The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the conduct regulator for over 50,000 financial services firms and markets in the UK.
The FCA has powers under the Financial Services and Markets Act to regulate the financial services industry in the UK, and individuals that work within them.
The FCA has wide-reaching powers and can:
- Make rules and set standards for financial services.
- Regulate and supervise the conduct of businesses.
- Investigate allegations of breaches.
- Take enforcement action.
The FCA sets out key principles for businesses that offer financial services and outlines recommendations for dealing with issues such as conflicts of interest and client’s assets.
The FCA will investigate a business if they have reason to believe that serious misconduct has been committed. This can be flagged to the FCA by way of a complaint by a client or investor. Allegations of insider dealing, money laundering and regulatory breaches can prompt an investigation and enforcement action from the FCA.
Whilst the FCA is investigating, they have powers to apply to have assets frozen or prohibit individuals from operating in financial services.
In some cases the matter can be resolved early on if liability is admitted, and may result in a reduction of the final penalty. However, if the FCA decides to take action and a resolution cannot be reached, the case will be submitted to the Regulatory Decisions Committee. Once the RDC has sent a Decision Notice, an organisation can refer a case to the Upper Tribunal for review if they dispute the findings.
It is important that you seek legal advice as early as possible, whether you are facing investigation, or are concerned about a complaint or allegation of a breach or misconduct. Our experienced Regulatory Lawyers at Nicholls & Nicholls can provide clear advice and representation at interviews and hearings. We can also liaise with regulatory bodies on your behalf throughout the course of an investigation, make representations, if appropriate, and advise on how to respond to the FCA’s preliminary findings or challenge a Decision Notice.
An investigation by the FCA can have severe repercussions for you and your business, and impact your commercial reputation. Our lawyers understand the complex process of an FCA investigation and the need for quick action to halt investigations at an early stage or defend prosecutions arising from an investigation to achieve the best outcome for an organisation.
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