Firms To Watch: Financial services: contentious

The practice at Shoosmiths LLP was recently bolstered by the September 2021 arrival of Daren Allen; he joined from Dentons and is especially well-regarded for money laundering, corruption, bribery, fraud and misselling matters, among other regulatory enforcement proceedings.

Financial services: contentious in London

Allen & Overy LLP

A ‘go-to firm for contentious regulatory matters’, Magic Circle outfit Allen & Overy LLP runs a workload spread across the UK, Europe, the US and Asia. Calum Burnett leverages 30 years’ experience in overseeing the market’s most high-profile market abuse, insider dealing, financial crime, bribery and corruption, insider dealing and cultural failing cases; he co-heads the practice alongside Arnondo Chakrabarti whose recent workload includes extremely complex anti-competitive behaviour and multi-jurisdictional market manipulation proceedings. Eve Giles provides the team with money laundering, cartel and corruption prowess, while Sarah Hitchins is a key port of call for clients involved in FCA investigations pertaining to non-financial misconduct and wide-spread consumer mis-selling. Mahmood Lone is also integral to the offering, largely due to his distinguished track record in cross-border investigations into benchmark rate manipulation.

Practice head(s):

Arnondo Chakrabarti; Calum Burnett

Other key lawyers:

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

Testimonials

‘Excellent technical expertise. Commercial and practical. Go-to firm for contentious regulatory matters.’

‘Calum Burnett and Sarah Hitchins. Deeply experienced. Always available. Excellent at bringing along juniors.’

‘Very energetic, on the ball with developments and with vast experience.’

‘Calum Burnett – a very calm hand in a crisis. Sarah Hitchins – ruthlessly efficient.’

‘The A&O Team have a high degree of practicality and take a pragmatic approach to their guidance. Advice is delivered in a clear and transparent manner fitted to suit the client.’

‘Sarah Hitchins has really taken the time to get to know our business, and is able to advise with great nuance and sensitivity.’

‘Calum Burnett – few compare in terms of strategic insight on large scale enforcement investigations.’

Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance LLP is home to a ‘first-class’ team, fronted by Carlos Conceicao, a former head of the FSA’s Wholesale Group who specialises in cases of market abuse; his team also leverages Dorian Drew’s proficiency in handling cases brought by multiple regulators, including the PRA and FCA, as well as Oliver Pegden’s experience in wholesale market conduct issues. Elsewhere, Kelwin Nicholls has recently handled sizeable disputes in the blockchain and commodities sectors, while Samantha Ward deploys her technology know-how when supporting on FCA, SFO, European Commission and CMA-related proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Conceicao

Other key lawyers:

Dorian Drew; Kelwin Nicholls; Samantha Ward; Michael Lyons; Roger Best; Oliver Pegden

Testimonials

‘A stellar financial services team. Able to handle the biggest cases and cut through the complexity to find the winning points.’

‘Dorian Drew and Carlos Conceicao are market leaders in the field. Everyone wants them on their side. Tactically astute and razor sharp litigators. Instructs counsel at an early stage.’

‘A first class team. They are hugely intelligent and experienced, but what sets them apart from some competitors is their superbly collaborative working style and the quality of client engagement. It’s a great experience to work with them, whatever the context.’

‘Carlos Conceicao – star quality in spades. He is a brilliant lawyer and a delight to engage with. Michael Lyons – a rising star, with bags of talent.’

Work highlights

  • Representing NatWest in the FCA’s first criminal prosecution of a UK bank under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.
  • Advising a leading international bank in relation to an investigation and enforcement action undertaken by the Prudential Regulation Authority into errors in its liquidity reporting and associated systems and controls.
  • Advising a global financial investor in relation to an FCA investigation into alleged manipulation of the gilt markets during the global pandemic in 2020, including alleged ramping.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Famed for its ‘specialist knowledge and insight into regulatory enforcement teams’, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP leverages its Silver Circle status and broad international footprint to act on an array of domestic and multi-jurisdictional matters. Jenny Stainsby leads the firm’s global practice and is naturally well-versed in an array of international investigation and enforcement affairs, while Hywel Jenkins fronts the domestic practice and is a go-to for complaints handling, consumer redress and issues involving the Financial Ombudsman Service; they are supported by Andrew Procter, a lawyer with a track record in market abuse and control cases, in addition to Karen Anderson whose key strengths include wholesale conduct, conflicts of interest, control issues and sponsor duties. Senior associates Benedicte Perowne and Jon Ford are emblematic of the team’s deep bench strength, having already amassed significant exposure to a wealth of external investigations including those before the FCA, DOJ, SFO, SEC and CFTC.

Practice head(s):

Jenny Stainsby

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Procter; Karen Anderson; Benedicte Perowne; Jon Ford; Chris Ninan; Susannah Cogman; Hywel Jenkins

Testimonials

‘Specialist knowledge and insight into regulatory enforcement teams.’

‘Andrew Proctor – very calm as he has seen it all before.’

‘Reactive, expert, and full breadth of skills.’

‘Jon Ford – expert advice, takes the time to properly understand our business.’

‘The ability to deliver very comprehensive and detailed legal advice at the drop of a hat, drawing upon subject matter experts from other areas when needed. The HSF banking litigation team have a superb understanding of the legal issues at play and their impact on our business.’

Key clients

Ardonagh Group Limited

Baillie Gifford

Cabot Square Capital

Goldman Sachs International

Lloyds Banking Group plc

National Australia Bank (NAB)

Pension Insurance Corporation

Pool Re

Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc

Standard Chartered Bank

TSB Bank plc

UK Finance

Vanquis Bank Limited

Willis Towers Watson

Work highlights

  • Providing ongoing regulatory advice to TSB on issues arising out of the migration of its customer data.
  • Advising a number of international and UK banks and asset managers in relation to cyber and data incident preparedness (including ransomware attacks) and their responses to specific incidents.
  • Acting as sole legal adviser to UK Finance in the context of its work on the UK’s proposed LIBOR legislative solution.

Linklaters LLP

Magic Circle firm Linklaters LLP is hailed for its ‘unrivalled experience, commercial sense and client focus’. Martyn Hopper fronts the practice, leveraging his background at the FSA to support on array of market leading insider dealing, market manipulation, unauthorised trading and corporate disclosure proceedings, among others. Other integral names include Nikunj Kiri, a veteran of numerous PPI complaint, mis-selling, market misconduct matters, along with Alison Wilson, an authority for FCA investigations, internal investigations and pre-enforcement matters within the retail banking space. Ben Packer is famed for his work on PRA and FCA investigations, representing companies and individuals alike, while Clare McMullen serves as a leading name for market abuse work, conduct issues and AML proceedings. At counsel level, Elizabeth Dowd is a US-qualified lawyer whose recent workload includes a PPI complaint, benchmark manipulation and controls failings in the context of bribery and corruption risks.

Practice head(s):

Martyn Hopper

Other key lawyers:

Nikunj Kiri; Alison Wilson; Ben Packer; Clare McMullen; Elizabeth Dowd; Susana Cao Miranda; Gavin Lewis

Testimonials

‘Unrivalled experience, commercial sense and client focus, especially Martyn Hopper and Ben Packer.’

‘Relationship building is key for Linklaters and staff are readily available from associates to senior partners. Their focus on taking time to get to know their clients and build long term sustainable relationships is unique at a time when most firms are primarily focused on revenue generation. The firm delivers on quality of work and are mindful of budget – there is never a surprise with a bill – it’s clear from the outset with any further expenditure always agreed beforehand. The team is diverse and they collaborate well with both clients and each other.’

‘Susana Cao Miranda and the team at Linklaters take the time to understand our business, cut through the legalese, recommend clear ways forward, stay on budget, produce high quality work and inspire confidence. As a foreign bank in the UK, Linklaters are extremely mindful of the cultural aspects and adapt accordingly. It’s an extremely knowledgeable team and they are highly thought of throughout our organisation.’

‘Deep expertise combined with smart, sensible advice.’

‘Both Martyn Hopper and Alison Wilson are exceptionally good with internal business clients.’

‘The contentious team at Linklaters is excellent. They are intelligent and strategic at all levels. We enjoy working with them and trust their judgment and advice.’

