Our banking and financial services regulation practice advises on the full range of regulatory requirements and risks to which financial institutions are exposed. We are not just a "rulebook" practice. Our capability is drawn from the collective expertise and experience of many parts of the firm. We advise not only on discrete areas of the PRA and FCA Handbooks, such as those relating to client money, but also on areas such as remuneration, market abuse, management and operational risk, systems and controls, and the prevention of money laundering, corruption, and sanctions breaches.
Recent instructions have included providing advice to institutions and individuals in the wake of the Banking Reform Act 2013 and the implications of the Senior Managers Regime, Certification and the Conduct Rules.
We have advised institutions on their relations with regulators, including their reporting and notification obligations under SUP and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. We have advised also in the testing areas of complying with compelled information requests and maintaining client confidentiality.
We use the experience of our renowned regulatory and financial litigation practices to identify how things have gone wrong and advise on the preventative steps an institution can take to avoid similar issues.
"Stephenson Harwood has 'a thorough understanding of the law and process, as well as of the financial services world' and is 'especially strong acting for senior individuals' in regulatory investigations and accompanying criminal investigations."
The Legal 500 UK 2016
Advising a Middle Eastern bank on compliance with the EU's Capital Requirements Directive and Regulations and the reporting framework established by the PRA in COREP to harmonise supervisory reporting standards.
Advising a private bank with a substantial consumer credit business which fell into serious capital adequacy issues following a court ruling that its credit agreements were unenforceable and managing its liaison with the FSA.
Authorisation and approval applications
Advice in relation to "non-routine" applications in a potentially litigious context, including preparing the client for interview by the FCA in a case where an individual was thought to be involved in LIBOR manipulation.
Acting for financial institutions in relation to selling issues concerning retail products and designing schemes of arrangement to provide redress.
Advising a third party mortgage provider in relation to the Mortgage Conduct of Business Rules and the standards required by the FCA in relation to the collection of arrears and foreclosure following complaints made by borrowers.
Senior Managers Regime
Advising a global retail bank on the scope of the SMR and the definition of "management", including the position of in-house lawyers operating at senior levels within a bank and on issues relating to multinational institutions.
Advising several banks in relation to the applications of the sanctions regimes to transactions and corporate structures, and challenging the legality of UK and EU legislation.
Proceeds of crime
Advising frequently on the obligation to make reports to the National Crime Agency, including issues relating to client confidentiality, legal professional privilege, and the risk of "tipping off".
Supervisory visits and section 166 FSMA
Preparing financial institutions for supervisory visits and responses to thematic reviews.
Advising a Russian Bank and a UK private bank in relation to their anti-money laundering procedures. In one instance, the CDD fell so short of regulatory requirements that a former state president deposed for fraud had not been subject to basic CDD steps.
Advising a global financial institution on jurisdiction aspects of its systems and controls to counteract bribery and corruption in its West African business.