Firms To Watch: Financial services: contentious

At Burges Salmon LLP, the focus is predominantly on representing the FSCS, with recent highlights including acting on a portfolio of claims against defaulted SIPP operators and their insurers. Matthew Walker is the key name to note.
Boutique Pallas Partners LLP was founded in early 2022, and comprises practitioners assembled from the London office of Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP; the firm brings a concerted contentious focus to its cases. Matt Getz and Tracey Dovaston head up the global investigations and financial crime offering.

Financial services: contentious in London

A&O Shearman

A&O Shearman‘s ‘deep expertise in dealing with financial institutions‘ marks the team as an advisor of choice for household names in the sector, and regularly handles highly sensitive and complex regulatory and internal investigations mandates. The department leverages the strength of the firm’s global investigations practice across continental Europe, the US and Asia, and is noted for its ‘thoughtful approach to blending the best legal knowledge into effective teams‘. Calum Burnett heads up the London-based litigation and investigations offering, while Arnondo Chakrabarti oversees the UK-wide litigation group. Sarah Hitchins brings ‘deep expertise‘ to her defence of clients in FCA investigations into alleged criminal and civil deficiencies in their financial crime controls. Mahmood Lone is well versed in conducting internal investigations, while Eve Giles‘ specialism is in conducting financial crime investigations, including those in relation to money laundering, insider dealing and market abuse. Brandon O’Neil, who is also admitted in New York, is particularly noted for his extensive knowledge of US authority-led investigations.

Practice head(s):

Arnondo Chakrabarti; Calum Burnett

Other key lawyers:

Eve Giles; Mahmood Lone; Sarah Hitchins; Brandon O’Neil


‘Go-to firm for financial services advice. Always provides clear, well thought through advice and analysis.’

‘Calum Burnett – commercial and approachable. I trust his judgment and value his counsel.’

‘Deep expertise in dealing with financial institutions, including the private investment fund industry.’

‘Sarah Hitchins for sensitive investigations for financial institutions clients. Deep expertise in how the industry works, but also a depth of experience in the regulator’s expectations in how such issues need to be dealt with and disposed of. She is calm and collected, seems unflappable and inspires confidence.’

‘Strengths in dealing with financial institutions.’

‘Sarah Hitchins and Calum Burnett are experienced heavyweights in this field.’

‘A&O have a thoughtful approach to blending the best legal knowledge into effective teams. They seem to address challenges from the client’s perspective, rather than shoe-horning matters to fit their organisation design.’

‘Calum Burnett is a stand-out partner who has years of experience and is a delight to work alongside. Eve Giles and Mahmood Lone add strength.’

Clifford Chance LLP

The offering at Clifford Chance LLP is singled out by clients as ‘quite simply the best in the market‘, and continues to act in a significant proportion of the most intricate and notable PRA and FCA investigations in the market. Carlos Conceicaoteams fierce intellect with highly effective communication skills‘, and has particular expertise in cases of market abuse. Dorian Drew and Oliver Pegdencan handle the most difficult and complex cases with aplomb.‘ Drew frequently handles enforcement actions brought by a range of domestic and international regulators, while Pegden is highly active in internal investigations and related High Court litigation. Other notable practitioners in the ‘superb team‘ include Kelwin Nicholls, whose latest highlights include leading one of the first investigations in the blockchain sector, and Samantha Ward, whose expertise lies in data-related risks.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Conceicao

Other key lawyers:

Dorian Drew; Oliver Pegden; Kelwin Nicholls; Samantha Ward; Michael Lyons; Sophie Cunliffe


‘Superb team with standout individuals and strength in depth.’

‘Carlos Conceicao: huge experience; leading the field.’

‘Dorian Drew is a very capable and reassuring presence.’

‘Oliver Pegden: intelligent and sensible.’

‘Quite simply the best in the market.’

‘Dorian Drew and Oliver Pegden know the area backwards. They can handle the most difficult and complex cases with aplomb. They put together fantastic teams and can pull off extraordinary results. Worth every penny.’

‘Top notch team – deep subject matter expertise, huge intellects, incredible work ethic.’

‘Carlos Conceicao – a class act. He gives you real confidence that your case is in safe hands, and he teams fierce intellect with highly effective communication skills and engaging delivery. We love working with him.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a global investment bank in a multi-regulator, multi-jurisdictional investigation into potential systems and controls issues, in connection with a significant trading error.
  • Conducting an internal investigation, as well as responding to regulatory and select committee enquiries relating to Liability Driven Investments and disruption in the Gilt market following the Autumn 2022 mini-budget, on behalf of a global asset management firm.
  • Conducting an expedited internal investigation into trading conduct in the context of a bond buy-back auction, including the question of potentially anti-competitive information sharing, on behalf of a global investment bank.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP‘s client roster comprises many of the best known financial institutions across the globe. Operational resilience, consumer duties and market disclosures are just some of the core areas of focus for the firm. Lauded expert Jenny Stainsby heads up the global financial services regulatory offering, with Hywel Jenkins taking the lead in London. The team has ‘seen it all before from both sides‘, and fields numerous practitioners with experience working for major domestic and overseas regulators, including Karen Anderson. Chris Ninan primarily acts on FCA and PRA enforcement actions, while Susannah Cogman operates at the intersection between regulatory obligations and criminal law. Andrew Procter now acts as a consultant for the department. In other team news, Jon Ford made partner in May 2023.

Practice head(s):

Hywel Jenkins; Jenny Stainsby

Other key lawyers:

Karen Anderson; Andrew Procter; Susannah Cogman; Chris Ninan; Jon Ford


‘Very knowledgeable and experienced. Seen it all before from both sides.’

‘Hywel Jenkins – he’s very pragmatic; good market insight into what regulators’ priorities are; provides sensible commercial advice; deep understanding of the financial services industry.’

Key clients

TSB Bank plc

Work highlights

  • Advised TSB Bank on the resolution of investigations brought by the FCA and PRA arising out of the migration of TSB’s customer data to a new platform.
  • Acted on behalf of a guarantor lender in an investigation by the FCA into the lender’s assessment of creditworthiness and affordability, as well as customer complaints handling.
  • Advised a number of banks on individual accountability issues arising out of risk management failures, including potential disciplinary consequences, conduct rules, fitness and propriety, and regulatory references.

Linklaters LLP

The ‘first-rate‘ offering at Linklaters LLP is known for its expertise in handling the gamut of PRA, FCA and BoE investigations and enforcement actions. The firm’s cross-border contentious footprint enables practitioners to handle complex multi-jurisdictional mandates. Alison Wilson heads up the global litigation, arbitration and investigations offering. Martyn Hopper is experienced in representing clients before regulators, tribunals and the higher courts. Nikunj Kiri is highly regarded both for his expertise in conducting internal investigations, and representing clients in FSA and FCA investigations and enforcement proceedings. Barrister Clare McMullen brings her experience as counsel in the Enforcement Division of the FCA to the team. Ben Packer regularly handles multiple parallel investigations by authorities into firms and individuals. Counsel Elizabeth Dowd is another key team member.

Practice head(s):

Martyn Hopper; Alison Wilson

Other key lawyers:

Nikunj Kiri; Clare McMullen; Ben Packer; Elizabeth Dowd; Sara Cody; Verity Kemp; Susana Cao Miranda


‘Extremely strong team – one of the best in the city. All round experience and capability.’

‘Clare McMullen – Great manner; strong regulatory background.’

‘Nikunj Kiri is very knowledgable.’

‘Alison Wilson has really developed into a leading player.’

‘As a firm, they are extremely competent and always choose the right lawyer for the job. The firm has a family feel about it, and they take the time to get to know their client. They don’t “clock watch”, they inspire confidence and don’t give the impression they only want the money to the detriment of the client.’

‘Susana Cao Miranda and Clare McMullen – inspire trust in their judgement, always take the time to ensure the client understands and they accept challenges. They are quick to respond, thorough, knowledgeable, friendly and extremely likeable. Despite their heavy schedules, they are never too busy to send time with their client.’

‘The team led by Alison Wilson is first-rate and appears to have very good depth.’

‘Alison Wilson is outstanding – very knowledgeable and pragmatic. Builds upon lots of real world experience, which means her judgement is spot on. Also has an excellent manner with clients.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a global financial institution in a PRA investigation in relation to its risk management systems and controls following the collapse of one of its fund clients.
  • Representing a large retail bank in an FCA investigation into its treatment of customers in arrears.
  • Representing a major UK challenger banks in parallel regulatory investigations conducted by the PRA and FCA in relation to its systems and controls and compliance with its disclosure obligations.


With dispute resolution practice head Tom Connor at the helm, the team at Ashurst continues to act in some of the largest and most complex contentious regulatory matters, for clients spanning the full breadth of the financial services sector. The group brings ‘deep understanding‘ to issues including market abuse, trade surveillance and conflicts of interest, as well as trading controls, credit risk management and whistleblowing. 2022 was a key year of growth for the department, with Nathan Willmott and Adam Jamieson joining from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, in January and June, respectively. Willmott and Jamieson both have extensive experience defending both outfits and individuals in FCA and PRA proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Tom Connor

Other key lawyers:

Nathan Willmott; Adam Jamieson; Neil Donovan


‘Very practical and hands-on. Prepared to give tough love, but with excellent judgement.’

