Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is responsible for regulating banks, building societies, insurance companies, friendly societies, credit unions, Lloyd’s, investment and pensions advisers, stockbrokers, professional firms offering certain types of investment services, fund managers and derivative traders. For regulatory breaches the FCA has the power to:

  • Impose fines or financial penalties;
  • Withdraw or vary permission or authorisation to firms and individuals;
  • Issue warning, supervisory and decision notices.

In addition to its regulatory role, the FCA also has the power to prosecute certain offences such as insider dealing and money laundering. If you are being investigated by the FCA pursuant to a potential criminal offence it is essential that you contact a criminal solicitor.

The FCA has a number of distinct investigative powers as a regulator. Under sections 170 and 171 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) the FCA has powers to compel those under investigation to answer questions and produce documents, save those which are subject to legal privilege.

If an individual fails to answer questions, they may be held in contempt of Court. If convicted on indictment for contempt of court you may receive a sentence of up to 2 years in prison, a fine or both.

Investigations conducted under compulsory powers are not criminal proceedings but if it is concluded there is evidence of criminal conduct, then the FCA may decide to instigate criminal proceedings.

If the FCA believe there is evidence of criminal conduct, they can conduct interviews under caution;Â clearly in these circumstances you will need the assistance of a criminal lawyer.

Statements made under the compulsory powers to FCA investigators may be admissible, under section 174 of the FSMA, in subsequent criminal proceedings in a similar manner to those obtained under the compulsory powers of the SFO. A statement made to an investigator is not admissible in criminal proceedings unless evidence relating to it is adduced, or a question relating to it are asked, in the proceedings by or on behalf of the person being prosecuted. Furthermore if a person under investigation provides false or misleading material or recklessly provides information which is false or misleading, he is guilty of an offence and on conviction on indictment is liable to a term of imprisonment of up to two years, a fine, imprisonment or both.

Given the complexity of the law when being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority it is imperative that you contact a specialist criminal defence solicitor immediately on being notified of an investigation.

We will be able to assemble a highly experience team of defence lawyers to represent you at all stages of any investigation brought by the FCA.

Can we help you? Please contact us now.

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