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Useful information relating to Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Money laundering

The law requires us in most cases to ask for evidence of identity.

Please note that we are subject to Money Laundering Regulations and as such we undertake a variety of checks to ‘verify’ our clients. Whilst we endeavour to keep these to a minimum there will be occasions where we are required to request personal documents such as Passports, Driving Licences and/or utility bills. In such circumstances we will discuss those requirements with you as soon as possible.

Our confidentiality obligations, as set out above, are subject to a statutory exception: recent legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Crime Agency. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering or terrorist financing, the solicitor may be required to make a money laundering disclosure. If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make a money laundering disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it because the law prohibits 'tipping-off'. Where the law permits us, we will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what action may need to be taken.

Cyber Essentials scheme

The Cyber Essentials scheme identifies some fundamental technical security controls that an organisation needs to have in place to help defend against Internet-borne threats.

Selected by industry experts, the technical controls within the scheme reflect those covered in well-established standards, such as the ISO/IEC 27000 series, the Information Security Forum’s Standard of Good Practice for Information Security and the Standard for Information Assurance for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.

Download Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP ISO 9001:2005 certificate
Download Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP ISO Cyber Essentials Plus certificate

Confidentiality undertakings to ensure your information is kept confidential and only processed in accordance with our instructions.

We will normally disclose to you all information material to your affairs and business regardless of the source of that information. However, we will not pass on to you any confidential information about the affairs of any other client.

Insurance distribution and other financial services

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authorit. However, it is included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that it can carry on insurance distribution activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register.

The provision of our legal services may also involve other regulated activities in relation to investments within the meaning of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (“FSMA”). Although Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Act for those regulated activities, pursuant to Part 20 of FSMA we may undertake activities such as arranging and advising which are incidental to our legal services or which may reasonably be regarded as a necessary part of our legal services. In doing so we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We cannot provide advice on the merits of financial products but can assist you to execute decisions which you may have made in relation to financial products.

The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of FSMA but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society's representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society and the Legal Ombudsman is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society. Any complaints or redress if something goes wrong should be made to the Solicitors Regulation Authority or Legal Ombudsman.

Inside information

If you are a traded company and are subject to the Disclosure and Transparency Rules issued by the United Kingdom's FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) or the EU Market Abuse Regulation (“MAR”), you agree to inform us, when you provide us with any information in relation to your company which you reasonably consider to be inside information, that it is inside information for the purposes of the Disclosure and Transparency Rules and the MAR.

Where requested to do so by you, we will make effective arrangement, having regard to any FCA guidance and the requirements of the MAR, to draw up and maintain an insider list in relation to your company and will provide you with a copy of such insider list as soon as possible on request. We will take such measures as are necessary to ensure that every person whose name is on the insider list acknowledges the legal and regulatory duties in relation to inside information (including dealing restrictions in relation to shares or other financial instruments of your company) and is aware of the sanctions for the misuse or improper circulation of inside information. If, during the course of acting for you, we engage a foreign law firm or another third party to act on your behalf or on your account, we will use our reasonable endeavours to ensure where necessary that the relevant third party agrees, in relation to inside information, substantially the same terms as are set out in this paragraph. In relation to third parties acting for you whom we have not engaged, we will assume that you have secured the necessary agreements in relation to inside information.

We reserve the right to charge you for these additional requirements in accordance with the normal arrangements we have with you.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (the "FSCS") aims to provide eligible claimants, including individuals and small companies who deposit monies with an authorised deposit taking institution with some protection in the event that that institution collapses. Generally speaking larger businesses are excluded assistance by the FSCS although there are some limited exceptions to this.

The maximum level of compensation that can be awarded is £85,000 (EIGHTY FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS) but it is important to be aware that the £85,000 compensation limit applies to each depositor for the total of their deposits with the institution, regardless of how many accounts are held or whether the depositor is a single or joint account holder. This means that any personal monies held by depositor will be aggregated with any monies already deposited by us in the same institution on their behalf.

Please be aware that some deposit taking institutions may trade under several brands meaning that monies may in fact only be deposited with only one institution despite the use of various names. More information can be obtained from the deposit taking institution, the FSA or a financial advisor.

Should a deposit taking institution collapse we will contact that FSCS and provide them with details of all clients for whom money is held in the relevant account. In order to do this we will be required to obtain our clients consent and we will arrange to obtain this should it become necessary.

The FSCS is an independent body, set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). For further details please visit the Financial Services Compensation Scheme at http://www.fscs.org.uk/.

Where do we hold client monies?

Funds held in connection with matters transacted by Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP UK offices are held with those clearing banks who are members of the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company Limited unless we are instructed otherwise. A list of its current members can be found on the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company's website.

The Cheque and Credit Clearing Company Limited is an independent body and Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP does not make any recommendation as to the suitability of any of the financial institutions listed. For further details please visit http://www.chequeandcredit.co.uk/.

Approach to bribery and corruption

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s approach to bribery and corruption is one of zero tolerance. All people within Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP are required to act honestly and with integrity at all times and must not offer or receive gifts and hospitality that could improperly influence, or be perceived to influence, business decision making. We will not directly or indirectly engage in bribery or corruption in any form.

Everyone in Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is required to comply with relevant anti-bribery laws and regulations, together with Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s own Anti-Corruption and Gifts and Hospitality Policies. They contain clear guidelines and strict procedures for the prevention of bribery and corruption. We expect all our business partners to have similar policies which apply to all matters involving Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP or its clients.

