in FCA regulatory investigations, financial crime and serious and complex fraud. She co-leads the team with Jill Lorimer, who has expertise in advising individuals facing investigation and prosecution for insider dealing and market abuse.
Louise Hodges; Jill Lorimer
‘The team has an expert understanding of the interaction between financial services and crime’
‘Jill Lorimer is a partner with great knowledge of the industry’
‘Kingsley Napley straddles the overlap between financial services and financial crime. ‘
‘One of the few original boutique white collar firms to truly develop an expertise in corporate contentious financial services work.’
Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP has experience advising corporates and individuals on internal and regulator led investigations into alleged regulatory and criminal misconduct in the financial services sector. The firm also acts in insider dealing and market abuse cases, in combination with its white-collar criminal defence practice, often working on matters involving multiple regulators and cross-border issues. White collar specialist Neil Swift is known for advising individuals in the Financial Conduct Authority and DOJ’s investigations into misconduct in the bond market. He leads the team with the 'thorough, considered and practical' Hannah Laming, who acts for a range of clients including bankers, traders and senior executives within international financial institutions.
Neil Swift; Hannah Laming
‘Peters and Peters’ very collegiate team provide prompt, effective and practical support for the client’
‘Great strategic depth and vast experience in guiding individuals through the most difficult situations and complex allegations’
‘They give clients great confidence and reassurance and always identify the right tone of engagement’
‘Hannah Laming is one of the legends of the industry with her criminal and civil experience and her insights from time working for the regulator. She is an extremely tough and shrewd operator’
‘Strong technical skills combined with client care skills, they are genuine experts’
- Acting for a high net worth individual who is being prosecuted for insider dealing by the FCA, the first such prosecution in the last 2 years.
- Acting for a company director in a case relating to an FCA regulatory investigation into an insurance company, two of its directors and an appointed representative.
- Acting for an Italian national, currently based in Italy, accused of insider dealing using information obtained from his girlfriend during the course of her employment at another bank.
- Advising a former bond trader on criminal and regulatory investigations in the UK and US, as well as a competition investigation by the European Commission.
- Advising a CEO and shareholder whose business has been subject to regulatory intervention, resulting in the company being placed in administration. The FCA and the SFO have both launched investigations.
Traditionally known for acting for banks and individuals within banks, RPC has increasing experience in the insurance space. On the contentious side, In addition to being on the FCA's Skilled Persons Panel for Conduct, the firm has expertise in crime and corruption matters. In a recent example, the practice represented Sports Direct in relation to a privilege dispute with the Financial Reporting Council. Jonathan Cary and Parham Kouchikali lead a team that has added white collar crime expert Sam Tate and managing consultant Toby Lamarque, who has particular experience with the SFO. Also notable in the team is associate Lucy Kerr, who focuses on defending financial services firms and their senior management in FCA enforcement actions.
Jonathan Cary; Parham Kouchikali
‘RPC is renowned for its brilliant client care coupled with sound legal judgment’
‘Jonathan Cary is impressive, with a deeply commercial, intelligent and client friendly approach’
‘Lucy Kerr is a wonderful resource, mature beyond her years’
Sports Direct International Plc
- Representing Canara Bank in an FCA investigation into its anti-money laundering systems and controls.
Specialising in the regulatory aspects of M&A, infrastructure and funds work, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s transatlantic practice is particularly highly regarded for its Brexit advice. Key clients include Cyprus Co-operative Bank and RBS. Global head of the financial services industry group Barnabas (Barney) Reynolds also leads the UK practice and is notable for his Brexit expertise. He also leads the contentious team with litigation expert, counsel Jo Rickard. The firm is experienced in cross-border matters relating to regulatory enforcement and anti-trust issues. As well as handling investigation and enforcement cases, Thomas Donegan has worked on matters including advising certain bondholders and the creditors' committee on the administration of London Capital & Finance, one of the biggest UK financial institution failures. Senior associate Ellerina Teo is another notable name in this area.
