Stuart’s practice areas include:
- FSMA and FCA Handbook compliance, including COBS and PERG.
- FCA investigations and enforcement.
- Financial Services litigation - including complaints handling, FOS claims and High Court actions.
- Advising SIPP and SSAS trustees - including due diligence processes and in specie asset transfers.
- Advising on matters relating to transfers of defined benefit pensions.
- Appointed representative agreements including liability of principals and supervision.
- Corporate governance for FCA regulated entities arising from SM&CR.
- With profits contracts including bonus issues.
- Financial promotions.
- Liabilities arising from UCIS products.
- Shareholders and partnership agreements for FCA regulated entities.
- Business acquisitions and disposals for FCA regulated entities.
- Mediation for financial services related disputes.
Stuart started his post-qualification career at Eversheds and later joined the in-house team at Pearl Assurance (then part of the AMP Group). He initially served as in-house counsel dealing with LAUTRO/PIA compliance prior to the formation of the Financial Services Authority. That work included the SIB pensions review into transfers from occupational pensions – a topic which is the subject of much debate over 20 years later, as well as the implementation of the Unfair terms in consumer contracts regulations in 1999.
His interest in regulatory matters resulted in his appointment as managing director of the London Life group of companies which involved him in a review of the bonus policy relating to guaranteed annuitants who did not exercise the open market option. This was followed by a secondment to the group headquarters in Sydney, Australia where he worked on a range of legal matters including corporate governance, senior management apportionment of responsibilities as well as the development of the investments in Virgin Direct and NPI. Upon his return to the UK, Stuart was appointed to a senior management position within NPI.
As Director of the Banking and Finance department of KLegal, the associated legal practice of KPMG, Stuart advised insurers and banks on compliance with the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 including the scoping of the Regulated Activities Order and the Financial Promotion Rules.
Having set up his own firm, Stuart was involved in the setting up and development of a SIPP administrator/trustee as well as acting for a broad range of IFA’s in legal and compliance matters. His intricate knowledge of the FCA Handbook, including COB/COBS rules, resulted in him litigating on issues arising from the sale of interest rate hedging products by investment banks to SME’s in the period leading to the banking crisis. Stuart became a pioneer of interest rate swap mis-selling litigation; his work and cases having been covered in the Financial Times, the Telegraph and the Times. He wrote an article for the Law Society Gazette about the FSA review into the mis-selling of interest rate hedging products in July 2012 and also participated in a round table review of the matter for the Law Society Gazette in July 2013. Stuart also gave a presentation on the subject to an all party parliamentary group formed by Guto Bebb MP. Stuart has been heavily involved him in two cases of alleged LIBOR manipulation.
Stuart is an accredited Civil & Commercial Mediator and has a particular interest in mediation as a method of resolving financial services related disputes. He is also a member of the Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers, the Financial Services Lawyers Association and the Association of Pensions Lawyers.
What differentiates Stuart from other lawyers is his involvement in the management of financial services companies and the combination of this senior management experience along with his legal knowledge.