Clifford Chance partner Davis to lead FCA insurance leak probe

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) independent directors have appointed Clifford Chance litigator Simon Davis to conduct an inquiry into its botched announcement of an investigation into the insurance industry.

simon davis clifford chance
Simon Davis

In its terms of reference the body said it wanted Davis to come up with the final report “as quickly as is reasonably possible” following the furore after its intentions to investigate the insurance sector were leaked to The Telegraph last month.

Millions of pounds were wiped off share values following the 27 and 28 March press reports of the FCA’s plans to review certain life assurance products, part of the FCA’s business plan published on 31 March 2014.

The inquiry led by Davis will look at whether there was “an appreciation that the Business Plan could contain information that was price sensitive”, the “process for selecting the items on which press briefings would be made” and “why and with whose knowledge and authorisation” the briefing was given “particularly to a single journalist.”

These are just three of the 20 points Davis will be asked to look into and prepare a report on. The inquiry will also be overseen by a committee of the non-executive directors of the board, chaired by FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones.

Slaughter and May has already been instructed by a group of shareholders seeking compensation from the FCA following the leak (4 April 2014).

The FCA was launched on 1 April 2013 at the same time as the Prudential Regulation Authority as the two successors to the Financial Services Authority. Its chief executive, Martin Wheatley, has come under fire for the recent leak.

Davis was made partner at Clifford Chance in 1994 and specialises in financial disputes with regulators and shareholders.