Barnabas (Barney) Reynolds; Jo Rickard
Other key lawyers:
The broad expertise offered by the financial institutions group at White & Case LLP includes multijurisdictional bank restructuring and prudential experience. Led by Stuart Willey, the non-contentious practice was boosted by the arrival of the well-regarded Jonathan Rogers in 2019 from Taylor Wessing LLP . Rogers' areas of expertise include the asset management industry, banks and the payments industry, notably in the technology and fintech space. In addition, Julia Smithers Excell joined in 2018 from JP Morgan and brings expertise advising stakeholders in banking, derivatives and capital markets regulatory areas. John Reynolds and Charles Balmain lead the contentious team, which includes compliance and money laundering work for investment banks in its remit and works closely with the firm’s white collar offering. The contentious team saw significant growth in 2018, with the arrivals of regulatory investigations and enforcement expert Chris Brennan from Addleshaw Goddard; contentious regulatory and financial crime specialist Laura Durrant from RBS; experienced litigators Hannah Field-Lowes from Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP; and Steven Baker from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. Zeena Saleh is a rising star associate on the disputes side.
John Reynolds; Charles Balmain
‘Strong practical knowledge and experience ‘
‘The stellar reputation of White & Case goes before it’
‘Chris Brennan is hard-working, commercially astute and has a detailed but pragmatic understanding of the regulators’ workings’
‘Laura Durrant is very knowledgeable, imperturbable and pays great attention to detail’
John Reynolds has a very good reputation in commercial litigation including financial services’
- Advised Deutsche Bank in transatlantic investigations by multiple regulators arising from suspicious trading on its Moscow Equities desk. Having self-reported, the Financial Conduct Authority in London, the Department of Justice, Department for Financial Services and NY Federal Reserve all commenced enforcement action looking at the bank’s systems and controls, with particular focus on anti-money laundering.
- Advised a leading global financial institution on a wide ranging investigation into potentially serious irregularities in the trading of Russian bonds.
- Represented an AIM listed client who was under investigation, along with its directors, by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP focuses on financial services contentious work for a mix of corporate clients and individuals. The firm provides criminal law expertise and has a particular speciality representing senior executives facing regulatory exposure. Experienced practitioner Stephen Pollard leads the practice, which includes counsel David Rundle, who has hands-on experience of the FCA’s Enforcement division. In a recent highlight, the team acted for the ex-Chairman of Mitsubishi Securities Akira Kamiya in an investigation brought by the PRA into an alleged failure to disclose information to the regulator.
Other key lawyers:
‘Extremely competent in a very efficient way’
‘Their manner remains relaxed without ever being complacent’
‘David Rundle and Stephen Pollard are extremely competent and professional, as well as being very approachable and easy to deal with’
Withers LLP is focused on acting for individual senior executive and non-executive clients, as well as their owner managed businesses, in the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) regulated sectors. Harvey Knight leads the practice and specialises in PRA and FCA enforcement cases involving individuals. In a high profile example, his team acted for former Barclays Wealth COO Andrew Tinney, who challenged a proposed FCA decision notice that attempted to ban him from carrying out any senior management role in any regulated financial service provider.
‘Good regulatory experience, industry knowledge and a cool commercial head’
‘Harvey Knight is an experienced ex-FSA lawyer. Very knowledgeable about regulatory enforcement’
‘A steady hand on the tiller’
Andrew Tinney, former Chief Operating Officer (‘COO’) of Barclays Wealth
Boutique disputes firm Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP specialises in payments services issues and contentious broker work for institutional and retail clients. Stephen Elam is a key name in this area and has a particular focus on matters involving complex financial products. The firm has been acting for former Bank Julius Baer employee Yoshiki Ohmura in claims brought against him by UK fund manager FM Capital Partners, in connection with a portfolio of assets owned by a Libyan sovereign wealth fund.
