Banking and financial services regulation

Record fines now meted out in the financial services sector reflect the tough stance the regulators in the UK and elsewhere take to business misconduct and rule breach.  Our compliance, finance, funds and regulatory litigation teams provide commercial advice on the increasingly complex regulatory standards required.
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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.

"One of the top contentious FS teams around."

The Legal 500 UK 2021

Regulatory reporting

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.

Capital requirements

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.

Anti-money laundering

Advising a Russian Bank and a UK private bank in relation to their anti-money laundering procedures.


Advising a global financial institution on jurisdiction aspects of its systems and controls to counteract bribery and corruption in its West African business.

Latest news & insights

17 Jun 2024

From Insights

All fingers and thumbs – protections against a "fat finger" moment

On 17 May 2024, the FCA published a Final Notice against CitiGroup Global Markets Limited ("Citi") in relation to the FCA's findings in relation to Citi's control fail..


04 Jun 2024

From Insights

FCA Market Watch 79 - Is your market abuse surveillance model up to scratch and are your surveillance systems effective?

The FCA have recently published their Market Watch 79 focussing on failures of market abuse surveillance they have identified, and on their recent peer review of firms..


28 Mar 2024

From Insights

The FCA's 2024/25 business plan – Some key takeaways for firms

The FCA's latest Business Plan for 2024-25 had just been published. They make a number of forward- looking "Commitments". We touch upon some of those plans and express..


02 Feb 2024

From Insights

Skeletons in the closet: Supreme Court clarifies the meaning of "deliberate concealment" in the context of the Limitation Act 1980

The Supreme Court's judgment in Canada Square Operations Ltd v Potter [2023] UKSC 41 provides welcome clarity on the meaning of "deliberate concealment" in the context..


06 Dec 2021

From News

Philip Clarke joins Stephenson Harwood as partner

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has strengthened its regulatory practice with the addition of Philip Clarke, who joins the firm as a partner in Dubai.


05 Oct 2020

From News

Stephenson Harwood expands financial services regulatory offering with arrival of William Robertson

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has strengthened its corporate practice with the arrival of William Robertson as a regulatory partner, based in its London office.


© 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.