The Solicitors Regulation Authority has issued its first two sanctions from the mass failure to properly nominate compliance officers.
The regulator has investigated 992 firms in total for problems relating to nominations for compliance officers for legal practice and finance and administration (COLPs and COFAs).
Last week, it gave written rebukes to solicitors John Thompson, from London firm Thompson & Co, and Nicholas Hart, from Nicholas Hart Solicitors in Horsham, Sussex. Each was found to have failed to comply with regulatory obligations to deal with the SRA in an open, timely and co-operative manner.
As well as the sanction, each will face a £600 costs charge, as the decisions were made by an adjudicator.
In addition to the two rebukes announced this week, the enforcement team created to deal with the COLPs and COFAs fallout has made 26 warnings to firms, sent 212 letters of advice, and issued 406 ‘dear partner’ letters, asking senior partners to explain their firm’s conduct.
The two sanctions are unlikely to be the last, with the SRA continuing to investigate more than 100 firms that failed to nominate an appropriate person before last year’s deadline.
The three main work streams for the investigations have been delay in nominating, failure to disclose relevant information, and failure to nominate.