Financial Services Investigations

"They have extremely good judgement when it comes to criminal matters. They have vast experience in crime at all levels - whether it's financial or something with a regulatory dimension or a civil dimension, they can deal with it and provide all round advice."

Chambers and Partners 2017

In recent years, the Financial Services industry has seen record levels of fines and an increase in prohibitions and restrictions against individuals and companies for regulatory misconduct and disciplinary breaches. Long custodial sentences have been imposed on individuals who have been found guilty of criminal wrongdoing. 

Individual responsibility and accountability is at the forefront of the government and regulators’ mission for cultural change in the finance industry.  The finance sector and, in particular, individuals who work within it will continue to be very much the target for regulatory, disciplinary and criminal investigations and prosecutions.

The complexities of financial services regulation and investigation can ensnare even the most cautious company or individual.  The potential consequences of an adverse regulatory finding or criminal proceedings are devastating.  We provide intelligent and tactical representation at this crucial time by defending the accusations and mitigating the risks.

We have an established and highly experienced team of lawyers representing individuals and companies from all aspects of the financial and commercial world. Our clients include senior management in banks, accountants, accountancy firms, hedge fund managers, traders, senior corporate management, independent financial advisers, mortgage brokers, investors and company advisers. We have acted in investigations for criminal or regulatory offences including market abuse, market manipulation, insider dealing, fraud and breaches of the principles for business and approved persons.

Investigations in the financial services sector may be conducted by a number of agencies. These agencies include the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) but also the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), City of London Police (CoLP), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and a wealth of other agencies from overseas. 

We also regularly advise accountants and firms who are subject to investigation by their regulatory body, including the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

The FCA has powers to investigate companies and individuals, whether they are in the financial regulated sector or not.  It has significant investigation, prosecution and regulatory powers.

The FCA works closely with other organisations both at home and abroad to combat market misconduct and financial crime, in particular the SFO, CoLP, the US Department of Justice, the Securities Exchange Commission and the various European and international prosecutors and financial regulators.

Frequently asked questions on FCA Enforcement Investigations

I have received a notice of appointment of investigators from the FCA. What does this mean?

Where the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) is investigating an individual for misconduct offences or for criminal offences, it will appoint investigators. Sometimes the FCA will notify the individual that they are under investigation by providing a Memorandum of Appointment of investigators (MoA).

What powers do the FCA investigators have?

An FCA investigator may require a person under investigation or any connected person to be interviewed or provide information or documents.

I have been asked to attend a scoping meeting, what is it?

For cases involving approved persons, the FCA will generally hold scoping discussions with the individual concerned at the start of the investigation. The purpose of these discussions is for the FCA to give an indication of the reason for their investigation; the scope of their investigation; an indication of the likely timing and next steps including if you are likely to be interviewed and when; and which documents are required. Your lawyer can attend and participate in the scoping meeting.

What is a ‘compelled’ interview?

The FCA can use its investigation powers to compel a person to answer questions in an interview.  These powers are generally used where the FCA is investigating misconduct that does not amount to criminal conduct or market abuse or when they are interviewing witnesses.   When a person is compelled, they must answer questions and do not have an automatic right to silence (see ‘interview under caution’ section below).  If a person fails to answer questions without a reasonable excuse they can be dealt with as though they were in contempt of court for which a prison sentence or fine can be given.

Where the FCA interviews a person, they are allowed to have a lawyer present. The potential consequences for an adverse finding for market misconduct are serious, including a potentially hefty fine and a prohibition from working in the financial services industry, therefore it is important to get specialist legal advice before attending an FCA Interview.  Your lawyer will be able to explain the process, your rights and options and what is likely to happen in the interview, discuss matters with the FCA and ensure you obtain disclosure of information and documents prior to the interview and help you to prepare for the interview.

What is an interview under caution by the FCA?

For criminal offences, including criminal market abuse, a person who is suspected of having committed a criminal offence can be interviewed by the FCA under caution either voluntarily or under arrest.

The caution is the same one that the police use when they are investigating criminal offences: ‘You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.  Anything you do say may be given in evidence.’ This is often known as the ‘right to silence’ and preserves a suspect’s right not to incriminate themselves.

The person being interviewed can have a lawyer present. It is crucial to take advice about whether or not to answer questions as there may be serious repercussions at a later stage whether you answer questions or not. Criminal market abuse offences carry a prison sentence of up to seven years.

Your lawyer will be able to explain the process, your rights and options and what is likely to happen in the interview, discuss matters with the FCA and ensure you obtain disclosure of information and documents prior to the interview and help you to prepare for the interview.


Financial services investigation solicitors

With a proven track record in litigation and regulation, and a wealth of experience representing those accused of criminal, regulatory or disciplinary misconduct (and sometimes all three at the same time), we are uniquely placed to advise in relation to such investigations and prosecutions.

We are experienced in representing individuals who find themselves arrested and interviewed in a police station, subject to search warrants or have their funds frozen by restraint orders.  Our lawyers provide strategic and pragmatic advice in financial regulatory and criminal investigations, in circumstances where there is often a complex dynamic between dealing with the FCA and/or overseas authorities and professional regulatory or employment issues.

We are used to understanding and analysing highly complex financial transactions, working in conjunction with others where necessary, including experts, accountants and international lawyers.

Our unique combination of expertise in criminal, regulatory, professional disciplinary and employment investigations enables us to give clear and pragmatic advice in complex matters in often urgent and stressful circumstances.


Quote: New law forces big firms to come clean on gender pay gap, April 2017, The Times

Enforcement procedures remodelled by Louise Hodges and Jonathan Blunden, Compliance Monitor, April 0217



"The country's premier niche white-collar firm. They're very savvy and understand how the corporate world works."

Chambers UK, 2017

"Real expertise across all levels, well led and offering practical advice with no histrionics or game playing."

Chambers UK, 2017

“Kingsley Napley LLP does an ‘excellent job representing individuals involved in financial services disputes and regulatory investigations'."

Legal 500 UK, 2014

...'Widely regarded as a go-to team for contentious financial services matters involving a criminal litigation element. Excels at representing individuals and corporates in FSA and SFO investigations'...

Chambers UK 2014, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Kingsley Napley LLP does an ‘excellent job representing individuals involved in financial services disputes and regulatory investigations'. The firm excels at handling enforcement matters where there is a potential criminal law element such as insider dealing and market abuse. Louise Hodges and Eve Giles bring ‘intelligence and first-class client skills to everything they do'.

Legal 500 UK, 2014

...'Kingsley Napley is pre-eminent at what it does: high-end, complex criminal work for high-profile individuals'...

Chambers UK 2014, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

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