Financial Services

Financial Services

“I’ve been really pleased with your work and the outcome of our new revised client agreement is exactly what I was looking for.”

David Vaughan, Director, Trusted Advisor Limited

Businesses in the financial services sector operate in an increasingly challenging environment. The regulatory structure and rules are constantly changing, and the regulators ever more strict. We provide practical cost-effective advice and a range of sector-focused services to help our clients navigate the pitfalls and organise their businesses for commercial success.

The Financial Services group at Clarke Willmott offers sector-focused expertise from a range of different practice areas, notably Corporate, Private Capital and Litigation. Our staff also have recognised financial planning qualifications and practical experience of working with the regulators, giving us industry knowledge beyond that of our competitors.

Our clients include established firms authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) such as product providers, brokers, lenders and financial advisers, and businesses requiring authorisation for consumer credit activities, who are now also regulated by the FCA. They also include others such as appointed representatives, introducers, professional and trade bodies, and entrepreneurs looking to enter the industry.

We advise on the impact of legislative changes, and give guidance on strategies to take advantage of these. The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) in particular has caused many firms to contemplate reorganising their business models. We can advise on referral, commission and introduction agreements, consultancy agreements and outsourcing amongst other things. We also advise on the regulatory implications of new ventures, including the need for authorisation or licensing, financial promotions issues and ongoing compliance and reporting requirements, as well as corporate structuring.

Businesses operating in the financial services sector rely heavily on the contracts which underpin their activities, the form and content of many of which is regulated by statute. Our clients frequently need bespoke and detailed agreements.

We regularly act on corporate transactions within the sector, and advise on the effects of relevant legislation on corporate activity (including FSMA, the Regulated Activities Order and the financial promotions regime).

We have very strong links with financial advisers, and can advise on wills, trusts, tax and other relevant matters through our large and renowned Private Capital department. Our staff are also formally trained in financial planning and we take pride in our ability to discuss product suitability issues as a result.

On the contentious side, we can advise on all kinds of customer and commercial disputes, including for example those relating to alleged product mis-selling, commission clawback and group PI insurance non-disclosure, and we frequently handle complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and conduct litigation in the courts. We also act for FCA authorised firms in handling supervisory and enforcement action, and for individuals and firms accused of carrying on regulated activities without authorisation or of unlawfully promoting investments.