Gowling WLG has particular experience in consumer credit and retail finance as well as capital markets, fund regulation and payment services. The firm also provides expertise in fintech, advising on the regulatory aspects of new technologies including blockchain. Practice head Ian Mason joined the firm in 2018 from DLA Piper and advises on a broad range of financial services regulatory issues, non-contentious and contentious. He has significant experience in regulatory investigations, in enforcement and on the defence side. On the contentious side he leads with expert litigator James Sidwell and their team has experience advising institutions and individuals on responding to regulatory investigations and FCA/PRA enforcement issues, including those related to anti-bribery, corruption and mortgage fraud.
Ian Mason; James Sidwell
‘Ian Mason is excellent’
‘Ian Mason has a deep-seated knowledge of how the regulator approaches matters. A pleasure to work with, he is highly diligent and collegiate in his approach’
Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson of Grant Thornton LLP as joint liquidators of Stanford Bank
Bushveld Minerals Limited
- Advise on all matters concerning Stanford Bank’s UK assets, which has included seeking the release of a restraint order obtained in 2009 by the Serious Fraud Office on behalf of the US Department of Justice.
- Advised Bushveld Minerals on a major AIM disciplinary case.
- Advising an investment fund in relation to a regulatory investigation involving a number of very serious allegations.
- Advising a UK financial services client about a claim under the Payment Services Regulation in respect of losses resulting from unauthorised transactions by a foreign exchange service.
- Acting for two companies in a High Court claim against three of their former directors.
The regulatory team at Latham & Watkins specialises in bank-wide implementation projects, sensitive internal investigations, high-profile independent reviews and product governance. On the non contentious side, the firm has experience in transatlantic regulatory development work and provides an institutional asset management practice as well as fintech services combining regulation and technology. Practice head Rob Moulton specialises in high profile matters relating to MiFID II and Brexit. He can call on the expertise of 'very good technical lawyer' David Berman, who is known for advice in relation to the asset management, broking and banking sectors; and Carl Fernandes, who arrived from Linklaters LLP in 2018 and acts for international investment banks and asset managers 'providing consistently high quality advice'. The team has particular experience in EU benchmarks regulation. Also notable is associate Jonathan Ritson-Candler. On the contentious side, the 'astute, wily' Jon Holland and the 'excellent' Andrea Monks arrived in 2018 from Hogan Lovells International LLP and co-lead the firm’s offering. They specialise in complicated and high profile disputes and contentious regulatory issues, particularly with a multi-jurisdictional element, and have a strong track record advising retail and investment banks, asset managers, and other financial institutions.
Jon Holland; Andrea Monks
‘The team has a very experienced set of superb banking litigators who are also great fun to work with’
‘Deep experience in the field brings an underlying knowledge of financial markets’
‘It’s hard to think of a better banking litigator than Jon Holland’
‘Andrea Monks is extremely bright with lashings of good sense’
- Advising a major international investment bank on an investigation led by a European competition authority into alleged anti-competitive trading in the FX market.
- Advising a large Japanese bank in relation to an investigation involving regulators around the globe as a result of alleged trading in restricted securities and failing to disgorge profits.
- Assisting a major international investment bank with an investigation into conduct in the capital markets space.
- Advising senior bank employees and ex-employees in an investigation by US prosecutors into alleged commodities fraud and spoofing.
The multijurisidictional regulatory practice at Mayer Brown International LLP provides a range of regulatory, enforcement, litigation, transactional and policy capabilities. The firm has particular expertise in complex regulatory compliance issues, including around the implementation and key aspects of MiFID II and MiFIR. In addition, the practice advises a number of funds, broker dealers and corporates on issues such as financial crime and market abuse. Susan Rosser specialises in disputes involving financial institutions, asset managers and investment advisers, as well as complex financial products, regulatory investigations and enforcement. She co-leads the contentious team with Alistair Graham, who is a solicitor advocate and has notable experience in financial services disputes, international asset tracing, regulatory and fraud investigations.
