Businesses face an increasing burden of regulation, which is being more extensively monitored and aggressively enforced than ever before. Non-compliance has serious consequences both for the businesses and those who work in them. Our specialist teams are adept at providing prompt, focused and commercial advice and support to avoid the pitfalls.
  • Profile
  • Experience
  • Key contacts

Our regulatory practice has many facets, and is able to advise on regulation in all its manifestations. We have a strong banking and financial services capability, experienced in providing advice in areas including regulatory reporting, authorisation and approval applications, and the implications of the new senior managers regime.

Our regulatory compliance team advises on all aspects of the PRA and FCA conduct of business rulebooks, with particular experience in matters relating to client assets and custody, giving support to our diverse corporate teams. We advise on FCA and PRA supervisory visits.

Our renowned regulatory litigation team, which includes former prosecutors and regulators, has been at the forefront of the highest profile FCA investigations and enforcement actions over many years. It acts for individuals and corporates, and undertakes advocacy when appropriate.

The team also advises on business crime and corporate criminal liability over a wide spectrum. It has had significant involvement in all the high profile SFO investigations since that office was established in 1987 and the CMA, and increasingly finds itself dealing with cases having an international element, particularly with the US Department of Justice.

We advise in other areas of corporate liability, including consumer protection and health and safety. We act in professional standards and disciplinary matters.

"Stephenson Harwood has a thorough understanding of the law and process, as well as of the financial services world"

The Legal 500 UK 2016

Regulatory reporting

Advising institutions on compliance with obligation to make reports regarding capital adequacy, suspected rule breaches, money laundering and corruption.

Supervisory visits and section 166 FSMA 2000

Piloting clients through a regulatory inspection and their response to thematic reviews.

Conduct of business

Advising on financial service regulatory aspects of corporate transactions, and business issues arising out of the FCA and PRA Handbooks, including best execution, dealing commissions, conflicts of interest and client assets.

Authorisations and applications

Assisting in difficult applications for authorisation and approval to undertake business, including authorisation under the financial services legislation.

Senior manager responsibilities

Advising on the implications of the Senior Managers Regime established by the Banking Reform Act 2013.

Systems and controls failures

Representing senior executives in relation to allegations of systems and controls failures in the LIBOR and FX businesses, and following the crash in the UK banking sector in 2008.


Advising on the implications for transactions of the sanctions legislation; litigating the legality of sanctions legislation; obtaining relevant government licences.

Financial crime

Representing individuals under investigation by the FCA and the SFO, including several individuals involved in proceedings relating to the manipulation of LIBOR and collusion in the G10 FX Spot market.


Acting for financial institutions in relation to selling issues concerning retail products and the design of schemes of arrangement to provide redress.

Policies and procedures

Advising on and drafting policies and procedures to secure compliance with regulatory and corporate governance requirements, including those required under the banking legislation, the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, the Bribery Act 2010, and similar legislation.


Tony Woodcock Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2349
M:  +44 7825 625 903 Email Tony | Vcard Office:  London

Latest news & insights

29 Mar 2017

From Insights

FCA v Macris – Supreme Court gives judgment on "third party rights"

On Wednesday 22 March the Supreme Court handed down its much-anticipated judgment in Financial Conduct Authority v Macris [2017] UKSC 19.


17 Jan 2017

From Insights

2017 - Preparing for the extension of the New Accountability Regime

The SM&CR introduced for banks, building societies, PRA-designated investment firms and credit unions in March last year – is due to be extended to the whole financial..


21 Dec 2016

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises Vistra on its acquisition of Jordans

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised Vistra on its acquisition of the Jordans Group from its current shareholder, The West of England Trust Limited.


14 Oct 2016

From Insights

FCA cracks down again on AML systems and controls

On 12 October 2016 the FCA issued a Final Notice against Sonali Bank (UK) Limited. The Notice is a timely reminder for authorised firms that weak financial crime contr..


31 Aug 2016

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises on landmark stored value license in Hong Kong

Stephenson Harwood has advised TNG on its successful application to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority for a licence to provide stored value facilities (SVF).


19 Aug 2016

From Insights

HMRC raises the stakes for tax avoidance enablers

On 17 August, HMRC launched a consultation setting out proposals to impose punitive sanctions on those who design, promote and market tax avoidance schemes. We examine..


16 Aug 2016

From Insights

Dangers of selling managed real estate projects, Structuring unregulated multi-investor private investment vehicles

During this year, certain court decisions and SFC enforcement activity have shed some light on the regulatory issues arising when structuring and selling real estate i..


12 Jul 2016

From Insights

BREXIT: The MiFID passport

A significant part of the UK's financial services industry relies on the passport under the MiFID to provide its services in other Member States of the EEA. The loss o..


05 Jul 2016

From Insights

BREXIT: The AIFMD passport

The AIFMD creates a single pan-EEA regulatory framework for the managers of alternative investment funds. This overview considers the potential availability of the pan..


24 Jun 2016

From Insights

BREXIT: What now?

The results of the referendum on whether or not the UK should remain in the European Union are in and the British public have voted to leave. What does this mean?


09 Jun 2016

From Insights

Deal or no deal

Changes to the notification of PDMR transactions and restrictions on dealings during closed periods, mean substantial amendments to DTR 3, the AIM Rules and the deleti..


09 Jun 2016

From Insights

A bird's eye view

Richard Small and Katherine Dillon provide an overview of the principal changes arising from the new MAR regime. This briefing covers the core elements of the current ..


01 Jun 2016

From Insights

Burden on compliance functions revealed – the real cost of the regulatory “perfect storm”

On 24 May 2015, the FCA published a report by consultancy firm John Howell on how banks have responded to rules intended to hold them accountable for money laundering ..


03 May 2016

From Insights

FCA consults on proposed amendments to enforcement procedures

The FCA and the PRA have together opened a consultation on a number of proposed changes to the current enforcement decision-making process and consequent proposed amen..


22 Feb 2016

From Insights

UK companies/LLPs - New requirement to publicly disclose beneficial ownership

What is this PSC register everyone's talking about? The register of people with significant control (the PSC register) is a register of individuals or legal entities t..


11 Feb 2016

From Insights

Letters and the law - legal professional privilege and the SFO

We examine the decision of R (on the application of McKenzie) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office. This case outlines the extent to which legal privilege can be inv..


© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.