Year of Call: 2011
Syed came to practice at the Bar following a successful career in commerce and financial services and has spent 13 years in the sector.
Areas of Specialism:
• Banking & Finance
• Financial Services Regulation
Clients regard Syed as calm, clear thinking and approachable with an excellent reputation for dealing with cases of considerable complexity involving unduly difficult opponents, and for the ability to assess the merits of a case and grasp extremely complex issues promptly. He provides meticulous attention to detail with painstaking analysis of documentation and evidence. He acts for a variety of clients including families, corporates and HNW/high profile individuals and has experience in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes, civil fraud claims, director/shareholder claims and general contractual disputes across a range of sectors.
In addition to his commercial disputes practice, Syed has a wealth of transactional experience in banking and capital markets which gives him a unique expertise in dealing with financial disputes and technical expert evidence relating to such disputes.
Syed is instructed to both claim and defend in a variety of insurance and contractual disputes. He has experience of all major standard forms of contracts including:
as well as numerous bespoke contracts, with a particular emphasis upon EPC forms of contract and Supply of Goods (Purchase Order).
Syed is familiar with a range of commercial litigation including:
• Shareholder disputes
• Damages claims arising out of breach of competition law
• Commercial fraud
• Applications for freezing orders
• Claims for injunctive relief to protect confidential information.
He represents clients ranging from multi-national companies to sole traders and understands the approach required in such litigation and the importance of leveraging as strong a position as possible for his clients. Syed has experience in commercial litigation in the High Court (Chancery Division and Commercial Court) as well as in advising on commercial matters outside of court. He regularly drafts documentation for, and advises on: mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and capital raising via share allotments.
Banking and Finance
Syed has a wealth of experience in fields such as:
• Solvent and insolvent restructuring on both UK and international transactions
• Acquisition finance
• Real estate finance dealing with inter-creditor issues
• Commercial loan agreements
• General banking/security work.
He regularly acts for and against banks, IFAs and private individuals in proceedings involving substantial corporate transactions and the provision of investment and financial advice. Syed also regularly advises and acts for clients including private individuals and companies in relation to a variety of financial services matters including:
• Applications for approvals
• Collective investment schemes
• Enforcement proceedings
• Market abuse
• Financial Conduct Authority’s conduct of business rules
While working in investment banking, Syed advised on a number of transactions involving asset managers, private equity companies, life and non-life insurers and retail financial services. He has considerable financial services law expertise having worked at major financial institutions and at the ‘big four’ specialising in pensions, investments, and structured products. Syed’s on-going banking work includes advising independent reviewers in relation to their review of UK banks’ remediation programmes and disputes arising out of business banking, guarantees, recoveries, and derivative products.
Syed offers advice and advocacy on all financial services regulatory matters including before the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the FCA and the Upper Tribunal (Tax & Chancery Chamber).
He has extensive experience of disputes affecting financial services professionals and consumers, particularly claims for breach of duty by IFAs. He advises upon the relationships of intermediaries with the FCA, and has particular interest and experience in providing advisory and drafting services in respect of regulation and licencing of consumer credit businesses, ratification of mortgage products and anti-money laundering provisions.
He also advises on a wide range of financial services matters, such as the approved persons regime, the scope of the Conduct of Business sourcebook, responsibilities in relation to appointed representatives, pensions regulations, and the jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service. Syed is regularly instructed to advise on issues of disclosure and privilege which arise during the course of regulatory investigations into banks.
Syed has practical experience of occupational pension schemes and the challenges they face in relation to governance and trusteeship, benefit design and modification, funding and security and member communications and disputes. This provides him with an in depth understanding of the challenges faced by pension scheme trustees and employers as a result of their different perspectives, and to the need to manage conflicts of interest arising from trustee roles pragmatically and to evaluate sensitively the pros and cons of court proceedings in relation to a matter. His experience enables him to work collaboratively and inclusively as part of a wider team, including not only trustee committees and employer representatives but also other legal advisers, actuaries and covenant advisers.
Syed advises individuals, trade unions, and corporate bodies on a variety of issues, including:
• Construction and interpretation of pension scheme rules and trust deeds
• Construction and interpretation of statutory instruments and legislation
• Trustees’ duties
• Pensions transfers/mis-selling
• Complaints to the Pensions Ombudsman
• Automatic enrolment pensions legislation
• Transfer of pension benefits after TUPE transfers
• Pensions issues on insolvency
The above areas of specialism have led to Syed developing the following additional areas of practice in which he regularly drafts pleadings and advice:
• Construction disputes
• Debt claims
• Consumer Credit (enforceability of agreements, multiple agreements and unfair relationships)
• Hire purchase agreement disputes
• Personal guarantees and disputes involving bills of sale and bills of exchange
• Advising beneficiaries in relation to trust disputes as well as probate matters
Syed also represents high net-worth clients and businesses in immigration matters relating to Entrepreneur visas and Investor visas. Additionally, he advises businesses and HR departments across the UK in obtaining sponsorship licences and making sure they comply with Home Office compliance and due diligence procedures when recruiting foreign skilled workers.
Syed regularly delivers seminars and training events on financial services to solicitors’ firms and in house legal teams.
He lives in the West Midlands with his family, and when he can find the time, enjoys cycling and keeping up with his four sons.