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Our panel of experts considers the cases, legislation and trends likely to affect financial services lawyers and their clients in 2015.
Duncan Black, partner, contentious financial services, Fieldfisher
Jon Holland, partner and co-head of the global financial Services Litigation team, Hogan Lovells
Nathan Willmott, partner, financial services investigations and head of the commercial dispute resolution group, Berwin Leighton Paisner
What are the key cases and legislation for 2015?
Jon Holland: The interesting thing for me in 2015 is going to be the fallout of the various settlements between a number of banks and the various authorities in relation to misconduct around Libor and Forex. There may be other issues currently being investigated but those are the two headline grabbing ones right now.
Nathan Willmott: The implementation of the senior managers’ regime is a significant change coming in. It is a new regime for the regulation of individual members of senior management at banks and the extension of binding regulatory duties to all employees of UK banks. There is going to be a huge compliance cost involved in implementing the new regime—and also on an ongoing basis, as banks will need to conduct a series of annual reassessments of fitness and propriety, more training of all staff on their new regulatory duties, implement a series of new policies and document the responsibilities of senior management (both individually and collectively) in a formal manner which will then be shared with the regulators.
It is likely to result in a lot more disciplinary cases being taken both against senior management, where there will be a reverse burden of proof when a problem occurs, and then also for more junior members of staff if they are involved in an event that amounts to a regulatory breach by the bank.
Duncan Black: I would agree that the increasing responsibility on bank employees in the new conduct rules is likely to be a major thing. It is certainly something which clients are anxious about because senior people in banks and other firms are now being told up front that they are going to be personally responsible for things when they go wrong.
Historically when things have gone wrong the criticism has been that the senior person has escaped responsibility because they didn’t know the
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