Josh heads up the financial services and legal services regulatory team at O’Connors.

He supports and advises clients and professional advisers on all aspects of financial regulation and legal regulation and has a keen interest in the practical application and regulation of cryptocurrencies, digital assets, DeFi and Web 3.0 technologies.

In the financial services space, his practice is all encompassing and includes:
Insurance, reinsurance, captives, and alternative risk transfer vehicles.

  • Discretionary benefits schemes.
  • Consumer credit.
  • Regulated claims management.
  • Wealth management, asset management, and investment management.
  • Investment funds, collective investment schemes, and alternative investment funds.
  • MiFID II investment business.
  • Funeral plan contracts.
  • Retail and investment banking.
  • Regulated home finance.
  • Bridging finance and non-traditional finance.
  • Cryptoassets, digital assets, DeFi and Web 3.0.
  • Applications for FCA authorisation.
  • Appointed representative regime.

His work in the legal services sector involves:

  • Authorisation applications and regulatory structuring.
  • Legal expenses insurance programs and insurance distribution by legal professionals.
  • Lead generation, introducer, referral, and outsourced marketing arrangements.
  • Litigation funding.
  • Professional indemnity insurance.
  • Successor practices.
  • Trust corporations.
  • Legal ombudsman and regulator complaints.

Josh is regularly instructed by other professional advisors to be part of their delivery team and provide regulatory due diligence, perimeter and compliance guidance, change in control advice, and transactional insurance support in M&A activity, property transactions, environmental projects, and insolvency proceedings.

His recent work includes:

  • Policy wording review and delivery of technical successor practice advice to a property litigation law firm in relation to a claim against its professional indemnity insurance arising out of the conduct of a prior practice. The advice helped secure full coverage for the firm as a successor practice, which the insurer had first refused, and recovery of circa £100,000 of legal costs incurred in contesting the coverage dispute with the insurer.
  • Advice to a consumer credit litigation funder on its FCA obligations and the regulatory compliance of proposed introducer agreements, and whether, by carrying out its obligations under those agreements, it would carry on regulated claims management activity.
  • Assistance to a new law firm pursuing complex cross-jurisdictional (including Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, India, the Middle East, and Africa) litigation and arbitration in its application to become authorised by the SRA as a recognised body, which advice helped the client navigate Financial Sanctions Regime licencing and procurement of professional indemnity insurance through the firm’s London market contacts.
  • Instructed as an outsourced member of the corporate team of a Manchester law firm in relation to the acquisition by a €544m turnover European insurance broker of a UK group comprised of a law firm, a consumer credit lender, a managing general agent, and an appointed representative business.
  • Provision of corporate and regulatory advice to an innovative family law barristers’ practice with significant non-lawyer ownership in its application to become authorised by the BSB as a licensed body.
  • Policy wording review and comparison for a specialist cyber insurance broker which enabled it to secure a new policyholder client by placing the risk with an alternative carrier and at a significant premium saving.
  • Delivery of technical regulatory advice to London based discretionary investment managers in relation to the application of the PRIIPs regulations to the proposed investment of £80m of assets under management into US exchange traded funds.
  • In anticipation of it being listed on a UK stock exchange, provision of perimeter guidance advice to a digital assets plc which incubates cryptoasset projects and stakes DLT nodes as to whether it was required to be authorised by the FCA in relation to cryptoasset activity, or as a collective investment scheme or alternative investment fund.
  • Regulatory advice to a Maltese domiciled retail bank operating under the temporary permissions regime on its exit from the UK market.
  • Advice to a data breach law firm on whether the referral of claims by a commonly owned intermediary company to regulated third parties comprised regulated claims management activity or a breach by the law firm of the prohibition against receipt of referral fees, contrary to section 56 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Josh enjoys public speaking and recording podcasts. He delivers in-person and remote student careers presentations and CPD training for law firms, members of the Chartered Institute of Taxation and members of the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers in Industry and Commerce. He is also an active member of the Liverpool Law Society Regulatory Sub-Committee.

In between work and family, Josh trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and, albeit quite rarely these days, tries to get up to Scotland during the winter months to do some climbing.

Contact Joshua Bates