14 September 2012 at 13:44 BST

Law firms fight for place on FSA banks panel

City law firms are set for a showdown over the opportunity to earn a lucrative spot on the UK Financial Services Authority's first panel of external bank investigation experts.

City watchdog looks to law firms

The Financial Times newspaper in London reports that FSA will begin the selection process next week, publishing a preliminary tender questionnaire. The FSA hope to have the panel in place by March.

Enforcement action

The reportedly highly profitable investigations – also known as 166 reports – are ordered by the FSA when a financial company suffers a mishap, and can be used as a basis for a fine or further enforcement action.

Fees, which will be paid for by the target company, can range from £4,000 to £4.4 million. For larger companies, the fee range is regularly towards the top end of that bracket.

The reports have previously been the domain of the ‘big four’ accountancy firms, with lawyers complaining that the tender process has made it difficult to demonstrate they could complete satisfactory investigations.


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