Chris Warren-Smith represents clients in a broad range of corporate investigation and dispute matters, including commercial and international dispute resolution and regulatory enforcement proceedings. Representing clients across all sectors, Chris has worked on many of high-profile issues over the years. He has a strong banking and financial services practice, with an extensive background in representing financial institutions across all business lines. Chris is deputy chair of Morgan Lewis’s global white collar and corporate investigations practice.
Chris has for many years had a regional and global practice, including experience in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, and South America. He acts for financial institutions, corporations, professionals, and insurers in all forms of mainstream and alternative dispute resolution and regulatory and professional investigations as well as issues arising from a more diverse range of bodies in the United Kingdom, ranging from the Treasury Select Committee to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Chris frequently works on compliance and regulatory issues, including corruption, financial crime, economic sanctions, and fraud.
He represents clients in a wide range of investigations, including UK proceedings conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority, the Serious Fraud Office, and Lloyd's of London, and those involving regulators such as the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as regulators and professional bodies in many other jurisdictions throughout the world.
Chris has experience over many years in both group actions and litigation-funded disputes and acted for the first third party funded claimant to go to trial in the United Kingdom, as well as in a landmark third-party funded group action.
Clients praise his “commercial awareness, technical knowledge and ability to tackle prospective problems before they arise,” his “reliable, sensible balanced advice,” and his “ability to dive into the detail and excellent communications skills.” Chris is described as “refreshingly personable and knowledgeable” while impressing with his “incisive analytical mind and rate of turnaround.”
Before joining Morgan Lewis, Chris served as the global head of investigations in the London office of another global law firm.
Represented financial institutions in Europe and the US in disputes and regulatory investigations arising from issues such as collateralised debt obligations, LIBOR, FX, and other high-profile matters
Represented clients in a wide range of matters arising from Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) activities including enforcement work, Section 166 appointments, and the production of independent reports for consideration of the FCA (and the Bank of England)
Conducted multijurisdictional corporate investigations and managed government investigations involving a wide range of issues, such as foreign corrupt practices, bribery, export control and sanctions violations, payments to third parties, whistleblowing, improper trading, and accountancy issues. Handled litigation in the Commercial Court, Chancery Division, and Queens Bench Division, for UK and international clients over many years
Represented clients in group actions in the UK in a range of areas, including financial services, tax, and competition, as well as class actions and collective actions in the US and many European and other jurisdictions
Represented clients in Upper Tribunal hearings challenging decisions of the Financial Conduct Authority
Represented investment and wealth managers and stockbrokers in a wide array of regulatory matters and litigation on issues including misselling, corporate finance, and the trading of complex financial instruments
Handled regulatory and internal investigations for insurers and brokers arising from various issues in the insurance sector, including finite reinsurance, binding authorities, third-party payments, and individual authorisations and approvals
Represented clients in arbitrations before a range of Tribunals, including defending the first ever Tier 2 Lloyd’s of London arbitration
Handled actual and threatened judicial review proceedings against a range of bodies, including HM Treasury, the FCA, and the Financial Ombudsman Service
Represented a global energy producer in regulatory enforcement proceedings in multiple jurisdictions
Defended civil fraud proceedings brought in the UK and Italy against a major Italian manufacturer arising from third-party fraud
Handled some of the largest claims faced by insurers over many years, in many jurisdictions, including those arising from the collapse of Enron, World Com, Parmalat, RBG Resources, Box Clever, and the Madoff fraud
Handled investigations and disciplinary investigations involving a wide range of bodies, including the London Stock Exchange, Lloyd's of London, and the (former) Department of Trade & Industry
Involved in the FCA and Channel Islands investigations, Treasury Select Committee inquiry, Financial Ombudsman Service issues, and class action and other litigation relating to the collapse of the Split Capital market in the UK
Involved in the range of issues and disputes arising from overdraft charges in the UK banking sector. Acted in DIS (German Institution of Arbitration) proceedings in Frankfurt arising from an EC investigation into breach of anti-trust laws
Represented investment managers and stockbrokers in major litigation and other disputes arising from the “dotcom” boom and bust and stock market reductions
Handled issues arising from the problems associated with endowments misselling, ranging from FCA investigations to complaints strategies with respect to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Acted for a major accounting firm in connection with Barings-related litigation, investigations, and public enquiries
Acted for a major accounting firm in connection with Maxwell-related litigation and regulatory enforcement proceedings, including Serious Fraud Office and Department of Trade & Industry investigations
University of Melbourne, Australia, 1988, LLB, with honors
England & Wales
Awards and Affiliations
For over 15 years Chris has been ranked as a Leading Individual in directories and publications including:
Hall of Fame, Dispute Resolution: Banking Litigation: Investment and Retail, The Legal 500 UK (2022, 2023)
Leading Individual, Dispute Resolution: Banking Litigation: Investment and Retail, The Legal 500 UK (2021)
Recommended, Corporate and Commercial: Financial Services: Contentious, The Legal 500 UK (2020–2023)
Recommended, Dispute Resolution: Commercial Litigation: Premium, The Legal 500 UK (2021, 2023)
Recommended, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration, The Legal 500 UK (2020–2023)
Recommended, Risk Advisory: Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime, The Legal 500 UK (2020–2023)
Recognized, Insurance Law, London, The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom (2020–2022)
Recognized, Litigation, London, The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom (2022)
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Insurance, Law360 (2020)
Leading Lawyer, Dispute Resolution; Banking Litigation; Civil Fraud; Professional Negligence; Insurance: General Claims, Chambers UK
Leading Lawyer, Banking Litigation; Financial Services; Insurance, The Legal 500 UK
Leading Practitioner and Notable Practitioner, Global Corporate Investigations, Chambers Global and Chambers Europe
Recognized, Business Affairs, Super Lawyers
Leading Lawyer, Financial Services Regulatory, International Financial Law Review
Expert listing, Guide to the World’s Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers
Highly Regarded, IFLR1000 Financial and Corporate (2020–2023)