‘Martyn Hopper is excellent. He is very intelligent, pragmatic and commercial, and is not afraid to give very frank (and helpful) opinions.

Ashurst

Ashurst’s practice was recently bolstered by the high-profile January 2022 arrival of Nathan Willmott; he joined from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP where he served as practice head, and added extensive experience in market abuse, risk management and governance failing, senior management misconduct and conduct rule breach matters, among many others. Tom Connor heads up the practice and has recently been active on FCA enforcements, internal investigations and trading pattern affairs. The group is also increasingly active in financial crime, market abuse, cryptocurrency, ESG regulatory risk and diversity and inclusion mandates. Adam Jamieson is a further new arrival from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, who joined in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Tom Connor

Other key lawyers:

Nathan Willmott; David Capps; Lynn Dunn; Ruby Hamid; James Levy; Adam Jamieson

Testimonials

‘Ashurst were my support team on a two-year review. Their support was indispensable.’

‘David Capps and the team are all excellent.’

‘A top performing contentious Financial Services practice, handling leading edge matters for a range of clients.’

‘Tom Connor – an excellent, highly responsive lawyer with great judgment.’

Work highlights

  • Advised in relation to the independent lessons learned review into the FSA/FCA’s supervisory intervention on Interest Rate Hedging Products.

CMS

CMS receives instructions on contentious financial services affairs from a broad variety of industry players such as retail and wholesale banks, funds, wealth mangers, listed and technology companies, brokers and insurers. Ash Saluja leads the practice which is home to Simon Morris, a lawyer with an extensive track record before the PRA, FCA and several overseas regulators. Alison McHaffie has recently handled standout s166, internal investigation and redress project instructions, while Elisabeth Bremner is a go-to for market abuse, trader mismarketing and insider dealing proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Ash Saluja

Other key lawyers:

Simon Morris; Alison McHaffie; Elisabeth Bremner

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hailed by one client as ‘the Rolls-Royce of financial services teams’, Hogan Lovells International LLP demonstrates a tenacity for a plethora of domestic and cross-border matters, including FCA, FRC, ESMA and OFSI-led affairs. The team is led by Philip Parish, a seasoned veteran in market misconduct, LIBOR, swaps mis-selling and foreign exchange affairs who is also a go-to for senior individuals facing FCA action. Elaine Penrose is also a standout, owing to her track record in supporting banks, investment businesses and individuals in business-critical investigations. Other key streams of work include contentious consumer finance, sanction and anti-money laundering affairs.

Practice head(s):

Philip Parish

Other key lawyers:

Elaine Penrose; Louise Lamb; Arwen Handley

Testimonials

‘The Rolls-Royce of financial services teams.’

‘Louise Lamb – Very knowledge of the consumer credit space, and is able to apply that knowledge when advising clients.’

‘They are very experienced and knowledgeable litigators in this sphere.’

‘My experiences of Hogan Lovells were absolutely superb at all times. They were pro-active in pushing the case forward, creative in legal and strategic thinking, efficient in terms of case management and great at communicating with all involved.’

‘Elaine Penrose has superb people management skills and an excellent ability to analyse fact and law. These combine to excellent effect.’

‘Uniformly high-quality of partners and associates of all levels, and an unusually high level of partner engagement for a large firm.’

‘Stand-out partners are Philip Parish and Elaine Penrose. Both excellent at running large teams efficiently and maintaining focus and morale in long-running litigation.’

Macfarlanes LLP

Macfarlanes LLP is geared to handle a broad variety of regulatory dispute, enforcement action and investigation proceedings. Dan Lavender is well-versed in matters with a multi-jurisdictional element, having handled affairs throughout Europe, the US and Middle East; he co-heads the team alongside Matt McCahearty whose track record spans LIBOR, foreign exchange and anti-money laundering cases. At senior counsel-level, Aalia Datoo is forging a prominent reputation for bribery, corruption, market abuse, fraud and international sanction compliance matters.

Practice head(s):

Dan Lavender; Matt McCahearty

Other key lawyers:

Aalia Datoo; Barry Donnelly

Key clients

The State of Qatar

NatWest

The British Bankers’ Association

FMSB

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright, hailed by one client as a ‘superb, world-class firm with outstanding ability at all levels’, is especially well-regarded for its sanctions, market abuse, AML, authorisation and permission, ESG, financial promotion, fraud and whistleblowing capabilities. Katie Stephen is also regarded as a market leader for s166 reviews, money laundering issues, retail mis-selling work, consumer credit matters and market disclosure affairs, having garnered experience before the FCA, Ofgem, PRA, FRC and AIM, among many other regulators. Elsewhere, David Harris, who co-heads the team alongside Stephen, has a distinguished level of proficiency in cross-border investigations and has overseen a number of parallel investigations which intersect the DoJ and SEC in the US.

Practice head(s):

Katie Stephen; David Harris

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Herbst

Testimonials

‘A superb world class firm with outstanding ability at all levels.’

‘Strategic thinking and careful solutions.’

‘The team at NRF has a strong advisory bench and good experience in handling investigations work.’

‘Katie Stephen has deep experience of FCA and PRA regulation and has a good instinct for how the regulators respond to issues. David Harris is calm and measured, with good international regulatory experience.’

‘Katie Stephen: She’s 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.’

‘Katie Stevenson: ‘A really tough regulatory lawyer. She knows precisely which regulatory buttons to press, and which ones to stay well clear of.’

‘The team work as a team! As a client you get strength in depth, with lots of input from each of the members of the team. We have needed a lot of complex support, and we have got both the benefits of in depth personal expertise with the team dynamic in delivery.’

‘The team are excellent, lots of in depth knowledge, with the advice delivered in a language that we can all understand. Leading our team has been Jonathan Herbst whose advice has been consistently excellent. We really value the clarity of the advice, and of course the technical excellence in understanding the complexity of the UK regulatory regime.’

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons demonstrates a tenacity for a broad variety of contentious financial services affairs including market abuse, systems and control breaches, misconduct and individual accountability matters. Richard Sims is routinely involved in high-stakes FCA enforcement investigations, including LIBOR and FX-related affairs, while Emma Sutcliffe has prowess in multi-jurisdictional proceedings and is especially well-regarded for firm-wide cultural issue cases; the pair head the practice which also disperses distinct expertise in respect of consumer duty and cryptocurrency affairs, the latter of which is a particular forte of ‘brilliant‘ managing associate Douglas Robinson.

Practice head(s):

Richard Sims; Emma Sutcliffe

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Hunter-Yeats; Tim Boyce; Douglas Robinson

Testimonials

‘Emma Sutcliffe (partner) is absolutely excellent. She’s a superb lawyer; she’s incredibly clever; she’s immensely hard-working; she has a depth of knowledge of the regulatory sphere second to none; she’s the toughest, yet fairest, of opponents; and clients love her, while opponents fear her. She also has the rare quality of being very highly respected by her most regular opponent, the FCA: that is frequently an enormous benefit for her clients. She’s a superstar.’

‘Richard Sims – He’s a first-rate lawyer, with a profound knowledge of the FS regulatory world, and he has a real feel for how best to deal with the regulators when a client is facing a substantial investigation. He’s a lawyer who really thinks outside the box, as well as within. No stone will be left unturned.’

‘Top notch. Very good at going into battle against the regulator for their clients.’

‘Emma Sutcliffe: A go to lawyer in the financial services space. She offers clients a brilliant service because of the breadth and depth of her knowledge. Douglas Robinson: A brilliant associate who is great at managing larger teams. Richard Sims: His clever tactics have helped many a client escape from FCA Enforcement. Tim Boyce: A very diligent lawyer.’

‘Commercially astute, collaborative, highly responsive with effective not only legal advice but strategic litigation advice. Douglas Robinson stood out due to the reasons mentioned here, making him a pleasure to work with.’

Slaughter and May

At Slaughter and May, the practice is able to leverage the experience of Deborah Finkler, a lawyer with a three-decade long track record of acting on FCA, PRA and FOS proceedings. Elsewhere, Ewan Brown serves as a go-to within the market for FX manipulation cases, while Holly Ware is a figure of prominence owing to her LIBOR investigation, market abuse and money laundering know-how. Jonathan Cotton is acclaimed for his capabilities in export controls and sanctions, Company Act offences and FSMA matters, among many others, and the team also includes Gayathri Kamalanathan, an up-and-coming partner with over 10 years experience of senior in-house roles at leading banks. Jonathan Clark is also a key name to note. Richard Swallow leads the group.

