In our experience, early expert advice and assistance is usually imperative in FCA investigations in order to protect the business and individuals from the outset.
This is particularly important given that offences of this type, if proven, can result in extremely heavy fines, significant reputational damage and custodial sentences.
At Kangs, we can assist with such matters and ensure that the appropriate defence strategy is adopted in each case. We have a proven track record of representing clients in the largest and most complex FCA investigations and take pride in utilising our resources, expertise and experience for the benefit of our clients.
We represent clients throughout the country in relation to FCA investigations and prosecutions and have the benefit of a national network of offices including the London, Birmingham and Manchester.
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The types of cases brought by the FCA that we can assist with include the following:
- Insider dealing
- Market abuse & market manipulation
- Misleading statements
- Breaches of the FCA’s Principles for Businesses
- Marketing and promotion of unauthorised investment schemes
- Boiler room fraud
- Land banking fraud
- Carbon credit fraud
- Breaches of the FCA Principles for Approved Persons
- Long Firm Fraud
- Money laundering
- Advance fee fraud
Since taking over from the Financial Services Authority on 1st April 2013, the FCA has confirmed its stated goal of robustly pursuing companies and individuals suspected of misconduct in the financial services industry which, in turn, has led to an increase in regulatory and criminal investigations.
It appears that the ‘light touch’ regulation of previous years has now hardened and been replaced by the more regular use of the FCA’s criminal investigation and civil enforcement powers.
The FCA has power over all participants in the market and not just those institutions and individuals that are FCA registered.
The powers of the FCA enable it to:
- Compel the attendance of individuals at formal Interviews (similar to the powers of the Serious Fraud Office)
- Compel organisations and individuals to produce documents
- Co-ordinate action with other law enforcement agencies such as the City of London Police, Serious Fraud Office, USA and European financial regulators
- Search home and business premises and seize documents, computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices
- Conduct interviews under caution
- Instigate criminal prosecutions
- Serve Restraint Orders freezing the assets of individuals and companies under the Proceeds of Crime Act (‘POCA’)
- Impose substantial fines
- Impose suspensions
- Order injunctions
- Issue public announcements of any disciplinary actions against a firm or individual
- Issue warning notices (including publication of such notices)
- Withdraw authorisation for regulated activity
- Instigate POCA proceedings to remove any criminal property/profit that may have been acquired as a result of the offences
We can assist and advise you in relation to any search warrants that the FCA may have served on you or your business. Our experience extends to advising on the validity of the search warrant as well as the legality of the search of premises conducted by the FCA. There are a number of potential challenges to the initial grant of the search warrant as well as to its execution which requires specialist advice and guidance which we are able to provide to our clients.
If the FCA attend at your business or home premises unannounced, our 24 Hour Rapid Response Team are available 24/7 on telephone number 07989 521210. If you have received advance notice from the FCA that it requires you to attend an interview or requires you to deliver up documentation, we can liaise with the FCA on your behalf.
We will ensure that:
- Any requests from the FCA are appropriate and proportionate,
- Any proper requests for information and documentation are complied with,
- You are provided with advice and assistance at any voluntary or compulsory interview.
We can provide you with initial advice on the commencement of a FCA investigation and formulate a defence strategy for any interview under caution that you or other personnel from your company may be required to attend.
We can represent you or any other company personnel while you are being interviewed under caution by the FCA or by police officers. It is important not to attend an interview without legal representation as we can protect your interests during the interview. In addition, we will look to develop a dialogue with the investigating officer with a view to seeking a non-criminal outcome.
The FCA has other civil remedies available to it and we are experienced in pursuing and exploring such options with the FCA.
We are acutely aware of the potential reputational damage to a business as a result of the investigation turning into a criminal prosecution. A criminal prosecution can usually be openly reported in the media. Our aim is to move quickly and effectively in order to minimise such impact and secure an early resolution to the issues in the case.
If the prosecution involves allegations with an international dimension such as those including overseas markets, regulators and authorities, we have considerable experience of dealing with multi-jurisdictional cases and are widely recognised for our expertise in this area.
In the unfortunate event that criminal proceedings are instigated, we have close working relationships with the leading defence barristers, including King's Counsel (KCs) working in this field of criminal fraud law and we will ensure that the best possible representation is secured for you.