We recently advised a UK bank subsidiary of a non-EU parent company who required advice in the context of a larger overseas restructuring, which gave the FSA ("Financial Services Authority") concerns about the protection of the UK bank's assets. As a result of these concerns, the FSA imposed an own-initiative variation of permission ("OIVOP") on the UK bank which prohibited it from transferring assets to the parent or affiliated group companies without the permission of the FSA.

DLA Piper was particularly suitable for this instruction because of our strong reputation for understanding banking businesses and financial services clients and of how the regulators approach their supervisory powers in the context of stressed situations. 

The firm provided advice in relation to:

  •  the UK bank's obligations to the FSA;
  • the UK bank's obligations to the to its overseas parent; and
  • the UK bank's board members on their obligations as board directors to:
    • the FSA under UK financial services regulatory law and under the OIVOP;
    • to the UK bank, as directors subject to English company law; and
    • to the parent company, as directors of a subsidiary of the parent.

This involved advising the client on the implications of the OIVOP for the client's freedom of action at board level and of their obligations under FSA senior management requirements and UK company law. In doing so, advice was provided in relation to aspects of the FSA regulatory environment, the UK company law framework and the company law framework of the non EU parent company.

We also participated in meetings between the client and the FSA (at Head of Department level) in the context of the imposition of the OIVOP, which required an enhanced understanding of SYSC (Senior Management Arrangements, Systems and Controls), SUP (Supervision Manual), APER (Code of Practice for Approved Persons) and the FSA Principles for Businesses as well as the FSA's supervisory tools and enforcement options. 

In addition, we advised the client with regard to their interactions with their UK clearing bank and the implications of the OIVOP for their clearing and for their day to day transactions. We also assisted the client's board in managing its relationship with its parent in order to explain the implications of the OIVOP for normal parent/subsidiary relationships and governance.