Legal Business

Policing the City – where do in-house lawyers fit in?

Stephenson Harwood’s Tony Woodcock argues that financial regulation has failed to clarify the status of in-house counsel

Though one is always on dangerous ground in suggesting that anything was clear or uncomplicated in the Financial Services Authority’s Handbook and its successors, one could comfortably say that in-house lawyers were not regarded as significant influence function-holders requiring approval under the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000. They were not specifically named as holders of a ‘controlled function’ and would not be regarded as holders of a ‘significant management function’, the characterisation of which required a person to be a ‘senior manager’ of a significant business unit reporting directly to the governing body or the chief executive or the equivalent. The in-house lawyer’s role was not managerial and supervisory, but advisory and privileged.