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Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Investigations
If you or your business is facing an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), our specialist team at JMW can provide the expert advice, assistance and representation to achieve the best possible outcome.
Our team is highly experienced in guiding individuals and companies through the enforcement process and can provide expert advice and representation in cases before the Magistrates Court, Crown Court, Tribunals and High Court.
How JMW Can Help
At JMW, our specialist team of solicitors are at the ready to provide you with tactical advice and practical steps to help you challenge any investigation. Working with bespoke teams from different departments, we can tailor a solution for individuals and firms facing various actions brought by the FCA, including:
- Criminal Investigation and proceedings
- Civil action
Our FCA investigation solicitors have the experience and knowledge to help you successfully defend you and your business, giving you the very best chance of securing a favourable outcome that allows you to get on with what matters most.
Examples of FCA Misconduct
Offences cover a range of misconduct, including:
- Falsely claiming to be FCA-authorised
- Carrying on a regulated activity without authorisation
- Making misleading statements to induce investments
- Failing to cooperate with FCA investigations
Penalties Given By The FCA
Penalties for an FCA offence range from a fine to seven years’ imprisonment. The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) allows the FCA to take action including:
- Withdrawing authorisation from an individual or business;
- Disciplining authorised firms and people approved by the FCA to work in those firms;
- Imposing penalties for market abuse;
- Applying to the court for injunction and restitution orders; and
- Prosecuting various offences.
Other authorities also have the power to prosecute these offences, including the Crown Prosecution Service, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Serious Fraud Office. We regularly advise clients in cases brought by these authorities and we work with other experts to ensure that clients receive the best possible representation in what can be complex investigations and proceedings.
What is the FCA?
The FCA regulates the financial services industry in the UK, including most financial services markets, exchanges and firms. It has powers to make rules and to investigate and enforce the regulations when the required standards are not met. These powers enable it to take action against regulated and non-regulated firms and individuals.
The FCA came into being in April 2013, along with the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), to replace the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which was responsible for the regulation of the UK's financial services industry. It was abolished following perceived regulatory failure of the banks during the financial crisis. The FCA aims to ensure markets work well and that consumers get a fair deal, while the PRA aims to promote the safety of financial firms.
A single handbook of rules and guidance for all authorised firms carrying out business in the UK is produced by the FCA. The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) sets out the four statutory objectives for the authority:
- Market confidence
- Financial stability
- Consumer protection
- The reduction of financial crime
These objectives are supported by a set of principles of good regulation, which the FCA must follow when discharging its functions.
What Powers Does The FCA Have?
The FSMA provides powers to take action under the insider dealing provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1993 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007. The same statute provides the regulator with the power to interview people and requires them to hand over documents. It also sets out the circumstances in which the FCA is allowed to use those powers.
The FCA investigates people who carry out regulated activities - such as accepting deposits or giving investment advice - without authorisation. This is described by the FSMA as a breach of the general prohibition. Those breaking the law risk imprisonment and other sanctions.