Associate Lawyers, General Counsel's Division
We are looking for talented Associates who want to join our dynamic and expanding legal team at an exciting time. You will get to work with high-calibre, supportive colleagues on matters that make a difference to people’s lives.
The salary range will be approximately 40,000 to 70,000 GBP for Associates and 50,000 to 90,000 GBP for Senior Associates, together with a competitive flexible benefits package, flexible working arrangements and non-contributory pension.
The FCA’s General Counsel’s Division (GCD) delivers legal advice to help the FCA deliver its objectives – protecting consumers, ensuring market integrity and promoting competition in the interests of consumers. This is an exciting time to join the FCA as we develop a new regulatory framework and transform as an organisation to become more innovative, assertive and adaptive, data-led and outcomes-focused.
GCD is currently recruiting for roles across all its five departments. We are looking for people who want to undertake diverse and challenging work that really does make a difference not only to the UK economy but to the public more generally, are motivated by the FCA’s objectives and want to learn and grow professionally in a diverse, inclusive and supportive environment. You will also have the opportunity to interact with stakeholders across the FCA, as well as external stakeholders such as HM Treasury, the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulation Authority, the Payment Systems Regulator and other regulators, and with the private sector. We welcome applications from newly qualified lawyers and upwards.
GCD provides all the legal advice to the FCA apart from areas such as enforcement and employment law. The work which GCD lawyers do is, therefore, varied, interesting and intellectually challenging. It includes:
- advising the FCA on the exercise of its functions and powers;
- providing legal advice and support to the FCA on its responsibilities as the supervisor of regulated firms;
- providing legal support on the development of FCA policy, including drafting rules and guidance and working on primary legislation with HM Treasury;
- advising on international legal issues across the FCA, and supporting HM Treasury in its development of international agreements relating to financial services;
- advising on corporate and constitutional matters;
- advising on markets and prudential related matters; and
- advising on redress and compensation for consumers and others when something goes wrong.
For more details on what we do, and to hear from some of our lawyers, check out our Life page on LinkedIn #lifeatgcd #jobsatgcd.
What does this job involve?
The work of a lawyer in the General Counsel’s Division is diverse, challenging and always interesting. It’s impossible to list everything that a day may involve but, by way of example: you might be working with and advising policy colleagues on the development of innovative solutions to newly-identified problems in a particular market area; drafting rules and/or guidance for firms; advising supervision colleagues who are reviewing a firm’s files or data on whether the firm is complying with its legal and regulatory obligations; advising colleagues, researching and analysing outcomes in relation to a particular financial product; advising colleagues on the powers to gather information from firms; working on litigation involving the FCA either directly or indirectly; and working with, typically, HM Treasury, on changes to primary legislation affecting the FCA or the work we do.
We will be considering candidates across the five departments set out below. There is always a possibility for lawyers to move between departments and to pick up work in different areas.
Investments, Insurance and Redress (IIR)
This department comprises three teams – the Investment team, the Insurance & Pensions team and the Redress team. The work in the Investment team includes advising on retail investment conduct, financial promotions, appointed representatives, funeral plans and the New Consumer Duty. As it says on the tin, the Insurance and Pensions team advises on all matters relating to the conduct regulation of insurance and personal pensions (including government initiatives) and was, for example, instrumental in the FCA’s Business Interruption Insurance test case, and recently advised on the FCA’s work on general insurance pricing practices and non-workplace pensions, among others. The Redress team’s work covers redress schemes (eg. the PPI and IRHP schemes), complaint handling by firms and the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and advising on the FCA’s consumer protection powers under the unfair terms legislation and involves close working with the FOS, FSCS and other governmental departments and bodies.
Payments, Credit, Competition and Claims Management (PCCC)
The Payments Team is responsible for advising on the regulation of payment services and retail banking, including on models developed by “fin tech” firms often using Open Banking technology to create innovative solutions. It also advises on the regulation of the rapidly evolving markets for payments cryptoassets and the FCA’s approach to protecting access to cash. The Credit Team advises on the regimes for consumer credit, ancillary credit services and mortgages and was closely involved, for example, in developing the price cap for high-cost short-term credit. The fair treatment of consumers who are in financial difficulties or in vulnerable circumstances is a central theme in this work. The Credit Team continues to play a key role in the FCA’s response to the pandemic. The Competition, Products and Claims Management team advises the FCA on the use of its product intervention powers (examples of which include the temporary and then final rules restricting the marketing of mini-bonds to retail clients). It also advises on the regulation of CMCs and on the FCA’s functions as a competition authority in relation to financial services.
International and Governance (I&G)
The International team leads on the FCA’s input into Government legislation, including the future regulatory framework, supports the FCA’s International Division on the development of the UK's trade arrangements on financial services with overseas jurisdictions, and coordinates GCD’s work on legacy issues relating to EU withdrawal. The Governance team advises on legal claims against the FCA including judicial reviews, the FCA’s Complaints Scheme, information rights legislation and inquiries or reviews into how we have carried out our regulatory functions. We are particularly looking for a lawyer with information law or public law litigation experience to join the Governance team.