‘Very strong team in Nathan Willmott and Adam Jamieson on regulatory affairs.’

‘Easy to access and work with. Deep understanding but with a very pragmatic and engaged way of working.’


CMS has recently been active in a number of FCA enforcement investigations and regulatory interventions, as well as handling several significant remediation projects, s166 reviews and regulatory enquiries. The firm’s client base spans banks, funds, insurance brokers, advisers, lenders, and listed companies. Ash Saluja oversees the wider financial services and products offering. Key contentious regulatory specialists include Simon Morris, Alison McHaffie and Elisabeth Bremner, all of whom have considerable experience handling all aspects of investigation and enforcement processes. In January 2023, the team was further strengthened by the acquisition of Robert Dedman from King & Spalding LLP; he brings his experience as former Head of Enforcement at the PRA to the group.

Practice head(s):

Ash Saluja

Other key lawyers:

Simon Morris; Alison McHaffie; Elisabeth Bremner; Robert Dedman

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Leveraging its ‘incredible depth and breadth of knowledge‘, Hogan Lovells International LLP‘s team supports a roster of notable clients with all issues related to investigations. Philip Parish is head of the team. The firm’s cross-border capabilities significant, notably demonstrated by Arwen Handley, who has recent experience working on cases spanning London, New York, and Hong Kong. Elaine Penrose, who is singled out by clients as ‘a huge asset to the firm and to her clients‘, is active across the range of internal and regulator-led investigations. Claire Lipworth operates at the junction between regulatory and criminal mandates.

Practice head(s):

Philip Parish

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Penrose; Louise Lamb; Arwen Handley; Claire Lipworth


‘Louise Lamb and Arwen Handley are both excellent – technically skilled, excellent client skills and able to identify the winning point.’

‘Partners know their stuff, and the firm has a great depth of expertise if new or novel points arise.’

‘Philip Parish is a stand-out individual.’

‘Hogan Lovells’ financial services practice is very experienced, responsive and reliable. The senior members of the team have decades of experience of working for banks and other large institutions. They are sensible and practical and also fun to work with.’

‘Louise Lamb is hugely experienced at working for banks. She is very intelligent but also sensible and very pleasant to work with.’

‘The team has an incredible depth and breadth of knowledge, in addition to being incredibly responsive, keenly aware of businesses’ commercial and stakeholder needs, and providing incredibly high quality and thoughtful advice.’

‘All of the individuals I have dealt with have been incredibly approachable, capable and dependable under pressure. Arwen Handley, in particular, is an excellent technical lawyer who is also able to draw on her extensive in-house experience to deliver highly practical, focused advice that business stakeholders can understand with ease.’

‘Elaine Penrose – a partner whose legal analysis and people management skills make her a huge asset to the firm and to her clients.’

Macfarlanes LLP

Macfarlanes LLPknows perfectly how to handle complex and international cases.‘ FCA investigations and enquiries relating to market abuse issues, including market manipulation and insider trading, are the central focus for the team. ‘Very effective and wise operatorDan Lavender heads up the financial services and markets dispute resolution group, while Matt McCahearty oversees the litigation department. As well as UK-based regulatory engagements, the group also handles a large number of complex international mandates, including global investigations, disputes and prosecutions. Barry Donnelly‘s broad caseload includes enforcement proceedings brought by both UK and US regulatory and criminal authorities. Laura Bridgewater's experience includes regulatory investigations and studies for major financial services entities.

Practice head(s):

Dan Lavender; Matt McCahearty

Other key lawyers:

Barry Donnelly; Helen Carter; Laura Bridgewater


‘I frequently recommend Macfarlanes to my clients, as the Macfarlanes team knows perfectly how to handle complex and international cases as well as investigations.’

‘A good all-round team which is able to take a holistic view of commercial problems.’

‘Dan Lavender is a very effective and wise operator.’

‘Dan Lavender strikes me as someone who knows his stuff, is calm and measured, is easy to deal with and who is likely to provide a good service to his clients.’

‘The team is fantastic – hard-working, thoughtful, diligent. My go-to firm in the UK.’

‘They work hard, are careful, attentive and really smart. And the results have been outstanding.’

‘Able to navigate high-intensity contentious situations in a calm and extremely pragmatic way. Dan Lavender and Laura Bridgewater are stand-outs.’

‘Their team is very experienced in managing cross-border issues for clients. Based on my experience, they are very good at understanding the clients’ commercial needs and help shape strategies to achieve the objective.’

Key clients

The State of Qatar

The British Bankers’ Association


NatWest (formerly Royal Bank of Scotland)

Work highlights

  • Acting for NatWest in its defence of three separate claims in the Competition Appeal Tribunal relating to losses alleged to have arisen from anti-competitive manipulation of foreign exchange markets by individual traders at various banks.
  • Advised the FMSB on the development of the second edition of its Behavioural Cluster Analysis study.
  • Advising the State of Qatar on claims against Banque Havilland and one of its employees, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, and Emirates NBD Bank PJSC alleging a conspiracy to manipulate the Qatari Riyal and associated financial instruments.

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Clients describe Mishcon de Reya LLP as being ‘in the Premier League for representing individuals under FCA disciplinary investigation‘, with a considerable breadth of expertise which includes market misconduct, and alleged failures of governance and oversight. Practice head Adam Epstein is regarded as ‘a leader in his field‘. Guy Wilkes stands out as ‘a charismatic and effective presence in every case‘, and has particular experience in financial crime and anti-money laundering investigations. Managing associate Elizabeth Hope is another key member of the group.

Practice head(s):

Adam Epstein

Other key lawyers:

Guy Wilkes; Elizabeth Hope; Jonathan Barnett


‘I feel as if the team was exceptionally experienced. They had clearly worked on many similar cases, and this knowledge was evident during my interactions. The team was also willing to get advice and expertise from others within their organisation when required. I found this collaboration within the teams to be beneficial in coming to a potential resolution.’

‘Adam Epstein – vastly experienced partner; details man but also sees the big picture. Top of the tree.’

‘Mishcon are routinely involved in the biggest cases in the sector, and are feared by all their opponents.’

‘Guy Wilkes is a charismatic and effective presence in every case, bringing his vast experience from both sides of the regulatory fence to bear.’

‘Adam Epstein is a legend of the law and a go-to name for every type of client.’

‘Adam Epstein is a leader in his field.’

‘Guy Wilkes is a go-to person for individual representations. Hugely knowledgeable and experienced. He’s tough where needed, but also constructive and pragmatic.’

‘In the Premier League for representing individuals under FCA disciplinary investigation. Mishcon has a true specialist team with enormous experience and knowledge.’

Norton Rose Fulbright

Fielding a ‘very sophisticated group of lawyers‘, Norton Rose Fulbright is experienced at all stages of the contentious regulatory process, from the emergence of potential reportable issues through to enforcement and remediation. The team’s work covers a wide range of regulators, including not only the FCA and PRA, but also the FRC, SFO, NCA and OFSI, in addition to global regulatory agencies. Much lauded duo Katie Stephen and David Harris jointly lead the London-based department, with support from Jonathan Herbst, the global head of the financial services offering. Matthew Gregory was promoted to partner in January 2023. At the senior associate level, Claudia Van Gruisen is marked out as ‘a star of the future‘.

Practice head(s):

Katie Stephen; David Harris

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Herbst; Matthew Gregory; Joe Smallshaw; Andrew Reeves; Claudia Van Gruisen


‘Andrew Reeves is a sure-footed and sophisticated thinker. He misses nothing.’

‘David Harris is a brilliant tactician.’

‘Claudia Van Gruisen is a star of the future.’

‘Andrew Reeves is a superb analyst of legal risk.’

‘David Harris is meticulous in everything he does. Claudia Van Gruisen is tireless in her efforts on behalf of clients.’

They are a very sophisticated group of lawyers.’

‘Katie Stephen is an absolute doyen of the FS regulatory arena, with a well-deserved reputation for excellence. She knows the regulatory landscape as well as anyone, and strikes fear into opponents, including regulators. A top choice for any tough regulatory fight.’

‘A strong team providing a thoughtful approach to difficult cases. Katie Stephen is notable.’

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons‘ capabilities span a broad range of issues, including regulatory investigations - such as potential misconduct, market abuse, and individual accountability - internal investigations, rule-based breaches, and the implementation of large-scale regulatory change projects. The team works particularly closely with the crime and competition departments in order to expertly handle multidisciplinary investigations involving numerous regulators and other public authorities. ‘First-rateRichard Sims and ‘superbEmma Sutcliffe are the key senior contacts. The firm’s deep bench also includes managing associate Douglas Robinson, who has particular expertise in handling litigation with parallel regulatory proceedings and enforcement actions by multiple regulators.

Practice head(s):

Richard Sims; Emma Sutcliffe

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Hunter-Yeats; Douglas Robinson


‘Strong team, on the up at the moment.’

‘Emma Sutcliffe: assured, good tactician.’

