Financial services regulatory

Financial services firms that carry on regulated activities in the UK and the individuals that perform controlled functions for those firms are regulated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA') under the UK Financial Services and Markets Act ('FSMA') regime. The FSMA regime (as amended by the Financial Services Act 2012) has introduced a further regulator, the Prudential Regulatory Authority ('PRA') for dual-regulated firms such as deposit takers and insurers.

The immediate outcome of the banking crisis was the more 'intrusive' and intense policing of the FSMA regime by the FCA's predecessor (the FSA) in the UK, with the FSA seeking to make judgments on the judgments of the senior management of its regulated firms. This pro active regulatory approach has been reinforced with the UK's Financial Services Act 2012 giving the FCA additional powers to intervene and take action against the firms and the individuals that it regulates.

There has also been greater international co-ordination and co-operation between national regulators in relation to policy and individual cases with the US's Dodd-Frank Act also providing the US regulators with greater powers and 'reach'.

We work closely with firms and their individuals in:

  • Scoping the extent that the FSMA regime applies to any activities and promotional activity that they may want to carry on in the UK
  • Establishing new financial products and services that comply with any applicable UK regulations
  • Applying for the appropriate FCA (and PRA) Authorisations and Approvals in relation to any regulated activities carried on in the UK
  • Providing ongoing regulatory advice in relation to the FCA (and PRA) Principles and Rules applicable to their FCA (and PRA) Authorisations and Approvals
  • Handling any FCA (and PRA) Supervision and Enforcement inquiries and investigations that may affect them
  • Defending FCA (and PRA) Enforcement proceedings against them
  • Any related civil proceedings to regulatory actions
  • Considering the international regulatory dimensions especially with the US.

Harvey Knight worked with the FSA's Authorisation, Supervision and Enforcement Divisions for six years. He ensures our team has a unique insight into the:

  • Scope of the FSMA regime
  • FSMA controller requirements
  • FCA (and PRA) Handbook
  • FCA (and PRA) Authorisation and Approvals Fit and Proper regime
  • FCA (and PRA) ‘non routine' Approval applications
  • FCA (and PRA) Authorisation, Supervision and Enforcement Divisions and the interaction between them
  • FCA (and PRA) investigation and internal decision making processes
  • Referrals to the independent Financial Services and Markets Tribunal
  • Interaction between the regulatory regime and common law
  • He and his team works closely with our US, European, Asian and BVI offices in providing an international as well as a national perspective, on and offshore.

Chambers 2015 has commented that:

'Withers has a prompt, very comprehensive, well-connected set of services. Every piece of work is dealt with promptly, efficiently and effectively.'

'You feel like you're getting advice rather than someone quoting at you out of a law book. They're good at translating what the law actually means.'

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