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Investigations of regulated entities are now commonplace as regulators, politicians, shareholders and customers increasingly demand higher standards of behaviour. As a number of recent high-profile examples demonstrate the risks of failing to comply with these standards are now higher than ever before for both the regulated entity and the individuals responsible for their management.
These risks include the imposition of huge financial penalties, the restriction or disqualification of individuals from holding certain roles within a regulated entity, significant loss of share value and long-term damage to the entity’s brand.
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Reputational challenges can strike any business at any time and the consequences of unsuccessfully dealing with these challenges can be severe and can potentially lead to the total and irreversible destruction of the business’ value. When a reputational crisis does strike management will very often be required to deal with critical reputational issues of which they have no prior experience. We have helped many of our clients prepare for and successfully navigate these challenges and whatever the reputational challenge our clients face we have the skills and experience to help.
The following are examples of our recent work:
We support clients in mitigating the risks associated with the commencement of an investigation and the management of those risks where investigations are ongoing.
We have unrivalled expertise in advising on a wide range of investigations including industry-wide investigations such as the statutory investigation of the banking industry following the financial crisis, and the regulatory examination of the treatments by fifteen financial institutions of tracker mortgage customers.
We also advise on appearances before Parliamentary Committees, as well as investigations into anti-competitive behaviour, misconduct of management, insider trading and a variety of whistle-blower allegations.
We led an investigation into insider trading at a NASDAQ listed client as part of which the US regulator demanded the immediate provision to it of detailed information on the dissemination of particular market sensitive information in advance of a public announcement and the trading activity which took place on foot of the dissemination of that information.
In response we worked closely with the client to identify all individuals who may have had advance knowledge of the market sensitive information. We then carried out interviews with a large number of individuals in multiple jurisdictions and created a blueprint map which traced the dissemination of the information by reference to time, date, individual and jurisdiction. We provided real time advice on critical issues such as the preservation of confidentiality and the transfer of sensitive personal data from multiple jurisdictions to the US. Our expertise enabled us to provide the client with a comprehensive, legally privileged report on the dissemination of the sensitive information and the use of that information in advance of the public announcement.
This allowed the client to successfully manage the reputational risk of this investigation by complying in full with the US regulator’s demands for information while protecting itself from any civil or criminal actions arising out of the provision of this information. It also allowed the client to identify improvements that could be made to its inside information policy which will greatly reduce the reputational risks associated with any similar future interaction with its regulator.