‘Expert team with great work.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a financial institution in an ongoing investigation by the FCA and parallel skilled persons review resulting from a significant market event.
  • Acting for a firm in an ongoing FCA investigation relating to anti-financial crime systems and controls.
  • Acting for a global bank in an FCA investigation relating to alleged fraud and systems and controls failings, including in front of the FCA’s Regulatory Decisions Committee.

Slaughter and May

At Slaughter and May, the London-based financial services regulatory investigations practice sits within the firm’s cross-practice global disputes and investigations group, which is helmed by Richard Swallow. The group advises clients across the financial services sector on the gamut of UK, EU and global regulatory issues, and continues to excel in handling high-stakes domestic and cross-border enforcement actions. Ewan Brown and Jonathan Cotton act as the co-heads of the global investigations practice. Other key contacts include Holly Ware, Jonathan Clark and Gayathri Kamalanathan. ‘Senior figureDeborah Finkler also remains an active part of the department.

Practice head(s):

Richard Swallow

Other key lawyers:

Deborah Finkler; Ewan Brown; Holly Ware; Jonathan Cotton; Jonathan Clark; Gayathri Kamalanathan; Tim Blanchard


‘All-round excellence, built on quality and experience.’

‘Ewan Brown – engaging, reassuring, good client handler and team leader.’

‘Deborah Finkler – senior figure, clients love her.’

‘Gayathri Kamalanathan is an exceptional adviser, her temperament, judgement, experience and knowledge are absolutely the sort of person you need guiding an organisation in difficult times.’

‘Very skilled, attentive, productive and strategy focused.’

‘I have worked with Gayathri Kamalanathan and been extremely impressed with her strategic thinking, strong overview, sense of detail and impressive ability to get a lot of work done in a short period of time, whilst at the same time being very pleasant to work with.’

Key clients

Danske Bank

Zurich Insurance plc

JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.

Credit Suisse AG, Credit Suisse International and Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted as coordinating counsel in Danske Bank’s $2bn settlement with US and Danish authorities concerning a multi-jurisdictional investigation concluding investigations into failings and misconduct related to the non-resident portfolio at Danske Bank’s former Estonia branch.
  • Representing Zurich Insurance in an FOS complaint linked to a business interruption insurance FCA test case.
  • Representing JPMorgan in various regulatory and governmental investigations into allegations of manipulation of a foreign exchange.

Stephenson Harwood

The practitioners at Stephenson Harwoodmake an extremely effective team‘, and are able to balance acting for both corporates and individuals in the most complex and high-profile cases, whether solely domestic or international. Practice head Sean Jeffrey brings a ‘razor-sharp, insightful and trustworthy‘ approach to significant FCA enforcement matters, including those regarding client money and retail products. Justin McClelland‘s broad practice covers the spectrum of contentious work, from criminal and regulatory investigations to the civil disputes which flow from them. The team has recently expanded its partner bench through the internal promotion of Alan Ward in May 2022, and the lateral hire of David Capps from Ashurst in March 2023.

Practice head(s):

Sean Jeffrey

Other key lawyers:

Justin McClelland; David Capps; Alan Ward; Ellen Gallagher


‘Justin McClelland is strategic, thinking several steps ahead, and also pragmatic and empathetic. Have used him for many years and wouldn’t go elsewhere.’

‘Very strong team; short turn-around time for important works; flexible invoicing. I personally work regularly with Alan Ward; very professional and he delivers prompt service at all times!’

‘Justin Mcclelland, Alan Ward and the wider team are outstanding professionals, enormously talented and show full dedication. They work tirelessly, are highly intelligent, objective and straight-talking. They are very impressive in their technical knowledge and level of detail, giving them the ability to deal appropriately with the most complex areas. ’

‘One of the best firms for regulatory disciplinary work. Has handled important and complex financial services cases for individuals and firms, including the most high profile cases in the Upper Tribunal.’

‘Sean Jeffrey is an exceptional partner and skilled at leading and managing a team, reassuring a client and making a team work together.’

‘Stephenson Harwood make an extremely effective team. The regulatory knowledge we have benefitted from is excellent.’

‘Sean Jeffrey is a razor-sharp, insightful and trustworthy lawyer who fully appreciates commercial context and uses this to deliver the right advice. He is a highly valued partner to the organisation and wise counsel. He goes above and beyond to make himself available.’

‘Justin McClelland is absolutely outstanding. Sure-footed and with a perfect grasp of the legal, regulatory and procedural issues, he gives practical advice at all stages of an investigation or regulatory procedure. He’s also highly accessible, never lets himself get ahead of his client and has complete integrity.’

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard brings a ‘calm and measured approach‘ to investigations work, with a particular emphasis on alleged market abuse and insider dealing, anti-money laundering controls, non-financial misconduct, retail mis-selling, consumer credit, and customer redress and remediation exercises. The London-based financial services regulatory group sits within the firm’s global investigations practice, which is headed up by Nichola Peters. Other key senior contacts include ‘clever, meticulous, thoughtful and phenomenally hard-workingDavid Pygott and ‘responsive and strategicSarah Thomas, both of whom work across the department's key areas of focus, and are experienced in handling FCA enforcement proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Nichola Peters; David Pygott

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Thomas; Matthew Stockton


‘Very knowledgeable – calm and measured approach. Ability to work to tight deadlines.’

‘Sarah Thomas is responsive and strategic, and goes the extra mile for her clients. She is the ideal person to have representing an individual on a significant investigation: she is easy to work with, quick off the mark, understands the issues and brings a reassuring presence.’

‘Highly competent; easy to collaborate with; always prepared; very engaging and attentive; a pleasure to work with.’

‘Mature, easy leadership.’

‘A pleasure to work with, even on challenging assignments.’

‘David Pygott – clever, meticulous, thoughtful and phenomenally hard-working.’

Work highlights

  • Representing Richard Howson in proceedings brought against him following the collapse of Carillion.

Baker McKenzie

The offering at Baker McKenzie is composed of specialist financial institutions experts, working within the larger dispute resolution department. The group has particular proficiency in compliance, investigations and regulatory enforcement, and benefits from the firm’s collaborative approach, ensuring that the knowledge of the public law, employment, competition, data privacy and M&A teams is efficiently leveraged. Jonathan Peddie acts as the global chair of the financial institutions practice, while Mark Simpson oversees the financial services regulation group. Philip Annett is another key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Peddie; Mark Simpson

Other key lawyers:

Philip Annett


‘The team have real life experiences of being in companies and going through the situations of their clients, as well as being in the regulator on similar cases the clients are facing. This is hugely helpful and adds significantly to the quality of work.’

‘Jonathan Peddie is an exceptional partner – the best I have worked with. Has real life experience of being in a client’s shoes and uses that to offer support and, where appropriate, challenge that is exceptionally timely and well put. An outstanding individual to work with.’

‘A very strong practice with unique experience and dep understanding of the financial services sector.’

Key clients

Metro Bank Plc.

Work highlights

  • Acting for senior executives subject to FCA and PRA investigations into the circumstances and events that led to a risk-weighted assets adjustment for Metro Bank in January 2019 and subsequent enforcement actions.

Brown Rudnick LLP

Brown Rudnick LLP is best known for its representation of senior individuals facing regulatory investigations, and is valued by such clients for its ‘outstanding commitment to professional service‘. The practice is headed up by Peter Bibby, who brings his previous experience as head of enforcement at the FCA to the role, and is described as ‘a details man, so perfect for complicated cases on.Chloe Pawson-Pounds and Ian Weinstein are the other key names within the group.

Practice head(s):

Peter Bibby

Other key lawyers:

Chloe Pawson-Pounds; Ian Weinstein


‘Stong contentious team with lots of experience.’

‘Peter Bibby: hugely experienced; a details man, so perfect for complicated cases on the facts; good strategist.’

‘The team we worked with was exceptional, they were collaborative and attentive to our needs and very demanding timescales, at every engagement we were met with professionalism and a superb service was provided. We felt confident in the team’s ability to support us through a very serious and challenging time.’

‘The attention to detail and the personal element of the engagement resulted in a seamless process. The level of service was significantly higher than that experienced with competitors, from drafting of documentation, to expert knowledge and insight into the contentious aspects of the case.’

‘The stand-out contentious regulatory lawyer at Brown Rudnick is Peter Bibby. He knows the contentious financial services world inside out, is easy to deal with and fights hard for his clients. I would certainly recommend him to potential clients in trouble, and have done so. I would be confident that he would look after them well.’

‘Outstanding commitment to professional service and meticulous attention to detail.’

‘Peter Bibby is the most outstanding regulatory lawyer I have ever worked with. He is thorough, knowledgeable, hugely committed and has total integrity.’

‘Chloe Lawson-Pounds provided outstanding support.’

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

The team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is marked by its ‘sophisticated understanding‘ of contentious regulatory issues and cross-border investigations. Polly James, who acts as the global co-lead of the financial services disputes and investigations department, has a wealth of experience acting on substantial and complex cases for a wide range of clients, including international banks and other financial institutions, as well as individual members of their senior management. Oran Gelb, the global banking practice co-head, also provides oversight. In a key development, highly regarded expert David Rundle joined the group from WilmerHale in May 2023.

