Regulatory litigation

Versatile, experienced and talented.  A tenacious, award winning team able to provide the whole range of expertise needed when clients are confronted by regulators.  Our reputation for advising and representing clients in the most complex investigations and enforcement actions in the financial sector, including the FCA and the PRA, is outstanding.  
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Our regulatory litigation practice has been at the forefront of high profile investigations and enforcement for many years.  It acts for individuals and corporates.  Clients include senior executives as well as retail and investment banks, hedge funds, and professional service firms. The team includes former prosecutors and regulators.

We assist the client from the first call of the regulator, the information gathering and interview processes, making representations to the Regulatory Decisions Committee, and taking cases to the Upper Tribunal and beyond.  Where appropriate, we negotiate settlements and design redress and remediation programmes.  We also act on contested authorisation and approval applications.

Recent instructions have included acting for clients who have been targeted by regulators and prosecutors in the UK and overseas in the global investigations into the manipulation of LIBOR and the FX markets.  These cases exhibit the team's capabilities in both the regulatory and criminal contexts of trader misconduct and in regulatory investigations into systems and senior management failures.

We work closely with colleagues in other specialist areas of the firm, notably funds, regulatory, compliance and employment.

With the increasingly global nature of regulatory litigation, we have well established links with high quality firms in other jurisdictions, as well as our own overseas offices. 

"Stephenson Harwood is much stronger and much more able to handle lengthy and substantial investigations than a lot of its competitors.  It has more resources and greater strength and depth."
Chambers UK 2015


Representing individuals under investigation by the FCA and various US financial regulators for involvement in the manipulation of LIBOR and for the inadequacy of systems and controls to prevent manipulation.  

FX – trading misconduct

Acting in the regulatory investigations by authorities both in the UK and the US of a number of employees of major global investment banks accused of rigging in the G10 FX Spot trading desk.

FX – systems and controls failures

Representing the heads of FX at two global investment banks in an investigation by the FCA into their responsibility for systemic failings on the G10 FX Spot trading desks, leading to large scale fraudulent activity by desk traders.  

Senior management – organisational failings

Defending John Pottage and Matthew Brumsen in attempts by the FSA to penalise them for failing to take reasonable care in organising and controlling the affairs of UBS, following a fraud in the bank's private wealth business.

Fraud – systems failings

Representing one of the largest asset management firms in the City of London in an investigation into the alleged inadequacy of its systems to prevent fraud.


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

Conduct of business rules

Acting for HSBC in FCA enforcement proceedings for alleged conduct of business rule breaches in its role as depositary to the Arch Cru funds, including participating in a mediation to arrange for investor compensation.

Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards and the HBOS Review

Acting for Peter Cummings in enforcement proceedings brought against him by the FCA in his role as CEO of the corporate division of HBOS, and subsequently advising him in his evidence to the PCBS and the HBOS Review, including its Maxwellisation process.

Anti-money laundering

Acting for a bank and a hedge fund in relation to failings in their anti-money laundering procedures, drafting new procedures, and representing the MLRO in disciplinary proceedings.

Relations with regulators

Working with two magic circle firms in defending the Prudential and its global CEO in an investigation and proceedings by the FCA into the Prudential's failure to notify the FCA of its intention to acquire AIA.

Judicial review

Challenging the abuse of power by regulators, including setting aside unlawful search warrants and compelled information requirements, and curbing proposed enforcement steps. 


Advising RBS and staff in an internal investigation into allegations that borrowers were inappropriately placed into insolvency and an inquiry conducted under section 166 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. 

Tony Woodcock Partner

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

Latest news & insights

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..


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..


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..


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..


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.


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.


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"..


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.


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..


13 Oct 2014

From Insights

The New Regulatory Regime for Individuals: 'Embrace the new rules, or quit'

Recent reports that senior executives in banking are considering stepping down, on account of prospective implications of the new regulatory regime for individuals, il..


20 Feb 2014

From Insights

Deferred Prosecution Agreements: Guidance emerges ahead of launch

As of Monday 24th February, Companies that have uncovered potential liability for economic crimes will have the opportunity to avoid criminal prosecution (and many of ..


15 Oct 2013

From News

The National Crime Agency: re-arranging the deckchairs?

The National Crime Agency supersedes the Serious Organised Crime Agency as the UK's elite policing agency.


08 Oct 2013

From Insights

Consumer Credit Regulation – the new regime

Consumer credit firms are preparing for the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") to take over regulation of the industry from the Office of Fair Trading ("OFT") in 2014..


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