Funds and Wholesale (F&W)
The Funds & Wholesale department covers a wide range of work. It advises on the regulation of funds and fund managers, money laundering and financial crime issues, FCA authorisations and change in control processes, Threshold Conditions, the regulatory perimeter (including in relation to crypto assets), wholesale conduct issues, operational resilience, client assets, benchmarks, the approved persons and senior managers and certification regimes, firm failure and resolution and ESG work. Over the last couple of years, the Department has been advising on LIBOR transition and that work will continue with the focus on the US$ transition. We are particularly looking for lawyers with experience in relation to the regulation of funds and fund managers, crypto assets and ESG work, all of which we expect to be increasingly busy areas.
Markets and Prudential (M&P)
This department advises on markets issues, including MiFID II, EMIR and derivatives generally, securitisation, credit rating agencies, trading venues, market abuse, short selling, listing and prospectus issues, prudential capital requirements for FCA firms, remuneration requirements, and governance and systems and controls.
What will I get from the role?
Working in the General Counsel's Division, you will benefit from an opportunity:
- to work at the forefront of financial regulation and consumer protection on a range of different matters where any two days are rarely the same
- to devise and implement creative and pragmatic solutions
- to acquire broader experience of financial services regulation, of how a regulator works and of how law and regulation is made;
- to be fully involved in the FCA’s activities of policy development, working with supervision and competition colleagues to ensure firms comply with all applicable rules, legislation and law and providing appropriate protection for consumers of financial services;
- to draft rules and guidance in the FCA Handbook;
- to work with government departments and bodies and other organisations engaged in financial services (such as the Bank of England) on exciting, pioneering and law-making projects;
- to advise on the application and effect of regulatory requirements and powers in practice;
- to develop problem-solving and project management skills;
- to have a high level of ownership and responsibility for your actions; and
- to work on matters which make a real difference to the UK economy and/or the lives of ordinary people.
As an Academy business we place great value on your learning and we offer world-class development opportunities which will assist you in achieving your career aspirations. Our Academy offers you a range of opportunities for personal and professional development, including our MSC in financial regulation, Advanced Managers programme, sponsored study and more. There are additional learning facilities and training opportunities within the Division aimed specifically at lawyers.
We are an inclusive employer where everyone matters and we are committed to promoting a diverse workforce. We also support flexible working arrangements such as part-time working or job-share arrangements.
What skills are required?
We're a signatory to the Government's Disability Confident scheme. This means that we guarantee an interview to any disabled candidates entering under the scheme, should they meet the minimum criteria for a role.
- Qualified lawyer: generally a person who is newly qualified to 3 years’ PQE, or equivalent experience
- Qualified Lawyer: generally a person who is a minimum 3 years’ PQE, or equivalent experience
- strong analytical skills and the ability to deliver good and clear analysis of issues;
- ability to learn about new or novel legal issues quickly and with enthusiasm, with the oversight and support of colleagues;
- ability to create solutions and deliver pragmatic outcome-focused judgements;
- ability to advise in a confident and reasoned manner, and to challenge appropriately;
- ability to build and sustain positive relationships and good communication skills; and
- good IT skills.
Prior experience in one or more of the following would be helpful, but is not necessary:
- financial services regulatory law;
- public law;
- EU law;
- knowledge of cryptoassets, consumer credit or ESG matters;
- working within a legal function in a financial services context such as banking, funds, markets, insurance or advising listed companies; and/or
- working within a legal function in a Government Department or other regulatory or public body.
Deadline: Applications close at midnight (UK time) on Sunday 13 March 2022.
On-line application: please submit your CV and answer to the following question:
Why do you believe that you are suitable for this role? Please relate your answer to the criteria listed above, covering your relevant skills, knowledge and experience in a maximum of 300 words. Please also indicate whether you have a preference for one or more departments and whether you are applying for an Associate or Senior Associate position. (If your CV, 300 word statement, and indication of department preference etc are in separate documents, you should be able to upload them together to the FCA Careers Portal when submitting your application.)
First round interview: this will involve a one hour case study followed by a one hour competency-based interview. The purpose of the case study is not to assess whether you know the relevant law but rather to see how you go about analysing and explaining legal issues. The competencies on which you will be questioned are the FCA’s core skills (see fca.org.uk/publication/corporate/fca-values-core-skills.pdf.).
Second round interview (if successful at first round interview): this will involve a one hour oral competency-based and technical interview (usually with a Head of Department).
For more information, see fca.org.uk/careers/experienced-professionals. Please contact Michael Wood (email@example.com; 020 7066 3284) if you have any questions about the role, or would like support with your application. We are happy to arrange for potential candidates to speak to GCD lawyers on a confidential basis if they wish to learn more about working in GCD, or check out our Life page on LinkedIn #lifeatgcd #jobsatgcd.
This role will be based in The International Quarter, Stratford, London. The FCA is currently trialling a new hybrid way of working, requiring colleagues to spend 40% of their time in the office each month until the end of July. This trial period will allow us to identify the most appropriate balance of hybrid working, enabling us to benefit from the best of both working in an office environment and remotely. Interviews are likely to be carried out on-line.
We are currently consulting with colleagues about changes to our grading, pay structure and benefits. We’re proposing a move to a more consistent and simpler approach that supports our changing role, accelerates career development, and better incentivises strong performance. The proposed changes will also ensure that we are able to continue to offer one of the best employment packages of any regulator or enforcement agency in the UK. The consultation opened on 21 September and finished on 20 December 2021. We will finalise the changes in February ahead of implementing from 1 April 2022. If you have any questions about what this might mean for you, speak to your recruiter.
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