Rachpal Thind started her legal career at Sidley 15 years ago as a trainee in the firm’s London office. After qualifying as a solicitor, she moved through the ranks to partnership in the Financial Services Regulatory practice group. Her practice revolves around advising financial services firms, including banks, insurance companies, investment firms and consumer lenders on a range of EU and U.K. regulatory and compliance matters. A large part of her work is cross-border in nature, and she acts for clients with extensive U.K. and EU operations, as well as clients in the US and Asia with financial services businesses and interests in the U.K. and EU.
Increasingly, U.K.- and EU-based laws have extraterritorial effect and Rachpal can guide overseas firms through the UK authorization and licensing requirements, and counsel clients on issues impacting global firms on a group-wide basis such as EU regulatory capital and remuneration requirements, anti-money laundering and financial sanctions policies. When clients interact with regulatory agencies, Rachpal provides technical and strategic support on regulatory investigations and breaches. Where the firm does not have an office, Rachpal can facilitate advice through local European firms (and where necessary, firms in other jurisdictions) to provide clients with an integrated service.
Rachpal also regularly works with the firm's U.S. offices on the regulatory aspects of structured finance transactions covering securitization risk retention, marketing and listing requirements, and market conduct issues. In addition, Rachpal has assisted U.K. based finance and leasing companies on the development of new consumer credit and mortgages products, and advised on preparing compliant customer documentation.
According to Rachpal, when she first qualified in 2002, she and her colleagues "were advising from a handbook of directives, statutes and regulations that was around 900 pages long. The same handbook now consists of two volumes and each one in excess of 2000 pages, which needs to be read in conjunction with other rules, guidance notes and regulatory standards. Year on year, there had always been a steady increase in the volume of legal and regulatory material, as well as new sectors being brought within the ambit of the EU financial services regimes, but since the economic crisis, it has been a totally different landscape." The regulatory environment is rapidly changing. In the wake of the financial crisis, there was a "huge new focus on regulating the conduct of banks and others in the financial sector. Interestingly, the focus is now shifting towards using regulation to stimulate economic growth." In this ever-changing sphere, Rachpal helps Sidley clients navigate a world of changing, but also conflicting requirements. "Financially, the world has become increasingly interdependent, yet international coordination of laws and regulations lags behind," she says. "We are currently in a very interesting environment and constantly learning."
Rachpal is a member of the Assignment and Compensation of Associates Committee, the Diversity Committee and the Committee on Retention and Promotion of Women. In addition to sitting on these formal firm bodies, Rachpal is also a member of the British Bankers' Association (BBA) retail credit advisory group and the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) securitization working group.
Rachpal was recently named to the board of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum, which recently expanded its work to the U.K. She hopes that her involvement with the organization will allow her learn and bring new ideas into the London office on the development of our associates through their legal careers.
Rachpal has also helped the London Diversity Committee enhance their recent efforts, which include providing increased opportunities and experiences for diverse university law students. "Our clients are internationally diverse and expect us to be forward looking," says Rachpal, "so it is inevitable that as a service provider we need a diverse platform that enables us to understand and appreciate our client base, one element of which is attracting and retaining well qualified, diverse professionals."
Outside of Sidley’s doors, Rachpal, a mother of two girls, spends her time window shopping classic and new sports cars, taking in West End theatre and getting involved with her daughter's school.