Please contact our Head of Risk, Nic Poole, if there is any suspicion that there has been a breach of our policies.

COVID-Secure Risk Assessment

Results of our COVID-Secure Risk Assessment for all UK offices in England (Updated: 7 September 2020)

Our first priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all our colleagues and clients. Accordingly, even before the Government issued its own initial guidance on working from home wherever possible, we had moved to remote working for the vast majority of staff across all our UK offices, with a small number of team members remaining in each office to allow that office to provide assistance and remote access facilities to all staff. A full risk assessment was carried out in relation to all activities which remained ongoing in each office.

As the government began to relax restrictions after 1 August 2020, we implemented Phase 0.5 of our Return to the Office planning, allowing a limited return to UK offices (up to a maximum of 5%) following an online application and approval process in line with client, business or personal need. In preparation for Phase 0.5 our Facilities teams undertook extensive work to make substantial physical and operational changes to all our UK offices so that we were ready to enable colleagues to return safely.

Having reviewed how Phase 0.5 worked in practice and after obtaining extensive feedback from colleagues attending UK offices during that period, the experience was a very positive one for the vast majority of attendees, with further changes being made to address any practical issues.

The UK Government has now moved to allow the return to office working where possible and once COVID-Secure risk assessments are in place. Accordingly, we now feel it is the right time to move to Phase 1 of our Return to the Office which will be effective from 14 September 2020. This will enable up to 25% attendance across all UK offices on any given day, utilising App based technology to book, monitor and record all attendees (in line with UK Test and Trace principles). The key aspects of Phase 1 are:

Phase 1 Principles

  1. Attendance is optional although we will continue to monitor client needs
  2. Access to primary office only other than for client work or other business critical reasons with approval
  3. Attendance scheduled via booking app and coordinated within teams to ensure appropriate seating plans and also reduce team risk
  4. Work is to be undertaken at own desk provided that social distancing can be maintained and access is limited to relevant floor only
  5. Internal meeting rooms available for confidential calls subject to social distancing and meeting room capacity
  6. Task / document review / QCI meetings and the like are permitted subject to social distancing and meeting room capacity
  7. Team meetings remain virtual
  8. Client meetings onsite possible in limited circumstances – where materially more effective than virtual meetings. PGH approval required
  9. Client related travel and visits to client premises permitted subject to PGH approval
  10. Any meetings with colleagues or clients outside of the office must comply with applicable government guidance
  11. Implementation and maintenance of clear desk policy
  12. Consider your commute to work and if appropriate stagger your start / finish time to avoid peak periods
  13. Compliance with protocols and office etiquette to provide a safe working environment for all
  14. Enhanced sanitation and cleaning regime in place. Kitchenettes open with control measures introduced. Restaurants remain closed
  15. Dress code is smart casual subject to client requirements

We have undertaken detailed COVID-Secure risk assessments in each of our UK offices and in respect of those offices in England (given there is currently different regional Government guidance applicable to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the results of those risk assessments have led to the following specific areas being considered and suitable and sufficient controls put in place:

1. Social distancing:

  • Taking all reasonable measures, including signage, posters and floor markings to ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained.
  • App based booking required for building access to be permitted
  • One way systems in operation

2. Travel to / from work

  • Plan your commute to the office and where using public transport follow the government guidance for the mandatory wearing of face masks / coverings
  • Encouraging the use of walking or cycling
  • Making car parking spaces available for all colleagues

3. Working proximity

  • Ensuring occupied desks still observe social distancing
  • Sanitised agile desks available to support urgent ad-hoc access
  • Access to conference rooms for privacy and task/document reviews subject to social distancing and meeting room capacity

4. Enhanced cleaning

  • All desk surfaces cleared of all materials and cleaned after each use
  • Increased frequency of the cleaning of entry / exit points and washrooms and kitchenettes

5. First Aid / Fire Marshal cover when any staff present

6. Lone working in offices

  • All entry / exit logged via security
  • Arrangements in place if staff become unwell

7. Hygiene and hand washing / hand sanitising facilities / face coverings

  • Hand sanitisers available at all entry points and throughout all working areas
  • Encouragement to wash hands frequently and in line with public health guidance
  • Colleagues to wear face coverings when moving around the office (but not while seated / standing at desks)
  • Visitors to wear face coverings when entering and leaving the building, and when moving around client areas (but not once seated in meeting rooms)

8. Closure of certain areas (kitchenettes, coffee bars, restaurants, social areas)

  • Kitchenettes and staff tea / coffee making facilities to be re-opened

9. Maintenance

  • Ensuring all planned preventative maintenance completed on schedule
  • Regular checks on all air conditioning systems

10. Mental health and well-being

  • Access to 24h staff employee helpline (Employee Assistance Programme)
  • Continued support for remote workers

11. Response to symptoms or a positive COVID test result

  • Detailed plans for responding to any notification of a positive COVID test result or report of symptoms

Each of these areas has been considered extensively and accompanied by a full briefing and roll out to all staff via Office Location Heads and Senior Office Partners.

We are therefore satisfied that we have complied with our obligation to undertake a COVID-Secure risk assessment in line with Government guidance.

There will be a review of Phase 1 as part of the preparation for any further decisions pertaining to a larger percentage of staff returning to offices in England.

Please direct any queries to: Claire Goody, Environment, Health and Safety Manager, clairegoody@eversheds-sutherland.com