Practice head(s):

Richard Swallow

Other key lawyers:

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

Testimonials

‘Very strong individuals, and an exceptional ability to scale teams up and down to fit the volume of work required. This works because of the quality they have.’

‘Ewan Brown is great for difficult issues, and is quick to win the confidence of boards and senior stakeholders. He has very wide expertise. He is also very pragmatic and approachable.’

‘In general, all team members – partners and associates – bring an exceptional degree of commitment and skill.’

‘Holistic, qualified and value adding advice. Always available, customer-oriented and trustworthy.’

‘Gayathri Kamalanathan is the partner I have the greatest interaction with. I have a very high degree of interaction with. My view of her: incisive mind, broad and relevant knowledge of the complexities of financial institutions who delivers prompt, succinct and actionable advice with a self-deprecating and understated manner. In the middle of a crisis or when we as a client are making some of our most difficult decisions, Gayathri is the person you want in the room and in all the work that goes on after the room has adjourned.’

‘Ewan Brown – smart guy, excellent client manner and my go to for this type of work.’

‘Slaughter and May is unique in the breadth of experience of their lawyers, the quality of associates and their strategic advice. When the chips are down they are ultimately the people you need to have on speed dial.’

‘Ewan Brown is also a standout.’

Key clients

Zurich

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

JPMorgan Chase Bank

Aviva

Standard Life

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Strategic advice to Zurich on a high-profile business interruption insurance FCA test case.
  • Acting for Credit Suisse in multiple claims arising from $2bn tuna bond scandal, which was the subject of US, UK and Swiss regulatory outcomes in October 2021.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood‘s offering is led by Sean Jeffrey who has recently been active on FCA enforcement matters concerning money and retail products, and is likewise a go-to for financial sanction and s166 investigations; his team includes Justin McClelland, a former prosecutor, whose key fields of focus include market misconduct, cartel activity and system failure allegations. Alan Ward was recently promoted to partner, having garnered exposure to a wealth of investigations in the EU, UK, US and Far East, while seasoned veteran Tony Woodcock retired from the partnership though remains active as a consultant.

Practice head(s):

Sean Jeffrey

Other key lawyers:

Justin McClelland; Alan Ward; Tony Woodcock; Ellen Gallagher

Testimonials

‘The team at Stephenson Harwood is hugely talented, highly professional, committed to their clients and hard working. They work very well as a team and organise any workload very efficiently, in a very timely manner. They are objective, detailed and straight-talking and are very good at a technical level. In addition to these qualities, they are highly personable and responsive.’

‘I see them as clearly different from competitors and best in class. Special mention to Justin McClelland, Alan Ward and the wider team, whose work and expertise is of the highest calibre, sets them apart. Straight-talking, highly knowledgeable and meticulous, calm, fully dedicated and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Justin McClelland has had a wonderful way with clients who, not surprisingly given his mastery of each case and engaging personality, have the utmost respect for him. His preparation of his cases is impeccably thorough: it is not just a case, as with many, of summarising, but their instructions and enclosures provide a concise and incisive analysis of the evidence and law and this position maintains at every stage of the proceedings. And difficult, complex and novel areas of law at that!’

‘Traditionally a strong firm for white collar criminal / regulatory defence work.’

Key clients

Gibraltar Financial Services Commission

Bank Saderat

Affinion International Limited

Insolvency Practitioners’ Association

KPMG

Threadneedle Asset Management Limited

Mercer

Work highlights

  • Undertook (on behalf of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission) a statutory investigation into the collapse of Enterprise Insurance Company plc and the conduct of its directors and auditors.

Travers Smith LLP

Travers Smith LLP fields a team with extensive experience in regulatory investigations, disciplinary proceedings and enforcement actions, including those before the FCA, UKLA, SFO, LSE, SEC and EU Commission, among other bodies. Practice head Rob Fell runs ‘big cases beautifully’, brining over 20 years’ of experience to the table, including advising on several high-profile investigations into the Bank of England between 2013-2017. Stephanie Lee provides the practice with prominent multi-jurisdictional capabilities, having represented several clients in cross-border investigations and garnered experience before the DoJ and SEC in the US.

Practice head(s):

Rob Fell

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Lee; Stephen Whitfield; Alice Childs; Huw Jenkin

Testimonials

‘Rob Fell is absolutely superb, and runs big cases 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. He’s a terrific strategist, and a brilliant negotiator. He’s perfect for any really tough financial services dispute. In civil fraud, he’s been picking up top cases for a number of years; and is rightly regarded as a leading practitioner in the area.’

‘Wonderful firm offering clients a brilliant service.’

‘Very good team with good experience of financial services investigations.’

‘Rob Fell – very experienced partner who is extremely good with clients.’

‘Huw Jenkin – experienced and on top of all of the details of a case.’

Key clients

Nomura International PLC

Work highlights

  • Advising the former CEO of Nomura International plc in relation to (i) his appeal against a conviction by a court in Milan for false accounting, market manipulation and obstruction of a regulator in respect of complex derivative trades entered into between Nomura International plc and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena in 2009 and (ii) an appeal by the Italian financial regulator (CONSOB) to the Italian Supreme Court against a decision by the Court of Appeal of Milan regarding the same trades.  
  • Acted for Nomura International PLC in connection with actions taken by an individual which were disruptive to NIP’s business. These included: (i) attempts to change NIP’s name to derivations of the Defendant’s own name by filing unauthorised and false Forms NM01 at Companies House and by writing to the FCA and PRA; and (ii) numerous assertions on the internet, including on social media websites, that the Defendant owned or controlled NIP.  
  • Acting for and advising leading international investment bank Nomura in respect of its application to the EU General Court for annulment of the European Commission’s Decision finding anti-competitive behaviour in the primary and secondary European Government Bond markets.

Addleshaw Goddard

The team at Addleshaw Goddard is adept at the full suite of contentious financial services affairs, from civil and regulatory investigations through to criminal and independent investigations and remediation/redress exercises. Practice head Nichola Peters counts money laundering and market abuse cases among her key strengths, while David Pygott serves as an expert on insider dealing, mishandling of inside information and anti-money laundering affairs. Sarah Thomas is the other key partner in the team, particularly for her capabilities in sensitive whistleblowing matters.

Practice head(s):

Nichola Peters

Other key lawyers:

David Pygott; Sarah Thomas

Testimonials

‘Speed of response, ability to dive straight into an issue at very short notice.’

‘Pragmatic, sensible and on hand when you need them. Take a balanced approach blending the technical legal position with a genuinely commercial approach.’

‘David Pygott brings a huge depth of knowledge and always seeks to apply it pragmatically to the benefit of his clients.’

‘David Pygott is excellent – careful, detail-oriented and knowledgeable.’

Key clients

Alsford Page & Gems Ltd

The banks founding the Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS)

Brown Rudnick LLP

The ‘exceptional’ team at Brown Rudnick LLP is led by Peter Bibby, a market veteran with over 30 years of experience under his belt; he routinely caters to banks, asset managers, mortgage businesses and insurance brokers, in addition to a plethora of individuals, and is supported by Chloe Pawson-Pounds, an up-and-coming partner with an extensive track record in FCA investigations.

Practice head(s):

Peter Bibby

Other key lawyers:

Chloe Pawson-Pounds; Ian Weinstein

Testimonials

‘My experience with the team at Brown Rudnick has been exceptional. Their in-depth knowledge in the law surrounding the financial services is nothing short of stellar. The team’s collaborative knowledge, network and skill sets make Brown Rudnick the only choice for anyone looking to resolve their legal issues with the peace of mind knowing they have a powerful legal team behind them.’

‘Ian Weinstein worked tirelessly to help me with a legal issue from a regulator. His knowledge of the law in the financial services combined with the direct access to the team at Brown Rudnick and their valuable input and advice helped address all issues with crystal clarity breaking down each and every point that had been raised. The time Ian spent with me to understand my business model in detail felt like he cared more than other firms I had previously engaged with.’

‘Brown Rudnick are really really good in financial services cases. They put their clients at ease and work really hard and carefully for their clients.’

