Financial Services Regulatory
Our financial services regulatory practice is wide-ranging and covers both contentious and advisory matters.
Investigations and Enforcement
We advise on a wide range of financial services regulatory contentious matters, including:
- Information requests
- Internal investigations
- Announced and unannounced visits (“dawn raids”)
- Settlement negotiations
- Regulatory Decisions Committee meetings
- Upper Tribunal hearings
Recent matters include:
- Internal investigations
- Advising on an internal investigation for a bank involving SMF misconduct
- Advising a director of a listed company on their disclosure obligations
- Acting for a firm seeking FCA registration as a cryptoasset exchange provider
Transaction regulatory support
We work with our corporate team acting for buyers and sellers on mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring to advise on regulatory notifications sand approval processes and compliance risk allocation in transaction documentation.
- Change in control
- SPA clauses
- Legal due diligence review
Perimeter advice and getting authorised
Does your business or commercial activity require PRA and/or FCA authorisation or registration? We can advise on whether or not you fall within the scope of regulation, and assist with any necessary applications.
- Regulated activities
- Registration under the MLRs (crypto)
- E-money and payment services
- Appointed representative arrangements
- Advising on interactions with regulators, including FCA and PRA
- Failure to meet the required standards for FCA authorisation
- Appointed Representatives: The enhanced regime following lessons from Greensill Capital
- Treading the payment tightrope: can you still rely on the ‘limited network exclusion’ or might you now need a licence to carry out regulated payment services?
- Act now or pay later? FCA publishes important guidance on ensuring fair terms in unregulated Buy Now Pay Later credit agreements
- Buy Now Pay Later: FCA regulation appears to be looming. What might this mean for those offering this form of payment option?
- The meaning of “knowingly concerned” for breaches of financial promotion restrictions – welcome clarification for directors
- Clarifying the boundary of regulated activities: Financial Conduct Authority v 24Hr Trading Academy Ltd
- The FCA New Consumer Duty: Principle 12 is here
Advertising and financial promotions
We advise both financial services firms sand unregulated firms such as marketing platforms, on how to comply with regulatory requirements applicable to financial promotions. This complex area of regulation is evolving rapidly in the UK and a series of fundamental changes are expected to come into force in the UK during 2022.
- Advertising policies
- Rules applicable to specific types of financial promotion
- Financial promotions requiring approval, and availability of relevant exemptions
Employment and other BAU matters
We advise on regulatory matters arising in the course of your day to day business. Queries we commonly cover concern:
- Corporate governance
- Employment contract terms
- Fitness and propriety
- Regulatory references
- Outsourcing contracts and oversight arrangements
- Regulatory disclosures
- New Remuneration Code - For investment firms regulated under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive
Cryptoassets, AI and fintech
We have a specialist focus on cryptoassets, including NFTs, and advise a wide range of firms son all aspects of legal and regulatory compliance.
- Financial promotions: draft legislation updating the perimeter for qualifying cryptoassets now published
- “New technology does not change old risks” – why the crypto industry needs a regulatory framework to realise its full potential
- Latest proposals from the FSB on regulating cryptoasset activities and stablecoins
- From crypto winter to crypto trading platform collapse – paving the path to greater regulation of crypto
We act for a broad range of financial services firms as well as individuals, including:
- Investment firms and funds (including hedge funds)
- Payment services and e-money firms
- Appointed representatives
- Cryptoasset firms
- Social media platforms
Wendy Saunders writes for City A.M. on trading in unbacked crypto assets31 May 2023
Wendy Saunders of Lewis Silkin examines the recent Treasury Committee report on regulating digital assets and explores whether trading in unbacked crypto assets presents a regulatory dichotomy.
Financial promotions: draft legislation updating the perimeter for qualifying cryptoassets now published30 March 2023
So, we finally have the long-awaited next step in the ever-evolving regulatory framework that applies to crypto. By way of recap, cryptoasset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers need to be registered with the FCA under money laundering legislation.
Checklist for a successful crypto-provider registration application07 March 2023
Any business that intends to operate in the UK as a cryptoasset exchange provider or custodian wallet provider is required to register, but many are at risk of falling short at the first hurdle: the application for registration.
CBDC - the future of payments and money in the UK?09 February 2023
Back in April 2022 I wrote an article about the future of cryptoassets, payments and money in the UK. At that time, the UK government announced that it intended to bring in a regulatory regime for stablecoins used as a means of payment.
The evolving UK financial promotion regime: can you keep up?22 December 2022
The UK financial promotion regime is going through a series of complex and interconnected changes that are being legislated for and implemented in a somewhat piecemeal manner, meaning that it is not straightforward for firms to keep abreast of all the changes or to see the bigger picture.
Finalisation of prudential treatment of cryptoasset exposures for banks: how will this impact the market?22 December 2022
Banks will benefit from greater clarity and certainty now that the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (“BCBS”) has finalised its prudential standard on the treatment of banks’ exposures to cryptoassets.
From crypto winter to crypto trading platform collapse – paving the path to greater regulation of crypto12 December 2022
The trajectory of the crypto sector has been marked by a number of events over the course of this year from the crypto-winter (including instability in crypto markets, the collapse of Terra (an algorithmically-backed stablecoin supplemented by a reserve of Bitcoin) and consequential failures of crypto-related firms) through to the collapse of the centralised crypto trading platform FTX and most of its associated businesses. The regulatory message from Sir John Cunliffe has been consistent throughout: we need effective regulation of crypto technologies in finance.