Practice head(s):

Polly James

Other key lawyers:

David Rundle; Joseph Ninan; Oran Gelb


‘I’ve worked extensively with the BCLP team over many years and I hold them in high regard. They have a sophisticated understanding of financial services, especially complex trading cases. They are a pleasure to work with.’

‘Oran Gelb is terrific. He has excellent judgment and is highly experienced.’

‘Polly James is an outstanding practitioner. She is incredibly knowledgeable and has vast experience in advising FCA-regulated firms caught up in regulatory matters, including advising on connected internal investigations. She has a wonderfully calming presence and is extremely client friendly. A very safe pair of hands.’

‘A stellar financial services regulatory team.’

‘Polly James and David Rundle are both respected in the field. They are both modest, understated, extremely talented.’

‘Unique knowledge of how to navigate the complex inner workings of financial services firms, and their people. They have earned the respect of UK/EMEA financial regulatory agencies, through steady and trustworthy delivery over many matters.’

‘The attorneys are energetic, collaborative, and in the end they always find a solution when there isn’t an obvious one from the start.’


Strong relationships with major regulatory bodies are a defining element of the Dentons practice. Katharine Harle, for example, brings her previous in-house experience at the FCA to her current role as team lead of the UK regulatory and investigations group. As a consequence of the firm’s global reach, the client base spans foreign-owned banks operating in the UK, major financial services and insurance players facing cross-border regulatory and compliance issues, and asset managers. The expertise of counsel Zeena Saleh and newly promoted partner Lara Seabourne is demonstrative of the bench strength across all levels.

Practice head(s):

Katharine Harle

Other key lawyers:

Lara Seabourne; Zeena Saleh; Sarah Partridge-Smith


‘Katharine Harle is a remarkably knowledgeable financial services practitioner; she’s enormously hard-working; she gets on brilliantly with clients, including the most sophisticated and demanding ones; she produces superb letters and advice; she’s an astute tactician; and a nightmare for the other side when she needs to be.’

‘Lara Seabourne: an excellent lawyer, and first-rate.’

‘Very responsive and engaged team delivering high quality advice consistently and across the board. Highly recommend.’

Key clients





Currency Index Limited

John Lewis Plc

Marks & Spencer

National House Building Council (NHBC)

Dye & Durham

Lek Securities UK Limited

Arion Global Limited

Standish Management (UK) Ltd

LL Funds, LLC

Work highlights

  • Advising FSCS on the potential insolvency of Silicon Valley Bank UK.
  • Acting for the FCA in defending a judicial review brought by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking in respect of the FCA’s decision not to re-open the 2012/13 Interest Rate Hedging Products Redress Schemes in respect of a certain cohort of customers.

DLA Piper

Noted for its ability to advise both regulators and major financial institutions, DLA Piper continues to be a highly valued port of call for the gamut of contentious regulatory issues in the financial services space. The firm is also well regarded for building up a specialist contentious cybersecurity and data protection offering within the investigations group. Tony Katz, who acts as one of the global co-chairs for the financial services practice, is described as ‘exceptionally tactically astute‘. Sam Millar, who co-heads the investigations department, is another key contact at leadership level.

Practice head(s):

Tony Katz; Sam Millar

Other key lawyers:

Puesan Lam; Shabaz Ahmed


‘The team is very responsive and has good knowledge of this sector.’

‘Superb at operating on the intersection between financial services and public law.’

‘This team is notable for the quality of its partners above all else.’

‘Tony Katz – exceptionally tactically astute and full of ideas.’

Key clients

Sunrise Brokers LLP / Canto Fitzgerald Group

National Westminster plc

UK Finance

Work highlights

  • Appointed by UK Finance to advise on its responses to the FCA’s consultation on a new consumer duty.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Many of the world’s largest and most established regulated institutions instruct the team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, which operates across all areas pertaining to financial crime investigations, compliance, risk advisory and enforcement matters. In a recent demonstration of its expertise, the firm has acted successfully as defence counsel in six FCA enforcement investigations involving potential criminal offences and breaches of the money laundering regulations. ‘Great lawyer and leaderGregory Brandman heads up the practice, with capable support from seasoned practitioners Jake McQuitty and Julia Neal. Principal associate Adam Berry and senior associate Hayley Astles are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Brandman; Jake McQuitty; Julia Neal

Other key lawyers:

Ruth Paley; Adam Berry; Hayley Astles


‘A stand-out team in the market. They know what the regulator thinks and what is achievable for the client. Well versed, well resourced, driven to get the desired outcome for the client and lovely to work with.’

‘Gregory Brandman: few in the market have as much experience. A great lawyer and leader.’

‘Adam Berry – having worked for the FCA, he knows how to handle the very toughest of investigations and negotiations.’

‘Hayley Astles is charming, diligent and a star of the future.’

‘They are a highly competent regulatory practice offering an appealing blend of capability, exposure to the big work, contact with the regulator and value.’

‘Jake McQuitty is a compelling presence. He has great gravitas, a firm grasp of the regulatory system, and a commercial, pragmatic approach. He’s a very good choice to lead on regulatory enforcement cases and advice.’

‘Greg Brandman – excellent ex-FCA lawyer, knows his stuff and inspires and leads his team. Adam Berry – hard-working and conscientious. Hayley Astles – rising star associate.’

Key clients

Equifax Limited

Julius Baer International Limited

Al Rayan Bank Plc

Work highlights

  • Acting for Julius Baer International in its FCA enforcement investigation.
  • Defending the former CEO of Sonali Bank (UK) against an enforcement action that the FCA brought against him for senior manager misconduct.
  • Defending Al Rayan Bank in an FCA enforcement action into alleged failings concerning the bank’s financial crime controls framework.

Fox Williams LLP

Fox Williams LLP is seen as a go-to advisor by boutique, challenger and foreign branch banks, as well as senior executives and mid-range investment firms facing regulatory concerns. The group is also developing a particular specialism for supporting fintech firms undergoing investigation or supervisory intervention by the FCA. A recent reorganisation means that all contentious regulatory work now sits under the umbrella of the broader financial services department, with Sona Ganatra providing oversight. Other key practitioners include Peter Wright, who regularly acts on cases involving an international element, and Sebastian Sayer, who was promoted to partner in May 2023.

Practice head(s):

Sona Ganatra

Other key lawyers:

Peter Wright; Sebastian Sayer; Andrew Marra


‘The team are incredible; always available, very efficient; swift with advice;and very reasonable with their billing.’

‘I can recommend the firm very highly.’

‘The team are utterly professional, totally knowledgeable, cool under pressure, and inspire trust and confidence from their clients. They are the obvious choice for difficult and complex financial services matters.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for senior executives in the Dame Linda Dobbs review of Lloyds Banking Group.

Kingsley Napley LLP

Kingsley Napley LLP stands out for its focus on individual-side representation, and its stellar track record of successfully defending executives against allegations of criminal dealings in the financial services area. Recently, the firm has increasingly been involved with enforcement investigations which straddle both the approved persons regime and the senior managers and certification regime. Louise Hodges and Jill Lorimer oversee the offering from the criminal litigation and financial services sides, respectively. In May 2022, the team was strengthened by the arrival of legal director James Alleyne from the enforcement division of the FCA.

Practice head(s):

Louise Hodges; Jill Lorimer

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Finnerty; Julie Matheson; James Alleyne


‘Good knowledge across the breadth of the area.’

‘Jill Lorimer: a standout for contentious FS work. She also understands the criminal aspect extremely well. Definitely one to have on your side, and not against you!’

‘I have been very impressed indeed by Jill Lorimer’s encyclopaedic knowledge and acute analysis.’

‘Jill Lorimer handles challenging and sensitive regulatory issues in the field of financial services with exceptional skill.’

‘Fantastic strength in depth.’

‘Louise Hodges is a star. Stand-out in the market.’

‘The KN team is well established and provides an excellent service. We work a lot with them, they are experts, dynamic and responsive.’

‘Jill Lorimer is excllent.’

Latham & Watkins

The broad practice at Latham & Watkins spans investigations, senior management responsibility, market abuse and financial crime. The firm’s global reach ensures that cross-border mandates are a regular part of the workload, with the firm leveraging its knowledge of regulators and law enforcement agencies in key financial centres to handle complex matters which cover multiple jurisdictions. Andrea Monks is the key name to note at leadership level. In team news, Nell Perks was promoted to partner in January 2023, while former practice co-head Jon Holland retired in March 2023.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Monks

Other key lawyers:

Nell Perks

Work highlights

  • Representing a major global investment bank in an investigation by the PRA regarding regulatory reporting failures.
  • Training senior managers, including the CEO and independent non-executive board directors, on failures under the UK senior manager regulatory regime.
  • Representing the board of an international bank in an independent investigation into various significant whistleblowing allegations made by an employee.