‘Peter Bibby – a financial services and banking guru. Chloe Pawson-Pounds – a hardworking, thoughtful and astute financial services litigator. Ian Weinstein – assesses his cases with care and is excellent at working out strategic angles.’

‘Strong practice in Peter Bibby.’

‘Peter Bibby is knowledgeable and forensic, and fights for his clients.’

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

At Silver Circle firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, Polly James was recently elected to practice head, an acknowledgement of her first-rate reputation in handling internal investigations and whistleblower complaints in addition to FCA and PRA-led interactions; she is supported by Oran Gelb who co-heads the overall banking practice, leveraging a track record in UK, Europe, US and Asia-based investigations, as well as an intimate knowledge of wholesale financial markets.

Practice head(s):

Polly James

Other key lawyers:

Oran Gelb; Joe Ninan

Testimonials

‘Polly James: A steady and calming influence when cases hit crisis point.’

‘The key strength of BCLP is its ability to bring together top quality employment and regulatory specialists to help us navigate issues as a client in FS. The relationship management we receive is first-class.’

‘Oran Gelb – gives very good, practical, advice. Not afraid to say what he would do if he were the client.’

‘A financial services team with long standing experience and renowned in the field.’

‘Polly James – is one in a million. Modest, smart, cool and collected. A joy to work with. Breathes life into every case and goes the extra mile at every stage.’

‘A very capable team and a pleasure to work with. They have a number of team members who have spent time on secondment at financial regulatory authorities (e.g. FCA and PRA), which provides valuable insights to dealing with regulators on enforcement matters.’

‘We have been working with Oran Gelb and the team for well over ten years and we consider them as part of our team, fully knowing that they will fight our corner and protect us as best they can. They always go out of their way to assist and support and put us in touch with the relevant individual in the event they cannot assist directly. They have a large team behind them.’

‘Oran Gelb and the team are very approachable and very knowledgeable and always provide a speedy response. They always have our best interests at heart and in the past have provided us with very helpful legal advice which has proved invaluable.’

Dentons

The practice at Dentons was recently bolstered by the January 2022 arrival of Chris Brennan, former practice head of White & Case LLP, who arrives with significant exposure to misconduct affairs, particularly in the retail and wholesale markets. Katharine Harle leads the practice and is especially well-versed in s166 reviews, internal investigations, conduct and culture issues, and governance and remediation affairs. At the more junior end, counsel Zeena Saleh, a specialist in cross-border matters, is hailed as a ‘star asset for any team‘.

Practice head(s):

Katherine Harle

Other key lawyers:

Chris Brennan; Richard Caird; Zeena Saleh; Natalia Fludra

Testimonials

‘An excellent firm who are great at putting together diverse teams where collaboration is encouraged.’

‘Katharine Harle is very knowledgeable financial services lawyer who ably deploys her many years of experience within the regulator. Christopher Brennan is a very experienced litigator, at home working both for and against the regulators, with a portfolio of very impressive outcomes for his clients. Zeena Saleh is a star asset for any team and works brilliantly with Chris Brennan.’

‘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. Quite superb.’

‘Richard Caird is excellent is every respect – he is able to draw on a wealth of experience in financial services and regulatory law to instinctively navigate through the maze of technical issues to get to the crux of the issue.’

‘An outstanding international litigation department with a specialism in maximum complexity banking cases and handling HNW and demanding clients.’

‘Chris Brennan is a great recent signing who brings excellent judgment and legal understanding to all of his cases.’

‘A well-established team of outstanding reputation particularly in the banking space.’

‘Zeena Saleh is hard-working, savvy and unflappable: a star of the future.’

Key clients

FCA

FSCS

PwC

Currency Index Limited

Lek Securities UK Limited

Arion Global Limited

Orchestra Finance LLP

Standish Management (UK) Ltd and Standish Management and OTH

LL Funds, LLC

John Lewis

Marks & Spencer

Work highlights

  • Acting for FSCS in relation to judicial review arising out of high profile collapse of mini-bond provider London Capital & Finance (LCF).
  • Successfully defending a high-profile, high-value misfeasance claim against the FCA and enforcing the non-party costs order made against former Keydata CEO. The proceedings relate to the FCA’s imposition of the highest ever fine against an individual of £76m.
  • Currently acting for the FCA in defending a judicial review brought by a cross-party group (APPG) in relation to the FCA’s recent decision not to re-open redress following the report of John Swift KC into its previous redress scheme for miss-sold IRHPs.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s team is co-headed by Tony Katz and Sam Millar; the former is well-versed in conducting investigations throughout the UK, EU, US and Asia, both internal and external, while the latter provides the group with considerable expertise in money laundering, insider trading, cybercrime, market manipulation and accounting irregularities. Patrick Rappo is the other senior name in London and acts on an array of corruption, fraud and international bribery affairs.

Practice head(s):

Tony Katz; Sam Millar

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Rappo; Puesan Lam

Testimonials

‘Very slick outfit. Worked with them on a high profile and challenging commercial JR case. They were excellent with the clients and on litigation strategy.’

‘The key strength of this DLA team is the partners. I have worked often with Jeremy Sher and Tony Katz and regard them as exceptionally good. That sets the tone for the team as the work product from associates who have trained and worked with, in particular, Jeremy (as the more junior partner) reflects his work ethic and ability.’

‘The partners, including Tony Katz, are both amongst the very best I have worked with: tactically astute, very clever, see straight through to the heart of the dispute and show great judgment.’

‘Commercial approach; good judgment; hardworking.’

Key clients

Sunrise Brokers LLP / Canto Fitzgerald Group

National Westminster plc

UK Finance

Exclusive Change Capital

Lloyds Banking Group Plc

HSBC Private Bank

Fistoco Ltd

Bank of Baroda

WNS Global Services

Libra Capital Limited

Thomas Kalaris

Global Investment Strategy UK Ltd

GLAS Trust Corporation Limited

Global professional service firm

PDL Finance Limited

Clydesdale

Oxford European Holdings Inc.

VEON Digital Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Sunrise throughout the course an FCA investigation.
  • Advised NatWest, part of the NatWest Group, in proceedings brought against the bank for three offences of failing to comply with anti-money-laundering regulations – the first time a financial institution has faced criminal prosecution by the FCA under the AML laws in the UK.
  • Appointed by the UK trade body for banks and UK Finance in relation to its responses to the FCA’s consultation on a new Consumer Duty.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is geared to support on a broad array of investigation, enforcement and risk advisory matters, including s166, cybersecurity, operational resilience, anti-money laundering and financial crime cases. Gregory Brandman is well-versed before the FCA, PRA and SFO, among other bodies, while Jake McQuitty is a go-to for market abuse, senior management misconduct and insider dealing affairs; the pair co-lead the team alongside Julia Neal, formerly of the Enforcement Division of the FSA, who handles a number of cross-border and international investigations, demonstrating particular accomplishments in market misconduct issues and the mis-selling of retail investments.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Brandman; Jake McQuitty; Julia Neal

Other key lawyers:

Steve Smith; Saira Choonka; Adam Berry; Sumitra Subramanian; Hayley Astles

Key clients

Equifax Limited

Fox Williams LLP

Fox Williams LLP serves a client base of senior executives, foreign banks, mid-range investment companies and fintech players. Peter Wright is completely dedicated to this space and demonstrates a tenacity for FCA and PRA investigations, including those with a cross-border component; he co-leads the team alongside James Carlton who is adept in regulation, disciplinary investigation and financial crime affairs. The team is also home to Sona Ganatra, whose many strengths include a prominent fintech sector reputation, as well as senior associate Sebastian Sayer, formerly of the FCA’s enforcement division.

Practice head(s):

Peter Wright; James Carlton

Other key lawyers:

Sona Ganatra; Sebastian Sayer

Testimonials

‘The team is able to swiftly understand the issues and provide effective solutions. I have worked with the firm on several occasions and rate them very highly. They are clear from the outset as to who will be involved with reference to the complexity and speed required.’

‘Both James Carlton and Sona Ganatra are a joy to work with. You can call them at any time and they will respond. A real 24/7 team that has your back.’

