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Withers’ website features testimonial from banned insurance boss

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Exclusive: The FCA also fined Nicholas Bowyer more than £300,000

The website of elite private client outfit Withers features a glowing testimonial from a banned insurance boss, Legal Cheek can reveal.

In 2014, Nicholas Bowyer was banned for life from holding a position of “significant influence” at a firm authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Moreover Bowyer — the former marketing director of insurance giant Swinton Group Limited — was fined £306,700 for playing what the FCA described as a “central role” in the “design” and “development” of policy extras that were then mis-sold to customers.

Nevertheless, Withers’ website has a personal recommendation from Bowyer.

The quote (screenshot below), from a “retired” Bowyer, praises Withers’ lawyers for their “exemplary expertise and dedication”.

Screenshot taken from Withers’ website

A spokesperson for Withers confirmed to Legal Cheek that it had helped Bowyer negotiate “an early settlement to an investigation by the FCA that concluded in 2014”. They continued:

We are one of the leading law firms to provide senior executives in trouble with advice on matters such as regulatory investigations, employment matters or other disputes. Mr Bowyer was kind enough to provide a testimonial for our website on the expertise and high standard of service provided by our financial regulatory team.

The FCA’s probe also saw Swinton’s ex-chief executive Peter Halpin and former finance director Anthony Clare being handed lifetime bans. The investigation revealed that bosses stood to gain a share of a £90 million bonus if operating profits hit £110 million.

Speaking at the time, Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FCA, said:

A culture was allowed to develop within Swinton that pushed for high sales and increased profit without regard to the impact on the firm’s customers.

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11 Comments

Simon Cowell

All publicity is good publicity

(4)(1)

Harvey Weinstein

What?

(16)(2)

Just Anonymous

If anything, that makes the testimonial more impressive!

In my experience, the less savoury the client, the harder they are to satisfy…

(7)(0)

Frustrated Writer

It was early, but Katie had to get to Wholefoods before heading to the office, as she would not have time to get there after. Scanning the shelves indecisively, viewing the prices and confusing array of goods, Katie began to regret offering to host her friends for a dinner party that evening. When she had arranged it, it had seemed like a good idea. Her parents were at the summerhouse that weekend, and her sister had gone along too. Katie of course would text her dad for a bank transfer later to solve the money issue, but that would not help deciding if a 28 year old gender non-binary feminist, who lived in a commune where no one was permitted a name, would prefer garlic tofu or unflavoured.

Katie eventually picked up a carton of coconut milk, and began carefully reviewing the ingredients. It was quite difficult to find foods that would satisfy the requirements of all eight women who would be coming over. She wished that she hadn’t naïvely asked for dietary requirements from her guests. She hadn’t expected the pages of requirements that had flooded her inbox and would be impossible to fulfil.

Putting the carton back on the refrigerator shelf, glancing wistfully at her empty basket, Katie began aimlessly wandering the shop, playing out in her mind the scenario if she simply ordered a Domino’s and had done with it. It wouldn’t be good, but at least it would save this hassle. She could always pretend that it was made by refugees, or freed child sweatshop workers, she mused.

As Katie rounded the corner of the breakfast cereal aisle she stopped abruptly. A tall, dark haired, attractive and well-dressed woman was stood half way along, diligently comparing the ingredients of a courgette and cacao granola against a raw beetroot and ginger muesli she held in her other hand. An overflowing basket of dried goods was on the floor next to her. Katie recognised her instantly.

Katie let out an excited, high pitched yelp. “Briana! How are you?” Katie called out shrilly, dropping her basket and going in for a hug.

Briana, a little taken aback, stood stiffly whilst Katie embraced her, still holding the cereal boxes.

When Katie released her grip she noticed the confused look on Briana’s face. “I’m so sorry, I hate to do this, but do I know you?” Briana asked apologetically. The question rolled pleasingly off her tongue in her broad Canadian accent.

“It’s me, Katie! Katie King”, Katie prompted, trying not to show her disappointment.

Briana, to her credit, remained polite. She was used to people approaching her to talk, but usually it was seedy men looking for a date. “I’m sorry Katie. I’m still blank. I‘m being a real air head today!”

Katie appreciated the softening of the blow but this was getting frustrating. “We worked together at Legal Cheek a couple of years ago?” she prompted. She couldn’t believe Briana had forgotten her. Katie had treasured the memories of the weeks that Briana had spent as the only ray of sunshine in the dungeon-like office, appreciating her chirpy personality and willingness to help out. As the only other woman regularly in the office, Katie had begun to see Briana as her protégé, and had even given her some of her Buzzfeed rip-off list articles to write. The last time they had spoken, as Briana left on her last day, Katie had given her a friendship bracelet she had made, and asked Briana to pinkie swear she would come back full time when she finished her degree.

Briana’s expression changed to recognition as the penny dropped. “Legal what? Oh, Legal Cheek, right. How are you guys? Still breaking the big legal news eh?”