Susan Rosser; Alistair Graham
Osborne Clarke LLP
Particularly strong in the payments and asset management sectors, Osborne Clarke LLP has experience in a range of work, including regulatory advice in relation to financial services M&A and new products. Kate Johnson and Paul Anning lead on the payments side, while Rachel Couter leads the contentious practice, which acts for clients ranging from traditional financial services companies, to alternative lenders and fintech providers. The team acts with the approval of the FCA as an Independent Skilled Person in relation to the HSBC customer redress review, relating to the miss-selling of interest rate hedging products.
‘Able to deal with a wide range of client needs, including traditional financial services work as well as areas such as data protection/GDPR’
‘Experience handling group litigation and great tactical minds’
‘Rachel Couter is technically strong and strategically impressive. She is an exceptionally skilful lawyer, with a real eye for detail and a comprehensive knowledge of banking and financial services law’
HSBC plc / the Financial Conduct Authority
Reed Smith LLP
The Reed Smith LLP Global Financial Regulatory Group combines contentious and non-contentious regulatory specialists from across the firm and is co-led by Chris Borg, Robert Falkner and Charles Hewetson. The firm advises clients such as banks, broker dealers and investment management firms on regulation and compliance matters as well as contentious issues.
Chris Borg; Robert Falkner; Charles Hewetson
With a focus on technology Taylor Wessing LLP is best known in the wealth management, funds, private banking, fintech and consumer lending sectors. Senior counsel Christopher Ratcliffe is notable in this area. On the contentious side the firm has experience in high profile regulatory investigations and is called on by major banks to represent senior executives in relation to LIBOR/FX and other market and product investigations. The team also works closely with the firm’s corporate crime and fraud unit in a financial services context. Andrew Howell advises on commercial and corporate disputes in the financial services and professional services sectors, specialising in claims and regulatory investigations involving the financial services and accountancy professions. He co-leads the practice with Laurence Lieberman, who has particular expertise in the resolution of financial disputes and regulatory investigations. The department is acting for professor Russel Griggs, an independent reviewer appointed by Lloyds Banking Group, in consultation with the FCA, in the review and redress programme for SME customers impacted by the multimillion pound fraud that took place at the bank. Former non-contentious head Jonathan Rogers left the firm in 2019 for White & Case LLP.
Andrew Howell; Laurence Lieberman
‘Always very professional and highly knowledgeable.’
‘Their standard of work is very good.’
‘Hard work and quick responses to questions.’
Acting for Senior Executives of a number of significant banks
TLT provides a range of expertise in the retail sector, from FCA processes and rule interpretations, to investment management and pensions related work. Non-contentious co-head Noline Matemera is 'extremely responsive' and specialises in advising on the retail aspects of the FCA's conduct of business requirements, as well as regulatory processes and structures. On the contentious side, the firm is known for its experience in payments fraud advice, whistleblowing and miss-selling cases. Andrew Lyon specialises in complex financial services disputes including professional negligence and fraud claims, corporate recovery and bank security issues. He co-leads the team with Russell Kelsall, who is 'a go to person for training and understanding key issues,' and focuses on consumer credit, regulated mortgages, payment services and savings issues. Michael Ruck joined from Pinsent Masons LLP and handles investigations and enforcement. Michael Isaacs left to work for BT’s in-house team.
Andrew Lyon; Russell Kelsall
Other key lawyers:
‘Very strong, experienced team covering the whole range of financial services litigation’
‘TLT has a good pedigree in this field and its recent hire of Michael Ruck demonstrates they have the right people for this sort of work’
‘Russell Kelsall has a formidable depth of experience and commercial understanding of the industry. He is highly responsive and always on the cutting edge of new developments in the sector’
‘Michael Ruck is ex -CA Enforcement division and has an innate understanding of how to conduct an enforcement investigation from first to last’
Royal Bank of Scotland
Santander UK plc
UK Asset Resolution (including Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingley & Mortgage Express)
Coutts & Co
Lloyds Banking Group
- Instructed by various lenders, Santander UK plc; UK Asset Resolution; Lloyds Banking Group; and a mortgage lending and servicing company, to deal with allegations made by customers alleging the lenders breached various provisions of Mortgage Code of Business rules when entering into a regulated mortgage contract with the customers.