Osborne Clarke LLP

At Osborne Clarke LLP, clients range from traditional financial services companies to alternative lenders and fintech providers. Other recognised practitioners include Tom Ellis and recently promoted partner Nick Price, who are singled out as ‘real heavyweights with great caseloads‘. In October 2022, the team benefitted from the arrival of Benedicte Perowne, formerly of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, who has extensive experience handling all aspects of interactions with the FCA and PRA, from authorisations, to notifications, to enforcement. Rachel Couter oversees the offering.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Couter

Other key lawyers:

Nick Price; Tom Ellis; Benedicte Perowne; Tom Frapwell


‘Enormous experience enables the firm to have unique insight into the client’s demands and needs. First-rate client service.’

‘Tom Ellis – urbane and astute; able intuitively to understand what the client wants and to formulate the necessary strategy. Superb communicator.’

‘Tom Frapwell is a very dedicated lawyer with a razor-sharp mind. Tom has wide experience in cross-border disputes and has a particular expertise in compliance. Very tech-savvy and understands the significance of tech to clients in the financial services sector.’

‘Really strong team which knows the financial services market inside out.’

‘Tom Ellis and Nick Price are both real heavyweights with great caseloads.’

‘Osborne Clarke remains our go-to law firm for all requests. They have consistently maintained a very high standard across all areas that other firms just can’t match. I would gladly recommend them.’

‘Exceptionally in-depth knowledge of specialist matters, and solicitors who genuinely care about their clients and the outcome of a case. My experience was that the specialist teams within Osborne Clarke worked well together to streamline the provision of advice and take advantage of their respective expertise.’

‘Rachel Couter gives you the feeling that everything is under control. Very positive and sharp.’

Key clients

Former directors of Comet plc

Wirecard Card Solutions Limited

Pricewaterhouse Coopers C.I. LLP

Mr Alistair Wright

DECTA Limited

Airbnb Payments UK Limited

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP is differentiated by its systemic FCA regulatory breach mitigation strategies, including high-value remediation projects, FCA investigation and enforcement advice, mass action litigation, and FOS complaint defences. The contentious regulatory offering sits within the firm’s wider insurance, regulation and funds team, which is headed up by Colin Read. For the financial services angle, Jonathan Cavill is the key senior name. The group also stands out for the high proportion of ex-regulators practising, and providing a ‘unique blend of experience‘.

Practice head(s):

Colin Read

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Cavill; Chris Riach; Venetia Jackson


‘A strong offering across the range of financial services contentious work.’

‘Jonathan Cavill knows his insurance regulation very well.’

‘Practical and commercial advice.’

Key clients

James Hay


AJ Bell


Direct Line Group

Work highlights

  • Advising a large international banking group on its regulatory crisis management concerning regulatory and legislative breaches from 2008 to the present.
  • Representing a  FTSE 100 company in a case relating to £900m of mis-selling exposures.
  • Representing a large American-owned insurance company in four judicial reviews of the FOS.

Travers Smith LLP

At Travers Smith LLP, the regulatory investigations offering comprises specialists from the financial services and markets team, and the dispute resolution department, which is helmed by ‘terrific strategistRob Fell. The cross-departmental team utilises its various strengths to handle all relevant issues pertaining to regulatory investigations, enforcement actions and disciplinary proceedings, with a particular focus on litigation, due to the contentious expertise of many of the practitioners; Caroline Edwards, Toby Robinson, Huw Jenkin and Stephanie Lee are all key names in this regard.

Practice head(s):

Rob Fell

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Edwards; Toby Robinson; Stephanie Lee; Huw Jenkin


‘Rob Fell is absolutely superb, and runs a team on a big case beautifully. He’s incredibly clever, is one of most experienced financial services litigators in the market, and has a detailed knowledge of both the industry and the law in this area.’

‘Rob Fell is a terrific strategist, and a brilliant negotiator. He’s perfect for any really tough financial services dispute.’

‘They have a lot of experience in high-value and high-profile contentious financial work, including sensitive internal investigation work.’

‘Rob Fell – very reassuring hand at the tiller.’

‘Huw Jenkin – exceptionally good at mastering the detail of a case.’

Key clients

Nomura International plc

Work highlights

  • Representing the former CEO of Nomura International in criminal proceedings which have been brought in Italy against him, the Italian Bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Nomura, Deutsche Bank, and certain other individuals from the three banks for false accounting, market manipulation and obstruction of a regulator in respect of complex derivative trades entered into between Nomura International and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena in 2009; as well as in regulatory proceedings that have been brought in Italy in relation to the same derivative trades.
  • Defending Nomura in a consolidated class action complaint related to anti-competitive behaviour in the primary and secondary European Government Bond market.


Investigations conducted, and disciplinary action proposed by the FCA are the primary focus at Akin, which is instructed by a core client base of investment and hedge funds, as well as C-suite individuals. Helen Marshall leads the team with a ‘very strong track record‘, supported by seasoned practitioner Ezra Zahabi.

Practice head(s):

Ezra Zahabi; Helen Marshall

Other key lawyers:

Joe Hewton


‘They are just top of the tree for big ticket financial services work.’

‘Helen Marshall – extremely knowledgable and experienced, excellent at managing a team and tricky clients.’

‘Joe Hewton – super bright, calm, on top of everything.’

‘Helen Marshall: very strong track record; aggressive but reasonable; regulators respect her.’

‘Excellent team – strong on contentious cases in RDC and in Upper Tribunal, with much more experience than most City firms.’

Key clients

BlueCrest Capital Management (UK) LLP

Bivonas Law LLP

Litigation boutique Bivonas Law LLP brings its contentious expertise to bear on complex investigations and high-profile disputes. In addition to handling the gamut of regulatory cases, the firm is also well-placed to deal with the associated civil issues and any criminal liability. Practice head Cindy Dorrington is ‘known for her robust approach when dealing with the FCA and other regulators‘.

Practice head(s):

Cindy Dorrington

Other key lawyers:

Antony Brown; Roland Ellis


‘Excellent nous and client-handling skills. Unusual regulatory knowledge combined with real commercial knowledge and experience.’

‘Antony Brown: grand in stature but humble in nature, Antony is a fighter who you want on your side in a tight spot.’

‘Cindy Dorrington: the queen of financial services disputes, combining brilliant client-handling skills with extensive experience.’

‘Roland Ellis has a wide-ranging practice, is on-the-ball and well-liked by clients.’

‘Bivonas is reactive and flexible. A unique experience in contentious regulatory matters allows Bivonas to develop fresh and out-of-box solutions.’

‘The practice is led by Cindy Dorrington who has very strong expertise in this area and is known for her robust approach when dealing with the FCA and other regulators.’

‘Antony Brown is a hands-on senior partner, able to nurse a case for a client and give them great confidence in the strategy and direction of travel.’

‘Cindy Dorrington is very responsive and my go-to person on financial regulatory questions. We have worked together on two substantial matters in the last three years, and her contributions have been extremely valuable and incisive.’

Work highlights

  • Representing an individual being investigated by the FCA and SFO for fraud and mis-selling mini-bonds to the value of £250m to retail investors.
  • Representing an individual in the FCA’s investigation into banks, brokers and pensions funds involved in Cum-Ex trading.
  • Representing a defendant in an insider dealing case being prosecuted by the FCA.

Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP

Boutique firm Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP leverages its well-established reputation for acting in commercial and financial disputes to represent corporates, regulated firms and approved persons across a range of sectors in complex supervisory and enforcement proceedings. Recently, the team has seen a notable increase in cryptocurrency-related work. Stephen Elam is the key senior contact.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Elam

Other key lawyers:

Sinead O’Callaghan


‘The team we work with has a demonstrated desire and ability to learn new technologies and take positions in a difficult and uncertain field. They are excellent advisors.’

Key clients


iFinex Inc

TF Global Markets (UK) Ltd

TF Global Markets (Aust) Pty Ltd

S&B Consultancy Services Limited

JNFX Limited

Work highlights

  • Defending ThinkMarkets group companies in proceedings brought by IS Prime relating to the basis upon which IS Prime provided matched principal brokerage services to ThinkMarkets on exclusive terms.
  • Acting for cryptocurrency exchange platform Bitfinex in proceedings brought by an anonymous insurer in relation to a cyberattack committed by unknown fraudsters against the insurer’s customer.
  • Acting for two defendants in the £4bn claim brought by Tulip Trading in relation to the alleged hack of Dr Wright’s home network and theft of private keys for approximately 110,000 bitcoin and related digital assets.

Corker Binning

Corker Binning is ‘perfect for tricky financial services cases that don’t fit into a predefined box‘; cross-border proceedings, internal investigations, FCA-compelled interviews and dual track investigations all form part of the team’s regular workload. As a former senior lawyer at the FCA, Claire Cross has ‘a well deserved reputation for working on the highest profile disputes‘. Name partners David Corker and Peter Binning continue to play active roles in the firm; the latter has particular insight into overlapping regulatory and criminal matters.

Practice head(s):

Claire Cross

Other key lawyers:

David Corker; Peter Binning; Nick Barnard


‘Corker Binning stands out as one of the finest boutique business crime and regulation firms.’

‘Nick Barnard is hugely diligent and clearly leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of his client’s best interests. Claire Cross is one of the few real experts working at boutique level in the field of contentious financial services. Her experience whilst a lawyer at the FCA ensures she knows the inner workings of financial services regulation backwards.’