‘The team is a leading City firm able to offer me equivalent experience and expertise of a larger City practice without the hindrance of conflicts. Has a broad and deep experience at all levels in the criminal and regulatory teams.’

‘Sebastian Sayer’s experience as a criminal barrister coupled with direct experience gained in-house in the FCA Criminal Prosecution Team at the FCA makes him a go-to lawyer for individuals and firms seeking advice about FCA criminal investigations. He is one to watch.’

‘The level and depth of expertise in contentious regulatory matters makes this team unique.’

‘I have worked closely with James Carlton, Sona Gonatra, Peter Wright and Sebastian Sayer for a number of years. They are all highly professional with excellent judgement and understanding of complex regulatory matters. Sona has superb client handling skills and is an analytically excellent lawyer. She is incisive and forensic.’

‘Fox Williams have a really talented financial services team led by Peter Wright. They are excellent and my first choice.’

‘Peter Wright – simply the best. James Carlton – for investigations with a criminal / white collar angle, he is brilliant.’

Key clients

Thrive Capital

Pockit

Balderton Capital

Kingsley Napley LLP

Kingsley Napley LLP enjoys a prominent reputation for its representation of individuals suspected of market abuse and insider dealing, also regularly catering to small and medium-sized FCA-regulated companies on a wealth of other matters. Louise Hodges is also an expert in market manipulation and breach of principal cases, while fellow practice head, Jill Lorimer is forging an excellent track record in acting for crypto asset businesses.

Practice head(s):

Louise Hodges; Jill Lorimer

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Finnerty; Alun Milford; Anna Holmes

Testimonials

‘Kingsley Napley has great people, in many departments, across multiple sectors, equipped to answer issues arising almost anywhere in the world. Each separate department can call upon the intelligence and experience of every other department to provide a one-stop solution to complex and multi-dimensional legal challenges. Most other firms in this field do not offer that luxury. The ethos of the firm is to be tough but sensitive – that is a lot cleverer, and of far greater use and comfort to a lay client, than simply being tough.’

‘Louise Hodges heads up the team and sets the tone and industry of its members. She is the go-to solicitor for most City traders whenever insider trading or market abuse is suspected. She speaks the language of the City with authenticity. Her experience in this field is second to none. I have never known a client to be less than amazed by her fluency in the intricacies of financial services. Down to earth, practical, realistic, Louise is admired and respected by every regulatory and enforcement agency in the field.

‘Jill Lorimer is a defence assassin – operating below the radar to snuff out the problem at source and kill off the danger before others have even spotted that it exists. Many of her clients never reach the stage of being charged or disciplined because she has anticipated and negated all viable criticism before it can crystallise.’

‘Great team, great work, client sensitive.’

‘Highly experienced and personable team that is quick to respond to all matters. Produce outstanding and detailed work, and break down complex concepts in a way that is easy to understand.’

‘My stand-out mentions go to Jill Lorimer and Anna Holmes. I have worked with them closely on a couple of projects and they are outstanding in the work they produce, the outcomes they achieve, and the speed at which it is completed.’

Key clients

Financial Conduct Authority

Latham & Watkins

Catering to banks, asset managers, private equity houses, hedge funds and exchanges alike, Latham & Watkins demonstrates considerable prowess in investigations, conduct and culture, senior manager responsibility, market abuse and financial crime mandates. The practice is headed up by Jon Holland, who is also adept in FX, LIBOR and SSA Bond investigations, alongside Andrea Monks who thrives on the risk management, regulatory enforcement and internal investigation fronts. At associate level, Nell Perks is involved in a variety of domestic and cross-border affairs, including whistleblowing and mis-selling cases.

Practice head(s):

Jon Holland; Andrea Monks

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Alford KC; Nell Perks

Testimonials

‘The team are excellent.’

‘I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Andrea Monks and her team. The advice she provides is exceptional and she is a pleasure to work with even when the circumstances are tricky. Andrea is great at guiding strategy and makes the time to explain complicated issues in an easily digestible manner.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a leading 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, with respect to failures under the UK senior manager regulatory regime.
  • Representing the board of an international bank to undertake an independent investigation into various significant whistleblowing allegations made by an employee.

Mayer Brown International LLP

Mayer Brown International LLP hones its focus on cross-border mandates, leveraging its footprint in London, New York and Hong Kong in the process. Chris Chapman caters to a roster of banks, insurers and individuals on a broad array of international and external investigations, including those before the FCA and PRA; he co-heads the team alongside Alistair Graham, a solicitor advocate.

Practice head(s):

Chris Chapman; Alistair Graham

Other key lawyers:

Sam Eastwood; Ian McDonald; Jason Hungerford; Musonda Kapotwe; Susan Rosser

Testimonials

‘A strong group with increasing depth.’

‘Chris Chapman is brilliant – he is always across the detail and has great judgment.’

‘The team at Mayer Brown is excellent, very responsive, diligent and practical. They are very client focused, and able to give very sensible pragmatic advice to clients.’

‘Chris Chapman is very good, he provides excellent mixture of technical legal analysis coupled with real world pragmatism and is very good at thinking through solutions and next steps.’

‘Chris Chapman is an exceptional lawyer – very insightful, pragmatic and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Excellent legal team and fantastic service. From the beginning, all fees and steps were clearly set out to us and we were incredibly well informed throughout the whole process.’

‘We had many phone calls and emails back and forth with the firm’s partner, Chris Chapman and other team members. Every email was answered in a timely and informative manner. Nothing was ever an inconvenience for Chris.’

Key clients

The Financial Conduct Authority

Work highlights

  • Engaged by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in relation to an independent external investigation into the FCA’s handling of the Connaught Income Fund prior to its collapse in controversial circumstances.

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s practice has traditionally counted its representation of individuals as its keystone though has recently noted an uptick in its corporate-side representation. The team is fronted by Adam Epstein, a veteran of numerous high-profile PRA and FCA investigations, who is particularly well-versed in cross-border, pre-investigation and pre-enforcement affairs. Guy Wilkes is a standout for internal investigations, listing breaches, financial crime and market abuse matters, while, beyond partner-level, Elizabeth Hope is praised as ‘one of the best associates in the whole financial services field‘.

Practice head(s):

Adam Epstein

Other key lawyers:

Guy Wilkes; Elizabeth Hope

Testimonials

‘Mishcon de Reya have some of the most talented and widely-recognised individuals within the financial services space. They are fearless in support of their clients and clear-eyed and imaginative when advising and devising strategy.’

‘Adam Epstein is one of the most knowledgeable and respected practitioners in the field. Guy Wilkes is an unflappable and sensible presence in the most difficult of circumstances and complicated of scenarios. Elizabeth Hope is one of the best associates in the whole financial services field.’

‘The team is extremely well-led (by partner Adam Epstein) and has an excellent depth of skill and experience. More than a match for anyone in this sector.’

‘Adam Epstein (partner) – extremely experienced and knowledgeable with impeccable strategic judgment. Many talented and able team members including Elizabeth Hope.’

‘Great experience acting for individuals throughout the investigation and disciplinary process.’

‘Adam Epstein has been acting for individuals in significant regulatory matters for many years.’

‘Well-known and good-sized time. Particular mention Guy Wilkes and Elizabeth Hope. Always seem to be involved with large cases and busy.’

‘Adam Epstein is the doyen of the field. A reassuring adviser for clients who completely understands the strengths and weaknesses of the case and adjusts his strategy to suit. Ably assisted by the up and coming Elizabeth Hope, a super-efficient associate with an excellent down to earth style.’

Key clients

Smith and Williamson

Open Banking Limited

MLRO of major UK retail bank

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP is relied upon by traditional financial service companies, alternative lenders and fintech companies, among other entities, for a broad breadth of regulatory investigation and enforcement matters; examples include issues around the mis-selling of financial products, s166 reviews, data breaches, financial institution collapses and redress reviews. Rachel Couter leads the practice and also provides the group with market abuse, insider dealing, AML, safeguarding and responsible lending capabilities.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Couter

Other key lawyers:

Charles Crowne; Tom Ellis

Testimonials

‘Commercial and pragmatic.’