- Instructed to advise two major banks (including at board level) on their strategy and approach for dealing with claims alleging payment fraud (authorised and unauthorised transactions). This included dealing with the banks’ interactions with the FCA and the PSR.
- Instructed by a client to bring a claim against the seller of a book of regulated credit agreements, for its failure to operate the book in accordance with all applicable laws.
- Providing strategic support to a major banking client on a high-profile remediation programme scheme.
Baker McKenzie 's financial services team is part of the firm's wider banking & finance practice, which also covers work including acquisition finance and project finance matters, in addition to regulatory and financial disputes work. In the payment area the firm acts for a range of clients including banks, card issuers and acquirers, as well as payment institutions and e-money issuers, notably in relation to cross-border issues. Mark Simpson leads the team and specialises in multijurisdictional matters related to new product offerings, conduct of business issues, prudential requirements and regulatory reform. The contentious practice is integrated with the non-contentious regulatory department and works across a range of banking and financial services disputes, FCA enforcement cases and internal and external investigations; Jonathan Peddie is well regarded in this area. The overall finance team has been strengthened by the arrivals of structured finance transactions expert Matthew Dening, who joined the firm from Sidley Austin LLP; Philip Annett, who joined from Allen & Overy LLP and has notable regulatory experience, including stints at the SFO and FCA; and Caitlin McErlane, who arrived from Sidley Austin LLP and specialises in advising fund managers. Arun Srivastava left for Paul Hastings LLP in 2018.
Jonathan Peddie; Mark Simpson
Other key lawyers:
‘Mark Simpson is a standout’
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- Acting for LBBW in civil proceedings brought by UBS involving complex back-to-back credit derivative transactions.
Cross-border specialist Dentons is 'responsive, practical' and particularly experienced in transactional regulatory advice, as well as assisting financial institutions from around the globe in relation to Brexit. Michael Wainwright leads the non-contentious practice and has expertise in retail distribution platforms, capital resources requirements, asset protection and insurance. He led in advising Cofunds on the regulatory aspects of a contract with Nationwide Building Society to provide a new investment platform to administer an existing book of retail investments and to support new business. Also notable is the 'excellent and incisive' Jonathan Garforth, who specialises in fintech. The contentious arm of the financial services team acts on a range of issues including investigations, product misselling, whistleblowing and complaints handling. Celyn Armstrong leads the department, which is instructed by regulators as well as banks, asset managers and securities brokers.
‘Celyn Armstrong leads a team of financial services experts who provide first class service in a timely manner’
‘Dentons have a highly skilled financial services offering that benefits from both the large corporate clients it has as an international firm and the personal attention it is able to give individuals as a result of their working methods’
‘The team is very responsive, with the individuals making themselves fully available in order to allow an effective negotiation when a contentious matter arises’
‘An immensely impressive team with great strength in depth. The core financial markets disputes group is particularly impressive at all levels, and capable of handling the most complex and high value disputes’
‘Celyn Armstrong is a valuable adviser. The legal and regulatory analysis he provides shows a high level of technical and industry knowledge and a great ability to address business issues and provide practical solutions within a given legal and regulatory framework’
Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”)
Financial Services Compensation Scheme Limited (“FSCS”)
- Successfully defending a high-profile, high value misfeasance claim against the FCA
- Carrying out a past business review of a large retail bank’s distressed SME unit.
- Carrying out an internal investigation into possible misconduct within a US securities broker’s London office.
- Advising FSCS in relation to the default of various overseas insurers.
- Assisting with an extensive internal whistleblowing and culture review.
White collar and professional regulatory specialist Hickman & Rose is a boutique practice acting for individuals, notably directors and executives, in financial services regulatory investigations. Practice head Ben Rose has particular expertise in criminal defence work and regulatory litigation. In a recent highlight, his team represented Neil Danziger, a trader at the Royal Bank of Scotland under investigation by the FCA and SFO for alleged manipulation of LIBOR. Also notable in the team is Andrew Katzen, who is 'generous with his time and deals calmly with developments at what can be very stressful times for clients.'
