Corporate Crime & Investigations Podcast Episode 1: Deferred Prosecution Agreements

In our Corporate Crime & Investigations podcast we look to bring you timely and incisive commentary on key developments in the CC&I space.

In this inaugural episode we take a look at the Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) landscape. In particular we set in context the latest DPA agreed between the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and a subsidiary in the Serco Group of companies.

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Launch of Asia Pacific Guide to Privilege 2019

Please click here to access a preview of the Guide.

We are pleased to launch the 2019 edition of our Asia Pacific Guide to Privilege.

Businesses are increasingly faced with multi-jurisdictional disputes where evidence rarely falls within the borders of a single country and complex legal privilege issues often surface when dealing with communications across multiple jurisdictions.

Compiled by our network of Herbert Smith Freehills lawyers and trusted local counsel, the updated Guide takes account of the latest developments across Asia Pacific and covers 21 jurisdictions.

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A new regulatory regime for peer-to-peer lending

In June, the FCA published its policy statement on crowdfunding platforms (PS19/14). PS19/14 contains two new sets of rules which apply to: (i) loan-based (P2P); and (ii) investment-based crowdfunding platforms.

Prior to this, P2P and investment-based crowdfunding platforms were already subject to the FCA’s High Level Standards, such as the Principles for Business. However, as the evolution of the two types of investment has differed, so has the regulation around them. Continue reading

Royal Commission into the financial services industry in Australia: lessons for the UK?

As financial institutions in Australia face into the culture and conduct storm that has engulfed the UK for the past decade, UK firms can be confident that they have already largely negotiated the regulatory waves which have followed the Banking Royal Commission in Australia. However, culture and customer treatment are themes that continue to be relevant on both sides of the world. In an article for Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, Jenny Stainsby considers the implications of the Royal Commission’s recommendations for UK firms.

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Approval of UK’s fifth DPA concludes SFO investigation into Serco companies

On 4 July 2019, Mr Justice William Davis approved a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA“) agreed between the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO“) and Serco Geografix Ltd (“SGL“), a wholly-owned subsidiary of outsourcing company Serco Group plc (“Serco Group“). SGL has agreed to pay £22.9 million, comprising a financial penalty of £19.2m and the full amount of the SFO’s investigative costs of £3.7m. This is in addition to the £12.8m in compensation Serco paid to the Ministry of Justice as part of a £70m civil settlement in 2013.

Following the introduction of DPAs in the UK in 2014 and the conclusion of the first DPA with the SFO in November 2015, the Serco DPA is the fifth and latest in a growing body of DPA case-law and confirms the importance placed by the SFO on the use of DPAs in tackling financial crime.

In this briefing, we provide some background on DPAs generally, an overview of the Serco DPA and discuss some of the emerging themes relating to DPAs and the SFO’s approach to enforcement.

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The FCA publishes proposals to ban sale of crypto-derivatives to retail consumers

The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA“) has published proposals to ban the sale of derivatives or exchange traded notes (“ETNs“) which reference certain types of cryptoassets (“crypto-derivatives“), to address harm posed to retail consumers. The scope of the ban would extend to the sale, marketing and distribution of all derivatives (ie. options, futures and contracts for difference (“CFDs“)) and ETNs which reference ‘unregulated transferable cryptoassets’ by FCA-regulated firms acting in, or from the, UK to retail consumers (ie. ‘retail clients’ as defined in COBS 3.4). The ban would be implemented through proposed changes to the conduct of business (“COBS“) sourcebook.

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