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Clifford Chance, Hogan Lovells and DLA Piper are among the firms to have been appointed to the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) first panel of experts that will be called upon to undertake investigations at banks.
The FCA was officially launched yesterday (1 April) along with the Prudential Regulation Authority in place of the FSA as the UK financial regulatory authority. The panel arrangements went live today and will remain in place until March 2017.
The panel has been split into eight separate lots with Clifford Chance picking up the remit across four divisions. DLA Piper, Eversheds, Hogan Lovells have been anointed on three while Pannone, Ashurst and Macfarlanes have picked up one apiece.
In September the FSA unveiled plans for the panel which would be called up on to provide skilled person reports, also known as Section 166 reports, as part of the body’s ongoing risk-based approach to regulation (14 September 2012).
The regulator will instruct external advisers when a financial company enters into difficulty. It is expected to be a highly lucrative contract for the bidding firms with the reports forming the basis for a fine or other enforcement action.
Until now Section 166 reports have been the preserve of the big four accountancy firms, despite the rising number of investigations. The number of reports has risen from 18 in 2006/07 to 140 in 2010/11, with fees – paid for by the target company – escalating to seven figures in some cases. In 2009/10 lawyers accounted for just 1 per cent of the work carried out by the FSA on such reports.
The new panel was launched to bring the FCA and PRA into line with the European Procurement Directive and the Public Contracts Regulations 2006. Lawyers will sit alongside accountancy firms on the panel.
Lot 3: Client assets
Consultancy advice and expertise in client assets and client money. This lot may include client asset regulatory reporting and safeguarding measures.
Ashurst; Clifford Chance; DLA Piper
Lot 4: Governance, controls and risk management frameworks
Consultancy advice and expertise in governance and culture, apportionment of responsibilities, control function effectiveness, systems and controls, risk management frameworks, conduct risk, legal risk, operational risk, UK listing authority rules, remuneration, business model and strategy analysis and assessment.
Clifford Chance; Eversheds; Hogan Lovells
Lot 5: Conduct of business
Consultancy advice and expertise in assessing quality of advice, sales practices, complaints handling, conduct of business rules and guidance, treating customers fairly, arrears management and retail conduct risks associated with each stage of the retail product life-cycle.
DLA Piper; Eversheds; Hogan Lovells; Macfarlanes
Lot 7: Financial crime
Consultancy advice and expertise in financial crime, anti bribery and corruption, third party payments, market abuse, insider trading and anti-money laundering.
Clifford Chance; DLA Piper; Eversheds; Hogan Lovells; Pannone;
Lot 8: Prudential - deposit takers and recognised clearing houses
Consultancy advice and expertise in regulatory capital within deposit takers and recognised clearing houses, liquidity, recovery