Key clients

HSBC plc / Financial Conduct Authority

Gain Credit LLC

Wirecard Card Solutions Limited

Business Banking Resolution Service

Pricewaterhouse Coopers C.I. LLP

Work highlights

  • Advising Wirecard Card Solutions Limited in the aftermath of the discovery of a €3bn accounting fraud by its parent company.
  • Appointed by the Business Banking Resolution Service to consider and provide assurance and/or raise comment, from the perspective of the SME Representatives (a key group of stakeholders involved in the establishment of the SME Dispute Resolution Service), on the design and establishment of the SME Dispute Resolution Service.
  • Advising PwC on two high-value audit negligence claims, issued and subsequently ordered to be run and heard together in the Guernsey courts, following a large fraud committed by the ultimate controllers of a Guernsey fund, which invested in Brazilian debt factoring companies, and its fund manager.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP’s London team forms part of the firm’s wider UK and international offering, demonstrating prowess in remediation and redress projects, FCA investigation and FOS complaint defence strategies. Insurance sector specialist Colin Read leads the practice which is also home to Jonathan Cavill, an up-and-coming partner with a prominent reputation in regulatory risk, direct claim and complain, FCA scrutiny and investigation mandates. Senior associate Charlotte Pope-Williams, who is dual-qualified as a barrister, is a favourite among clients, owing to her ‘great knowledge of the financial services industry.’

Practice head(s):

Colin Read

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Cavill; Charlotte Pope-Williams

Testimonials

‘Great team with experience across the board in FS related matters, whether pensions, insurance or otherwise.’

‘Charlotte Pope-Williams: an excellent associate who has great knowledge of the FS industry.’

‘Jonathan Cavill: he is client friendly, responsive and really knows his stuff.’

‘The team has excellent capability and experience and benefits from ex regulators who provide a deep understanding of issues and potential outcomes.’

‘Jonathan Cavill and the team are excellent to work with. Both are highly engaged and responsive with exceptional understanding of issues impacting FS firms.’

‘Jonathan Cavill is excellent – incisive, quick-thinking, strategic and very knowledgeable. He has excellent support within his team from Charlotte Pope-Williams who is just excellent all round.’

‘Colin Read is simply outstanding. One of the best lawyers I have worked with in over 20 years.’

Key clients

Assurant

AJ Bell

Work highlights

  • Carrying out a highly sensitive internal investigation for a large international bank – investigating regulatory breaches which have occurred for over a decade, including advising on FCA management, redress scheme design and associated complaints and litigation from customers.
  • Bringing four judicial reviews of the Financial Ombudsman Service by Assurant (a large international insurer), contesting the FOS’ jurisdiction.
  • Working for a FTSE 100 household name in managing and mitigating £900m worth of FOS complaints exposures relating to alleged mis-selling by 200,000 complainants.

Reed Smith LLP

At Reed Smith LLP, the team is geared to act on the full array of PRA, FCA and FRC enforcements and investigations, counting its knowledge of cross-border affairs, particularly those involving the US, as a key distinguisher. Robert Falkner is especially accomplished within the commodity, foreign exchange, securities and derivatives markets; he co-leads the practice alongside Charles Hewetson whose track record includes a number of overseas anti-bribery proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Robert Falkner; Charles Hewetson

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Cherry; Eleanor Chapman

Testimonials

‘The team’s expertise has huge depth but, moreover, their ability to foster highly effective working dynamics with multiple stakeholders in inherently challenging environments sets them apart.’

‘Douglas Cherry and the team are subject matter experts and highly effective communicators. They are well-equipped to advise on the big picture whilst delivering the complex technical analysis that builds solid foundations for their position.’

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Leveraging a presence in both New York and London, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s practice is headed up by Barnabas Reynolds, a go-to for several banks, asset managers, financial infrastructure providers and insurers on a wealth of enforcement and contentious affairs. The team is also home to Thomas Donegan whose track record encompasses insider dealing, anti-money laundering, sanctions and market manipulation matters, among many others.

Practice head(s):

Barnabas Reynolds

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Donegan; Jonathan Swil; Chloe Barrowman

Testimonials

‘Excellent knowledge and experience in financial regulatory matters.’

‘Barney Reynolds and Thomas Donegan are both excellent.’

‘Always go the extra mile and place clients at the core of what they do.’

‘Thomas Donegan, Chloe Barrowman and the team are absolutely that best I have ever worked with.’

Key clients

Bank of America

Certain bondholders in, and the creditors’ committee of, London Capital & Finance

ICE (Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.)

UniCredit

Credit Suisse

Work highlights

  • Advised investors in London Capital & Finance Plc (LCF) on a legal challenge to the FCA’s regulatory failures in supervising LCF and its decision not to compensate investors under the statutory Complaints Scheme for financial regulators.
  • Providing advice to UniCredit in the context of global enforcement actions and settlement of its sanctions violation proceedings in the US, including global regulatory reporting requirements in connection with the proceedings.
  • Acting for Credit Suisse in relation to the European Commission (EC) cartel investigation into alleged collusion in FX spot trading.

Akin Gump LLP

Akin Gump LLP caters to investment funds, retail banks, insurance companies and hedge funds, providing representation on a broad variety of FCA and PRA-led proceedings. Practice head Helen Marshall garners distinction through her 25 years’ experience in the field, nine of which were spent as the Head of Enforcement Law and Policy and Head of Forensic Investigation at the FSA; her key areas of expertise including thematic reviews, investigations, enforcements, compliance issues and information requests, among others.

Practice head(s):

Helen Marshall

Other key lawyers:

Joe Hewton

Testimonials

‘Helen Marshall leads a very experienced and impressive team, based on deep familiarity with the regulatory framework. Punchy and will fight your corner.’

Baker McKenzie

The team at Baker McKenzie undertakes regulatory enforcement cases and investigations, both internal and external, on behalf of international banks, executives, senior managers and financial services clients. The team, which possesses a track record before the FCA, PRA and SFA, is especially adept in LIBOR, Forex and other benchmark manipulation affairs, and is also well-equipped to support on matters with transatlantic or APAC-related components. Jonathan Peddie co-leads the team alongside Mark Simpson.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Peddie; Mark Simpson

Other key lawyers:

Philip Annett; Pete Chapman; Julian Hui

Testimonials

‘I have worked with Jonathan Peddie, Philip Annett, Pete Chapman and Julian Hui on several matters over the last few years. They are an outstanding team.’

‘Jonathan Peddie has a forensic mind and is an intellectual powerhouse in financial services and criminal litigation. Philip Annett is a calm and incisive team player with first rate attention to detail. Pete Chapman is a rising star in this field.’

‘Baker McKenzie is marked out by the sheer depth of the hands-on practical experience of regulation at the coal face, especially when taking on regulators on behalf of clients, whether on behalf of large corporates or individual clients.’

‘Jonathan Peddie has a wealth of experience with an in-depth knowledge of banking and finance, as well as complex financial products from his time at Barclays. He has sophisticated technical knowledge and an immense dedication to achieving the best possible outcome for clients. Simply superb. Philip Annett is an extremely cerebral partner with an incredible attention to the detail of even the most complex cases. A rising star amongst regulatory solicitors.’

‘A strength of the Baker regulatory team is their desire to build relationships with their clients, to gain a real understanding of the business and people with whom they are dealing.’

‘Philip Annett is a highly knowledgeable and experienced lawyer, who is also personable. His background as ex-FCA means he also has an advantage over some of his peers, in being able to view issues from both sides of the fence.’

Bivonas Law LLP

Litigation boutique Bivonas Law LLP is home to Cindy Dorrington, a leading name for cases brought by the SFO, FCA, CPS, NCA and HMRC; she is supported by Antony Brown, a lawyer with 30 years of experience in contentious affairs, and John Bechelet whose illustrious track record includes successes in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

Practice head(s):

Cindy Dorrington

Other key lawyers:

Antony Brown; John Bechelet; Roland Ellis

Testimonials

‘ They have an exceptional personal approach which, when lawyers are required is very reassuring.’

‘John Bechelet and Antony Brown are exceptional both in their approach to clients and in the advice that they provide.’

Work highlights

  • Representing an individual being investigated by the FCA and the SFO for fraud and mis-selling mini-bonds to the value of c. £250m to retail investors.
  • Representing an individual in the FCA’s investigation into banks, brokers and pensions funds involved in Cum-Ex trading, where European countries have lost billions in tax reclaims.
  • Representing a defendant in one of the few insider dealing cases being prosecuted by the FCA.

Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP

Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP is a boutique firm, dedicating its focus to financial and commercial disputes. The firm has been engaged on a number of complex cryptocurrency matters and is also acclaimed for its capabilities in fit and proper person, AML issue and market abuse affairs, among other alleged FCA Handbook breaches. Stephen Elam serves as the primary contact.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Elam

Other key lawyers:

Sinead O’Callaghan; Elizabeth Meade

Testimonials

‘Stephen Elam is a real star in this area, and is a thorough and thoughtful litigator.’

‘The team has developed a significant niche, and expertise in crypto matters to support an already strong disputes and regulatory practice area.’

‘Friendly, easy to work with, practical and results oriented.’

Stephen Elam and Elizabeth Meade are both exceptional to work with.’

‘Clients benefit from the environment CYK has nurtured – it is more intimate, more positive and clients receive big-law quality advice at a lower price.’

‘It is rare to have a boutique firm that is nimble and flexible also having such high quality and overall clout.’

‘CYK’s knowledge of the financial services sector and regulations is excellent. Unusually for a law firm, they have hands-on experience of working in the sector.’

‘Steve Elam is very bright, always available and gets to the underlying problem extremely quickly. He always gives clear advice.’

Key clients

ThinkMarkets

iFinex Inc (trading as Bitfinex)

The ECU Group PLC

Grove Park Properties Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for iFinex Inc (trading as Bitfinex) as a defendant to well-publicised Commercial Court proceedings brought by an anonymous cyber insurer seeking to recover Bitcoin ransom payments.
  • Acting for ThinkMarkets group companies in Commercial Court proceedings brought by IS Prime Limited (part of the ISAM Capital Markets group). The proceedings relate to the basis upon which IS Prime provided matched principal brokerage services to ThinkMarkets on exclusive terms.
  • Acting for two high-net-worth individuals in respect of their claim against Clydesdale Bank plc in relation to the Bank’s failings in relation to tailored business loans.

Corker Binning

Specialist firm Corker Binning represents large banks and senior executives, among other clients, in a wealth of investigations, including those which intersect the FCA, SFO, SEC and DoJ. Claire Cross leverages her experience as a former senior lawyer at the FCA to advise on a plethora of money laundering, insider dealing, regulatory regime breach and misleading statement affairs. The team also consists of Peter Binning, whose background at the CPS and SFO makes him a ‘go-to’, as well as David Corker, a fraud and corruption specialist.

Practice head(s):

Claire Cross

Other key lawyers:

Peter Binning; David Corker

Testimonials

‘Strength in-depth in this area of law and a display of excellence across the work done.’

‘Peter Binning is the go-to person for referencing work in this area. Clare Frost is also very good in this area.’

‘Excellent team. First-rate reputation.’

‘Claire Cross is extremely collaborative and immediately inspires confidence from clients.’

‘One of few really strong players in criminal/regulatory cross-over space in FS contentious work.’

‘Claire Cross is fantastic. She is phenomenally clever, extremely experienced and a safe pair of hands for any client in difficulties with the FCA.’

‘A variety of criminal and regulatory experience – able to deal with technical and complex FS cases efficiently and bringing varied experience to bear.’

‘Corker Binning has a small team but without exception they are each legally astute, hardworking and forces within the legal industry. The firm is the epitome of a boutique law firm. It covers a range of legal areas, from financial regulation to extradition but the legal knowledge held is deep, and the experience vast. It is the law firm I would recommend to friends and family.’

Fieldfisher

Fieldfisher fields a team with specialist knowledge of banking regulation, capital markets, anti-money laundering, fintech, consumer finance and retail product regulation matters. The practice is fronted by Duncan Black, a market abuse specialist, and likewise counts securities and commodities dealing, conduct of business and derivatives regulation among its core strengths.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Black

Other key lawyers:

Tony Lewis

Testimonials

‘Knowledgeable and commercially minded.’

‘Friendly and approachable.’

‘The Financial services: contentious team at Fieldfisher LLP are an outstanding group of individuals and a team that makes the challenging legal process as palatable as possible. They demonstrate second to none efficiency, expertise on their subject matter, thoroughness and then explain in as simple terms required to the client what is required of them, what the possible outcomes of the process could be and what the next steps of the process will likely be.’

‘Their depth of knowledge is key which is outstanding. They took time in getting to know me as their client and the history of the case.’

‘Duncan Black as the partner I deal with has been a pleasure to work with. He is meticulous and efficient with unrivalled knowledge. He has spent a significant amount of time explaining the process (which is completely foreign to me) and the range of outcomes.’

Key clients

Triland Metals Ltd

Ross Trustees

Alliance Bernstein

Starz Mortgage Capital Ltd

Reassured Ltd

Armira Capital

Wilmington Trust

Tyrus Capital Ltd

Aquis Stock Exchange Ltd

Sucden Financial Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for an individuals in litigation regarding the nature of investment fund director’s duties.
  • Advised the regulation team at Aquis on various regulatory issues arising out of the business as a regulated investment exchange.
  • Assisting Tyrus Capital with its anti-money laundering due diligence on its investment projects.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP

At Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP, the team is particularly proficient in multi-jurisdictional matters, particularly those intersecting the UK and US. Core expertise encompasses FSMA matters, customer redress exercises, FCA investigations, remediation programmes, insider dealing, corruption and alleged mis-selling. Melanie Ryan is well-versed before both the FCA and SEC; she serves as practice co-head alongside Chris Warren-Smith whose workload also includes retail share trading, investment management, mortgage, overdraft charge and bancassurance affairs.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Ryan; Chris Warren-Smith

Taylor Wessing LLP

The team at Taylor Wessing LLP caters to both banks and senior executives on an array of trading, whistleblowing, benchmarking and antitrust matters, among others. Laurence Lieberman is a private banking and wealth management expert, often involved in transatlantic cases, while Charlotte Hill disperses specialist knowledge on market abuse and insider dealing affairs; the pair co-lead the department, which is particularly well-versed in cryptocurrency disputes, alongside Andrew Howell.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Howell; Charlotte Hill; Laurence Lieberman

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Broom; Julian Randall; Richard Viegas

Testimonials

‘The team has extensive experience and a fantastic work ethic. Their work is consistently top class and they are very easy to work with.’

‘They were always available, very organised and had an incredibly commercial approach to solving problems.’

Key clients

Deloitte

TLT

TLT operates across an array of governance, policy framework, remediation, PBR and s166 review matters, catering to a mixture of UK banks, building societies and financial services providers. Bristol-based Jonathan Hoey leads the practice and serves as a key port of call for several of the firm’s high street bank clients.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hoey

Other key lawyers:

James Chadwick; Russell Kelsall; Richard Hayllar; Warren Clark

Testimonials

‘The proven ability of TLT’s Financial Services litigation team to time-and-again deliver great results in a cost-effective manner across all UK jurisdictions consistently makes them our first choice for dealing with defended litigation.’

‘Russell Kelsall has a level of industry knowledge which is second to none. He is our ‘go-to’ individual for advice on consumer issues within financial services.’

‘James Chadwick is a highly effective and cost-efficient litigator who manages a team that consistently achieves great results.’

WilmerHale

WilmerHale hones its focus on the full suite of FCA-related enforcement actions, directing particular attention towards senior executives faced with regulatory exposure. Stephen Pollard leads the practice and has gathered notable insider trading, market abuse and internal investigation expertise throughout his illustrious 30-year career; he is supported by counsel David Rundle who is also well-versed before the SFO and PRA.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Pollard

Other key lawyers:

David Rundle

Testimonials

‘Fantastic experience of representing senior and high-profile individuals who are caught in the crosshairs of both domestic and international regulatory enforcement investigations.’

‘Stephen Pollard: One of the most well-known names when it comes to representing high-profile individuals involved in regulatory investigations. Clear, constructive and not afraid to pick battles for his clients when needed.’

‘David Rundle: Provides excellent support to Stephen Pollard on larger matters, and is also someone we approach to represent individuals who are involved in smaller cases. Calm, assured and constructive in his approach.’

‘Superb high-calibre team with masses of experience in the field.’

‘Calm, market savvy and meticulous attention to detail. Great client handling skills and well-connected in the market.’

