Chris Warren-Smith represents clients in investigations and disputes matters, including corporate investigations, commercial and international litigation and arbitration and dispute resolution, and regulatory enforcement proceedings. Representing clients across all sectors, Chris has worked on many high-profile issues and crises that have arisen over the years. He serves as deputy chair of the firm’s white collar and corporate investigations practice and as a member of its global crisis management team.
Chris has for many years had a truly international and domestic practice which includes experience in the UK, US, Western and Eastern Europe, Canada, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and South America. He has broad banking and financial services practice, with an extensive background in representing financial institutions across all business lines. His experience covers a range of other sectors and industries, including energy, retail, life sciences, insurance, sports and fintech. Chris frequently works on compliance and regulatory issues including remediation and compliance programmes in areas including corruption, whistleblowing, financial crime, economic sanctions, crisis response, 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, US Securities and Exchange Commission, and US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as regulators and professional bodies in many other jurisdictions throughout the world. He also has experience representing clients in issues arising with a more diverse range of bodies in the UK such as the Treasury Select Committee and the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Chris has deep litigation experience over many years, including in class actions, collective actions, group litigation and litigation-funded disputes. He acted for the first third party funded Claimant to go to trial in the UK, 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 of another global law firm.
Represented financial institutions in Europe, the US, and Asia in disputes and regulatory investigations arising from issues such as collateralised debt obligations, LIBOR, FX, spoofing, anti-money laundering, and other high-profile matters.
Represented clients in a wide range of matters involving the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) including pre and post enforcement work, Section 166 appointments, redress schemes and the production of independent reports for consideration of the FCA (and the Bank of England), including in connection with matters involving other UK agencies and US, EU and other international agencies.
Conducted multijurisdictional corporate investigations and management of government investigations involving a wide range of issues, such as foreign corrupt practices, bribery, export control and sanctions violations, payments to third parties and supply chain fraud, money laundering, whistleblowing, improper trading, product recall, and accountancy issues.
Handled litigation in the Commercial Court, Financial List, Chancery Division and Queens Bench Division for UK and international clients over many years, as well as representing clients in disputes in courts and before tribunals in many countries around the world.
Represented clients in connection with Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigations and trials since the early 1990’s, including responses to Section 2 Notices, and in connection with matters involving other UK regulators and US, EU and other international agencies.
Conducted M&A due diligence and internal investigations for a range of companies concerning alleged bribery and sanctions breaches and working on post-acquisition and post-investigation remediation and compliance programmes.
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.
Advice on compliance programs and potential bribery and sanctions violations, including reporting to authorities and remediation work.
Represented clients in Upper Tribunal hearings challenging decisions of the Financial Conduct Authority (and its predecessor Financial Services Authority).
Represented investment funds in disputes and regulatory and internal investigations, including in connection with market disclosures, MNPI, market manipulation, and regulatory reporting issues.
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 and disputes 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.
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 and litigation in multiple jurisdictions, including the UK and US.
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 Investment Trust 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.
Defended the first ever Tier 2 Lloyd's of London arbitration.
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)
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 (2020–2022)
Recommended, Dispute Resolution: Commercial Litigation: Premium, The Legal 500 UK (2021, 2022)
Recommended, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration, The Legal 500 UK (2020–2022)
Recommended, Risk Advisory: Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime, The Legal 500 UK (2020–2022)
Recognized, Insurance Law, London, The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom (2020–2022)
Recognized, Litigation, London, The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom (2022)
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, 2021)