Manchester solicitor gives evidence at EU hearing on banking misconduct, alongside top US regulator

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JMW solicitor Andrew Farrell has given evidence at the European Parliment in Brussels, for special hearing on banking miscounduct in the UK.

Andrew Farrell, Head of Commercial Litigation at Manchester law firm JMW Solicitors, headed to Brussels in September to give evidence at the European Parliament’s special hearing on banking misconduct in the UK.

He was joined by top U.S. financial regulator Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Appointed by Barack Obama in 2009, Gensler was responsible for levelling a $200 million fine against Barclays, accusing the bank of trying to manipulate Libor.

At the public hearing, organised by the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, Mr Gensler addressed MEPs on the issue of the manipulation of interbank lending rates.

Mr Farrell, who is an expert in Interest Rate Swap Agreement (IRSA) mis-selling, was invited to testify on the effects recent banking scandals have had on UK small and medium size businesses (SMEs). He was also quizzed on the level of trust that exists between banks and SMEs following recent events, and asked what measures he felt were required to protect UK businesses in the future.

Commenting after giving evidence, Mr Farrell said: “In their role as legislators, MEPs are looking to decide what measures are necessary to change the culture of UK banks.

“In the case of IRSAs for example, it’s clear that banks were motivated by sales targets, profits and bonuses and the question as to whether these products were suitable for customers was not asked. As a result many businesses have suffered significant financial penalties and some have even been wound up.

“SMEs’ trust in banks is extremely low and MEPs are considering what form prohibitive legislation might take. One option is to introduce personal accountability for bankers, which lawyers and accountants face. This could deter future misconduct and also provide a platform for an improved culture within the banks, on which trust might then be re-established.”

At present, JMW Solicitors acts for over 30 UK SMEs which have been mis-sold IRSAs by unscrupulous salespeople; as a result of plummeting interest rates, these businesses have discovered that they are unable to pay unexpected additional costs and bank charges that often stretch to thousands of pounds a month.

JMW Solicitors LLP is one of Manchester’s leading law firms and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients. Its expertise covers everything from IRSA claims to personal injury and business crime. For more information visit: http://www.jmw.co.uk/.

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