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Litigation lawyer - secretary of the Sanctions Committee

Where will you be working?

There is a vacancy within the FSMA’s Legal Service for a lawyer with litigation experience who can also reinforce the secretariat of the Sanctions Committee. 

There are many legal advisors working at the FSMA, spread across various services. The majority of these are specialized in the supervision of compliance in specific areas. The Legal Service acts as a sort of internal legal consultancy that assists those other services in analysing complex legal questions and providing a correct framework for the measures that the FSMA adopts as part of its supervisory activity. The Legal Service also frequently contributes to the drafting of financial legislation and regulations. In addition, it oversees the defence of the FSMA’s decisions against which an appeal has been lodged, and to this end works with the lawyers appointed by the FSMA. All of this is carried out under the authority of the FSMA’s Management Committee.

The Sanctions Committee, by contrast, is completely independent of the FSMA’s Management Committee and is made up of outside experts appointed by the King, half of whom are judges and State counsellors. The Sanctions Committee can impose administrative sanctions in almost every area of the FSMA’s competence (including misuse of inside information). Moreover, the Belgian parliament has designated the FSMA’s Sanctions Committee as the body competent to impose fines or a wide range of other measures on a statutory auditor within the framework of administrative sanction proceedings launched by the Belgian Audit Oversight Board 

What will your job entail?

You will be spending around half your time on the activities of the Legal Service described above. 

As a legal advisor with the Legal Service, you will analyse legal questions that arise in the exercise of the various powers of the FSMA, and will propose answers and/or solutions. Such questions are often complex and concern the interpretation or application of the various laws that the FSMA is tasked with enforcing, the principles of administrative law that a supervisory authority needs to take into consideration in exercising its powers, and the organization and functioning of the FSMA. You may also be asked to take part in the preparation of legislative and regulatory texts.

The rest of your time will be devoted to serving as the secretary of the Sanctions Committee.

Proceedings before the Sanctions Committee usually consist of both an exchange of written arguments and an oral hearing. As the secretary of the Sanctions Committee, you will support the latter not only with the organization of hearings, but also with the contents. Your role is described in the Sanctions Committee’s internal regulations. As secretary, you can also be admitted to the hearings and deliberations of the Sanctions Committee. The Sanctions Committee may also call upon you to assist it in preparing a draft of its sanctions decision, in accordance with the outcome of its deliberations. This is a position of trust that is carried out entirely independently, based exclusively on the instructions of the Sanctions Committee (and not of the existing hierarchy within the legal service and of the FSMA more generally speaking). An independent and impartial attitude is therefore essential.

The position has a very marked legal dimension as regards the contents, and is closer to that of a court “referendary” (a law clerk who drafts court decisions). For the purely administrative aspects of the assistance that is to be provided to the Sanctions Committee, you will be able to draw upon the services of an administrative staff member. 

What knowledge, experience and skills do you bring?

  • A Master’s degree in law.
  • At least 5 years’ relevant experience at a highly reputed law firm.
  • An excellent command of Dutch and a good oral and written mastery of French.
  • Experience in the written and oral aspects of judicial or administrative proceedings. Experience with administrative sanction proceedings and ethics cases would be a particular asset.
  • The ability and willingness to handle other legal issues on a wide range of matters, often in a European context.
  • An analytical mind-set and the ability to combine this with an excellent capacity for synthesis. Accuracy and professionalism are among your strongest qualities.
  • Excellent ability for logical structuring of both oral and written communication.
  • You are both a team player and able to work independently.

What do we offer you?

  • A full-time job with a permanent contract.
  • The chance to do your bit for consumer protection.
  • A competitive salary package with many fringe benefits (including group and hospitalization insurance, reimbursement of the costs of commuting to/from work, budget-friendly company dining room, contribution to your mobile phone and internet subscriptions, additional non-statutory holidays; bank holidays, etc.).
  • A wide range of opportunities for learning and development.
  • Flexible working hours.
  • Good work/life balance (possibility of teleworking).
  • Opportunities for internal mobility.
  • Offices within easy reach of Brussels city centre.

Each member of the FSMA staff is subject to a strict code of ethics and is bound by the obligation of professional secrecy.