NY State Department of Financial Services Investigation of Promontory Financial Group

In this case, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) claimed that Promontory Financial Group, Inc. (Promontory), consultant to UK bank Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), did not meet the NYDFS standard for independent consultants when it performed its work for SCB. Compass Lexecon President, Professor Daniel R. Fischel and Compass Lexecon were hired to analyze the economic evidence as it related to the NYDFS claims. Professor Fischel opined that interaction between consultants and their clients is common; that such interaction/cooperation is not inconsistent with good industry practice, and in fact can enhance the consultants’ ability to reach independent conclusions; and that professional services firms have strong incentives to protect their reputations. Professor Fischel further opined that the economic evidence he reviewed did support the NYDFS assertion that Promontory failed to exercise its independent judgment. NYDFS and Promontory reached a minimal settlement, far more favorable than that reached by other defendants. In settling, the firm did not acknowledge it lacked independence. Compass Lexecon worked with counsel for Promontory including Judge Richard Holwell and Vincent Levy of Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP and Paul Shechtman of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP. A Compass Lexecon team in our Chicago and Oakland offices including Jessica Mandel, Andrew Roper and Avisheh Mohsenin supported Professor Fischel.