‘Claire Cross is the real standout partner in the financial services space. Her judgement is excellent, she is strategic and very good fun to work with.’

‘Corker Binning provide a small, focused team with excellent expertise. They deliver on knowledge of the law, client service and strategic thinking. Their reputation in this area is well deserved.’

‘Claire Cross has a well deserved reputation for working on the highest profile disputes, and I trust her knowledge and expertise completely.’

‘Claire Cross is excellent and is highly experienced in FS investigations and contentious regulatory advice.’

‘In my view, Claire Cross is the best solicitor in the market for contentious FS work with a criminal angle. She is incredibly knowledgeable and is wonderful with clients. Her stint at the FCA is put to good use for her clients, who benefit from her fantastic depth of experience in this area.’

‘Perfect for tricky financial services cases that don’t fit into a predefined box.’

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP fields a team with contentious regulatory experience extending not only to both sides of the FCA process, but also SFO and HMRC investigations, along with FOS complaints. Recently, the firm has been particularly notable in achieving successful outcomes for individuals challenging adverse decisions by UK and overseas regulators and prosecutors. Jonathan Brogden and Angela Hayes are the key senior contacts.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Brogden; Angela Hayes

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Dyke


‘Attention to detail. Clear and concise communication in non-legal speak. Strength in depth, brilliant leader in Jonathan Brogden, but also amazing support from his team.’

‘Flexibility, support – both legal and emotional! Superb value.’

‘DACB have decades of market-leading experience in providing efficient, cost-effective and successful legal services.’

Key clients

Polar Capital LLP

Platinum Capital

Stuart Forsyth

Gavin Black

Habib Bank Zurich

Work highlights

  • Representing Stuart Forsyth before the Upper Tribunal, overturning decisions by the FCA and PRA to fine the former CEO of a mutual insurer and prohibit him from working in financial services.
  • Representing Gavin Black in proceedings concerning allegations of the manipulation of the LIBOR benchmark rate.


Under the guidance of  the ‘highly motivated, energetic and intelligentDuncan Black, the team at Fieldfisher expertly deals with the gamut of contentious regulatory issues faced by service providers, asset managers, brokers and dealers. The firm is particularly noted for its niche specialism in market abuse, anti-money laundering, structured finance, London Metal Exchange businesses, and systems and controls breaches. In January 2023, the practice was strengthened by the arrival of senior associate Sam Clyndes from the FCA.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Black

Other key lawyers:

Sam Clyndes


‘Forensic attention to detail, meticulous work and a uniquely human dynamic make the team a joy to work with.’

‘Each of the team are highly intelligent, work extremely hard and tirelessly strive for the best results for clients. Their client skills are incomparable, and they are a pleasure to work with.’

‘Well organised, cost-effective, highly knowledgeable and very easy to deal with.’

‘Duncan Black: highly motivated, energetic and intelligent – and always on the lookout for an innovative solution through a difficult legal thicket.’

‘Duncan Black is highly engaged and very knowledgeable.’

‘Duncan Black very quickly ascertains the situation and where the parties stand, who are the appropriate parties and provides advice that is easy to comprehend. He also reaches out to other teams to provide comprehensive advice when needed.’

‘Collaboration and capability to guide us, as a foreign client, through the UK law and regulation was crucial. Also, the help in interacting and negotiating with the other parties involved in the matter was very important. A specific plus was that the firm always involved the relevant specialist, either internal or external, in a very transparent and professional manner.’

‘Fairness, openness, transparency and frank communications really helped. The practitioners are able to put themselves in the client’s shoes.’

Key clients

Triland Metals Ltd

Hugo Van Kuffeler

Assure Hedge Ltd

Alliance Bernstein

Starz Mortgage Capital Ltd


Armira Capital

Wilmington Trust

Aquis Stock Exchange Ltd

Sucden Financial Ltd

VG Fund Services


Law Debenture Corporate Services Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing Hugo Van Kuffeler in litigation regarding the nature of investment fund directors’ duties.
  • Representing Law Debenture Corp in litigation defending attacks on corporate service providers to securitisation structures brought by Rizwan Hussein and his aliases.
  • Representing a major UK IFA which has been accused of numerous SYSC breaches by the FCA.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Sitting within Greenberg Traurig, LLP‘s wider litigation and white-collar team, the financial regulatory and compliance practice benefits from the firm’s considerable contentious prowess. Since the arrival of ‘go-to individualMatt Hancock in November 2021, the group has been going from strength to strength, with the recruitment of Tim Dolan from Reed Smith LLP in January 2023 marking the latest notable development in the composition of the department.

Practice head(s):

Matt Hancock

Other key lawyers:

Katharine Bond; Tim Dolan


‘Greenberg’s recent hires have catapulted them into a leading position in this field.’

‘Matt Hancock is one of the most savvy, charismatic and strategically effective practitioners around.’

‘The GT team specialise in enforcement issues and are a pleasure to deal with. They know how to get to the heart of an issue with minimum fuss, and their client care is first-rate. They are very personable and easy to deal with, without compromising on intellectual firepower.’

‘For contentious regulation, enforcement and supervision matters, Matt Hancock is the go-to individual. He is exceptionally bright and commercial, with a charming and calm manner.’

‘Superb financial services disciplinary practice. A comforting presence for clients in extremely stressful situations.’

‘Matt Hancock is always engaged, has excellent judgment and strikes the perfect tone with the regulator. And he is a delight to work with.’

‘The team is super strong in their knowledge but more importantly very passionate about their client’s success. Their people are their biggest asset.’

‘Matt Hancock is the best regulatory and financial services lawyer in the industry. He provides great value for money, is very responsive and always does the right thing for the client, even if it means doing less work for them. I cannot rate him highly enough.’

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP‘s contentious regulatory practice draws upon the collective experience of both the financial regulatory, and the government and internal investigations groups. The arrival of ‘fantastic new hireJulia Dixon from Linklaters LLP in November 2021 to co-chair the team alongside Marcus Thompson signalled the beginning of a concerted period of growth and development for the group. The partner bench has further expanded with the lateral hire of Shruti Chandhok from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in June 2022, and the promotion of Patrick Navein.

Practice head(s):

Julia Dixon; Marcus Thompson

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Navein; Shruti Chandhok


‘Very good knowledge and understanding of enforcement matters.’

‘Julia Dixon – very bright and personable.’

‘Great resources and global reach.’

‘Julia Dixon – fantastic new hire, adds crucial financial regulatory experience.’

‘Relatively new team – I was not aware of Kirkland in this space until recently, but they have made some key hires and internal promotions.’

‘Julia Dixon is very sensible, knowledgeable and easy to work with.’

Mayer Brown International LLP

With connections to the major financial hubs of New York, London and Hong Kong, Mayer Brown International LLP is well-placed to handle law enforcement investigations with some of the world’s most sophisticated and proactive regulators, including the FCA and PRA. Chris Chapman and Alistair Graham are the key senior contacts, and both have significant litigation and arbitration expertise to complement their regulatory skill sets.

Practice head(s):

Chris Chapman; Alistair Graham

Other key lawyers:

Airlie Goodman


‘There is strength and depth across the entire team. They are incredibly bright and have a deep understanding of financial services. I’d trust them to run with any matter.’

‘Aside from being great lawyers, they’re personable, and you can trust them to deliver to tight timeframes and engage well with senior management.’

‘I always have the view that Mayer Brown remain on top of what’s going on in the market across the world, and therefore are in a position to give best practice advice at all times.’

‘In Chris Chapman, Mayer Brown have an absolutely outstanding individual, who really makes himself available for a consultation, and also introduces other members of the team to support projects.’

‘The team was great, very present and very thorough.’

‘They were attentive to our work needs as well as the speed required to get the work done.’

‘The team is thorough and responsive, and their advice is well-tailored and commercial.’

‘Chris Chapman is at the top of his game. He combines great experience and judgment beyond his years with an unflappable manner. Airlie Goodman is one to watch.’

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP‘s ‘dynamic‘ team in London is a critical part of the firm’s global contentious regulatory practice, with practitioners frequently playing a key role in matters with a cross-border element. FCA investigations and proceedings, large-scale customer redress exercises, and remediation programmes are all part of the group’s regular workload. The key senior contacts are Chris Warren-Smith, who ‘combines great strategic and tactical nous with rigorous analysis and excellent legal judgment‘, and ‘great litigatorMelanie Ryan.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Ryan; Chris Warren-Smith

Other key lawyers:

Paul Mesquitta


‘The team led by Chris Warren-Smith is dynamic, highly effective and committed to putting the client in the best possible position – right up there with the best magic circle firms.’

‘Chris Warren-Smith is one of the profession’s heavy hitters – combines great strategic and tactical nous with rigorous analysis and excellent legal judgment. He is direct, focused and gets straight to the point. As well as having clear vision and the drive to win, he is also on top of the detail. He is great at asking the right question and no one pulls the wool over his eyes.’

