Regulatory & Compliance
Our expert Regulatory & Compliance Team includes former FCA and SFO investigators and former in-house lawyers, giving us valuable insight into both the regulators’ mindset and our clients’ needs. Our expert Team has extensive experience advising clients in connection with regulatory investigations and defending civil and criminal proceedings brought by various authorities including the police, Serious Fraud Office, DTI, HM Revenue and Customs, the Health and Safety Executive, Food Standards Agency, Trading Standards and the Financial Services Authority.
We provide practical, commercial legal advice in an easily digestible form. Clear and effective communication is key to what we do. Whether drafting agreements to reflect regulatory responsibilities or dealing with a dawn raid, we are experienced and nimble enough to keep ahead of the game, protecting your interests at every turn. We understand that good corporate governance requires the effective management of regulatory risks from board level down. This means keeping abreast of legislative change and ensuring all relevant compliance policies and practices, reinforced by comprehensive training, are kept up to date. Effective compliance does not mean zero failure. Even the best-run companies breach regulations. No organisation is immune from human error or oversight.
The Team has built up an enviable list of UK and international clients by delivering what we promise, when we promise it. We have forged close working relationships with our longstanding clients and a keen understanding of their business needs to enable us to work as one team to get them where they want to be as speedily and efficiently as possible.
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Project managing complex transactions
Having significant experience of managing large and complex cases on behalf of the authorities, for clients being investigated and for clients conducting internal investigations means we naturally focus on the issues that matter. Having advised a major international financial services provider for several years they called upon us to undertake a sensitive internal fraud investigation spanning two continents and requiring expert immediate intervention. Working with forensic accountants retained by us for the project, we conducted witness interviews, reviewed over half a million emails and analysed accounts to assess the nature and extent of the suspected fraud. Having reported our findings to the board, we advised on managing the regulatory risks arising and how to deal with the regulatory authorities. The position was further complicated by a proposed corporate re-structure, which required us to work quickly to quantify the issues and draw a line under the matter for due diligence purposes.
Supporting you as a trusted adviser
Walker Morris has represented the clothing retailer Damart for over 20 years. We advise extensively on all aspects of regulatory compliance affecting the business, including advertising, trade descriptions and pricing, consumer credit, data protection and anti-money laundering. We know the business, its history and its people very well and have often delivered in-house compliance training courses. Our extensive knowledge of the culture and approach as well as the compliance record of the business means we can provide ongoing advice on a weekly basis when issues arise. Our proactive approach has helped to avoid direct regulatory action in favour of negotiated resolution on several occasions.
We regularly advise clients from hedge funds, investment managers and corporate finance advisers on FCA regulation to operators of alternative
investment schemes on compliant operation outside the FCA regulatory perimeter. One client came to us looking for urgent assistance when the former FSA informed them they were operating illegally and that all their existing client agreements were therefore unenforceable. We took on the case, obtained authorisation for them within weeks to enable trade to continue and negotiated a sensible and workable strategy to
deal with the back book that resulted in over 95% of customers signing up to new, enforceable agreements.
We recognise that clients are best served when they are able to take proactive steps to manage their regulatory burden rather than taking remedial steps to address breach. After all, prevention is always cheaper than cure. This is why we focus much of our efforts on flagging up and helping businesses prepare for legislative changes before they come in. When the Consumer Credit Directive was transposed into UK law in 2011, businesses had to understand and apply five new statutory instruments governing their customer agreements, pre-contract information, advertising and withdrawal rights. We worked with clients in the sector and also with trade associations to deliver standard documentation and industry-wide training to smooth the transition.
"Always there when you need them with a good understanding of commercial pressures."