Other key lawyers:
‘Andrew Katzen has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and current events in his sector, and also a good relationship with regulatory authorities’
King & Spalding LLP’s non-contentious financial services practice focuses on market abuse regulation, securitisation and hedge funds, with particular experience within the insurance and asset management sectors. On the contentious side, the firm is known for acting in Senior Managers and Certification Regime and white collar crime related matters. The team was strengthened by the 2018 arrivals of Aaron Stephens, from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, who has expertise in representing financial institutions, corporate clients and senior individuals in highly sensitive litigation and investigations; and former Head of Enforcement at the Bank of England / Prudential Regulation Authority, Robert Dedman, who joined from Navigant.
Milbank is known for transatlantic experience acting for global financial institutions and senior industry individuals. The firm has expertise in investigations, enforcement proceedings and disputes in the financial services sector. Charles Evans leads the team and specialises in financial services and banking matters.
Julian Stait; Charles Evans; Tom Canning
- Acting for a number of senior individuals of a major global financial institution in connection with an FCA investigation into systems and control failings at the Bank.
- Acted for a major global financial institution in relation to regulatory investigations conducted into a failed high street retailer.
- Acted for a senior individual at a major global financial institution in connection with an internal investigation into internal compliance failures.
- Acting for a director of a major financial institution in connection with a new FCA investigation into whether he acted with due skill, care and diligence.
The London practice of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP has experience in a range of contentious regulatory issues, including dealing with Section 166 investigations under the UK Financial Services & Markets Act, past business reviews and FCA investigations arising out of alleged miss-selling, insider dealing and corruption. In addition, the firm has significant expertise handling issues involving the US regulators, notably the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Chris Warren-Smith represents banks and financial services clients in internal and regulatory investigations and litigation. He co-leads the team with Melanie Ryan, who specialises in corporate and regulatory investigations, as well as enforcement and litigation proceedings.
Chris Warren-Smith; Melanie Ryan
‘The team has a good knowledge of its subject matters and is always open and honest’
‘The value for money and return on investment is exceptional’
‘The two stand out partners are Melanie Ryan and Chris Warren Smith. They are always there for you and willing to help’
‘The willingness to talk matters through is exceptional and unrivalled’
‘Ben Page is an exceptional associate as he has a good eye for detail and is always willing to assist’
Pinsent Masons LLP’s financial services team covers both contentious and non-contentious matters for clients. The non-contentious practice handles a range of matters from Brexit and fintech to consolidation and regulatory change projects. The firm also has notable expertise in the asset management and payments spaces. David Heffron leads the team and has a particular focus on regulatory and transactional work for businesses including insurers, wealth managers, banks and brokers. Colin Read leads a contentious offering made up of experienced white collar and corporate crime defence practitioners. The group has a particular speciality for advising on legacy PPI difficulties. Andrew Barber joined from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in 2019 and focuses on retail banking and consumer finance. Bruno Geiringer retired in 2018 and Tony Anderson left for Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in 2019.
Other key lawyers:
Jonathan Cavill; Nick Bradley
‘The firm has the capacity, ability and depth of experiences to deal with large-scale cases and issues, typically acting for national and international insurers and reinsurers’
‘Able to deal with matters of very significant financial or reputational significance to clients, and do so very capably’
‘Helpful ability to combine insurance and regulatory advice across one team, with a very good sense of real practical experience in both’
‘Colin Read is an extremely pleasant person to deal with. He clearly has an excellent rapport with clients and is also a skilful team leader with good diplomatic skills’
‘Jonathan Cavill is tenacious, hard-working and practical’
‘Nick Bradley is very pragmatic and experienced in insurance claims and coverage issues, and knows the market very well’
With offices in the UK and US, Winston & Strawn LLP provides expertise in investigations conducted by European regulatory bodies as well as US regulators and prosecutors, including the DOJ and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Notable in the area is associate Bibinaz Sarraf-Yazdi. Former practice head Justin McClelland left for Stephenson Harwood in 2019.