‘Melanie Ryan is a great litigator with a very good following. She is hugely experienced and has a great ability to get to the nub of the problem clearly and decisively. Her pragmatism and thoroughness always sets up the client for the best outcome.’

‘Chris Warren-Smith’s client care is finely honed and based around directness, realities and a proper appraisal of potential outcomes. He is highly trusted and there is no bullshit. Working with him involves no diversions or distractions. He also runs a tight ship of highly talented associates, who clearly enjoy working with him.’

Squire Patton Boggs

At Squire Patton Boggs, FCA regulatory investigations, skilled person reviews, and investment mis-selling disputes – including High Court litigation and complex mass claims to the FOS – make up the cornerstone of the practice. The team is ‘not phased by challenging issues‘, and is regularly instructed to handle complex, multijurisdictional investigations relating to alleged breaches of financial crime laws and regulations. The key senior practitioners are Paul Anderson, who oversees the national financial services regulatory practice; Hannah Laming, who acts as both the UK and European head of the government investigations and white-collar crime department; and ‘intelligent and unflappableChris Webber.

Practice head(s):

Hannah Laming; Paul Anderson; Chris Webber

Other key lawyers:

Christian Toms; Wayne Barnes; Ben Ticehurst; Katherine Wakeham


‘The team is experienced, well resourced and knows the area well.’

‘Chris Webber – excellent knowledge in this area.’

‘Katherine Wakeham – an associate who punches well above her seniority. She has a good tactical mind.’

‘Incredibly knowledgeable team, experienced and not phased by challenging issues.’

‘Chris Webber – intelligent and unflappable. Katherine Wakeham – diligent and knowledgable.’

Chris Webber and his team have a particularly deep understanding of financial sector problems and are well-placed to provide expert advice on the options open to clients when litigation is being contemplated, or they are themselves the target of litigation.’

Key clients

Manchester Building Society

Brooks Macdonald plc

Independent Wealth Planners UK Ltd

Gallium Fund Solutions Ltd

Qualia Care Limited

Maven Wealth Group Limited

Euronet Worldwide Inc (and YourCash)

Equiniti Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for Robin Forster, founder and owner of the Qualia Care group, in defence of proceedings brought by the FCA relating to allegations of operating unauthorised collective investment schemes in relation to sale and leaseback investments totalling around £50m.
  • Acting for Gallium Fund Solutions in relation to the collapse of the mini-bond issuer Basset & Gold, causing losses of approximately £36m to investors.
  • Acting for Georgi Shulev, co-founder of the cryptocurrency lending business Nexo, in a £1bn claim against Nexo and its current owners for his unpaid shareholding and other cryptocurrencies owed.

Taylor Wessing LLP

Taylor Wessing LLP is typically instructed by major banks to represent their senior executives in market and product investigations, often with transatlantic elements, including around whistleblowing, trading and benchmarking. The firm has lately also been developing a significant focus on the cryptocurrency space, and is increasingly active on mandates which combine those areas of focus. Charlotte Hill heads up the UK financial services regulatory group, while Andrew Howell oversees the disputes and investigations practice.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Howell; Charlotte Hill

Other key lawyers:

Laurence Lieberman; Julian Randall; David McCluskey; Richard Viegas

Key clients

Former CFO of Carillion plc

White Oak

Work highlights

  • Acting for a former CFO of Carillion plc in relation to the director disqualification proceedings commenced against eight former directors of Carillion by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
  • Advising White Oak on recovery of funds due to it following its purchase of receivables through a structure operated by Greensill Capital UK which collapsed into administration in 2021.


At TLT, investigations work is particularly focused on whistleblowing, governance and policy issues. The firm is regularly instructed to represent senior managers, as well as advising industry bodies and regulators. The team ‘combines technical and industry expertise with a commercial, pragmatic approach.Jonathan Hoey oversees the national banking and financial services litigation offering from Bristol, with Manchester-based James Chadwick taking the lead on much of the contentious financial regulation work.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hoey; James Chadwick

Other key lawyers:

Clare Stothard


‘The team provides a first rate service – they have a great relationship with our business and work collaboratively with the in-house team. The team combines technical and industry expertise with a commercial, pragmatic approach at a sensible cost.’

‘Good coverage of experienced practitioners to address this work. Accurate and regular billing, good use of technology. Work collaboratively to find solutions in line with client expectations and requirements.’

Key clients

Santander UK plc

Lloyds Banking Group

Nationwide Building Society

Triodos Bank

One Savings Bank

Co-operative Bank plc

TSB Bank plc

Skipton Building Society


West Bromwich Building Society

Yorkshire Building Society


Bank of America

Hampshire Trust Bank

The Cumberland

Darlington Building Society

Seneca Finance Limited

FRP Advisory

Templeton LPA



Copper Technologies (UK) Limited

Ecology Building Society


With ‘market-leading‘ practice head Stephen Pollard at the helm, WilmerHale continues to be a firm of choice for stellar individual-side representation. Senior executives facing regulatory exposure value the firm’s ‘high quality advice‘ and breadth of experience with leading financial regulators, including the FCA and FRC. In January 2023, Richard Burger joined the team from DWF, bringing with him extensive experience acting in complex domestic and international regulatory enforcement proceedings and criminal investigations.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Pollard

Other key lawyers:

Richard Burger


‘High quality advice for individuals under investigation.’

‘Stephen Pollard is the figurehead of the practice and has a strong reputation for representing high-profile individuals.’

‘Richard Burger is excellent. He takes huge time and trouble for clients, worrying and thinking through all aspects of a case, and as a result achieving great results.’

‘Richard Burger is a man to have on your side when the chips are down.’

‘Stephen Pollard is a market-leading practitioner whom we have instructed and recommended over many years. He has outstanding judgement.’

Withers LLP

In keeping with its strong reputation for individual-side representation, the majority of Withers LLP‘s client base consists of senior executives of public and private businesses, as well as non-executive directors of FCA-regulated financial institutions. As well as internal investigations, the team is often instructed to advise on consequent criminal issues, as well as broader market abuse concerns. ‘Absolutely brilliantHarvey Knight brings many years of experience working internally at the FSA to his role as department lead.

Practice head(s):

Harvey Knight

Other key lawyers:

Natalie Sherborn


‘A small but high quality team.’

‘Harvey Knight is absolutely brilliant. He has huge expertise in acting for individuals and senior managers, and will fight tirelessly for his clients. One of the few solicitors to have actually defeated the FCA in Court.’

‘The Withers team as a whole are class acts. Very astute and at the top of their game.’

Key clients

Moneybrain Global Ltd

Constantine Law Limited

At boutique Constantine Law Limited, the regulatory and criminal investigations offering complements the firm’s core employment focus. The arrival of Emmeline Coerkamp from PCB Byrne LLP in January 2023 significantly strengthened the group’s capabilities in the investigations space, particularly those with a nexus to fraud. ‘Clever, professional and commercialSarah Wallace is the key senior contact.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Wallace

Other key lawyers:

Emmeline Coerkamp


‘Top-quality advice and support received. Technical delivery was excellent. All work was handled directly by partners who were available at short notice (within reason), highly supportive in a very stressful situation, and pragmatic and practical with the advice given.’

‘To be effective and value for money, lawyers need to be fully engaged in the problem, the background, and the objectives of the individual they are supporting. This was the case with both partners – the advice was top quality but pragmatic and practical and helped me to make the right decisions and compromise where necessary. The result was at the top end of my expectations. Hands on, personal, practical and quality advice is how I’d sum it up.’

‘Very efficient and responsive to client needs and timescales, an excellent professional all-round service.’

‘Emmeline Coerkamp is enjoyable to work with, efficient, professional and an excellent lawyer. Advice to the client is clear and comprehensive.’

‘Sarah Wallace – one of the finest financial services contentious lawyers of her generation. Superb understanding of what matters and when in regulatory investigations.’

‘Strong technical team and very professional to work with.’

‘Sarah Wallace is great to work with. Clever, professional and commercial.’

‘Sarah Wallace leads a very practical FS enforcement team. I trust that when our FS clients have contentious regulatory issues, Sarah will give honest and practical advice.’


DWF‘s ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of financial services and regulatory law‘ makes it a destination of choice for authorised organisations, senior directors and other individuals facing regulatory and internal investigations. The firm has a particular focus on anti-financial crime, and consequently is often instructed to handle dual-track FCA investigations. Former practice head Imogen Makin left the firm in January 2024.

Other key lawyers:

Robbie Constance


‘Experienced, responsive, broad range of talents, feels like they have your back.’

‘DWF is a very capable and proper international law firm with a very strong London and regional presence.’

‘The department has an encyclopaedic knowledge of financial services and regulatory law and a wealth of experience.’

Key clients

Fraser Fisher

Dolfin Financial (UK) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented the former CEO of Redcentric in a prosecution brought by the FCA for allegedly making misleading statements to the market.
  • Representing Dolfin Financial (UK) in FCA restrictions and insolvency proceedings.

Gowling WLG

James Sidwell brings an ‘incomparable work ethic‘ to his role as practice head at Gowling WLG. The firm runs the gamut of contentious regulatory matters, and is noted for its expertise in more niche areas, including FCA and PRA authorisation, supervision and enforcement, and mandates with a nexus to fintech, including cryptocurrency and blockchain developments.

