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Financial Times: City regulator to join Clifford Chance

EXTRACT: Mr Conceicao has worked on several of the FSA’s most high-profile cases in recent years. They include those brought against Citigroup over its eurozone bond trade, the Royal Dutch Shell reserves scandal, and a market abuse case involving GLG Partners, a leading hedge fund.

THE ARTICLE

By Michael Peeland Barney Jopson
Published: September 12 2006 03:00 | Last updated: September 12 2006 03:00

Clifford Chance, the world’s biggest law firm, has recruited a top City regulator in a reflection of the growing importance of investigatory and compliance work to the legal industry and its corporate clients.

Carlos Conceicao, head of the wholesale group in the Financial Services Authority’s enforcement division, is taking the new post of director of regulatory enforcement. The recruitment of leading regulators by big law firms is still relatively rare in Britain, although common in the US.

Jeremy Sandelson, London managing partner of Clifford Chance, said the appointment reflects the “huge upsurge” in regulatory enforcement work.

“We think [it] is here to stay,” he said. “We are not going to see the FSA diminishing in its power.”

Mr Sandelson estimated work with a regulatory “flavour” taken on by Clifford Chance had tripled in the past three years and accounted for a “substantial part” of the £90m litigation practice.

The firm, which had turnover of £1.03bn last year, has been involved in a number of big investigations, including the fall-out from the collapse of Parmalat.

Mr Sandelson said clients were increasingly keen to understand how regulators worked, particularly in cases that presented big reputational risks and involved co-operation between several countries.

“I do think in five years’ time we will see more people in large law firms with direct regulatory experience,” he said. “It is a model in America that has been around for a long time.”

Mr Conceicao has worked on several of the FSA’s most high-profile cases in recent years. They include those brought against Citigroup over its eurozone bond trade, the Royal Dutch Shell reserves scandal, and a market abuse case involving GLG Partners, a leading hedge fund.

The FSA’s much-publicised move toward regulation based on broad principles, as opposed to detailed rules, is creating anxiety among companies and generating extra work for lawyers.

Executives are unsure how principle-based regulations will be handled by the enforcement division, and fear being used as test cases by a watchdog seeking to establish precedents.

The FSA’s former head of enforcement, Andrew Procter, left in January 2005 to become head of compliance at Deutsche Bank in London. He was replaced by Margaret Cole, a partner at the London office of White & Case, a US law firm.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006

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