Katie immediately realised that Briana had not read Legal Cheek lately. The collection of plagiarised Roll on Friday articles, news about inherently uninteresting law firm developments and the results of various Twitter trawls would never be described as ‘big legal news’. Katie told herself not to be hurt. She had a chance to get Briana to come back, and she wouldn’t miss it.

“Yeah, sort of. What are you up to now then? Fancy coming back?” Katie asked keenly.

Briana smiled warmly. “That’s cool. Not much, I just graduated. I’ve been running my own fashion blog and online clothes shop so thinking of doing that full time.”

Katie was impressed. And jealous. That was pretty much the life she secretly dreamt of. “Well done, that’s impressive. What designers do you use?”

Briana remained modest. “Oh I just design them myself, nothing too good though. I get a little money from it, but it’s just ticking over, really.” Briana looked at her watch. “Look, Katie, it was lovely to see you, but I need to get going. I’m off to give out food at St Michael’s church, and they’ll be wondering where I am. Maybe we can get coffee sometime”.

Although disappointed, Katie wouldn’t give up so easy. She realised the coffee offer was the type that would never be followed up on. She had to pin Briana down now. “St Michael’s is on my way, let’s walk together!”.

Briana looked slightly peeved, but her politeness meant had little choice, and so Katie abandoned her empty basket, and accompanied Briana to the checkout.

On leaving the shop, Briana restarted the conversation. “So is Alex still bringing in the big leads for you guys eh?” she asked, casually.

Katie looked uncomfortable for the first time. She had been hoping to avoid that topic, but faced with it, she felt she had to say something. “Well, to be honest with you, since you left, Alex has been a bit of a mess”. Katie paused, unsure if to continue. She pushed on, reasoning that now she had come this far, she had to. “I’m not sure how to tell you this, but you leaving like that really hit him for six. He’s not the same man, Briana. He has some good ideas at times, sure, but mostly he’s god-knows-where at some back street bar drowning his sorrows”.

Briana remained silent and looked down as she walked. Katie broke the silence. “Would you ever consider taking him back?”

Briana turned to Katie, lifting her elegant hand. On one of her long fingers was on the largest diamonds Katie had ever seen. It was so large it was difficult to see the silver ring it sat on. “I’m off the market now Katie, I’m sorry. And anyway, that’s water under the bridge. We were never meant for each other. It was just a holiday fling.”

There was a pang of anger deep in Katie’s soul when she thought of women being on a market, but bit her tongue. Alex had certainly not seen it as just a fling. Katie had caught him re-reading Briana’s articles many times since she left.

Katie maintained her front. “Oh, congratulations!” she exclaimed. “Who is he? Are you getting married locally? I hear weddings in Venice are lovely”.

Brian was brief in her response. “His name is Mark, he’s a paediatric cardiac surgeon. We haven’t decided yet, but Mark wants to hold the wedding on the estate he grew up on”.

They were nearing the Legal Cheek office and so the pair paused before parting ways. Katie was still keen not to let Briana go though. “How about having that coffee now? You can come back to the office, it’ll be like old times. I think I saw a tin of Nescafe in the cupboard the other day?”

Briana looked at her watch again. “I can’t Katie, I have to go. I’m not sure I should go back to the office anyway. Alex may be there. But it was lovely catching up”.

Katie began to panic. She grabbed the sleeve of Briana’s coat. “Please, just one? I just wanted to find out if you would come back and work with me again?”

Freeing herself from Katie’s grip, Briana began to slowly move away. “I’m sorry Katie. I’ve got Legal Cheek on my CV forever. That’ll never change. I was young and didn’t know the reputation you guys have. I can’t make it worse by going back.”

Katie watched as Briana picked up her pace and disappeared around the corner from view. It wasn’t over. She would get her mentee back, somehow.

(96)(1)

Anonymous

You have way too much time on your hands…and I’m loving it. Keep it up!

(16)(0)

Anonymous

Great stuff. Would love to see some walk on appearances and extensions of other previous stories. Suggestions include:

– KK being blocked by Judge Rinder on Twitter;
– Alex accepting payments from sponsors in booze;
– Tom entering competitions such as Iron Man to cope with his rage over KK, elusive pupillage, etc. Could also include training for a white collar fight against Legal Week;
– Vandalism or graffiti of the offices by Not Amused in a hyper autistic moment;
– Trumperkeig hacking the website to delete responses to his trolling and liking his own posts;
– An intervention by Legal Week;
– An accidental meeting in Pret where a member of Legal Cheek sees the ROF poster Clergham typing posts on her phone and their eyes meet and panic over the recognition results in a wild scene.

(18)(1)

Frustrated Writer

Very happy to take requests. Stay tuned.

(31)(0)

The Daily Mail

“Oh look this law firm had a client who was a naughty boy! Because the client was naughty that must mean he is unable to express an opinion on the quality of the law firm’s services. Tehehehehehe!” squealed the Legal Cheek “journalist” while his father turned in his grave.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

never mind their clients, wasn’t David Mills one of their partners? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Mills_(lawyer)

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Superb from Frustrated Writer! First rate work.

Lolling myself silly.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

“Law firm gets testimonial from client”

Wow, slow news day?

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.