Six Pump Court’s Financial Conduct Team draws together the collective and extensive experience of members of chambers in order to be able to provide advice, assistance and representation relating to all aspects of financial regulation and misfeasance, specifically:
Mis-selling of Financial Products and Fraud
Separate from but building upon our recognised work in Consumer Protection, especially Trading Standards, Six Pump Court has considerable experience in relation to the mis-selling of financial products, including acting in both civil and criminal proceedings in connection with alleged infringements of regulatory legislation such as the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. We are especially known for our work on the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), illegal money lending (loan sharking, with many cases undertaken for BIS’s National Illegal Money Lending Team) and collective investment schemes and we have advised upon the enforceability of interest rate swap agreements.
Most notably members of chambers acted for the prosecution of those involved with the ‘Credit Card Killer’ company which purported to be a debt purchase company using its knowledge of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 to buy debts from debtors, wrongfully benefiting to the extent of approaching £2 million (Birmingham City Council v Momentum Network Limited, Rankine and Rankine).
Our consumer credit work is by no means confined to contentious proceedings: we regularly offer businesses non-contentious advice, such as whether to change the location of a head office in light of amendment to the regulatory regime, as to the definition of a regulated agreement as applied to novel lending products and as to the applicability of consumer credit licensing to a financial product to be provided by a non-British lending institution. Click here for more details of our Civil and Commercial Team’s Contract & Commercial Agreement work.
We also deal with the regulatory requirements for the protection of financial product consumers under legislation such as the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 or the Electronic Money Regulations 2011, in particular with regard to pricing structures and the information that must be given to consumers about products and charging. Our service extends to the area of civil enforcement in consumer cases such as applications made pursuant to Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002, for example action taken against a national car hire company in relation to the retention of credit card deposits from customers residing in foreign jurisdictions. Members of chambers are conversant with the principles of financial regulation applied by regulators such as the Office of Fair Trading and the Financial Conduct Authority and with the impact of wider policies on the enforcement action taken by bodies such as local authorities.
Often the line between mis-selling and fraud is narrow and primarily located in the eye of the beholder. Six Pump Court has extensive experience of criminal fraud prosecutions (click here for details). Our Financial Conduct Team also undertakes civil fraud work, both in relation to establishing that conduct amounts to fraud and in relation to Restraining and Recovering the Proceeds of Fraud.
We give strategic advice to regulators and the regulated, just as we offer it in the wider non-financial regulatory context and we welcome appropriate Direct Public Access instructions.
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Money-Laundering, Financial Controls, Bribery and Sanctions
6 Pump Court has substantial experience of cases involving the requirements of anti-money laundering legislation and contraventions of the other financial controls over company and client money. Our advice and assist assistance includes actions for recovery in such cases, whether it is sought by a client of a defaulting business or by the business itself against a defaulting employee. For example, recent instructions involved allegations that the managing solicitors of a firm had diverted to their own benefits funds in office and client accounts, to the prejudice of both those owed money by the firm and of the firm itself. Cases such as this are handled with discretion and sensitivity.
We have also advised upon the requirements for procedures and policies required to avoid breaches of the Bribery Act 2010 and upon whether proposed transactions would contravene sanctions imposed by UK legislation, EU directive and the United Nations.
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Restraining and Recovering the Proceeds of Fraud
Establishing liability to compensate for fraud or other financial misfeasance is little help if the money has forever gone. So Six Pump Court assists with the restraint and recovery of proceeds, in the context of both criminal and civil proceedings against suspected wrongdoers. Our experience under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 is extensive (click for details of our Confiscation and Asset Recovery Work in the criminal courts and related High Court work), and includes some highly complex and high value cases, for example the counterfeit footwear case of R v Braha in which members of Six Pump Court secured a confiscation order in the sum of £8 million
Members of chambers, drawing on Civil & Commercial, Regulatory and Family law groundings, are also experienced at advising in relation to issues of real and personal property ownership that arise in the context of these applications, for example, whether defendants or their spouses or others have beneficial interests in assets of which legal title is held by those who may not wholly or at all enjoy the beneficial rights or whether individuals involved in the running of a misfeasant company have benefited from the company’s misconduct in a manner which leaves them vulnerable to recovery from them personally.
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In-House Financial Investigations
Whether or not regulators or third parties are taking or threatening action, businesses suffering from financial irregularities, such as failures to adhere to in house financial recording procedures or the abuse of employee expense systems, often need to establish for their own purposes of the nature and extent of those irregularities and to do so in a manner later admissible in court and likely to withstand external scrutiny if needs be. The 6 Pump Court Financial Conduct Team can help ensure that in-house investigations help, rather than inadvertently aggravate, the situation.
Especial focus is given to cases which involve potential breaches of regulatory requirements that are of general application and which may expose a business to further civil or criminal liability. We also have particular expertise in dealing with issues of confidentiality and data protection which may arise during investigation. Besides advising on the conduct of the internal investigation itself, we can advise on the arrangements for any formal in-house proceedings or external legal action which may follow, whether that is instituted by the business itself against those responsible for the irregularities or by regulators or affected third parties against the business.
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Discipline of Financial Professionals
Six Pump Court’s Financial Conduct Team takes instructions for and against financial professionals, such as accountants, independent financial advisors and solicitors, facing disciplinary allegations of breaches of professional requirements. Our extensive experience in acting for and against a wide range of regulators has equipped us well and we have particular experience in disciplinary matters involving the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the Financial Conduct Authority and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Members of the Financial Conduct Team have experience of technical and complex national, international and multi-jurisdictional financial conduct issues and have undertaken in house placements with regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority, the Serious Fraud Office and the Office of Fair Trading.
Aside from acting as advocates and advisors on behalf of parties to disciplinary proceedings, members of the Financial Conduct Team have acted in the role of adjudicator on behalf of the Financial Ombudsman Service and as legal advisors to disciplinary panels and we have been involved in reviewing and advising upon various codes of professional conduct and disciplinary procedures.
Whilst our Financial Conduct Team necessarily focuses on the position of financial professionals, our Employment Team offers a full Professional Discipline service regarding those professionals who are not financial professionals and a full employment law service regarding those who are. Our Civil & Commercial Team offers a full Companies and Partnerships service, extending to the fiduciary duties of individual directors and partners.
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Dealing with Financial and Tax Authorities, their Investigations and their Prosecutions
Six Pump Court have extensive experience of dealing with the full gamut of British financial and tax authorities, including:
- the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA, previously the Financial Services Authority, FSA)
- the Financial Ombudsman Service
- the Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
- BIS’s National Illegal Money Lending Team
- the Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
- Utility regulators, such as OFGEM
We can assist both at the investigative stage and at that of determining any penalty or prosecution. We act either for persons facing action by the authorities or for the authorities themselves. Members of the Financial Conduct Team appear in the Tax Chambers of the First Tier Tribunal.
We also act in offshore matters, both for businesses and individuals based offshore but coming into contact with British authorities and for authorities outside Britain coming into contact with businesses or individuals here.
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