Withers LLP

Withers LLP directs a distinct level of focus towards representing senior employees, chief executives and non-executive directors involved in PRA and FCA-led matters. The team is led by Harvey Knight who notably spent six years at the FCA as its lead authorisation and approvals lawyer; his key fields of expertise encompass regulatory perimeter affairs, permissions and approvals, supervisory issues and enforcement investigations.

Practice head(s):

Harvey Knight

Constantine Law Limited

Constantine Law Limited, an employment and regulatory boutique, comes highly recommended for its work on FCA investigations, non-financial misconduct internal affairs, whistleblowing issues and conduct breach allegations. The practice, which represents both individuals and companies, is steered by Sarah Wallace and is also a natural choice for matters which intersect employment and regulatory law.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Wallace

Gowling WLG

Led by James Sidwell, Gowling WLG is geared to support on an extensive array of contentious financial services affairs including FRC, FCA and PRA authorisations, supervisory and enforcement proceedings, LIBOR matters, FX manipulations and SEC investigations; the team is also notably formidable within the fintech field, acting on contentious ICO, cryptocurrency and blockchain proceedings.

Practice head(s):

James Sidwell

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Witts; Ian Mason; Catherine Naylor; Verity Barker

Testimonials

‘Strength in depth – lots of good people at all levels.’

‘Verity Barker has terrific attention to detail and runs cases very smoothly. James Sidwell is hugely experienced.’

Key clients

The Financial Reporting Council

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

Work highlights

  • Acting for the FRC in relation to an 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 plc for the year end 2016.
  • Advising on all matters concerning Stanford Bank’s UK assets (with an approximate value of $110m), 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.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP was recently bolstered by the October 2021 arrival of Matt Hancock from Mishcon de Reya LLP; he arrives with over 14 years of experience in regulatory enforcement actions, including before the PRA and FCA, and is supported by Katharine Bond, an of counsel with specialist knowledge of the payments space.

Practice head(s):

Matt Hancock

Other key lawyers:

Katharine Bond

Hickman & Rose

Hickman & Rose , a disputes boutique, is distinguished through its distinct emphasis on representing company directors and senior executives. The offering is led by Andrew Katzen, an expert in financial misconduct, market and benchmark manipulation, insider dealing and FCA principles breaches. Ben Rose and Ross Dixon are among the other key names.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Katzen

Other key lawyers:

Ben Rose; Ross Dixon; Christopher Houssemayne de Boulay

Testimonials

‘In my opinion, a go-to firm for individuals who find themselves in a bit of bother with regulators or prosecutors.’

‘Christopher Houssemayne de Boulay – A great eye to detail in any case – no potential argument can miss him. Ross Dixon – A great technical lawyer with a great instinct, particularly in disciplinary cases giving rise to cross-border issues.’

‘Really strong in criminal/regulatory cross-over space. Strength and depth in team.’

‘Ben Rose, Andrew Katzen and the team are all exceptional practitioners in the contentious FS space as well as general white collar advice. Ross Dixon is also a fantastic white collar practitioner.’

‘I am working with Ben Rose, who is incredibly astute, practical and collaborative. He is creative and has excellent judgment. Even as a founding partner of his firm, he is very ‘hands on’ and knows the case inside out.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for the former VP (Finance) of Autonomy, a FTSE 100 company acquired by Hewlett Packard for $11bn in 2011, who has been indicted in the US on criminal charges related an alleged $8.8bn revenue recognition fraud.
  • Acting for an accountant (and former executive of a FTSE listed plc), who is accused of misconduct by improperly manipulating multi-million pound government contracts.
  • Acting for an accountant, a former senior finance executive at Carillion plc.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP is engaged by a variety of executives, managers, entrepreneurs, high-net-worth individuals, financial institutions and corporations. Aaron Stephens is renowned for his proficiency in anti-money laundering, market abuse, fraud and anti-corruption matters; he serves as practice co-head alongside Robert Dedman.

Practice head(s):

Aaron Stephens; Robert Dedman

Testimonials

‘Great team that has worked on some of the biggest cases anywhere.’

‘Aaron Stephens is one of the very best – loads of experience and a great way with clients and managing stressful situations.’

Key clients

Deutsche Bank

Work highlights

  • Serving as global counsel for Deutsche Bank in various class and direct-action litigation matters concerning alleged manipulation of the global foreign exchange market.

Milbank

Milbank represents both individuals and institutions, including those involved in cross-border and FCA-led investigations. Julian Stait leads the team which is home to William Charles, an up-and-coming partner, and Charles Evans, the key port of call for several prominent global financial companies.

Practice head(s):

Julian Stait

Other key lawyers:

William Charles; Charles Evans

Paul Hastings LLP

Led by Arun Srivastava, the team at Paul Hastings LLP aims to cover the full suite of contentious financial services matters, including those with transatlantic, insolvency law, sanction violation and cryptocurrency elements. Srivastava demonstrates a proven track record in FCA enforcement matters and is supported by Jonathan Pickworth.

Practice head(s):

Arun Srivastava

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Pickworth

Testimonials

‘I have been working with Arun Srivastava and his team for some years now. He has great knowledge of the sector and has a good bank of both corporate and individual clients. He is a good team player and is highly respected by regulators, who feel that they can trust him. He works well with clients and has the depth in the team that works with him.’

‘Arun Srivastava has vast experience and is a team player and is really shrewd. He has good judgment and knows exactly what the strengths and weaknesses are in a case and then goes on to address the real issues.’

‘Arun Srivastava has a strong technical background in non-contentious financial services advice, meaning that he has a deep knowledge of both the products and the regulatory system that applies. The result is that, when combined with his time spent as a regulatory litigator, he can provide a holistic view and (particularly in relation to the FCA) has an excellent feel for how they will approach issues and what agreed outcomes might be possible.’

Key clients

Park First

CashEuroNet/QuickQuid

Uphold Europe Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing an individual in the continuation of the global investigation into the alleged rigging of the global foreign exchange market.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP

A disputes boutique, Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP represents individuals, companies and institutions in market abuse and insider dealing matters, among many other contentious affairs. Nick Vamos fronts the business crime and investigations practice while Neil Swift takes lead on the regulatory front. The team is particularly active on the cross-border front, having litigated across Europe, the US, the Middle East and India.

Practice head(s):

Nick Vamos; Neil Swift

Other key lawyers:

Anna Bradshaw

Sidley Austin LLP

Sidley Austin LLP, a US-headquartered outfit, covers a broad variety of regulatory, enforcement and litigation affairs, frequently acting on matters with a cross-border element. Sara George serves as practice head, calling upon her experience in market abuse, insider dealing, money laundering and cybersecurity mandates, including those before the FCA, CFTC, DOJ and SFO.

Practice head(s):

Sara George

Testimonials

‘An open firm with innovative solutions to complex problems staffed by people who actually care about the result for their client.’

‘Sara George had been phenomenal achieving results where none appeared possible, her commitment to her clients, strategy and approach to litigation is second to none.’

‘Sara George is truly exceptional. Her management, forward thinking, networking capabilities are truly amazing.’

‘Strong UK regulatory and market knowledge. Able to provide a nuanced opinion and strategic advice.’

‘Sara George is fearless, very strategic, clear and knowledgeable. Great to have on your side in any contentious, regulatory matters.’

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs leverages its broad national and international network to oversee an array of multi-jurisdictional AML, financial crime, bank sanction and skilled person review proceedings. Paul Anderson and Anthony Taylor co-head the national offering with Chris Webber and Wayne Barnes serving as key contacts at the London office. Hannah Laming is the European head of the government investigations and white collar practice.

Practice head(s):

Paul Anderson; Anthony Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Chris Webber; Wayne Barnes; Hannah Laming

Testimonials

‘Excellent team – great strength across the board. Good industry knowledge.’

‘Chris Webber: an excellent litigator who fights hard for his clients, and really knows the FS industry in detail.’

‘Paul Anderson and Chris Webber offer practical, commercial advice.’

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

  • Representing Gallium Fund Solutions in relation to the collapse of mini-bond issuer Basset & Gold plc.
  • Representing the Qualia Care group owner in High Court proceedings brought by the FCA alleging that two Qualia companies have been operating unauthorised collective investment schemes.