Practice head(s):

James Sidwell

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Witts; Verity Barker


‘My experience of Gowling to date has exceptional. The Gowling team was extremely impressive throughout, both in their attention to detail on the substance of the case and in the case management. I also found it extremely impressive that they were able to set up a virtual hearing centre for four barristers and a team of other professionals virtually overnight.’

‘I have developed a good professional relationship with James Sidwell. Despite being an extremely senior and experienced partner, James still gets stuck in to his cases and knows the detail just as well those more junior. He is extremely gifted in client management and has an incomparable work ethic. I very much hope to have the opportunity to work with James again in the future.’

Key clients

The Financial Reporting Council

Grant Thornton LLP (Mark McDonald and Hugh Dickson, liquidators of Stanford Bank)

Work highlights

  • Acted for the FRC in investigation and disciplinary proceedings against KPMG and several individuals in the audit team regarding the provision of allegedly false and misleading information and/or documents to the FRC in connection with the FRC’s Audit Quality Reviews of two audits carried out by KPMG, including the audit of Carillion for the year end 2016.
  • Representing certain individuals at Grant Thornton LLP, the newly-appointed liquidators of Stanford Bank.

Hickman & Rose

Hickman & Rose is best known for its representation of company directors and senior executives facing serious fallout from financial services investigations. The practice draws on the firm’s notable prowess in the white-collar criminal and professional regulatory spaces to inform its financial regulatory offering. ‘Wonderful tacticianAndrew Katzen, co-founding partner Ben Rose, and joint chair of the financial crime department Ross Dixon are all key senior contacts.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Katzen

Other key lawyers:

Ben Rose; Ross Dixon; Claire Wallace; Tom Bushnell


‘Ross Dixon: great instincts, and wonderful at dealing with matters with US legal issues.’

‘Ben Rose is a pair of experienced hands.’

‘Claire Wallace – a conscientious practitioner.’

‘Ross Dixon is superb. Super responsive, fantastically talented, with excellent judgment and, in an absolute crisis, still empathetic, kind, generous and thoughtful. Wonderful to work with.’

‘H&R have an outstanding contentious FS team with a rare specialism in cross-over FS/criminal matters.’

‘I have worked closely with Ben Rose, Andrew Katzen and Claire Wallace over the last two or three years, and they are each exceptional. Ben Rose is an absolute street-fighter for his clients, combined with great charm and fantastic tactical nous. Andrew Katzen is a wonderful tactician with deep experience. Claire Wallace is a brilliant talent, great with clients and fantastic experience in this sector.’

‘Ben Rose seems to have a good reputation in the industry. He seems very client focussed and hard-working, and I have no doubt that he would provide a good service to his clients.’

Work highlights

  • Representing an individual accused by the FCA of financial market manipulation designed to destabilise the currency of a Middle Eastern state at the RDC and at the Upper Tribunal.
  • Acting in an FRC misconduct investigation into the former CFO of a global company in connection with an alleged £50m overstatement in the company’s financial accounts.
  • Argued that an FRC investigation against a former executive was an abuse of process and not in the public interest.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP‘s bench strength on both sides of the Atlantic gives the firm a distinct advantage when handling US-UK mandates, and the team is consequently highly regarded for such contentious regulatory work. Practice head Aaron Stephens‘ dual qualification in the US and the UK is further emblematic of the group’s focus.

Practice head(s):

Aaron Stephens

Other key lawyers:

Margaret Nettesheim


‘Aaron Stephens – calm and very able.’

‘Great quality in depth across all levels.’

‘A well run team with strengths at every level delivering an excellent service to clients. Very knowledgeable and experienced partners.’

‘Aaron Stephens is a very measured and thoughtful lawyer who always has interesting and useful insights into proceedings.’

Key clients

Deutsche Bank

Work highlights

  • Representing Deutsche Bank in various class and direct action litigation matters which are proceeding in the UK High Court (Commercial Court), the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”), Canada, Israel and Brazil; all of these relate to the previous criminal and regulatory investigations into alleged manipulation of the global foreign exchange market by traders at various FX dealer banks.


Milbank draws on its established strength in the contentious space to represent key players from the global financial services community in their interactions with the regulators. The firm’s transatlantic presence ensures that it is particularly well positioned to handle mandates with ramifications in both the UK and US. Julian Stait heads up the litigation and arbitration practice, with William Charles regularly leading on regulatory investigations work.

Practice head(s):

Julian Stait

Other key lawyers:

William Charles


‘Great at large team litigation.’

Paul Hastings LLP

Under the leadership of Arun Srivastava, Paul Hastings LLP‘s London practice has developed as an international hub, operating in concert with the firm’s teams in the US and Asia to handle high-stakes investigations by foreign regulatory authorities. Jonathan Pickworth is noted for his focus on tax evasion, fraud, corruption and money laundering.

Practice head(s):

Arun Srivastava

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Pickworth; Nina Moffatt

Key clients

Park First


Uphold Europe Limited

The Currency Cloud

Work highlights

  • Representing Richard Usher in a global investigation into the alleged rigging of the global foreign exchange market.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP brings a ‘strategic’ approach to actual and potential investigations and proceedings in the financial services sector, including those conducted by the FCA, PRA and SFO. Neil Swift brings his ‘great experience and judgement‘ to cases concerning both individual and corporate clients. Other key senior contacts include Anna Bradshaw, Maria Cronin and Nick Vamos.

Practice head(s):

Neil Swift

Other key lawyers:

Anna Bradshaw; Maria Cronin; Nick Vamos


‘Anna Bradshaw has encyclopaedic knowledge of anti-money laundering and sanctions laws.’

‘Solid and reliable.’

‘Trusted and strategic.’

‘Depth of knowledge and experience in the subject matter. Peters & Peters (from a US perspective) is the go-to UK firm.’

‘Neil Swift has great experience and judgement, and was a great help in a complex matter.’

‘I can definitely vouch for Maria Cronin’s team. They are not only great technical lawyers but have developed and keep enhancing their expertise in the various international environments their clients are coming from. It is a very well-structured team, hence always responsive. Would strongly recommend.’

‘I would like to specifically praise Maria Cronin: she is very hard-working, dedicated, client-focused, responsive, and thinks out of the box when it comes to creating solutions for her clients.’

‘Nick Vamos is a fantastic lawyer whose modesty and charm belies his high profile and his incredible client list.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a senior individual at the UK branch of a Luxembourg nank under investigation by the FCA over its role in an alleged scheme to manipulate currency and bond markets during an embargo that cost a Gulf nation billions.

Shoosmiths LLP

A strategic focus on foreign banks, the wealth management sector, and asset-based lenders differentiates the practice at Shoosmiths LLP. The team’s broad workload spans representation in FCA enforcement proceedings and internal investigations, as well as advice on notification and reporting obligations. Follow-on litigation arising from regulatory breaches is another area of strength, with Birmingham-based national head of dispute resolution Alex Bishop providing key support in such cases. Daren Allen heads up the dedicated financial services disputes and investigations offering.

Practice head(s):

Alex Bishop; Daren Allen

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Bowden-Brown


‘Availability of partners and their experience.’

‘Daren Allen is a standout practitioner who is approachable and diligent at all times. He has wide and significant industry-related experience and is highly regarded in compliance circles in the City of London.’

‘The team has strength and depth in its leadership and significant experience in this field.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a foreign bank on all aspects of an extensive regulatory change programme for the implementation of the FCA’s new consumer duty.
  • Instructed by a UK bank to undertake an extensive investigation following a complaint by a commercial customer that the client had breached its duty of confidence and disclosed sensitive information, which resulted in significant loss.
  • Acting on behalf of a foreign bank following the discovery of regulatory failings concerning the conduct of senior officers, undertaking an investigation, and advising on disclosures to the FCA.

Sidley Austin LLP

‘Increasingly visible in the market‘, Sidley Austin LLP‘s London-based group is buttressed by the firm’s well established US practice. Former FSA prosecutor Sara George brings a ‘tenacious‘ approach to her representation of corporations in crisis situations and in matters involving allegations of criminal misconduct, including market abuse, insider dealing, money laundering, cybersecurity breaches, fraud, corruption and bribery.

Practice head(s):

Sara George


‘The industry knowledge, network of contacts and experience.’

‘Strong team, increasingly visible in the market. Good on FCA defence.’

‘Sara George: vastly experienced and tenacious.’

‘The team at Sidley in London in this area is greatly staffed, with excellent professionals but also great individuals. They coordinate among themselves really well and bring great added value with expertise both in local and in international matters, including in cross-border projects and coordinating international projects.’

‘I have very much enjoyed working with the team. They bring expertise from different areas and sectors. I would highlight Sara George.’

Work highlights

  • Representing Lars Mørch, former Danske Bank executive board member and former head of international banking, in a $230bn money laundering case.
  • Represented the former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes, who was convicted of interest-rate rigging following an SFO-led trial, in the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal in a successful challenge to a proposed prohibition order following his conviction for manipulation of LIBOR.