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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.
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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.

"an unparalleled grasp of the world of financial regulation and decades of experience"
Chambers UK 2013

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

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..


10 Feb 2016

From Insights

Custody and client money watch - Issue 1

In this issue we look at what you should be doing now about the Securities Financing Transactions Regulation, the current rules on title transfer collateral arrangemen..


05 Jan 2016

From Insights

Spotlight on regulatory compliance

Financial regulation is constantly evolving with ever more byzantine, copious and intrusive rules, whose reach is ever-widening. Richard Small highlights where early-s..


16 Dec 2015

From Insights

Media coverage: LexisNexis - Controlling exposure to risk following Barclays' record fine

Alan Ward examines what firms need to consider in the context of the FCA actions.


01 Dec 2015

From Insights

FCA consults on 2 year time limit and new rules for PPI complaints

The FCA last week published a consultation paper (CP15/39) on its proposed changes to the rules for complaints relating to PPI products.


05 Oct 2015

From Insights

Media coverage: New Law Journal - Regulatory enforcement changes

In New Law Journal, Alan Ward predicts a significant change on how regulatory enforcement in the City is conducted and publicised.


12 Aug 2015

From Insights

Strengthening accountability in banking: the next piece of the jigsaw

We highlight the key points following the FCA's release of near final rules for the extension of the proposed Senior Managers, Certification and Conduct Rule regimes.


07 Aug 2015

From Insights

Modern Slavery Act 2015

We discuss the Modern Slavery Act 2015.


16 Jul 2015

From News

Cyber investigations service launches

Leading experts in cyber investigations issues have joined forces to roll out a unique full-service cyber investigations and compliance team.


05 Jun 2015

From Insights

Regulatory update - Court of Final Appeal’s ruling on an investment product advertising case

We look at a recent high court decision concerning the relief of distributors of securities investments in Hong Kong.


25 May 2015

From Insights

Media coverage – City AM – Bankers must be allowed to speak out in their own defence

Alan Ward comments on the possibility of a significant change in how regulatory enforcement in the City is both conducted and publicised.


03 Mar 2015

From News

Stephenson Harwood and Dubai International Finance Centre host seminar

Dubai office in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), hosted a regulatory seminar panel discussion on: "Compliance - a hindrance or a support"..


01 Feb 2015

From Insights

Extension of the AIFMD passports

James Tinworth and Richard Small write on extension of the AIFMD passports: what should happen in 2015 and what could happen in 2015.


10 Dec 2014

From Insights

The Conduct Rules: compliance and legal functions in the line of fire

We consider the implications of the proposed Conduct Rules and will apply to a far wider population of staff.


02 Dec 2014

From News

Stephenson Harwood appoints new regulatory partner

Stephenson Harwood LLP has appointed Richard Small as partner in its corporate practice group and London office.


27 Oct 2014

From Insights

The Certification Regime: banks as regulators?

We consider the implications of the proposed Certification Regime, which will make banks responsible for certifying employees' "fitness and propriety" to perform so-ca..


© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2015. 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. The fibre used to produce this paper is sourced from sustainable plantation wood and is elemental chlorine free.