In recent years the number of regulators has increased and their powers have grown considerably. Risk-based regulation, backed up by criminal sanctions, continues to develop as public pressure for harsher action grows in the wake of the financial crisis. Consequently, the regulatory agencies are flexing their muscles. And all of them are learning to use the threat of prosecution to extract greater compliance from companies.
The Financial Conduct Authority now brings a new array of powers to the table with massively increased resource and many more prosecutions in the pipeline. The Office of Fair Trading has been pursuing an increased number of bid rigging cases following its 2009 success in sending three executives to prison and barring them from directorships for periods of five to seven years. The Health and Safety Executive, the Care Quality Commission, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Marine Management Organisation and many similar agencies are demonstrating a new interest in maximising the advantages of a twin track investigation which is potentially both criminal and regulatory.
For both individuals and companies which fall under investigation, the threat of criminal proceedings is very real. Having solicitors who understand both the regulatory system and the criminal justice system is therefore increasingly important.
Hickman & Rose solicitors have huge experience of advising people in the police station environment and unerring tactical skill. We aim to minimise the risk to both companies and individuals in all areas of regulatory enforcement.