Financial Conduct Authority search and seizure powers
Financial Conduct Authority search and seizure powers

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Financial Conduct Authority search and seizure powers
  • Search and seizure—the law
  • Advice on FCA search warrants

Search and seizure—the law

The FCA has the power under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA 2000), s 176 to apply to a magistrate for a warrant to enter premises where documents or information are held. The court may issue a warrant if it is satisfied that the documents are on the specified premises and that there are reasonable grounds for believing that:

  1. a person on whom an information requirement has been imposed has failed (wholly or in part) to comply with it, or

  2. if an information requirement were to be imposed, it would not be complied with, or that the documents or information requirement relates, would be removed, tampered with or destroyed

Execution of the warrant is dealt with under the Memorandum of Understanding between Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the FSA (the MOU). A warrant obtained under FSMA 2000 authorises a police constable or FCA investigator under the supervision of a police officer, to do the following:

  1. to enter and search the premises specified in the warrant

  2. to take possession of any documents or information appearing to be documents or information of a kind in respect of which the warrant was issued or to take, in relation to any such documents or information, any other steps which may appear to be necessary for preserving them