Trouble viewing this email? Read it online

cummings-logo-2013 (2).jpg

Welcome to EQUITY ISSUES, a short note on a relevant issue in the private equity and venture capital industry.

If you would like to discuss any of the points we raise below, please contact me or one of our other lawyers.


Claire Cummings

020 7585 1406


FCA speech on action to tackle money laundering in capital markets

On 10 July 2018, the FCA published a speech given by Mark Steward, FCA Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, on MiFID II and the fight against financial crime. Among other things, Mr Steward commented on how the FCA is acting on the UK's October 2017 national risk assessment (NRA), which identified an emerging risk of money laundering in capital markets.

The FCA has several investigations underway on a series of capital market transactions that appear to have no market purpose or function. If the FCA's suspicions are correct, these transactions falsify liquidity, trading volume, and supply and demand in the market, and their purpose is unrelated to the sale and purchase of the underlying investments. As these transactions have cross-border elements, the investigations are being conducted in association with overseas regulators and law enforcement agencies.

The FCA has started a small number of investigations into firms' systems and controls. It has indicated to these firms that it is looking at whether there has been any misconduct that may justify a criminal prosecution under the Money Laundering Regulations.

Mr Steward noted that the FCA starting criminal investigations against firms relating to AML systems and controls may be surprising. He stated, however, that the potential for criminal prosecutions for systems and control failures under the Money Laundering Regulations is a consequence of the regulations themselves and is giving effect to the purpose and intention of the regulations. Further, the prospect of investigations having a dual track, or potentially a multiplicity of outcomes (from no further action to disciplinary, civil or criminal proceedings) is not new.

He also commented that the fact that a criminal proceeding may be brought doesn’t mean they will be brought. An investigation is primarily a fact-finding mission with any decision about what, if any, action may result being best left until the end. The presumption of innocence will apply, which is why firms should not be identified unless and until any charges are laid. Furthermore, any criminal proceedings would need to satisfy both the evidential test (beyond reasonable doubt) as well as the public interest test, meaning that criminal action is likely to be reserved for the most serious cases.

Mr Steward noted that it is hard to be definitive about what a serious case looks like. However, where the FCA sees what appears to be facilitation of suspected serious crime, in circumstances where plainly obvious checks and questions have not been carried out or asked, it is likely the test of seriousness is passed.

The speech concluded with Mr Steward commenting that the excuse of hindsight won’t protect a lack of rigour and discipline in the way systems and controls operate; nor the need to ensure systems operate according to their purpose; nor the importance of skepticism and rational intuition to challenge and to ask questions that should be asked and to detect.

This document is for general guidance only. It does not contain definitive advice.


You regularly receive communications from Cummings Law Ltd ("Cummings") relating to legal updates, invitations to events and other information that may be of interest to you. We believe that we have a legitimate interest in sending these to you and in order to do so we hold your personal data on our database. It is our responsibility to provide you with our privacy policy, which governs the communications that we send to you. In our privacy policy, you will find details about how we use your personal data and how you can exercise your rights in relation to it. If you would prefer not to receive our emails please unsubscribe here or below or at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link which is located at the bottom of every email we send to you.

We have taken great care to ensure the accuracy of this version of Equity Issues. However, Equity Issues is written in general terms and you are strongly recommended to seek specific advice before taking any action based on the information it contains. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from, action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. If you would like to be removed from the mailing list of this publication please click unsubscribe below. Nothing within this communication may be copied, re-printed or similar without prior written permission from Cummings.

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Please contact us if you would like to arrange a meeting. This message (including any attachments) from the law firm of Cummings is confidential and may contain information which is proprietary, privileged or otherwise legally protected against unauthorised use or disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, please do not read, copy, distribute, disclose or otherwise use or place any reliance on any information in this message or any attachments; and please alert the sender by return e-mail, delete this message and any attachments from your system and destroy any hard copies. Neither Cummings nor the sender accepts liability for any corruption, interception or unauthorized amendment of messages or attachments transmitted by e-mail. It is your responsibility to scan this message and any attachments for computer viruses in accordance with good working practice. The firm is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, but is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (for the code of conduct please see and undertakes certain activities in relation to investments which are limited in scope and incidental to its legal services or which may reasonably be regarded as a necessary part of its legal services.


Tel: + 44 20 7585 1406
Mob: + 44 7734 057 327

Cummings Law
42 Brook Street
London Greater London W1K 5DB
United Kingdom

25 05 2019

Subscribe a friend | Unsubscribe

email sent by multimail