Call (Middle Temple) 1965; QC (Honoris Causa) 1996;
MA, LLM (Cantab); MA (Yale)
Michael Blair is a specialist on financial services and financial services regulation. He joined Chambers in 2000 after serving as General Counsel to the Board of the Financial Services Authority from 1998-2000, and as head of the legal function in its predecessor body, the Securities and Investments Board from 1987-97. Before that he had served from 1982 to 1987 as an Under Secretary in the home civil service, latterly taking responsibility for the criminal and civil legal aid schemes in England and Wales as well as for the higher courts and matters affecting the legal profession.
He is listed in Chambers & Partners as a "star individual" in the field of Financial Services, "a "doyen" of the area and a former general counsel at the FSA. "Getting advice from him is the next best thing to getting an opinion from the FSA itself," according to solicitors." (2013). "Clients ring instructing solicitors specifically to compliment financial services "guru" Michael Blair QC for his "highly intelligent" advice and expert oral testimony on matters such as collective investment schemes, interest rate derivatives and Eurobond financing. He is a big name in the financial legal market" (2012). Having "unprecedented knowledge and experience" of the area (2008). His "background as former General Counsel to the FSA unsurprisingly equips him with "vast knowledge of the FSA's procedures and policies". Primarily occupied in an advisory capacity on transactions and business transfers, he "sees details others miss"" (2007). He "has a tremendous brain and the capacity to store huge amounts of information. Earlier plaudits included being "highly valued by clients for his insights into the workings of the FSA. His broad-based financial services practice means that he is in demand by those who view him as a high-powered player in the field."(2006)
His practice is largely advisory though he has appeared before the Chancery Division (banking transfer schemes), what is now the Upper Tribunal (in relation to split capital investment trusts and alleged unauthorised trading) and the Financial Services Authority's Regulatory Decisions Committee (enforcement proceedings). He has also been involved in other proceedings in the Chancery Division, both concerning a split capital investment trust and in insolvency proceedings in the financial services arena. He recently appeared as an expert witness in Milan for a bank which defeated a prosecution in the Parmalat case and has provided other expert evidence in Spain and in Italy.
He was the Treasurer of his Inn of Court, the Middle Temple, in 2008, was the Chairman of SWX Europe Ltd (the former Swiss equities exchange in London) and is a member of the Board of the Dubai Financial Services Authority.
Articles in numerous legal periodicals in the UK and elsewhere
French (working knowledge).
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